Judges 2:3
Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.
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(3) Wherefore I also said.—Rather, And now I have said.

I will not drive them out.—The withdrawal of the conditional promises in Exodus 23:31.

They shall be as thorns in your sides.—The Hebrew is, “they shall be to you for sides.” The words “as thorns” are conjecturally supplied from Numbers 33:55. In Joshua 23:13 we have “scourges in your sides.” The LXX. render “for pressures,” and the Vulgate “that you may have enemies.” The Hebrew word for “sides” is tsiddim, and would differ little from tsarim (“nets”), which is the conjecture of R. Jonas; and this root is found in the verb, “and they shall vex you,” in Numbers 33:55. Whether we adopt this reading, or tsinnim (“thorns”), or suppose that a word has dropped out, the general sense is the same.

Their gods shall be a snare unto you.—See Judges 2:12-13; Psalm 106:36.

2:1-5 It was the great Angel of the covenant, the Word, the Son of God, who spake with Divine authority as Jehovah, and now called them to account for their disobedience. God sets forth what he had done for Israel, and what he had promised. Those who throw off communion with God, and have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, know not what they do now, and will have nothing to say for themselves in the day of account shortly. They must expect to suffer for this their folly. Those deceive themselves who expect advantages from friendship with God's enemies. God often makes men's sin their punishment; and thorns and snares are in the way of the froward, who will walk contrary to God. The people wept, crying out against their own folly and ingratitude. They trembled at the word, and not without cause. It is a wonder sinners can ever read the Bible with dry eyes. Had they kept close to God and their duty, no voice but that of singing had been heard in their congregation; but by their sin and folly they made other work for themselves, and nothing is to be heard but the voice of weeping. The worship of God, in its own nature, is joy, praise, and thanksgiving; our sins alone render weeping needful. It is pleasing to see men weep for their sins; but our tears, prayers, and even amendment, cannot atone for sin."Wherefore I also said" - Rather because ye have done the things mentioned in Judges 2:2, "I have now said (i. e. I now protest and declare) that I will not drive them out from before you" (compare Judges 19:29). And it was the annonncement of this resolution by the Angel that caused the people to weep.

The word thorns in this verse is supplied by the King James Version from the similar passage in Joshua (see the marginal reference). Other versions adopt a different reading of the original text, and prefer the sense "they shall be to you for adversaries" (compare the last words of Numbers 33:55).


Jud 2:1-10. An Angel Sent to Rebuke the People at Bochim.

1-3. an angel … came from Gilgal to Bochim—We are inclined to think, from the authoritative tone of his language, that he was the Angel of the Covenant (Ex 23:20; Jos 5:14); the same who appeared in human form and announced himself captain of the Lord's host. His coming from Gilgal had a peculiar significance, for there the Israelites made a solemn dedication of themselves to God on their entrance into the promised land [Jos 4:1-9]; and the memory of that religious engagement, which the angel's arrival from Gilgal awakened, gave emphatic force to his rebuke of their apostasy.

Bochim—"the weepers," was a name bestowed evidently in allusion to this incident or the place, which was at or near Shiloh.

I said, I will never break my covenant with you … but ye have not obeyed my voice—The burden of the angel's remonstrance was that God would inviolably keep His promise; but they, by their flagrant and repeated breaches of their covenant with Him, had forfeited all claim to the stipulated benefits. Having disobeyed the will of God by voluntarily courting the society of idolaters and placing themselves in the way of temptation, He left them to suffer the punishment of their misdeeds.

I also said with myself; I have now taken up this peremptory resolution.

Thorns in your sides: See Poole "Numbers 33:55"; See Poole "Joshua 23:13".

Wherefore I also said,.... Supposing, or on condition of their being guilty of the above things, which was foreseen they would:

I will not drive them out from before you; the seven nations of the Canaanites entirely, and which accounts for the various instances related in the preceding chapter; where it is observed, that they could not, or did not, drive the old inhabitants out of such and such places, because they sinned against the Lord, and he forsook them, and would not assist them in their enterprises, or them to their sloth and indolence:

but they shall be as thorns in your sides: very troublesome and afflicting, see Numbers 33:55; or for straits, as the Septuagint, or be such as would bring them into tribulation, and distress them, as the Targum; so they often did:

and their gods shall be a snare unto you; which they suffered to continue, and did not destroy them, as they ought to have done; they would be, as they proved, ensnaring to them, and whereby they were drawn to forsake the worship of the true God, and bow down to them, as we read in some following verses.

Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.
3. Wherefore I also said] Moreover also I said; perhaps referring to the warning in Joshua 23:13 D, Numbers 33:55 P, from which latter place the expressions in this verse appear to be borrowed. Others translate ‘and I have also said,’ a present, resolve in antithesis to the past promise ‘And I said, I will never break’ etc. in Jdg 2:1 b; but the antithesis is hardly to be extracted from the Hebr.

they shall be as thorns in your sides] Supplying ‘as thorns’ from Numbers 33:55, to make sense; cf. Joshua 23:13 ‘thorns in your eyes’; the word ‘as thorns’ may have been omitted here by accident. Instead of ‘they shall be sides (!) unto you’ (ṣiddim) the Vulgate and Targ. have ‘they shall be adversaries’ (ṣarim); the LXX, taking ṣarim as = ṣaroth, render ‘straits,’ ‘distresses,’ so Vet. Ital. in angustias, in pressura: these are probably only conjectures. It has been proposed to pronounce ṣiddim ‘sides’ as ṣaddim, and give it the sense of the Assyrian ṣaddu ‘a net, trap’; this would make a good parallel to ‘snare’ at the end of the verse; but the Assyr. form is not quite certain (? zaddu).

their gods … a snare unto you] Cf. Exodus 23:33; Exodus 34:12; Deuteronomy 7:16; Joshua 23:13.

Verse 3. - I said, i.e. I now declare to you my resolve. It was this that made the people weep. Thorns in your sides. This is not a translation of the Hebrew text, which only has "for sides," but a partial adaptation of Joshua 23:13, where the phrase is "scourges in your sides and thorns in your eyes." Either the words for "scourges in" have fallen out of the text, or the word here rendered "sides" should be rendered, as some think, "enemies." A snare. See Judges 8:27, note. Judges 2:3"And I also have said to you:" these words point to the threat already expressed in Numbers 33:55; Joshua 23:13, in the event of their not fulfilling the command of God, which threat the Lord would now fulfil. From the passages mentioned, we may also explain the expression לצדּים לכם והיוּ, they shall be in your sides, i.e., thorns in your sides. לצדּים is an abbreviated expression for בּצדּיכם לצנינים in Numbers 33:55, so that there is no necessity for the conjecture that it stands for לצרים. The last clause of Judges 2:3 is formed after Exodus 23:33.
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