Judges 2:4
And it came to pass, when the angel of the LORD spoke these words to all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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).

4, 5. when the angel of the Lord spake these words … the people lifted up their voice, and wept—The angel's expostulation made a deep and painful impression. But the reformation was but temporary, and the gratifying promise of a revival which this scene of emotion held out, was, ere long, blasted by speedy and deeper relapses into the guilt of defection and idolatry. Some of them from a true sense of their sins; but most of them from a just apprehension of their danger and approaching misery from the Canaanites’ growing power, and God’s forsaking of them; as the following history makes most probable. And it came to pass, when the angel of the Lord spake these words unto all the children of Israel,.... This being either one of the three solemn feasts, when all the males appeared at the tabernacle of the Lord; or else here was now a solemn convention of all the tribes to inquire of the Lord the reason why they were not able to drive out the Canaanites in some places, and why they prevailed over them in many:

that the people lift up their voice, and wept; being affected with what the angel said, and convicted in their consciences of their sins, and so fearing the bad consequences thereof, they wept because of the sins they had been guilty of, and because of the evils that were like to befall them on account of them.

And it came to pass, when the angel of the LORD spake these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. unto all the children of Israel] although, as ch. 1 has told, the tribes were dispersed in their various settlements. The expression, as indeed the whole situation presupposed in Jdg 2:1 b–5a, is influenced by later conceptions of national unity; cf. the editorial passages Jdg 6:8, Jdg 10:11.

lifted up their voice, and wept] Similarly at Beth-el Jdg 21:2.Still less were the Danites able to drive the Canaanites out of their inheritance. On the contrary, the Amorites forced Dan up into the mountains, and would not suffer them to come down into the plain. But the territory allotted to the Danytes was almost all in the plain (see at Joshua 19:40). If, therefore, they were forced out of that, they were almost entirely excluded from their inheritance. The Amorites emboldened themselves (see at Deuteronomy 1:5) to dwell in Har-cheres, Ajalon, and Shaalbim. On the last two places see Joshua 19:42, where Ir-shemesh is also mentioned. This combination, and still more the meaning of the names Har-cheres, i.e., sun-mountain, and Ir-shemesh, i.e., sun-town, make the conjecture a very probable one, that Har-cheres is only another name for Ir-shemesh, i.e., the present Ain Shems (see at Joshua 15:10, and Rob. Pal. iii. pp. 17, 18). This pressure on the part of the Amorites induced a portion of the Danites to emigrate, and seek for an inheritance in the north of Palestine (see Judges 18). On the other hand, the Amorites were gradually made tributary by the powerful tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, who bounded Dan on the north. "The hand of the house of Joseph lay heavy," sc., upon the Amorites in the towns already named on the borders of Ephraim. For the expression itself, comp. 1 Samuel 5:6; Psalm 32:4.
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