Darby's Bible Synopsis
And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.
Alas! if such was the condition of the people, and they were satisfied with it, chastening, as at Ai, was no longer in question. But the angel of Jehovah (the operative power of God in the midst of the people) quits Gilgal (that spiritual circumcision of heart, which precedes victory, and tempers the soul anew that we may overcome in conflict) and comes up to Bochim, to the place of weeping, in the midst of the people, declaring that He will no longer drive out the enemy whom Israel had spared. God had been then at Gilgal! What a blessing amid those exercises and inward conflicts of heart, in which true practical circumcision is accomplished, in which the source and influence of sin are felt in order to judge it before God; so that, the flesh being judged, we may in conflict (and also in communion) enjoy the strength of God, who cannot grant it to the flesh and to sin.
This inward mortification is a work of no outward glory; it is unseen, or little and pitiful in the eyes of man; it makes us little in our own, but God and His grace great, and associates the heart with Him, giving the moral consciousness of His presence. Not as if we were strong; on the contrary there is the sense of entire dependence (compare 2 Corinthians 12), but dependence on divine strength, which really does all that is done, though God may do it through instruments if He sees good, and then the responsibility of man comes in. At Jericho God did all, to shew, being without man, who was the doer-then at Ai, responsibility. The strength was not shewn at Gilgal. It was shewn against the Amorites of the mountains, at Gibeon; but it was gathered at Gilgal. Historically it did not appear that the strength of God was at Gilgal. To have manifested it would have destroyed the proper work of Gilgal-the judgment in humbleness because of God, of everything in which flesh works. But, when forsaken, it was discovered that the angel of Jehovah had been there. It is exchanged for tears. But the tears are for lost blessings. God may be worshipped in Bochim: His relationship to the people was unaltered. He accepts these tears. But what a difference! The strength and the light of Jehovah's countenance are not there. But He is always the same for faith to count on, as when the sea fled from before His face, and Jordan was driven back. The sorrow of the position is felt, but alleviated by the sense that His grace cannot and will not fail (see Judges 6:13-14). This change from Gilgal to Bochim is the key to the book; it is so, alas! but too often, the condition of God's children.
The Holy Ghost, having laid these general foundations, goes on to the historical development of Israel's position. All the days of Joshua and of the elders that outlived him, Israel walked before Jehovah. It is the history of the assembly. While the apostles were there, it was preserved; but Paul (Acts 20:29) and Peter (2 Peter 2) alike warned the saints that unfaithfulness and rebellion would unhappily follow their departure. These evil principles were already there. The intermixture of unbelievers (the enemy's work) would become the means through which the evil would unfold itself and gain ground amongst them. The Lord had spoken of this (Matthwe 13), not indeed as to the assembly, but as to the good seed which He had sown; and Jude develops its progress and results with solemn perspicuity and precision.
But when another generation arises in Israel, which has not known Jehovah, and has not seen all the great works of His hand; and when they serve the gods of the people whom Israel had spared, God no longer protects them. Unfaithful within, the Israelites fall into the hands of the enemy without. Then, as we have seen, in their affliction Jehovah, moved with compassion, raised up judges, who, acknowledging His name, brought back the manifestation of His power in their midst.
And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this?
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.
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.
And they called the name of that place Bochim: and they sacrificed there unto the LORD.
And when Joshua had let the people go, the children of Israel went every man unto his inheritance to possess the land.
And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD, that he did for Israel.
And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old.
And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathheres, in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash.
And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.
And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim:
And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger.
And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.
And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies.
Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had said, and as the LORD had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed.
Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them.
And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the LORD; but they did not so.
And when the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them.
And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way.
And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; and he said, Because that this people hath transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not hearkened unto my voice;
I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died:
That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not.
Therefore the LORD left those nations, without driving them out hastily; neither delivered he them into the hand of Joshua.