Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
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.2. The Angel at Bochim and the History of the Entire Book
1. The angel at Bochim (Judges 2:1-5)
2. Israel’s obedience remembered (Judges 2:6-10)
3. Israel’s strange gods (Judges 2:11-15)
4. Israel’s history under the judges outlined (Judges 2:16-18)
The opening event of this chapter is significant. The Angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim. This Angel is Jehovah Himself. His own words reveal this fact. In Joshua’s time after the land had been possessed the Angel of the Lord, Jehovah in visible form, was with them and as leader of the Lord’s host led them on in the conquest (Joshua 5:13-15). Israel had left Gilgal, the place where the reproach had been rolled away, the place of the “sharp knives,” typical of self-judgment. It was for Israel the place of strength and power for victory, as it gave the flesh nothing to glory in. They had left Gilgal. How often we, who are crucified with Christ, leave our Gilgal and instead of glorying in the Lord and having no confidence in the flesh, we too act in self-confidence. The place to which the Angel went was “Bochim.” It means “weepers.” It was the best place for Israel to be after all their failures to do what the Lord had commanded them. It is the place today for us in the midst of the worldliness in which so many of the Lord’s people have drifted, as well as the divisions which exist among those, who are members of the one body, and other evils besides. But Bochim, the place for weeping, must be the place of self-judgment and confession. It was not so for Israel. They wept when the plain words of Jehovah told them their disobedience and when they heard what should follow. “I will not drive them out before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.” But we do not read anything of a true repentance and return unto Jehovah.
From chapter 2:6-3:4 we have the history of the whole period of Judges outlined. There is first mention made of their obedience and service, how they began in the Spirit. The second generation, as it is always the case, leads to failure. For the first time we read the words which, as already stated, appear in six other places in this book. “And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord.” They forsook Him, the loving, gracious Jehovah, whose kindness and tender mercies are so fully revealed in their past history and instead of serving such a God, they served Baal and Ashtaroth. Connected with this Canaanite “religion” were the vilest immoralities by which they were dragged down to the level of these doomed nations. All moral corruption, social and political confusion is the result of turning away from God. Romans 1:19-32 reveals the awful steps down. Christendom in apostasy, turning away from God and from the light, leads to moral corruption as well. Turning away from the truth means being turned into fables.
The Lord then acted in behalf of His backslidden people and raised up judges (verses 16-18). The result was recovery, and once more the people under these revivals rejoiced in victory over their enemies and the promised covenant blessings. Self-judgment, which is true repentance, had to precede each revival. They cried unto the Lord; they sought His face, and then deliverance came. Even so it is in the individual experience of the children of God.
Yet in spite of these revivals in Israel the tendency is downward. “When the judge died they returned and corrupted themselves beyond their fathers ... they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way.” So it has been in the professing Church. Revivals have come and gone, but it has not remedied the wayward conditions, and the departure from God and His Word becomes more and more pronounced till the final great apostasy is reached. The only complete deliverance can be the coming of the Lord which we do not find fully revealed in the types of the book of Judges.