Judges 2:23
Therefore the LORD left those nations, without driving them out hastily; neither delivered he them into the hand of Joshua.
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2:6-23 We have a general idea of the course of things in Israel, during the time of the Judges. The nation made themselves as mean and miserable by forsaking God, as they would have been great and happy if they had continued faithful to him. Their punishment answered to the evil they had done. They served the gods of the nations round about them, even the meanest, and God made them serve the princes of the nations round about them, even the meanest. Those who have found God true to his promises, may be sure that he will be as true to his threatenings. He might in justice have abandoned them, but he could not for pity do it. The Lord was with the judges when he raised them up, and so they became saviours. In the days of the greatest distress of the church, there shall be some whom God will find or make fit to help it. The Israelites were not thoroughly reformed; so mad were they upon their idols, and so obstinately bent to backslide. Thus those who have forsaken the good ways of God, which they have once known and professed, commonly grow most daring and desperate in sin, and have their hearts hardened. Their punishment was, that the Canaanites were spared, and so they were beaten with their own rod. Men cherish and indulge their corrupt appetites and passions; therefore God justly leaves them to themselves, under the power of their sins, which will be their ruin. God has told us how deceitful and desperately wicked our hearts are, but we are not willing to believe it, until by making bold with temptation we find it true by sad experience. We need to examine how matters stand with ourselves, and to pray without ceasing, that we may be rooted and grounded in love, and that Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith. Let us declare war against every sin, and follow after holiness all our days.This verse is connected with Judges 2:13. The intermediate verses refer to much later times; they have the appearance of being the reflections of the compiler interspersed with the original narrative. But Judges 2:20 catches up the thread only to let it fall immediately. All that follows, down to the end of Judges 3:7, seems to be another digression, closing with words like those of Judges 2:13.

It does not appear how this message was given to Israel, whether by Angel, or prophet, or Urim, nor indeed is it certain whether any message was given. The words may be understood as merely explaining what passed through the divine mind, and expressing the thoughts which regulated the divine proceeding.

16. which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them—The judges who governed Israel were strictly God's vicegerents in the government of the people, He being the supreme ruler. Those who were thus elevated retained the dignity as long as they lived; but there was no regular, unbroken succession of judges. Individuals, prompted by the inward, irresistible impulse of God's Spirit when they witnessed the depressed state of their country, were roused to achieve its deliverance. It was usually accompanied by a special call, and the people seeing them endowed with extraordinary courage or strength, accepted them as delegates of Heaven, and submitted to their sway. Frequently they were appointed only for a particular district, and their authority extended no farther than over the people whose interests they were commissioned to protect. They were without pomp, equipage, or emoluments attached to the office. They had no power to make laws; for these were given by God; nor to explain them, for that was the province of the priests—but they were officially upholders of the law, defenders of religion, avengers of all crimes, particularly of idolatry and its attendant vices. Hastily, or speedily; when the Israelites desired it and needed it. Therefore the Lord left these nations, without driving them out hastily,.... Left them unsubdued, or suffered them to continue among the Israelites, and did not drive them out as he could have done; which was permitted, either that it might be seen and known whether Israel would give into the idolatry of these nations or not, Judges 2:22; of which there could have been no trial, if they and their idols had been utterly destroyed; or because the children of Israel had transgressed the covenant of the Lord, therefore he would drive no more of them out, but leave them to afflict and distress them, and thereby prove and try them, Judges 2:20; both senses may very well stand, but the former seems rather to agree with what follows:

neither delivered he them into the hand of Joshua; having an end to be answered by them, before suggested, namely, to prove and try Israel; and, for a like reason, the indwelling sin and corruptions of God's people are suffered to remain in them, for the trial of their graces, and that the power of God in the support and deliverance of them might appear the more manifest.

Therefore the LORD left those nations, without driving them out hastily; neither delivered he them into the hand of Joshua.
23. Taking this verse as the conclusion of Jdg 2:20-22, the emphasis falls on hastily, i.e. during Joshua’s life-time; the nations were not destroyed all at once, because Jehovah wished to test the fidelity of the succeeding generations. But this adds little to the thought of Jdg 2:20-22; and the last half of the verse takes us back to Joshua’s life-time, whereas Jdg 2:7-8; Jdg 2:21 presuppose his death. The word left (not the word for left in Jdg 2:21) seems rather to connect with Jdg 3:1, and most critics regard Jdg 2:23 a as leading up to Jdg 3:1-3, where the nations are left to teach Israel the art of war. If this is the case, Jdg 2:23 a, like the nucleus of Jdg 3:1-3, will belong to J, and form the close of ch. 1; these nations (not the nations in Jdg 3:3) will then mean the nations alluded to in ch. 1. The last part of the verse is a harmonizing gloss.But the Lord did not rest content with this. He did still more. "He raised up judges who delivered them out of the hand of their plunderers," to excite them to love in return by this manifestation of His love and mercy, and to induce them to repent. But "they did not hearken even to their judges," namely, so as not to fall back again into idolatry, which the judge had endeavoured to suppress. This limitation of the words is supported by the context, viz., by a comparison of Judges 2:18, Judges 2:19. - "But (כּי after a negative clause) they went a whoring after other gods (for the application of this expression to the spiritual adultery of idolatrous worship, see Exodus 34:15), and turned quickly away (vid., Exodus 32:8) from the way which their fathers walked in, to hearken to the commandments of the Lord," i.e., from the way of obedience to the divine commands. "They did not so" (or what was right) sc., as their fathers under Joshua had done (cf. Judges 2:7).
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