Judges 2:6
And when Joshua had let the people go, the children of Israel went every man to his inheritance to possess the land.
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(6) When Joshua had let the people go.—Rather, And Joshua let the people go. This passage strongly tends to support the view that the events of the previous chapter, and the message at Bochim, occurred before Joshua’s death. (Comp. Joshua 22:6; Joshua 24:28.)

Jdg 2:6. And when Joshua — It should rather be rendered, Now when Joshua, &c. For it does not relate to the preceding story, but is a repetition of what was declared Joshua 24:28-31, and is here recorded by way of introduction to the following account of the people’s defection and punishment, contained in the subsequent parts of the book. Let the people go — When he had distributed their inheritances, and dismissed them severally to take possession of them. “The sacred writer,” says Dr. Dodd, “having just related the reproaches delivered by the angel of the Lord against the Israelites, would now show his readers how and when the nation had incurred those reproaches. To this end he carries the matter as far back as possible; and, first, he ascends to that happy period when, Joshua having finished the division of the conquered country of the Canaanites, the Israelites went each to his inheritance, and possessed it, and dwelt in the portion of the land which had fallen to his lot. This division was in fact the immediate work of Providence. Lots were cast before the Lord: he had presided over them, and without doubt Joshua, who had used such fine exhortations to the two tribes and a half beyond Jordan, when they set out to take possession of their territories, failed not strongly to recommend religion and obedience to the other tribes, in settling them in the lands that had been assigned to them; which he repeated before his death in the most affecting manner. See on Joshua 24. All of them, therefore, equally instructed, and impressed with gratitude, had entered upon their estates with intentions promising a constant fidelity. But the love of this world seduced them. They soon thought only of their private interest, how to extend and aggrandize themselves; and speedily losing sight of the public good, shamefully neglected the sacred duties of religion.”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.Bochim - i. e. weepers. It was near Shechem, but the site is unknown. Compare the names given to places for similar reasons in Genesis 35:8; Genesis 50:11. 6-10. And when Joshua had let the people go—This passage is a repetition of Jos 24:29-31. It was inserted here to give the reader the reasons which called forth so strong and severe a rebuke from the angel of the Lord. During the lifetime of the first occupiers, who retained a vivid recollection of all the miracles and judgments which they had witnessed in Egypt and the desert, the national character stood high for faith and piety. But, in course of time, a new race arose who were strangers to all the hallowed and solemnizing experience of their fathers, and too readily yielded to the corrupting influences of the idolatry that surrounded them. When Joshua had let the people go; when he had distributed their inheritances, and dismissed them severally to take possession of them. This was done before this time, whilst Joshua lived; but is now repeated in order to the discovery of the time, and cause, or occasion of the people’s defection from God, and of God’s desertion of them. And when Joshua had let the people go,.... This is not to be connected with what goes before, as if that was done in Joshua's lifetime; for during that, as is after testified, the people of Israel served the Lord; whereas the angel, in the speech to them before related, charges them with disobeying the voice of the Lord, making leagues with the inhabitants of the land, and not demolishing their altars, all which was after the death of Joshua; but this refers to a meeting of them with him before his death, and his dismission of them, which was either when he had divided the land by lot unto them, or when he had given them his last charge before his death, see Joshua 24:28; and this, and what follows, are repeated and introduced here, to connect the history of Israel, and to show them how they fell into idolatry, and so under the divine displeasure, which brought them into distress, from which they were delivered at various times by judges of his own raising up, which is the subject matter of this book:

the children of Israel went every man unto his inheritance to possess the land; as it was divided to the several tribes and their families; which seems to confirm the first sense given, that this refers to the dismission of the people upon the division of the land among them.

And when Joshua had {b} let the people go, the children of Israel went every man unto his inheritance to possess the land.

(b) After that he had divided to every man his portion by lot, Jos 24:28.

6. had sent the people away] and J. sent the people away (exactly as Joshua 24:28) from the great assembly at Shechem, at which the covenant had been renewed, and Joshua had delivered his parting exhortations, Joshua 24:1-27 E. The words were allowed to stand here in spite of their inconsistency with Jdg 1:1. Jdg 2:6-9 = Joshua 24:28; Joshua 24:31; Joshua 24:29-30, with minor alterations to suit the opening of a new book.Verse 6. - And when Joshua, etc. The same words as Joshua 22:6, marking the identity of time.

CHAPTER 2:7-13 In order to explain the supremacy of the Amorites in the territory of Dan, a short notice is added concerning their extension in the south of Palestine. "The territory of the Amorites was," i.e., extended (viz., at the time of the conquest of Canaan by the Israelites), "from the ascent of Akrabbim, from the rock onwards and farther up." Maaleh-Akrabbim (ascensus scorpiorum) was the sharply projecting line of cliffs which intersected the Ghor below the Dead Sea, and formed the southern boundary of the promised land (see at Numbers 34:4 and Joshua 15:2-3). מהסּלע, from the rock, is not doubt given as a second point upon the boundary of the Amoritish territory, as the repetition of the מן clearly shows, notwithstanding the omission of the copula ו. הסּלע, the rock, is supposed by the majority of commentators to refer to the city of Petra, the ruins of which are still to be seen in the Wady Musa (see Burckhardt, Syr. pp. 703ff.; Rob. Pal. ii. pp. 573ff., iii. 653), and which is distinctly mentioned in 2 Kings 14:7 under the name of הסּלע, and in Isaiah 16:1 is called simply סלע. Petra is to the southeast of the Scorpion heights. Consequently, with this rendering the following word ומעלה (and upward) would have to be taken in the sense of ulterius (and beyond), and Rosenmller's explanation would be the correct one: "The Amorites not only extended as far as the town of Petra, or inhabited it, but they even carried their dwellings beyond this towards the tops of those southern mountains." But a description of the territory of the Amorites in its southern extension into Arabia Petraea does not suit the context of the verse, the object of which is to explain how it was that the Amorites were in a condition to force back the Danites out of the plain into the mountains, to say nothing of the fact that it is questionable whether the Amorites ever really spread so far, for which we have neither scriptural testimony nor evidence of any other kind. On this ground even Bertheau has taken ומעלה as denoting the direction upwards, i.e., towards the north, which unquestionably suits the usage of מעלה as well as the context of the passage. But it is by no means in harmony with this to understand הסּלע as referring to Petra; for in that case we should have two boundary points mentioned, the second of which was farther south than the first. Now a historian who had any acquaintance with the topography, would never have described the extent of the Amoritish territory from south to north in such a way as this, commencing with the Scorpion heights on the north, then passing to Petra, which was farther south, and stating that from this point the territory extended farther towards the north. If ומעלה therefore refers to the extension of the territory of the Amorites in a northerly direction, the expression "from the rock" cannot be understood as relating to the city of Petra, but must denote some other locality well known to the Israelites by that name. Such a locality there undoubtedly was in the rock in the desert of Zin, which had become celebrated through the events that took place at the water of strife (Numbers 20:8, Numbers 20:10), and to which in all probability this expression refers. The rock in question was at the south-west corner of Canaan, on the southern edge of the Rakhma plateau, to which the mountains of the Amorites extended on the south-west (comp. Numbers 14:25, Numbers 14:44-45, with Deuteronomy 1:44). And this would be very appropriately mentioned here as the south-western boundary of the Amorites, in connection with the Scorpion heights as their south-eastern boundary, for the purpose of giving the southern boundary of the Amorites in its full extent from east to west.
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