The Israelites do not obey God
1 The angel of the Lord went from Gilgal to Bokim. He said, ‘I have brought you out from Egypt. I brought you here to this land that I promised to give to your ancestors. I said that I would always do for you what I promised in my Covenant. 2 I told you not to make any agreement with the people who live in this land. I told you to destroy the altars where they worship their gods. But you have not done as I told you. Why have you not obeyed me? 3 So now I tell you, I will not chase the Canaanites away so that you can take their land. Instead, they will cause trouble for you. Their false gods will cause you to turn away from me.’
4 When the Lord's angel had said this, the Israelites began to weep loudly. 5 They called that place Bokim. They offered sacrifices to the Lord there.
2:5‘Bokim’ means ‘people who weep’.
6 Joshua sent the people away. Each Israelite tribe went to take the part of the land that would belong to them. 7 The Israelites continued to serve the Lord while Joshua and the old men were still alive. Joshua and those men had seen the great things that the Lord had done to help Israel.
2:6Joshua and the Israelite leaders had decided which parts of the land would belong to each tribe. See Joshua 13-21.
8 Then the Lord's servant Joshua, the son of Nun, died at 110 years old. 9 The people buried him in the land that had been given to his family. That was at Timnath Heres, in Ephraim's hill country, on the north side of Gaash mountain.
A new generation turns away from the Lord
10 All the people of Joshua's generation died. The younger people no longer served the Lord. They themselves had not seen the great things that he had done to help Israel. 11 The Israelites did things that the Lord saw were evil. They worshipped the idols of Baal. 12 They turned away from the Lord God that their ancestors had worshipped. He was the one who had brought them safely out of Egypt. Instead, they served the false gods of the people who lived near them. They worshipped those gods and the Lord became very angry. 13 They turned away from the Lord and they worshipped the idols of Baal and Ashtoreth instead.
14 The Lord was very angry with the Israelites and he punished them. He sent robbers to attack them and take their animals and their food. He put them under the power of their enemies who lived around them. They were not strong enough to fight against their enemies. 15 When the Israelites went to fight against their enemies, the Lord turned against them. He punished them, as he said he would do. So the Israelites were in great trouble.
God chooses leaders for his people
16 After that, the Lord chose judges to lead his people. These leaders rescued the Israelites from their enemies who were robbing them. 17 But the people did not obey their leaders. They refused to serve the Lord faithfully. Instead, they worshipped false gods. They did not live in the way that their ancestors had lived. Their ancestors had obeyed the Lord's commands, but they refused to obey him.
18 Every time that the Lord chose a judge to lead them, the Lord helped the leader to rescue them from their enemies. While the leader was still alive, the Lord was kind to them. When the Israelites called out to the Lord for help, he was sorry for them. He saw the cruel things that their enemies were doing to give them pain.
19 But when the leader died, the people would stop serving the Lord. They would do even more wicked things than their fathers had done. They would serve false gods and they would worship them. They refused to stop doing the wicked things that they wanted to do.
20 Because of this, the Lord became very angry with the Israelites. He said, ‘This nation of my people has not obeyed the covenant that I made with their ancestors. 21 So I will not chase out the nations that are still living in the land. They are the people who were still there when Joshua died. 22 I will use those nations to test the Israelites. I will see if my people will live carefully, in the way that I have shown them. That is the way that their ancestors lived.’
23 So the Lord let some of the Canaanite nations continue to live in the land. He did not chase them all away. He did not put them all under Joshua's power.