A Monotonous Cycle
2:11 The Israelites did evil before 1 the Lord by worshiping 2 the Baals. 2:12 They abandoned the Lord God of their ancestors 3 who brought them out of the land of Egypt. They followed other gods – the gods of the nations who lived around them. They worshiped 4 them and made the Lord angry. 2:13 They abandoned the Lord and worshiped Baal and the Ashtars. 5
2:14 The Lord was furious with Israel 6 and handed them over to robbers who plundered them. 7 He turned them over to 8 their enemies who lived around them. They could not withstand their enemies’ attacks. 9 2:15 Whenever they went out to fight, 10 the Lord did them harm, 11 just as he had warned and solemnly vowed he would do. 12 They suffered greatly. 13
2:16 The Lord raised up leaders 14 who delivered them from these robbers. 15 2:17 But they did not obey 16 their leaders. Instead they prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped 17 them. They quickly turned aside from the path 18 their ancestors 19 had walked. Their ancestors had obeyed the Lord’s commands, but they did not. 20 2:18 When the Lord raised up leaders for them, the Lord was with each leader and delivered the people 21 from their enemies while the leader remained alive. The Lord felt sorry for them 22 when they cried out in agony because of what their harsh oppressors did to them. 23 2:19 When a leader died, the next generation 24 would again 25 act more wickedly than the previous one. 26 They would follow after other gods, worshiping them 27 and bowing down to them. They did not give up 28 their practices or their stubborn ways.
A Divine Decision
2:20 The Lord was furious with Israel. 29 He said, “This nation 30 has violated the terms of the agreement I made with their ancestors 31 by disobeying me. 32 2:21 So I will no longer remove before them any of the nations that Joshua left unconquered when he died. 2:22 Joshua left those nations 33 to test 34 Israel. I wanted to see 35 whether or not the people 36 would carefully walk in the path 37 marked out by 38 the Lord, as their ancestors 39 were careful to do.” 2:23 This is why 40 the Lord permitted these nations to remain and did not conquer them immediately; 41 he did not hand them over to Joshua.