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Judges 2:11-19

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.

1 tn Heb “in the eyes of.”

2 tn Or “serving”; or “following.”

3 tn Or “fathers.”

4 tn Or “bowed before” (the same expression occurs in the following verse).

5 tn Some English translations simply transliterate the plural Hebrew term (“Ashtaroth,” cf. NAB, NASB), pluralize the transliterated Hebrew singular form (“Ashtoreths,” cf. NIV), or use a variation of the name (“Astartes,” cf. NRSV).

sn The Ashtars were local manifestations of the goddess Astarte.

6 tn Or “The Lord’s anger burned [or “raged”] against Israel.”

7 tn Heb “robbers who robbed them.” (The verb שָׁסָה [shasah] appears twice in the verse.)

sn The expression robbers who plundered them is a derogatory reference to the enemy nations, as the next line indicates.

8 tn Heb “sold them into the hands of.”

9 tn The word “attacks” is supplied in the translation both for clarity and for stylistic reasons.

10 tn The expression “to fight” is interpretive.

11 tn Heb “the Lord’s hand was against them for harm.”

12 tn Heb “just as he had said and just as he had sworn to them.”

13 tn Or “they experienced great distress.”

14 tn Or more traditionally, “judges” (also in vv. 17, 18 [3x], 19). Since these figures carried out more than a judicial function, also serving as rulers and (in several instances) as military commanders, the translation uses the term “leaders.”

15 tn Heb “and they delivered them from the hand of the ones robbing them.”

16 tn Or “did not listen to.”

17 tn Or “bowed before.”

18 tn Or “way [of life].”

19 tn Or “fathers.”

20 tn Heb “…walked, obeying the Lord’s commands. They did not do this.”

21 tn Heb “them”; the referent (the people) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

22 tn The phrase “for them” is supplied in the translation for clarity.

23 tn Heb “the ones oppressing them and afflicting them.” The synonyms “oppressing” and “afflicting” are joined together in the translation as “harsh oppressors” to emphasize the cruel character of their enemies.

24 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the next generation) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

25 tn The verb שׁוּב (shuv, “to return; to turn”) is sometimes translated “turn back” here, but it is probably used in an adverbial sense, indicating that the main action (“act wickedly”) is being repeated.

26 tn Heb “their fathers.”

sn The statement the next generation would again act more wickedly than the previous one must refer to the successive sinful generations after Joshua, not Joshua’s godly generation (cf. vv. 7, 17).

27 tn Or “serving [them]”; or “following [them].”

28 tn Or “drop.”

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