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Judges 2:21-22

Context
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 1  to test 2  Israel. I wanted to see 3  whether or not the people 4  would carefully walk in the path 5  marked out by 6  the Lord, as their ancestors 7  were careful to do.”

1 tn The words “Joshua left those nations” are interpretive. The Hebrew text of v. 22 simply begins with “to test.” Some subordinate this phrase to “I will no longer remove” (v. 21). In this case the Lord announces that he has now decided to leave these nations as a test for Israel. Another possibility is to subordinate “to test” to “He said” (v. 20; see B. Lindars, Judges 1-5, 111). In this case the statement recorded in vv. 20b-21 is the test in that it forces Israel to respond either positively (through repentance) or negatively to the Lord’s declaration. A third possibility (the one reflected in the present translation) is to subordinate “to test” to “left unconquered” (v. 21). In this case the Lord recalls that Joshua left these nations as a test. Israel has failed the test (v. 20), so the Lord announces that the punishment threatened earlier (Josh 23:12-13; see also Judg 2:3) will now be implemented. As B. G. Webb (Judges [JSOTSup], 115) observes, “The nations which were originally left as a test are now left as a punishment.” This view best harmonizes v. 23, which explains that the Lord did not give all the nations to Joshua, with v. 22. (For a grammatical parallel, where the infinitive construct of נָסָה [nasah] is subordinated to the perfect of עָזַב [’azav], see 2 Chr 32:31.)

2 tn The Hebrew text includes the phrase “by them,” but this is somewhat redundant in English and has been omitted from the translation for stylistic reasons.

3 tn The words “I [i.e., the Lord] wanted to see” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

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

5 tn Or “way [of life].”

6 tn “The words “marked out by” are interpretive.

7 tn Or “fathers.”



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