The Angel of the Lord at Bokim
1The angel of the Lord went up to the city of Bokim from the city of Gilgal. The angel spoke this message from the Lord to the Israelites: “I brought you out of Egypt and led you to the land that I promised to give to your ancestors. I told you I would never break my agreement with you. 2But in return, you must never make any agreement with the people living in that land. You must destroy their altars. I told you that, but you didn’t obey me.
3“Now I will tell you this, ‘I will not force the other people to leave this land any longer. These people will become a problem for you. They will be like a trap to you. Their false gods will become like a net to trap you.’”
4After the angel gave the Israelites this message from the Lord, the people cried loudly. 5So they named the place Bokim.#2:5 Bokim This name means “people crying.” There they offered sacrifices to the Lord.
Disobedience and Defeat
6Then Joshua told the people to go home, so each tribe went to take their area of land. 7The Israelites served the Lord as long as Joshua was alive, and they continued serving the Lord during the lifetimes of the elders who lived after Joshua had died. These old men had seen all the great things the Lord had done for the Israelites. 8Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of 110 years. 9The Israelites buried Joshua on the land that he had been given. That was at Timnath Heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.
10After that whole generation died, the next generation grew up. This new generation did not know about the Lord or what he had done for the Israelites. 11So the Israelites did something very evil before the Lord. They began serving the false god Baal. 12It was the Lord, the God their ancestors worshiped, who had brought the Israelites out of Egypt. But they stopped following him and began to worship the false gods of the people living around them. This made the Lord angry. 13The Israelites stopped following the Lord and began worshiping Baal and Ashtoreth.
14The Lord was angry with the Israelites, so he let enemies attack them and take their possessions. He let their enemies who lived around them defeat them. The Israelites could not protect themselves from their enemies. 15When the Israelites went out to fight, they always lost. They lost because the Lord was not on their side. He had already warned them that they would lose if they served the gods of the people living around them. The Israelites suffered very much.
16Then the Lord chose leaders called judges. These leaders saved the Israelites from the enemies who took their possessions. 17But the Israelites did not listen to their judges. The Israelites were not faithful to God—they followed other gods.#2:17 were not faithful … gods Literally, “acted like a prostitute with other gods.” In the past, the ancestors of the Israelites obeyed the Lord’S commands. But now the Israelites changed and stopped obeying the Lord.
18Many times the enemies of Israel did bad things to the people, so the Israelites would cry for help. And each time the Lord felt sorry for the people and sent a judge to save them from their enemies. The Lord was always with those judges. Each time the Israelites were saved from their enemies. 19But when each judge died, the Israelites again sinned and started worshiping the false gods. They acted worse than their ancestors did. The Israelites were very stubborn and refused to change their evil ways.
20So the Lord became angry with the Israelites, and he said, “This nation has broken the agreement that I made with their ancestors. They have not listened to me. 21So I will no longer defeat the nations and clear the way for the Israelites. Those nations were still in this land when Joshua died, and I will let them stay in this land. 22I will use them to test the Israelites. I will see if the Israelites can keep the Lord’S commands as their ancestors did.” 23The Lord allowed those nations to stay in the land. He did not quickly force them to leave the country. He did not help Joshua’s army defeat them.