The Messenger of the Lord Reacts to Israel’s Failure
1 The Messenger of the Lord went from Gilgal to Bochim. He said, “I brought you out of Egypt into the land that I swore to give to your ancestors. I said, ‘I will never break my promise #Or “covenant.” to you. 2 You must never make a treaty with the people who live in this land. You must tear down their altars.’ But you didn’t obey me. What do you think you’re doing? 3 So I have this to say, ‘I will not force them out of your way. They will be like thorns in your sides, and their gods will become a trap for you.’ ”
4 While the Messenger of the Lord was saying this to all the people of Israel, they began to cry loudly. 5 So they called that place Bochim [Those Who Cry]. They offered sacrifices there to the Lord.
The Death of Joshua
6 Now, Joshua sent the people of Israel home. So each family went to take possession of the territory they had inherited. 7 The people served the Lord throughout Joshua’s lifetime and throughout the lifetimes of the leaders who had outlived him and who had seen all the spectacular works the Lord had done for Israel. 8 The Lord’s servant Joshua, son of Nun, died at the age of 110. 9 He was buried at Timnath Heres within the territory he had inherited. This was in the mountains of Ephraim north of Mount Gaash. 10 That whole generation had joined their ancestors in death. So another generation grew up after them. They had no personal experience with the Lord or with what he had done for Israel.
The Sin of the Next Generation
11 The people of Israel did what the Lord considered evil. They began to serve other gods—the Baals. 12 The Israelites abandoned the Lord God of their ancestors, the God who brought them out of Egypt. They followed the other gods of the people around them. They worshiped these gods, and that made the Lord angry. 13 They abandoned the Lord to serve the god Baal and the goddess Astarte. 14 So the Lord became angry with the people of Israel. He handed them over to people who robbed them. He also used their enemies around them to defeat them. They could no longer stand up against their enemies. 15 Whenever the Israelites went to war, the power of the Lord brought disaster on them. This was what the Lord said he would do in an oath. So he made them suffer a great deal.
16 Then the Lord would send judges #The judges served as God-appointed political/religious leaders of Israel. to rescue them from those who robbed them. 17 But the people wouldn’t listen to the judges. The Israelites chased after other gods as though they were prostitutes and worshiped them. They quickly turned from the ways of their ancestors who had obeyed the Lord’s commands. They refused to be like their ancestors. 18 But when the Lord appointed judges for the Israelites, he was with each judge. The Lord rescued them from their enemies as long as that judge was alive. The Lord was moved by the groaning of those who were tormented and oppressed. 19 But after each judge died, the people went back to their old ways and acted more corruptly than their parents. They followed, served, and worshiped other gods. They never gave up their evil practices and stubborn ways.
The Lord Allows the Nations to Stay in Order to Test His People
20 The Lord became angry with Israel. He said, “Because the people of this nation have rejected the promise I gave their ancestors and have not obeyed me, 21 I will no longer force out the nations Joshua left behind when he died. 22 I will test the people of Israel with these nations to see whether or not they will carefully follow the Lord’s ways as their ancestors did.” 23 So the Lord let these nations stay. He had not handed them over to Joshua or forced them out quickly.
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