Judges – Chapter 2

The Stage is Set

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

A messenger of G-d spoke to the people. (While the Hebrew word “malach” often refers to a Heavenly angel, it literally means a messenger. The Targum translates this as a “prophet” and Vayikra Rabbah and Seder Olam both state that it was Pinchas, the High Priest.)

The messenger (Pinchas) chastised the people for not chasing out the Canaanite nations, as G-d had commanded. Since they did not chase the other nations out, they would remain in Israel as a source of trouble and their idols would serve as a source of temptation. The people cried because of this message and they named the place Bochim, from the Hebrew word meaning to cry.

Time passed. A new generation arose that did not experience G-d’s miracles firsthand. The Jews would worship idols, then G-d would punish them by allowing their enemies to invade and take over. Ultimately, G-d would send a Shofeit (Judge), who would encourage the people to repent. G-d would then redeem the Jews from their enemies. However, when the Judge died, the people would backslide and the cycle would start over again. This is the sad state of affairs we will see repeated throughout the Book of Judges.

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