The first chapter could have the sub-title: “did not drive out ___” (fill in the blank).
- Judah took possession, but were unable to drive the people from the plains (1:19)
- Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites (1:21)
- Joseph spared a spy (1:25)
- Manasseh did not drive out the people (1:27)
- Ephraim did not drive out the Canaanites (1:29)
- Zebulun did not drive out the Canaanites (1:30)
- Asher failed (1:31)
- Naphtali failed (1:33)
Though they occupied The Promised Land, they did not remove the evil from the land–ultimately this is a fatal mistake.
The angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, “I brought you up out of Egypt and lead you into the land I swore to give to your ancestor, ‘ said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars.’ Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this? Judges 2:1-3
Disobedience and Defeat — A Quick Summary of Judges Judges 2:6-23
Joshua’s generation served the Lord well, but the next “generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals.” (Judges 2:10-11) This seems crazy from our perspective, but there were many years between the verses in Judges. The Lord sent judges to bail them out of their love for the Baals, “Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them” (2:17).
Othniel & Ehud
The first two judges include Othniel and Ehud. Both were military leaders called on to deliver the people from their troubles.
- “Othniel, son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, took it; so Caleb gave his daughter Aksah to him in marriage” (Judges 1:13).
- “Ehud, a left-handed man, the son of Gera the Benjamite” (3:15) secretly assassinated the king of Moab which made the way for 80 years of peace.
Shamgar gets very little attention, but he followed Ehud and “struck down 600 Philistines with an oxgoad” (Judges 3:31). The NIV Study Bible notes that an oxgoad is “a long, wooden rod, sometimes having a metal tip, used for driving draft animals.” So Shamgar was a ninja, but he only gets one verse.
Lord, help us learn from our past!