Judges 1:2, Judah shall go up. Elohim has traditionally used the tribe of Judah (from which come the Jews) as the leader of the other eleven tribes of Israel. For example, when the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness, Judah was the first of the twelve tribes to break camp and lead the way to the next camp (Num 2:9; 10:14). At times, YHVH instructed Judah to lead the way into battle (e.g., Judg 20:18). From Judah came the kings of Israel including the Messiah,who is the Lion (or King) of the Tribe of Judah (Gen 48:8–12; Ps 78:68–72; Heb 7:14; Rev 5:5). Jerusalem, the capital of Israel was located in the area of Judah. In the regathering of the tribes of Israel back to the Promised Land as numerous Bible prophecies predict will occur in the end times and on into the millennial reign of Yeshua, the Jews will be the first to return to the land of Israel as we have seen occurring in recent history in the rebirth of what is currently known as “the (Jewish) State of Israel.”
Judges 1:28–7, Jerusalem. The Jews temporarily took possession of Jerusalem, but quickly lost it to the Canaanites (v. 21). David eventually retook it and made it the capital of Israel several hundred years later. By this time, the Canaanites had fortified the city to such an extent that it could not easily be taken by a frontal attack.
Judges 1:12, Caleb. Caleb, the native Canaanite, was grafted into the tribe of Judah. (See notes at Num 13:16.)
Judges 1:20, Sons of Anak. The Anakim were the remnants of the satanic nephilim of Genesis 6:2–4, or the giants that inhabited the Promised Land, and which YHVH instructed the Israelites to annihilate.
Judges 1:21, The Jebusites who inhabited Jerusalem. After quickly taking Jerusalem from the Canaanites (v. 8), the Israelites promptly lost it again. The Israelites were generally overwhelmingly victorious in the their battles against the Canaanites while taking possession of the Promised Land, but not always. In this case, the took and then quickly lost Jerusalem. This teaches us that, even with Elohim on our side, sometimes our battles against our enemies is not always immediately conclusive. We have to struggle a while before we eventually come out on top. Our enemies could be financial, marital, human relationship, health, familial or other issues.
Judges 1:27–36, [Did not] drive out. As we move in to the Promised Land of our spiritual inheritance, even with Elohim on our side, our battles against the world, the flesh and devil are not always immediately conclusive. Sometimes the immediate victory that should be ours eludes us. For example, sometimes saints die before their time due to sickness, but the will achieve the ultimate victory when they receive their glorified body and full spiritual inheritance at the resurrection of the righteous dead and the second coming of Yeshua.
Judges 2:1, 4, Angel of YHVH. Yeshua is speaking to us to day through his word and Spirit to make no alliances with the world, tear down the pagan altars in our lives all in preparation to be his bride.
Judges 2:2, Make no covenant. Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. This can only lead to one to spiritual compromise and accommodation with the world, the flesh and the devil and lead one away from YHVH. This includes business partners, marriage partners and other voluntary close relationships where a saint is not in complete control of a situation and is thus potential subject to the influence of those who do not follow biblical standards.
Tear down their altars. We cannot go out into the world and tear its altars, but we can tear down the altars to pagan gods in our churches and our lives today.
You have not obeyed my voice. The church, in many ways, have not obeyed the voice of Elohim in tearing down their altars.
Judges 2:2–23, Test Israel. (See also 3:1, 3–4 cp. Deut 8:3.) YHVH allows trying circumstances and people to exist in our lives to test us as to whether we will be faithful to him or not. While in the wilderness, YHVH humbled the Israelite and allowed them to suffer privation to prove (Heb. nacah meaning “to test, assay”) what was in their heart, to know whether they would keep (Heb. shamar meaning “to guard, observe, give heed to, to watch, protect, retain) his Torah or not (Deut 8:2). YHVH allowed Paul to have a thorn in the flesh for his spiritual refinement (2 Cor 12:7).
YHVH’s testing of Israel to see what was in their heart and whether they would walk in his ways and (2:22) obey his commandments or not (3:3) is a key theme of the Book of Judges. Judges chapter three and onward is the chronicle of Israel’s inconsistent obedience to YHVH’s Word with the resulting blessings and curses.
Judges 2:10, Another generation arose. In the long history of the biblical narrative, it is a rare thing for the next generation to carry on the righteous spiritual legacy of their parents. The children usually grew lukewarm, backslid and little-by-little drifted of into worldliness or secularism and, to one degree or another, became apostate. The same is true to this day because human nature has never changed. However, in each generation, YHVH always preserves a remnant—a minute few—who will remain faithful to him. He raises them up to confront their backsliding peers, who have preferred the easy, popular, downward ways of this world over following YHVH’s difficult, unpopular, upward paths of righteousness. Those who choose the latter, narrower path have never been popular with the former group, and are usually become outcasts and rejected of men, but not of Elohim. Yeshua was the epitome of being rejected of men but favored of Elohim and heaven rewarded him accordingly for his faithfulness, even as the few righteous saints who will endure to the end will similarly be rewarded in the world to come.
Judges 2:11, Served the Baals.The Canaanite gods or Baalim were the demon-gods of the Canaanite inhabitants of the Promised Land. In different ancient lands (e.g., Egypt, Babylonia, Persia, Assyria, Greece, Rome, and so on), even though these same satanic deities were known by other names, the religious rituals and evil, diabolical and unbiblical practices were the same. The worship of these same deities with the same religious practices can be found in the false (unbiblcal) religion systems of the world today as well as in many apostate, so-called Christian churches. This latter group are Christian in name only and merely use Christian terminologies and religious trappings to mask who they really worship (the devil), and to trap unsuspecting and naive people into become their good dues-paying adherents.
Judges 2:16, Raised up judges. In every generation, as we see in the book of Judges and elsewhere in the Bible, YHVH raises up righteous men and women who will challenge his apostate and backslid people to return to him. When they repent of their sins and renew their relationship with him, he blesses them including giving them victory over their oppressive enemies. This cycle repeated itself again and again numerous times during the long, usually sad history of ancient Israel. Sadly, most people in our modern generation who were raised with biblical values eventually turn away from Elohim. They keep repeating the same mistakes and fail to learn from history. When hard times hit them, a few repent, but most do not. Nevertheless, YHVH has his faithful few who keep preaching the Truth for those who will wake up from their spiritual stupor and who have ears to hear and eyes to see.
Judges 2:17, They would not listen…played the harlot. The same will occur in the last days as many Christians will acquiesce to and fornicate with the Babylon the Great harlot system instead of coming out of her as Elohim commands (Rev 18:4). They will end up partaking of Elohim’s judgments against her (ibid.).
Judges 2:21–23, Which Joshua left. Righteous leaders are limited in what they can do with regard to fulfilling YHVH’s plans and purposes when the people they lead fail to fully obey YHVH. Because of the Israelites’ disobedience to YHVH, Joshua wasn’t able to drive out the Canaanites and YHVH didn’t deliver his people from their oppressors.
Judges 3:1, YHVH left…that he might test Israel. Sometimes YHVH leaves “enemies” in our lives to test us and to make us strong. A tree left in the protective shelter of a green house will never grow strong until it is moved outside where it will be exposed to the wind, rain, ice, snow and other adverse elements. YHVH left Paul with a thorn in the flesh to test him and to keep him humble and dependent on YHVH (2 Cor 12:7). Our enemies can include health issues, a difficult spouse or other family member with whom we have to live including bad neighbors or coworkers. Our enemies can also include financial struggles, or simply having to live in the ungodly environment of this world and learning to resist its downward pressures and the temptations and influences that war against our spirit. These are the fires that test our spiritual mettle. Will we over come the world, the flesh and the devil, or will we succumb to these corrupting and evil influences? These fires of adversity will reveal whether we built the house of our life on a foundation of sand or the rock of Elohim’s Word (Yeshua) or Truth (Matt 7:24–27). Are our lives constructed of wood, hay and stubble that will be consumed in the fires of adversity and trials, or are we made of gold, silver and precious stones that will only be cleansed, purified and strengthened by the same fires (1 Cor 3:11–15)?
Judges 3:2, Taught to war. Among other reasons, YHVH allowed some of the Canaanites to remain in the land of Israel not only as a spiritual test to the Israelites to see if they would remain faithful to YHVH (Judg 3:4) in the face of worldly pressures, but so that they wouldn’t forget how to wage warfare. Once a person or a people have received their inheritance, it’s easy to become soft, lazy and complacent. If they don’t fight to hang on to their inheritance, they will usually end up losing it. This often happens to those who become the beneficiaries of sudden wealth (e.g., through inheritance or the lottery or heirs to fortunes). They have never learned how to appreciate and to manage properly their resources because they never had to work hard to earn it, so they don’t value it as much as someone who started out with nothing. Each new generation must learn how to maintain what has been given to them and then fight to hold on to it. Likewise, each new disciple of Yeshua must also learn the principles of spiritual warfare and how to resist the enemy, so they don’t lose the precious spiritual gifts YHVH has given them through Yeshua the Messiah. If they take their spiritual inheritance for granted and become complacent, YHVH will allow their enemies to rise up and to test them. Some disciples who have drifted away from YHVH will pass the test and defeat the enemies and return to YHVH. Others will continue down the slippery slope of drifting away from YHVH and will slowly “fornicate” or “intermarry” with the enemy. This is what happened to the majority of Israelites during the time of the judges as we see in verse six of this chapter.
Judges 3:4, Obey the commandments of YHVH. Everything in Scripture always comes down to obedience to the commandments of YHVH. Life and death, curses or blessings, a relationship with Elohim or estrangement from him, eternal life or eternal damnation are all dependent upon obedience to his Truth. And humans are always resisting and rebelling against his commands to this day—even many if not most who claim to be Christians. Very few people want to walk in all of Elohim’ ways; it is too demanding and life-altering for most people. The internal battle that everyone faces with regard to obeying the Word of Elohim goes all the way back to the first humans in the garden, when they were faced with a decision at the tree of knowledge. They had to make the choice whether to obey the commandments of Elohim or listen to the serpent’s subtle and alluring lie to go against the Creator’s commands. The bottom line is this: are we conforming our lives to the Word of Elohim, or conforming the Word to fit our lives? This is the perennial question that each person must ask and answer for himself.
Judges 3:5–6, The children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites. Because the Israelites failed to complete the task YHVH had given them (i.e., to follow his instructions to the letter) to kill all the Canaanites, the influence of these heathens eventually drew Israel into spiritual compromise and outright disobedience to the Word of Elohim so that the Israelites intermarried with the heathen and forsook Elohim for the baalim (verses 6–7). YHVH’s Word warns us, “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits’” (1 Cor 15:33 NKJV).
Judges 3:6, Took their daughters to wives…served their gods. Intermarriage of believers with non-believers is not only forbidden biblically, but, frankly, is a stupid idea. This is because evil company or companionship corrupts good habits or morals (1 Cor 15:33). Everyone things that they are an exception to this rule, but it never works out like they think.
Judges 3:10, The Spirit of YHVH came upon him. We are currently living in a time period analogous to the time of the judges of Israel where our nation has drifted away from YHVH spiritually, and where each man is doing what is right in his own eyes. This philosophy is a akin to the Satanist mantra of “Do what thou wilt,” or the hippy-secular humanist mantra of the 1960s, “If it feels good, do it.” As the Spirit of YHVH came upon men and women in the time of the judges and YHVH raised up leaders to bring the Israelites back to him and to defeat their enemies, may YHVH do the same thing in our day!
Judges 3:9–11, 15, Raised up a deliverer…Othniel. Again, in every generation, YHVH, out of loving kindness for his people, raises up righteous individuals to confront evil and to lead his people back to him. All the judges were such people, as were Noah, the patriarchs, Moses, the prophets, Yeshua and the apostles. Who has he raised up in this generation? Are you such a person? If so, what are you doing to fulfill your Elohim-appointed mission to confront the evil around you, and like John the Baptist, to urge people to repent and prepare themselves to meet Yeshua when he returns?