Everyone loves a prologue right?
In movies, they give you the history of Middle-Earth, or the Allspark (wow, two Transformers references in as many days!) In books . . . well, I can’t think of any right now. It’s been a long day.
But have you ever seen a prologue in Chapter 2? No! I knew Judges was an edgy book, but I didn’t think we would be reaching these levels of avant garde-ness!
The chapter unfolds in a series of four scenes. By the time you are done, you should have a pretty good sense of what Judges is all about.
We need to know why the Canaanites have not been fully driven out. That is going to be a key plot point. So why are they still around?
God made a covenant with Israel (always reminding them of their story!). They broke it. Therefore, he pulls his support from their lives. The lands former (and current) inhabitants will be their adversaries and their gods will become snares. Just so they know it was their fault, God channeled later seasons Steve Urkel and dropped a “look what you did!” on them.
This, unsurprisingly, made Israel sad.
Just so everyone knows, Joshua is dead. I know we covered this literally two chapters ago, but it is important. He was 110 years old and we buried him in the hill country of Ephraim.
This marks the second time a passage from Joshua has shown up in Judges almost verbatim. Weird.
If there was ever any doubt about how important it is for each generation to tell the next the story of the Exodus, Judges 2 should clear it up forever.
Here we are, the grandchildren (or great-grandchildren, I’m not entirely sure) of those who left Egypt, and they have completely forgotten their story. They have forgotten God.
From all my Bible reading in the last year and a half, there is only one possible explanation: Their parents failed to tell them. They failed to follow Deuteronomy 6.
Scene 3 serves as a dire warning that the people of God are always one generation away from forgetting everything.
Tell the story!
Here is the basic plot of Judges . . . I think.
Israel is oppressed and harassed by foreign peoples. They groan to the LORD in their distress. God hears them because God always hears the groaning of the oppressed (even if they got there by their own disobedience!).
So God raises up a Judge. As best as I can tell, a Judge delivers the people from their oppressors and teaches them how to follow God. Though this second part is kinda iffy. Sometimes the people just want to be delivered.
As long as the Judge is alive, good things happen.
As soon as the Judge dies, all hell breaks loose.
This should be fun.
It’s crazy. Forget. Do what’s right in their own eyes. Bad stuff. Judge shows up and leads them back.
Reminds of how things go when we forget God, or walk away, or become Prodigal sons.