And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.
The angel — Christ the angel of the covenant, often called the angel of the Lord, to whom the conduct of Israel out of Egypt into Canaan, is frequently ascribed. He alone could speak the following words in his own name and person; whereas created angels and prophets universally usher in their message with, Thus saith the Lord, or some equivalent expression. And this angel having assumed the shape of a man, it is not strange that he imitates the motion of a man, and comes as it were from Gilgal to the place where now they were: by which motion he signified, that he was the person that brought them to Gilgal, the first place where they rested in Canaan, and there protected them so long, and from thence went with them to battle, and gave them success.
Bochim — A place so called by anticipation; it seems to be no other than Shiloh, where it is probable, the people were met together upon some solemn festival.
I said — That is, I promised upon condition of your keeping covenant with me.
 And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this?
Done this — That is, disobeyed these express commands.
 Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.
I said — With myself, I have now taken up this peremptory resolution.
 And it came to pass, when the angel of the LORD spake these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept.
Wept — Some of them from a true sense of their sins; others from a just apprehension of their approaching misery.
 And they called the name of that place Bochim: and they sacrificed there unto the LORD.
Bochim — That is, Weepers.
They sacrificed — For the expiation of their sins, by which they had provoked God to this resolution.
 And when Joshua had let the people go, the children of Israel went every man unto his inheritance to possess the land.
Let the people go — When he had distributed their inheritances, and dismissed them severally to take possession of them. This was done before this time, whilst Joshua lived; but is now repeated to discover the time, and occasion of the peoples defection from God, and of God's desertion of them.
 And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.
Knew not — Which had no experimental, nor serious and affectionate knowledge of God, or of his works.
 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim:
In the sight — Which notes the heinousness and impudence of their sins, above other peoples; because God's presence was with them, and his eye upon them in a peculiar manner, which also they were not ignorant of, and therefore were guilty of more contempt of God than other people.
Baalim — False gods. He useth the plural number, because the gods of the Canaanites, and adjoining nations, which Israel worshipped, were most of them called by the name of Baal.
 And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.
Baal and Ashtaroth — That is, the sun and moon, whom many Heathens worshipped, tho' under divers names; and so they ran into that error which God had so expressly warned them against, Deuteronomy 4:19. Baalim signifies lords, and Ashtaroth, blessed ones, he-gods and she-gods. When they forsook Jehovah, they had gods many and lords many, as a luxuriant fancy pleased to multiply them.
 And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies.
Sold them — That is, delivered them up, as the seller doth his commodities unto the buyer.
 Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had said, and as the LORD had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed.
Whithersoever they went — That is, Whatsoever expedition or business they undertook; which is usually signified by going out, and coming in.
 Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them.
Raised up — By inward inspiration and excitation of their hearts, and by outward designation testified by some extra-ordinary action.
Judges — Supreme magistrates, whose office it was, under God, and by his particular direction, to govern the commonwealth of Israel by God's laws, and to protect and save them from their enemies, to preserve and purge religion, and to maintain the liberties of the people against all oppressors.
 And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the LORD; but they did not so.
Their Judges — Who admonished them of their sin and folly, and of the danger and misery which would certainly befall them.
 And when the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them.
It repented the Lord — That is, the Lord changed his course and dealings with them, as penitent men use to do; removed his judgments, and returned to them in mercy.
 And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way.
Returned — To their former, and usual course.
Their fathers — In Egypt, or in the wilderness.
Their own doings — That is, from their evil practices, which he calls their own, because they were agreeable to their own natures, which in all mankind are deeply and universally corrupted, and because they were familiar and customary to them.
 That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not.
May prove — That I may try and see whether Israel will be true and faithful to me, or whether they will suffer themselves to be corrupted by the counsels and examples of their bad neighbours.