At this point in Israel’s history, power is decentralized. Rather than replace Joshua with another national leader, a series of local, tribal leaders emerge throughout the land. But Israel also deals with the repercussions that come from failing to drive the pagan peoples out of the land. In fact, Judges 1:28 says, “When Israel grew strong, they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but did not drive them out completely.” The former slave people are now guilty of the crimes of Pharaoh a few generations earlier.
And it’s precisely this kind of moral drift that characterizes Israel during the period of the judges. Repeatedly, this phrase comes up in Judges: And the people did what was right in their own eyes. Sad commentary on this period of Israel’s history.
And so this cycle begins: Israel does evil in the sight of the Lord; God punishes Israel by allowing…
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