Judges 2:1–5: The Angel of the LORD at Bokim
After the failures in the last chapter, the Angel of the LORD comes to rebuke the people. God has brought them out of Egypt, to the Promised Land, and swore never to break His covenant with them—if they would refrain from making covenants with the people in the land, and if they would break down the altars of the foreign gods.
But the people didn’t do this. They disobeyed. So, therefore, the LORD has decided that He is no longer going to drive the non-Israelite people out of the land. They will be thorns in Israel’s side, and their gods will ensnare the Israelites (verse 3).
To their credit, the people are heartbroken to hear this. They weep aloud, and offer sacrifices to the LORD. They also rename the place where the angel appears as Bokim, which means “weepers.”
I fully admit to not knowing whom the Bible is referring to, when the term “the Angel of the LORD” is used; is this just an angel, like Gabriel? Or is this Jesus? (This past week I heard a preacher indicating that it means Jesus, but I’m not sure.) I’m also not sure if it even matters; whoever it was, who came to speak to the Israelites, the message was from God.
Notice that God is no longer promising to drive the people out before the Israelites; this is a reminder to them that they haven’t won any of their battles on their own. The LORD has won those battles. So if He is not going to fight for them, they don’t have a chance of winning.
And, of course, none of this should surprise us. God had been promising the Israelites that He would do this if they didn’t obey Him, and they didn’t.