November NUM (Year 2)
The angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bokim. There he said to the Israelites, “I brought you up out of Egypt. I led you into this land. It is the land I promised to give to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. At that time I said, ‘I will never break the covenant I made with you. So you must not make a covenant with the people of this land. Instead, you must tear down their altars.’ But you have disobeyed me. Why did you do it? I have said something else. I said, ‘I will not drive out those people to make room for you. They and their gods will become traps for you.’ ”
The angel of the Lord spoke these things to all the Israelites. Then the people wept out loud. So that place was called Bokim. The people offered sacrifices there to the Lord.
Joshua sent the Israelites away. Then they went to take over the land. All of them went to their own shares of land. The people served the Lord as long as Joshua lived. They also served him as long as the elders lived. Those were the elders who lived longer than Joshua did. They had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel.
Joshua, the servant of the Lord, died. He was the son of Nun. He was 110 years old when he died. His people buried him on his own property at Timnath Heres. It’s north of Mount Gaash in the hill country of Ephraim.
All the people of Joshua’s time joined the members of their families who had already died. Then those who were born after them grew up. They didn’t know the Lord and what he had done for Israel. The Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. They served gods that were named Baal. They deserted the Lord, the God of their people. He had brought them out of Egypt. But now the Israelites served other gods and worshiped them. They served the gods of the nations that were around them. They made the Lord angry because they deserted him. They served Baal. They also served female gods that were named Ashtoreth. The Lord became angry with the Israelites. So he handed them over to robbers. The robbers stole everything from them. The Lord handed the Israelites over to their enemies all around them. Israel wasn’t able to fight against them anymore and win. When the Israelites went out to fight, the Lord’s power was against them. He let their enemies win the battle over them. The Lord had warned them that it would happen. And now they were suffering terribly.
Then the Lord gave them leaders. The leaders saved them from the power of those robbers. But the people wouldn’t listen to their leaders. They weren’t faithful to the Lord. They served other gods and worshiped them. They didn’t obey the Lord’s commands as their people before them had done. They quickly turned away from the path their people had taken. When the Lord gave them a leader, he was with that leader. The Lord saved the people from the power of their enemies. He did it as long as the leader lived. The Lord felt very sorry for the people. They groaned because of what their enemies did to them. Their enemies treated them badly. But when the leader died, the people returned to their evil ways. The things they did were even more sinful than the things their people before them had done. They served other gods and worshiped them. They refused to give up their evil practices. They wouldn’t change their stubborn ways.
So the Lord became very angry with the Israelites. He said, “This nation has broken my covenant. I made it with their people of long ago. But this nation has not listened to me. Joshua left some nations in the land when he died. I will no longer drive out those nations to make room for Israel. I will use those nations to test Israel. I will see whether Israel will live the way I, the Lord, want them to. I will see whether they will be like their people of long ago. I will see whether they will follow my path.” The Lord had let those nations remain in the land. He didn’t drive them out right away. He didn’t hand them over to Joshua.