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Judges 10:13

ESV Yet you have forsaken me and served other gods; therefore I will save you no more.
NIV But you have forsaken me and served other gods, so I will no longer save you.
NASB Yet you abandoned Me and served other gods; therefore I will no longer save you.
CSB But you have abandoned me and worshiped other gods. Therefore, I will not deliver you again.
NLT Yet you have abandoned me and served other gods. So I will not rescue you anymore.
KJV Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more.
NKJV Yet you have forsaken Me and served other gods. Therefore I will deliver you no more.

What does Judges 10:13 mean?

Taken out of context, without seeing the rest of the story, this verse is terrifying. After repeatedly rejecting God and falling into sin, Israel is once again under oppression (Judges 10:6–9). They call out to God in repentance and beg for mercy (Judges 10:10). God begins listing the nations from whom He has already rescued Israel (Judges 10:11–12). One would expect He will now say, "and I will do so again," or something equivalent. Instead, God says He won't save Israel again.

The idea that God extends incredible patience, (Psalm 86:15), not infinite patience (1 Peter 3:20), should be sobering. Scripture indicates that the Lord can choose to limit His gracious mercy when people are especially resistant (Proverbs 29:1; Genesis 6:3; Romans 9:18). Still, it's jarring to hear God so bluntly and directly tell Israel, "No, I'm not saving you again."

The pronouncement is shocking for how it complicates the pattern of the book of Judges. It also challenges those who think they know how God should react to every cry for help. Every time before this, the Lord has quickly raised up a judge to free Israel from captivity as soon as they begged for help. This time, He does not. Critically, however, the following verses show that God intends a specific lesson through His response. His answer is rhetorical—meant for effect—and leads directly to His sarcastic remark about the idols they have chosen to follow (Judges 10:14).

Before making this statement, God listed all the nations from which He has rescued Israel over her long history. One by one, He has given the Israelites the victory over their brutal enemies. The implication is clear: what has that motivated Israel to do? Have they responded to His grace by committing to serving the Lord their God only? No. They have repeated their sinful pattern, taking it even deeper in this current generation. Instead of gratitude and faithfulness, they have forsaken Him and served countless other idols.

Since God has important plans for the nation of Israel (Genesis 12:3), He will eventually save them (Judges 10:16). However, He will not do so as quickly or immediately as they expect. He will not be manipulated by His people, even if they are a different generation than the ones who have come before. He will not accept their spoken confession, no matter how genuine, until it is proven through action (Luke 3:7–8; Hosea 10:4). More stridently than ever before, God will force Israel to grapple with the consequences of their faithlessness (Judges 10:14–16).
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