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Judges 10:16

ESV So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the LORD, and he became impatient over the misery of Israel.
NIV Then they got rid of the foreign gods among them and served the LORD. And he could bear Israel's misery no longer.
NASB So they removed the foreign gods from among them and served the Lord; and He could no longer endure the misery of Israel.
CSB So they got rid of the foreign gods among them and worshiped the Lord, and he became weary of Israel's misery.
NLT Then the Israelites put aside their foreign gods and served the Lord. And he was grieved by their misery.
KJV And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the LORD: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.

What does Judges 10:16 mean?

The Lord has shocked His people into a clear understanding of their sin, by claiming He will no longer save them (Judges 10:6–14). The Israelites had abandoned Him, yet again, to serve false gods. This, despite how God saved them from their enemy repeatedly. They had repeated their faithlessness instead of being grateful and loyal to their good God.

Now, for the first time in the downward spiral of the book of Judges (Judges 2:11–19), we are told that Israel confessed to their sin and took the unprecedented step of changing their behavior before being rescued. When God noted His prior rescues and told them—sarcastically—to ask the idols for help, they understood the message. They responded with sincere repentance, proven by their choice to throw out their idols and resume serving God.

What's noteworthy here is how the Israelites acted without having yet been rescued, and without a guarantee it would ever happen. Such a short account makes it difficult to presume their exact motive. But, at the very least, this is what godly repentance looks like (2 Corinthians 7:10; Matthew 3:8). Repentance includes both agreeing that we have sinned and a willingness to change behavior. The proper motive for that change is belief that the sin is wrong, not because of what we expect to get from the Lord in return. Repentance is a choice to submit to God's character, believing He can and will do whatever is best, no matter what that might be.

A fragment of God's character is revealed in the second half of this verse. He "grows impatient" over Israel's suffering. This short phrase is used elsewhere in Scripture, of men, and it literally means His "soul became too short." This is an example of Scripture applying human ideas to a God far beyond humanity (Isaiah 55:8–9), giving us a parallel we can understand. In short, this tells us God does not enjoy seeing His people in misery. He will allow misery; He will even cause misery to bring His people back to Himself. Both are how a good Father guides and tutors His children. And yet, God does not take pleasure in seeing it (Ezekiel 18:23).

The Lord not only has limited patience for sin and rebellion (Proverbs 29:1). He also sets limits on His tolerance for sadness and suffering. He will act to rescue the Israelites once more.
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