Judges 2:16 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 2:16, NIV: Then the LORD raised up judges, who saved them out of the hands of these raiders.

Judges 2:16, ESV: Then the LORD raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them.

Judges 2:16, KJV: Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them.

Judges 2:16, NASB: Then the LORD raised up judges who saved them from the hands of those who plundered them.

Judges 2:16, NLT: Then the LORD raised up judges to rescue the Israelites from their attackers.

Judges 2:16, CSB: The Lord raised up judges, who saved them from the power of their marauders,

What does Judges 2:16 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Everything between Judges 2:6 and Judges 3:6 is an introduction. This segment of the Old Testament summarizes the pattern of God's relationship with the Israelites in their early years in Canaan. Verses 16 through 23 give a concise rundown of the cycle Israel will experience for the next several centuries. They abandoned God to worship idols, following the horrific evils of the Canaanites (Judges 2:11–15). In righteous anger, the Lord allowed Israel to be hammered by her enemies until she could not even stand.

This does not mean God completely abandoned Israel. The nation was not allowed to die or dissolve. Rather, when the people reached a point of terrible distress, God would send a rescuer, or group of rescuers. These figures are labeled using the Hebrew term sōpetim', from the root word shaphat. This expression is translated into English as "judge," but carries a much broader meaning. The original word includes concepts such as vindication, vengeance, defense, rescue, and advocacy.

These figures were leaders wielding power in civic, military, and spiritual ways. Each served their purpose in a unique manner. Their primary role was as "deliverers;" they were not necessarily presiding over courts of law. In some cases, they were called on to render judgment. For the most part, the "judges" were men and women supernaturally enabled by God to save Israel from oppression by other nations. Famous names associated with these Old Testament heroes include Samson (Judges 13—16), Gideon (Judges 6—8), and Deborah (Judges 4—5).

The chapters to follow describe a pattern consistent between the careers of each judge. Israel will abandon God and participate in idolatry and sin. The weakened nation will suffer and fall to an oppressive enemy. When Israel cries out, God will send a "judge" to rescue the nation, to save Israel from their antagonists and their sinful ways. Eventually, when the judge dies, Israel will again slide into the moral abyss; the cycle will begin again. Each time, Israel's path sinks lower and lower, spiraling down into catastrophe (Judges 21:25).