Judges 3:2 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 3:2, NIV: (he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience):

Judges 3:2, ESV: It was only in order that the generations of the people of Israel might know war, to teach war to those who had not known it before.

Judges 3:2, KJV: Only that the generations of the children of Israel might know, to teach them war, at the least such as before knew nothing thereof;

Judges 3:2, NASB: only in order that the generations of the sons of Israel might be taught war, those who had not experienced it previously).

Judges 3:2, NLT: He did this to teach warfare to generations of Israelites who had no experience in battle.

Judges 3:2, CSB: This was to teach the future generations of the Israelites how to fight in battle, especially those who had not fought before.

What does Judges 3:2 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The Lord said He would leave specific nations to exist in and around Israel. The presence of these wicked cultures would "test" the Israelites to see if they will be faithful to Him. As God is all-knowing, this testing is more of a "demonstration," proving that which the Lord already sees. He warned the people of Israel not to let the depraved Canaanite culture survive (Deuteronomy 20:16–18). When the people disobeyed, God chose to use their own sin as a source of punishment. God will use these nations to attack and harm Israel to see if they will begin to obey Him once more.

The purpose, then, is to "teach war" to new generations of Israelites who have not had to rely on God during war as the previous generations did. In this context, the writer does not mean teaching strategies of attack and defense, or the methods of subduing an enemy. God literally means to teach the Israelites to trust Him, to obey Him, and to rely on Him, as they experience what it means to be at war.