1. Exposition

How is this verse crucial for interpreting the narratives to follow?

Judges 2:19 (ESV)

19 But whenever the judge died, they turned back and were more corrupt than their fathers, going after other gods, serving them and bowing down to them. They did not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways.

Its three expressions—following other gods, serving, and worshiping them—are all borrowed from Judges 2:12. Yet, in order to express Israel's downward spiral, the author adds, They did not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways. Israel is depicted as increasingly Canaanized, spiralling downward into worse and worse apostasy. Accordingly, while the author recognizes a cyclical pattern in Israel’s premonarchic history, the common repetitive view of this period must be modified. Not only do the patterns of evil repeat themselves; the treacherous behavior of the Israelites intensifies…. The rulers raised by God represented stop-gap measures in an apparently irresistible, irreversible, and inevitable process of Canaanization. Instead of effecting fundamental repairs on this deteriorating dike, they plugged the holes with their fingers. As soon as the finger was removed, the water gushed through with increasing force.1