What is the significance of Israel doing evil “in the sight of the LORD”?

Judges 3:7 (ESV)

7 And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. They forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth.

Israel may have believed that God was far away, but he was very near, and saw all their evil.

The text literally says, “Israel did the evil in the eyes of the Lord.” The use of the definite article indicates that it is a particular kind of evil. The expression is used in the book of Deuteronomy, and every time it refers not to general evil—whether that is immorality, murder, or abuse of others—but always to the abandoning of the Lord and the replacement of the worship of God with other gods. And that is precisely the issue here in Judges 3:1–31, as stated in the second half of the verse: Israel served other gods.