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21 So I will no longer remove before them any of the nations that Joshua left unconquered when he died, 22 in order to test Israel.[a] [b] I want to see[c] whether or not the people[d] will carefully walk in the path[e] marked out by[f] the Lord, as their ancestors[g] were careful to do.” 23 This is why[h] the Lord permitted these nations to remain and did not conquer them immediately;[i] he did not hand them over to Joshua.

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  1. Judges 2:22 tn The Hebrew text of v. 22 simply begins with “to test.” Some subordinate this phrase to “I will no longer remove” (v. 21). In this case the Lord announces that he has now decided to leave these nations as a test for Israel. Another possibility is to subordinate “to test” to “He said” (v. 20; see B. Lindars, Judges 1-5, 111). In this case the statement recorded in vv. 20b-21 is the test in that it forces Israel to respond either positively (through repentance) or negatively to the Lord’s declaration. A third possibility is to subordinate “to test” to “left unconquered” (v. 21). In this case the Lord recalls that Joshua left these nations as a test. Israel has failed the test (v. 20), so the Lord announces that the punishment threatened earlier (Josh 23:12-13; see also Judg 2:3) will now be implemented. As B. G. Webb (Judges [JSOTSup], 115) observes, “The nations which were originally left as a test are now left as a punishment.” This view harmonizes v. 23, which explains that the Lord did not give all the nations to Joshua, with v. 22. (For a grammatical parallel, where the infinitive construct of נָסָה [nasah] is subordinated to the perfect of עָזַב [ʿazav], see 2 Chr 32:31.)
  2. Judges 2:22 tn The Hebrew text includes the phrase “by them,” but this is somewhat redundant in English and has been omitted from the translation for stylistic reasons.
  3. Judges 2:22 tn The words “I [i.e., the Lord] want to see” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
  4. Judges 2:22 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the people) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  5. Judges 2:22 tn Or “way [of life].”
  6. Judges 2:22 tn “The words “marked out by” are interpretive.
  7. Judges 2:22 tn Or “fathers.”
  8. Judges 2:23 tn The words “this is why” are interpretive and not in the original text.
  9. Judges 2:23 tn Or “quickly.”