Now Israel even intermarries with their pagan neighbors. There is no longer any distinction between God’s people and the rest of the world. Of course this means they are easily lead into worshipping false gods. Of course this means there is going to be trouble. Few things splinter families like religion and politics. And Israel is now intricately torn on both accounts. God is angry with Israel because they have not stayed true to him and instead worship other gods. He is angry because they have not followed his directions. His hand is no longer with them but he allows the other tribes to conquer and oppress Israel.
But Yahweh does not completely abandon his people. When their oppression becomes too much and they remember God and call out to him, he brings a judge to rescue Israel and led them back toward worshipping him. The accounts of these judges are entertaining because they are stories of war, good vs. evil, and adventure. They are also entertaining because they are the tales of imperfect people, sometimes doing stupid things even as they emerge as God’s leaders.
What a picture of and lesson for the church today! How often do we, who are supposed to be a holy people, set apart and different from the world, look and act just like our neighbors? How many times do we cry out for God when things are difficult, only to push him to the back of our thoughts afterward?