OK brace yourselves; it’s gonna get ugly. After Joshua dies, the Israelites are no longer unified, and they have spread out over a wide territory. And remember those local tribes that were not defeated in the last few chapters of Joshua? Well…… they’re baaaaaaack! Wars and chaos ensues.
This is mostly a rehash of the battles already described in Joshua 15-17, and a list of the cities and tribes that the Israelites failed to conquer. (At least skim it so you can appreciate the number of innocent people who were killed.) But there are a few new details thrown in. One of the Canaanite kings has his thumbs and big toes cut off after being captured (v 6). All the people of Jerusalem are killed, and then the city is burnt (v 8). And one guy from Bethel gets spared because he showed the way into the town (v 25).
I found chapter 2 confusing. It starts with an angel of god accusing the Israelites of breaking their covenant with god by not destroying all the altars of the inhabitants of the Promised Land (Yahweh doesn’t tolerate tolerance). Next it flashes back to the death of Joshua, then meanders on with the following plot outline:
[The Israelites sin by worshipping Canaanite gods. This angers Yahweh, who punishes them by causing them to lose battles and become slaves. The people cry out to god for help. Yahweh then sends a judge – actually more like a military general – to rescue the people and bring them back in line. But after the judge dies, the people revert to their sinful ways.]
Repeat the section in the brackets [ ] several times and you pretty much have the rest of the book of Judges.
An apologist blogger read the SAB and defended Yahweh. So if you’re wondering how anyone could defend this stuff, here’s a link to one of the posts.