- Judg. 2:7, 11-23; 3:1-31
The Bible says:
So the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD which He had done for Israel. … When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the LORD nor the work which He had done for Israel.
(Judg. 2:7-10 NKJV)
The generation of Israelites that came after Joshua's generation had not seen the great signs and wonders GOD did. They had not lived in slavery in a foreign land as their grandparents had. Something went terribly wrong. They did not know GOD! How could this be?
First, because their parents' generation failed to destroy all the Canaanite inhabitants, over time the Israelites began to intermarry with them (which was a sin). As they grew closer to these Canaanites, they began to worship their idols—Baal and Ashtoreth. It seems that they just pretty much forgot about the one true GOD, the Great I AM.
Another potential problem could have been that the obedience of Joshua's generation had made Israel prosperous. Often times as people become prosperous they feel less dependent upon GOD. When times are bad people often turn to GOD naturally because they recognize that He is the only One in control. But when times are good people have a tendency to forget that they still need GOD and that their blessings come from Him and not purely our own sweat and blood, so to speak.
This points out how crucial it is that parents be committed firmly to loving and walking with GOD all their days on the earth, and that they take time to teach their children these same truths, so that their children will know GOD and walk with Him as well. There is an old saying that goes, "We are just one generation from corruption." In other words, if we want our children and their children to be blessed—and to be a blessing—then we have to remain diligent at all times and never grow slack in our relationship with GOD.
As a result of Israel's sin and breaking their covenant yet again, GOD raised up enemies from among the Canaanites to oppress the people. Finally, when they cried out to GOD for help, He would raise up a judge to deliver them. The first judge was Othniel. Othniel was a nephew of Caleb. Despite Israel's repetitive sin, GOD would still forgive them when they repented.