"Now the angel of the Lord came up from Gilgad to Bochim, And he said, "I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land which I have sworn to your fathers; and I said, I will never break My covenant with you." Then at Judges 2:5, "So they named that place Bochim and there they sacrificed to the Lord." Going back to Exodus 20:1-3, Then God spoke all these words, saying, Verse 2, I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. Verse 3, "You shall have no other gods before Me."

The covenant referred to can be found at Genesis 17:1-7. "Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am God Almighty; Walk befor3e Me, and be blameless, verse 2, And I will establish My covenant between Me and you, And I will multiply you exceedingly." Verse 3, And Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying, verse 4, As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, And you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. verse 5, No longer shall your name be called Abram, But you name shall be Abraham; For I will make you the father of a multitude of nations.

Verse 6, And I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come forth from you. verse 7, And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you."

This covenant is further amplified at Genesis 22 where the Lord tested Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. At Genesis 22:10 Abraham stretched out his hand, and took the knife to slay his son." Verse 11, BUT the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" And he said, Here I am." Verse 12, "Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son from Me."

At verse 15, Then the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, verse 16, and said, "By Myself I have sworn, declares the Lord because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son, verse 17, indeed I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies. Verse 18, And in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice."

The New Testament at Hebrews 6:13-16 clearly identifies and confirms who swore the oath. "For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, verse 14, saying, "I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply you." Notice what verse 16 states, "For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath give as confirmation is an end of every dispute. In taking oaths, men swear by God who is greater than they are. They do so in order to convince other men that they are truthful and intend to abide by their promises.

So getting back to the question? Why does Judges 2:1 say the angel of the Lord would never break his covenant he swore to the fathers?

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    It's not clear to me what prompted this question. Do you think one of these passages implies he did break the covenant?
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Oct 21, 2020 at 3:50
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    Mr Bond, you seem to be asking this question mainly to start a debate about whether the Angel of the Lord is God himself or not. In which case you need to specify which denomination you are talking about, or this becomes a "truth" question which we don't allow. Commented Oct 21, 2020 at 14:30
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    I am merely warning you about the rules of the site and what is likely to happen. Nigel J is not a moderator. Commented Oct 21, 2020 at 19:02
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    @Mr.Bond Users with 10K + have access to certain 'moderator tools' but only users with the diamond symbol after their name are Moderators.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 10:45
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    Noise! The Hebrew word for angel is "malak." and it simply means messenger. The context determines how it is used. For example, Malachi 3:1, "Behold, I am going to send my "malak/angel/messenger" and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to His temple; and the malak/angel/messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming says the Lord of hosts." John the Baptist is the messenger that clears the way of the Lord. Mark 1:1-3. Jesus is the messenger of the covenant and he is not an actual angel. He swore the oath, Genesis 22, Judges 2.
    – Mr. Bond
    Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 21:03

3 Answers 3


The angel of the Lord in Judges 2:1 speaks as Deity. Not as a representative of Deity but speaks as Deity, personally.

The conclusion of what is laid out, competently, in the above question can only, logically, be that the 'messenger of the Lord' (the word is malak in Hebrew) is the same 'messenger of the Lord' referred to in, for example, Malachi 3:1, which states that 'the Lord whom ye seek' is the 'messenger of the covenant' and this 'messenger', says God, is preceded by another 'messenger' whom 'I will send' and he shall 'prepare the way before me'.

Jesus quotes this and, if it is indeed the case that he is quoting the Septuagint, then he changes one letter in the Greek and says (instead of prepare the way before me ) says :

Behold, I send my messenger before thy face [Matthew 11:10 KJV]

Which Mark, in the opening of his gospel account repeats :

Behold, I send my messenger before thy face [Mark 1:2 KJV]

Clearly the messenger before my face (which is a prophecy of John the Baptist in Malachi) is further revealed to be the messenger before thy face, by Jesus adjusting the text.

Thus the messenger of the covenant (the Lord himself) is preceded (before my face in Hebrew but before thy face in Greek).

Thus Jesus Christ, being the messenger of the covenant (preceded before his face by John the baptist) is the Lord himself (preceded before my face, saith the Lord).

The logical conclusion is that the face of Jesus Christ is the face of the Lord.

And this 'messenger of the covenant' (the Lord himself) is also the 'messenger' who came up from Gilgad in Judges 2;1.

What was revealed in careful wording in the Hebrew scriptures - prior to the manifestation of God in flesh - is now revealed plainly in the Greek scriptures, now that Jesus Christ is come and now that he reveals the Father.

He who said 'Before Abraham was, I am (strictly speaking it is 'I, I am' ego eimi) is revealed to be the angel of the Lord seen at the burning bush, seen by Manoah and his wife, seen at Bochim, and prophesied of by Malachi.

Seen in the burning furnace by the Gentile King who witnessed a likeness of 'son of deity', seen by Jacob when he wrestled till the break of day.

Seen by faith by those who have faith to see him.

But hidden from view if the eyes are blinded.

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    @DJClayworth The fact that 'plenty' of people 'disagree' with something is not a good enough reason not to state what is 'reasonable'.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Oct 21, 2020 at 17:06
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    You should however state that this is not the view of all Christians. Since the question did not ask for a specific group viewpoint (which they should) it is down to you to not just provide one viewpoint but an overview of viewpoints. Commented Oct 21, 2020 at 19:02
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    @DJClayworth I cannot see that any other explanation is possible. What other viewpoints are you aware of ?
    – Nigel J
    Commented Oct 21, 2020 at 19:35
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    I provided a link in my answer. Commented Oct 21, 2020 at 22:52
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    @DJClayworth Yes, you provided a link by John Stewart who is a very sound Bible teacher on various issues including this one. One view is "A mighty angel who acted as the special representative. Problem: A/an angel or even a mighty angel cannot swear oaths on behalf of God. An angel can swear an oath on behalf of himself, Revelation 10:5-6. #2, God the Father cannot be seen according to Jesus. John 5:37, John 6:46, 1John 4:12. #3, The angel of the Lord is the preincarnate Jesus Christ based on evidence and the fact the Father has no separate manifestation from the Son. Which view is yours?
    – Mr. Bond
    Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 1:43

The background is Israel rejected God as her Husband and as her King and “went about as harlots after other gods and worshipped them” (2:17). In dealing with this situation, God as the Angel of Jehovah, came in to admonish the children of Israel (vv. 1-5). So it is an admonition.

First, He reminded them of Jehovah’s delivering them out from Egypt and His bringing them into the promised land (v. 1a). Second, He reminded them of Jehovah’s faithfulness in keeping His promise to them (v. 1b). Third, He reminded them of Jehovah’s charge to them that they should not make a covenant with the inhabitants of Canaan and that they should tear down their altars (v. 2a).


There are different opinions about the details of this within Christianity.

Some say that the Angel of the Lord is in fact God himself, or specifically God the Son. Others say the Angel of the Lord is one who speaks for the Lord, and so when he says "I" he means the Lord. This would be considered a normal way of speaking in that day when a king sends a messenger to announce his decrees.

For more information see this page describing the different views.

For practical purposes it makes little difference here. The "I" in the passage refers to the Lord in either case, and the Lord has in fact made and not broken his covenant with Abraham.

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    There's an old adage that says, "You interpret the New Testament in view of the Old Testament because the NT is the fulfilment of the OT. At Hebrews 6:13-14 it specifically says, "When God made the promise to Abraham He could not swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself." So tell me, according to this text is an angel greater than God that he can swear an oath on behalf of God Himself? Also, according to you, who do you think is "The angel of the Lord?"
    – Mr. Bond
    Commented Oct 21, 2020 at 2:44
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    I don't understand the downvotes because I think your practical summary is valid if the second premise is true. It's interesting, though, that an angel of the Lord appeared to Zechariah in Luke 1, identified himself as Gabriel and did not speak in that way nor did he speak that way to Mary. He said "the power of the Most High will overshadow you", rather than "my power will overshadow you" for example. Commented Oct 21, 2020 at 19:55
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    @MikeBorden At Judges 2:1 the angel of the Lord is speaking in the first person. Notice at Genesis 22:12 he speaks in the third person. "I know that you fear God." God often speaks in the 3rd person like at Job 1:8, God saying to Satan have you considered my servant Job, upright man fearing God. There is also a grammatical difference between the words "an/a" and "the." "An/a" connotes a thing NOT previously noted or recognized. "The," connotes a thing previously noted or recognized. "The" angel of the Lord first appears as the angel of the Lord at Genesis 16:7.
    – Mr. Bond
    Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 0:11
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    @MikeBorden Continued. The angel of the Lord is continually identified as the angel of the Lord. He is not a real angel like Gabriel. Judges 13:17-18 Manoah ask the angel of the Lord what is your name? The angel of the Lord said, It is "wonderful." Meaning it is too wonderful for you to understand. The Jews have the principle of a "Shaliach." Someone authorized to act for a principal. The "Shaliach" is the angel of the Lord and the principal is God. Since the angel of the Lord is not an angel but simply the "malak" of the Lord he can swear oaths. In short, he is the preincarnate Jesus Christ.
    – Mr. Bond
    Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 0:33
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    @Mr.Bond Indeed, sir. I was trying to point out the difference in my comment. Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 10:34

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