“As soon as the Angel of Yahweh spoke these words to all the Sons of Israel, the people lifted up their voice and wept. And the name of the place is called Bokiym. They sacrificed there to Yahweh.”
As bad as Israel will become in this book, they are not there yet. Despite their failures and sin, they respond in exactly the way a believer should respond to the recognition of sin. Sadly, God has to confront them as a people, but holy grief and sorrow is their response. In fact, the Hebrew word which we translate as “voice” is singular to indicate the people lifting their voices and weeping as one body.
Here is also an example of corporate sin being addressed. When it comes to individual sin, we are called to grief and repentance just the same, but typically this does not take place in the assembly. Yet, when there is corporate sin — a church has been guilty of harboring a given sin, then it is proper to address that sin as a body, weeping and grieving over the path the body has taken. We even see this language applied to the nation of Israel (2 Chronicles 7:14).
The real question with sin, though, is what we do after we repent. We may grieve and we may weep, but if there is no change in our lives then our repentance is not a repentance in faith. Certainly we will stumble again into sin…we may even stumble into the same sin a second time. The real question is whether we strive to put that (and every other) sin to death and strive towards a life marked by righteousness. Sadly, as we look ahead to the rest of the book of Judges, we find repentance, but rarely for more than a generation (if that.). How sad it is to see, but lest we become arrogant, we should note that our own generation has not fared much better in the life of the Christian church. Apart from the decline of faith in our culture, there is a decline in faith amongst both denominations and individual churches as well. Indeed, it is time that we repent (corporately) of those things we have tolerated that dishonor our Savior and then seek to carve out lives that are marked by Truth and righteousness.