They did not only submit to idolatry when they were forced to it by tyrants, but they freely chose new gods; new to them, and unknown to their fathers, and new in comparison of the true and everlasting God of Israel, being but upstarts, and of yesterday.
In the gates, i.e. in their walled cities, which have gates and bars; gates are oft put for cities, as Gen_22:17Deu_17:2Oba_1:11. Then their strongest holds fell into the hands of their enemies.
Was there, i.e. there was not; the meaning is not that all the Israelites had no arms, for here is mention made only of shields or spears; so they might have swords, and bows, and arrows to offend their enemies; but either that they had but few arms among them, being many thousands of them disarmed by the Canaanites; or that they generally neglected the use of arms, as being utterly dispirited, and without all hope of recovering their lost liberty, and being necessitated to other employments for subsistence.