Israel was instructed by YHWH to make no covenant with the people living in the promised land. They were to displace them all. We don’t have a full record of the reasons why Israel failed to do this, but they failed. One could say they obeyed him in taking promised land, but they did not fully obey him in not making covenant with the people who lived there and they were supposed to tear down the altars to false gods. YHWH was not pleased.
We see in the beginning of chapter 2 a strong rebuke from YHWH to the people of Israel. They did not fully obey the LORD and there will be consequences. In this case, it is actually what I refer to with my children as a natural consequence. If you don’t clear out the people as instructed and tear down their altars, then their gods and their presence will give you trouble.
At this point the people wept, but it was too late. They had disobeyed.
Places Not Conquered
27But Manasseh did not take possession of Beth-shean and its villages, or Taanach and its villages, or the inhabitants of Dor and its villages, or the inhabitants of Ibleam and its villages, or the inhabitants of Megiddo and its villages; so the Canaanites persisted in living in that land. 28It came about when Israel became strong, that they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but they did not drive them out completely.
29Ephraim did not drive out the Canaanites who were living in Gezer; so the Canaanites lived in Gezer among them.
30Zebulun did not drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, or the inhabitants of Nahalol; so the Canaanites lived among them and became subject to forced labor.
31Asher did not drive out the inhabitants of Acco, or the inhabitants of Sidon, or of Ahlab, or of Achzib, or of Helbah, or of Aphik, or of Rehob. 32So the Asherites lived among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land; for they did not drive them out.
33Naphtali did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh, or the inhabitants of Beth-anath, but lived among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land; and the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh and Beth-anath became forced labor for them.
34Then the Amorites forced the sons of Dan into the hill country, for they did not allow them to come down to the valley; 35yet the Amorites persisted in living in Mount Heres, in Aijalon and in Shaalbim; but when the power of the house of Joseph grew strong, they became forced labor. 36The border of the Amorites ran from the ascent of Akrabbim, from Sela and upward.
1Now the angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal 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, 2and as for you, you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed Me; what is this you have done? 3“Therefore I also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; but they will become as thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you.’” 4When the angel of the LORD spoke these words to all the sons of Israel, the people lifted up their voices and wept. 5So they named that place Bochim; and there they sacrificed to the LORD.
Let us take care to understand the importance of obeying YHWH fully and completely when he calls us to do something. Not everything we are called to do is written in his word. The Israelites had the Torah to instruct them, but YHWH had also spoken to them through Moses and through Joshua about specific guidance they were to take in regards to the promised land. It was not enough to simply obey the Torah. They were also to obey the specific guidance that YHWH had given them for their current situation as well. The guidance was for their benefit.
It is important to develop our personal relationship with YHWH through prayer, study, and worship. Through this we continue to hear with more clarity from the Holy Spirit who dwells within followers of Yeshua. We should also check everything against the written word as well. We must obey YHWH in spirit and in truth.
23“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24“God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
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