Why did God leave some nations among Israel?

According to the Bible, when God brought the people of Israel into what would become the land of Israel, there were other nations already living there, so God had to get them out of the way. He thought those nations were terribly wicked, so he drove them out and destroyed them. Except he didn’t get rid of them completely. He let some nations survive and continue to live in the land among the Israelites. Why did he decide to do that? The Bible gives four reasons, but they can’t all be true…

  • The Israelites failed to shun those nations while God was in the process of gradually driving them out. God didn’t like that, so he decided to stop destroying their enemies and let the Israelites be destroyed instead.
  • The Israelites angered God by worshiping foreign gods, so God decided it would be a good idea to make sure there would always be foreigners living among Israel to tempt them to worship their foreign gods.
  • There was a new generation of Israelites who didn’t know how to fight. God left some nations among Israel only so they would have some enemies to practice on, and for no other reason.
  • God didn’t decide to spare some of the nations at all. His plan was to completely destroy them. If any of them were allowed to continue living in the land, that wasn’t God’s idea; it was the Israelites’ fault.

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