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Assertion: God of Israel changed his mind about Israel needing to drive out the nations in the Promised Land  - ref. Judges 2 & 3

Some Bible believers interpret God (of Israel) saying, "I will not [anymore] drive them out before you," to mean that Israel didn't anymore need to drive out the nations living in the land promised to them.

Judges 2:1 The angel of the LORD went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, "I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land that I swore to give to your forefathers. I said, `I will never break my covenant with you, 2 and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars.' Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this? 3 Now therefore I tell you that I will not drive them out before you; they will be thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you." 4 When the angel of the LORD had spoken these things to all the Israelites, the people wept aloud, 5 and they called that place Bokim. There they offered sacrifices to the LORD. 6 After Joshua had dismissed the Israelites, they went to take possession of the land, each to his own inheritance.

This assertion [that God had changed his mind about Israel having to drive out the nations] is of course part of the arsenel of arguments used in attempts to justify giving the Arabs part of the Promised Land. When I first heard this argument, I immediately related it to Jesus' answer to Pharisees' (trick) question, “Why did Moses say that a man could write out divorce papers and send his wife away?” Obviously, Yeshua's answer reflected the fact that God doesn't change, that the problem lies with the wickedness of mankind:

Jesus replied, “You are so heartless! That’s why Moses allowed you to divorce your wife. (Matthew 19:7-8)

Similarly, with "not [anymore] drive them out before you," God didn't change his mind, or the rules for controlling the playing field** (Promised Land). Actually, he added a handicap:

The Lord was angry with Israel and said: Judges 2:20 The Israelites have broken the agreement I made with their ancestors. They won’t obey me, 21 so I’ll stop helping them defeat their enemies. Israel still had a lot of enemies when Joshua died, 22 and I’m going to let those enemies stay. I’ll use them to test Israel, because then I can find out if Israel will worship and obey me as their ancestors did. 23 That’s why the Lord had not let Joshua get rid of all those enemy nations right away.
And the Lord had another reason for letting these enemies stay: Judges 3:1-2 The Israelites needed to learn how to fight in war, just as their ancestors had done. Each new generation would have to learn by fighting 3 the Philistines and their five rulers, as well as the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites that lived in the Lebanon Mountains from Mount Baal-Hermon to Hamath Pass. 4 Moses had told the Israelites what the Lord had commanded them to do, and now the Lord was using these nations to find out if Israel would obey.

**The playing field (the Promised Land) was still their's, but they were just going to need to share it at their detriment; unless of course, they trusted God to help them to rid themselves of the "thorns in their side" (KJV). And thorns they were as we see in the historical records in the Bible. But the Bible does not just deal with the past, it also deals with the present, today, in the form of Arabs trying to be a nation in the land promised to the Jews, and the future when the nations will be judged for trying to divide their land.

The reason for Jehovah's ruling to remove other nations from the land where the Jews were to live, was that these nations serve foreign gods that don't offer true redemption from sin. Obviously Jehovah would prefer his people not to be distracted from pursuing his, the only plan of salvation, by other god's false promises - like 72 virgins for martyrs, etc. It is as if Jehovah invented a game, called REDEMPTION, developed rules for this game, and players, the Jews, to test the rules on before the game was introduced to the nations. Israel was to be the hometeam, with their own home stadium, the Promised Land, that is to be theirs permanently since Jehovah's Messiah will rule from there. He is central in the plan of redemption and took up the identity of the home team, the Jews for his earthly identity. For that reason, his twelve disciples also came from that team and their names will be written on the twelve foundation stones of the New Jerusalem's wall, while the names of twelve tribes will be written on the twelve gates of the city. Revelation 21:13-14.

Other nations of the world come and go since only Israel was given a guarantee of permanent existence and a permanent domain, due to Messiah chosing to take up a Jewish identity on earth and eventually rule the nations from their domain when he returns.

From the heart of Jerusalem the Lord roars like a lion, shaking the earth and sky.
But the Lord is a fortress, a place of safety for his people Israel.
God Will Bless His People. I am the Lord your God. And you will know I live on Zion,
my sacred hill, because Jerusalem will be sacred, untouched by foreign troops.
Joel 3:16-17

The Contemporary English electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1995 by the American Bible Society.

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