And they were to test Israel by them, to know whether they would hearken unto the commandments of the LORD, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.
Read Chapter 3
George Leo Haydock
Not. Various reasons are assigned, on the part of God, for not exterminating these nations at once. But their being spared so long, must be imputed to the disobedience of the Israelites, otherwise they would surely never have been tolerated with their idol-worship in the land of promise, to contaminate, by their wicked example, the manners of God's people. If they would have redeemed their lives, they must at least have given up the land and their idols. As the Israelites proved so little zealous in destroying the latter, they were justly punished by God, in being deprived of what would have contributed to make them richer and more comfortable in this world. (Haydock)
Almighty God shows wonderful providence in distributing his blessings. Frequently, by denying lesser gifts to those whom he has favored with great virtues, he offers their souls an opportunity for self-reproach. When they find themselves unable to reach the perfection they aspire to and see themselves struggling in vain for a mastery of virtues not granted them, they are not likely to pride themselves on the gifts they have received. For, when they see that of their own power they are incapable of overcoming small faults and slight imperfections, they begin to realize that their great virtues were not self-acquired. For a similar reason the Lord destroyed the powerful enemies who beset his chosen people on their way to the promised land, but [he] allowed the Philistines and Canaanites to survive, so that, as it is written, “he might try Israel by them.” Sometimes, as I have said, those who have received exceptional graces are the very ones God allows to retain small imperfections so th...
As useful as it is to me that you [the Lord] should leave me for a little while in order to test the steadfastness of my desire, so it is harmful if you let me be abandoned for too long because of my deserts and my sins. For no human strength will be able to endure by its own steadfastness if it is too long abandoned by your help in time of trial. Nor will it be able to give way instantly before the power and wherewithal of the adversary if you yourself, who are aware of human strengths and are the arbiter of our struggles, “do not permit us to be tried beyond our capacity, but with the trial also provide a way out, so that we may be able to endure.”
We read something like this as it appears in mystical fashion in the book of Judges with respect to the extermination of the spiritual nations that are opposed to Israel: “These are the nations that the Lord forsook, so that by them he might instruct Israel, so that they might grow accustomed to fighting with their enemies.” And again, a l...