A couple of decades ago I had the privilege of touring Israel. For whatever reason Hazor really stood out to me. They had an amazing well that we could link into, and so many extraordinary sights as a town.
At one point I saw a very large pillar like thing (I think that it was Hazor but not 100% sure). I didn’t know what it was because it was shaped differently at the top.
“It’s a phallus,” someone pointed out.
“Oh.” I said sheepishly.
I wasn’t expecting a large version of a male organ in the middle of town. You could say I was a bit naive.
And yet this does fit the Biblical narrative. The whole Amorite/Canaanite region had become so evil that after the 400 years the Lord gave them to repent, they continued in their immorality and sacrifice of children. It was for this reason that the Lord was driving them from the land, even destroying them, and giving the land to Israel.
But it wasn’t arbitrary that the Lord was allowing the people of the land to be conquered. It wasn’t just because it was His people that needed a home. The problem was that the people of the land had become so evil for so long, that the Lord had enough. It was righteous justice. The Lord has a tolerance level for evil and hearing the cries of the suffering.
There are many who say that God is “judgmental” and only see his actions. That is like looking at a judge on this earth and declaring he is “judgmental,” and never seeing the crimes of those he prosecutes. There is a bigger picture here.
So Joshua did drive out the people. Each time according to war protocol, the hand of peace was extended in exchange for their surrender. But “no city made with the Israelites except Gibeon” (Jos 11:19).
It wasn’t fast. In fact it “a long time” (Jos 11:18). But Joshua stayed the course of obedience “in keeping with all the LORD had told Moses” (Jos11:23). And then for a season, “the land had rest from war” (Jos 11:23).