16 But then God raised up judges who saved them from their plunderers. But they wouldn't listen to their judges; they prostituted themselves to other gods - worshiped them! They lost no time leaving the road walked by their parents, the road of obedience to God's commands. They refused to have anything to do with it. 18 When God was setting up judges for them, he would be right there with the judge: He would save them from their enemies' oppression as long as the judge was alive, for God was moved to compassion when he heard their groaning because of those who afflicted and beat them. But when the judge died, the people went right back to their old ways - but even worse than their parents! - running after other gods, serving and worshiping them. Stubborn as mules, they didn't drop a single evil practice. 20 And God's anger blazed against Israel. He said, "Because these people have thrown out my covenant that I commanded their parents and haven't listened to me, I'm not driving out one more person from the nations that Joshua left behind when he died. I'll use them to test Israel and see whether they stay on God's road and walk down it as their parents did." 23 That's why God let those nations remain. He didn't drive them out or let Joshua get rid of them.
1 These are the nations that God left there, using them to test the Israelites who had no experience in the Canaanite wars. He did it to train the descendants of Israel, the ones who had no battle experience, in the art of war. He left the five Philistine tyrants, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites living on Mount Lebanon from Mount Baal Hermon to Hamath's Pass. They were there to test Israel and see whether they would obey God's commands that were given to their parents through Moses. 5 But the People of Israel made themselves at home among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. They married their daughters and gave their own daughters to their sons in marriage. And they worshiped their gods.