Through Moses, God had told the Jews, "you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices." Then he described those practices as including "sexual relations with your mother...sexual relations with your sister," and even "sexual relations with an animal." He warned them against child sacrifice and the practice of homosexuality: "'Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed. ...Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable." And then God explained that this was the way the people of Canaan had been living: " 'Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled. Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants." God would apply the same standard to the Jews; if they took up living like the Canaanites, they would meet the Canaanites' fate: "And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you." (Leviticus 18:3-28 NIV)
So he instructed Joshua to enter the land of Canaan and lay siege to its cities, and to completely exterminate the people of the land. He was not to leave anyone alive. All were to be killed: men, women and children.
If a leader today were to conceive such a plan, it would be called genocide. But, as the Creator of mankind, God is the rightful judge. As the giver of life, he has the divine prerogative to set the limits of life and death, both for individuals and for whole nations. He is both just and justified in such actions. So, when the armies of Israel marched into land of Canaan and laid waste to its cities, this was not genocide. It was a judgement from God.
Besides exterminating the people, they were also to wipe out the artifacts of Canaanite worship, because it was a perverted form of false religion glorifying sexuality and perversion. Sacred poles were huge phallic symbols. Idols displayed grossly enlarged sex organs. "Do not bow down before their gods or worship them or follow their practices. You must demolish them and break their sacred stones to pieces," God commanded. (Deuteronomy 23:24 NIV)
Thus, God gave Israel the promised land, but
keeping it was conditional on their obedience.
However, biblical history reveals that Israel failed to carry out God's instructions. They compromised and allowed some of the Canaanites to remain alive, and they failed to exterminate their perverted religion. This failure to follow divine instructions completely would come back to haunt future generations. Men and women of Israel would be led astray to worship the Canaanite gods. Idolatry would keep rearing its head among the Israelites.
Israel to would lose the promised land for failure to keep God's covenant. He had told them through Moses that this is what would happen if they failed to keep their ageement with him. They would be removed from the land and be scattered throughout the earth. "But it shall come about, if you do not obey the LORD your God...the LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth." (Deuteronomy 28:15, 64 NASB) And this is what eventually happened.
But, that did not mean they would lose the land permanently. God promised them that he would much later return them to the promised land: "...then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee ...from thence will he fetch thee: And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it." (Deuteronomy 30:3-5) "...the LORD will...assemble the dipersed of Israel, and gather together the scattered of Judah from the four corners of the earth." (Isaiah 11:11-12 The Holy Scriptures, Jewish Publication Society of America)
So the land of Israel was promised to the offspring of Jacob not just once, but also it was promised that the land would return to their possession at 'the time of the end.' And this is the promised that began to be fulfilled when the state of Israel was re-established in 1948. But this was only the beginning of prophetic fulfillment regarding the promised land, because God promised that this land would belong to those people and their descendants forever under the rule of his Messiah, Jesus Christ.
But instead of being received as evidence for