Verse 23. "Without driving them out hastily" - Had God expelled all the ancient inhabitants at once, we plainly see, from the subsequent conduct of the people, that they would soon have abandoned his worship, and in their prosperity forgotten their deliverer. He drove out at first as many as were necessary in order to afford the people, as they were then, a sufficiency of room to settle in; as the tribes increased in population, they were to extend themselves to the uttermost of their assigned borders, and expel all the remaining inhabitants. On these accounts God did not expel the aboriginal inhabitants hastily or at once; and thus gave the Israelites time to increase; and by continuing the ancient inhabitants, prevented the land from running into waste, and the wild beasts from multiplying; both of which must have infallibly taken place had God driven out all the old inhabitants at once, before the Israelites were sufficiently numerous to occupy the whole of the land. THESE observations are important, as they contain the reason why God did not expel the Canaanites. God gave the Israelites a grant of the whole land, and promised to drive out their enemies from before them if they continued faithful. While they continued faithful, God did continue to fulfill his promise; their borders were enlarged, and their enemies fled before them. When they rebelled against the Lord, he abandoned them, and their enemies prevailed against them. Of this, their frequent lapses and miscarriages, with God's repeated interpositions in their behalf, are ample evidence. One or two solitary instances might not be considered as sufficient proof; but by these numerous instances the fact is established.
Each rebellion against God produced a consequent disaster in their affairs; each true humiliation was invariably followed by an especial Divine interposition in their behalf. These afforded continual proof of God's being, providence, and grace. The whole economy is wondrous; and its effects, impressive and convincing. The people were not hastily put in possession of the promised land, because of their infidelity. Can the infidels controvert this statement? If not then their argument against Divine revelation, from "the failure of positive promises and oaths," falls to the ground. They have not only in this, but in all other respects, lost all their props.
"Helpless and prostrate all their system lies Cursing its fate, and, as it curses, dies."