When God, your God, brings you into the country that you are about to enter and take over, he will clear out the superpowers that were there before you: the Hittite, the Girgashite, the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite. Those seven nations are all bigger and stronger than you are.
God, your God, will turn them over to you and you will conquer them. You must completely destroy them, offering them up as a holy destruction to God. Don't make a treaty with them. Don't let them off in any way.
Don't marry them: Don't give your daughters to their sons and don't take their daughters for your sons -
before you know it they'd involve you in worshiping their gods, and God would explode in anger, putting a quick end to you.
Here's what you are to do: Tear apart their altars stone by stone, smash their phallic pillars, chop down their sex-and-religion Asherah groves, set fire to their carved god-images.
Do this because you are a people set apart as holy to God, your God. God, your God, chose you out of all the people on Earth for himself as a cherished, personal treasure.
God wasn't attracted to you and didn't choose you because you were big and important - the fact is, there was almost nothing to you.
He did it out of sheer love, keeping the promise he made to your ancestors. God stepped in and mightily bought you back out of that world of slavery, freed you from the iron grip of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
Know this: God, your God, is God indeed, a God you can depend upon. He keeps his covenant of loyal love with those who love him and observe his commandments for a thousand generations.
But he also pays back those who hate him, pays them the wages of death; he isn't slow to pay them off - those who hate him, he pays right on time.
So keep the command and the rules and regulations that I command you today. Do them.
And this is what will happen: When you, on your part, will obey these directives, keeping and following them, God, on his part, will keep the covenant of loyal love that he made with your ancestors:
He will love you, he will bless you, he will increase you.
You'll be blessed beyond all other peoples: no sterility or barrenness in you or your animals.
God will get rid of all sickness. And all the evil afflictions you experienced in Egypt he'll put not on you but on those who hate you.
You'll make mincemeat of all the peoples that God, your God, hands over to you. Don't feel sorry for them. And don't worship their gods - they'll trap you for sure.
You're going to think to yourselves, "Oh! We're outnumbered ten to one by these nations! We'll never even make a dent in them!"
But I'm telling you, Don't be afraid. Remember, yes, remember in detail what God, your God, did to Pharaoh and all Egypt.
Remember the great contests to which you were eyewitnesses: the miracle-signs, the wonders, God's mighty hand as he stretched out his arm and took you out of there. God, your God, is going to do the same thing to these people you're now so afraid of.
And to top it off, the Hornet. God will unleash the Hornet on them until every survivor-in-hiding is dead.
So don't be intimidated by them. God, your God, is among you - God majestic, God awesome.
God, your God, will get rid of these nations, bit by bit. You won't be permitted to wipe them out all at once lest the wild animals take over and overwhelm you.
But God, your God, will move them out of your way - he'll throw them into a huge panic until there's nothing left of them.
He'll turn their kings over to you and you'll remove all trace of them under Heaven. Not one person will be able to stand up to you; you'll put an end to them all.
Make sure you set fire to their carved gods. Don't get greedy for the veneer of silver and gold on them and take it for yourselves - you'll get trapped by it for sure. God hates it; it's an abomination to God, your God.
And don't dare bring one of these abominations home or you'll end up just like it, burned up as a holy destruction. No: It is forbidden! Hate it. Abominate it. Destroy it and preserve God's holiness.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)