Deuteronomy 4:28 (ESV)

28 And there you will serve gods of wood and stone, the work of human hands, that neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.

The only option if Israel were scattered among the Canaanites would be to serve the gods made with human hands. This is what sinners want to do, even though it is a futile exercise, for the idols are lifeless.