1. Exposition

Why was the LORD determined that the present generation of Israelites learn war?

Judges 3:2 (ESV)

2 It was only in order that the generations of the people of Israel might know war, to teach war to those who had not known it before.

The Lord's concern here is not merely that they gain battle experience, but that they come to an understanding of the importance of this war before them. The Lord brought them to this land with the instruction that they drive out the Canaanites and claim the land as his gift. The continued presence of the Canaanites represents a test whether or not they will accept Yahweh as their sovereign and their responsibilities in fulfilling his agenda. In accordance with earlier pronouncements (Deuteronomy 7:1–5), Yahweh will not do for Israel what they are not willing to do for themselves. The Canaanite nations represent not only a challenge to him and his historical program, but they also remain as a test, proving whether or not Israel will accept her status as his covenant people, with all the privileges and obligations attached thereto. This generation needs to learn that they have been called to a holy war, that Yahweh is the commander-in-chief, and that the enemy is to be totally exterminated.1