Were the Israelites invincible (Deuteronomy 11:25) or not (Joshua 7:4; Judges 1:34)? Is there a contradiction?
Let’s set Deuteronomy 11:25 into context. Just before the verse in question, we read:
…if you carefully keep all these commandments which I command you to do—to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, and to hold fast to Him—then the LORD will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess greater and mightier nations than yourselves. (Deuteronomy 11:22-23)
And then, immediately after:
…I set before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you today; and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today… (Deuteronomy 11:26-28)
Several times the context emphasizes the need for the people of Israel to be obedient to God’s word (v 1, 8, 13, 18, 22, 27, 28, 32). To receive and remain in the land, God expected them to be obedient to His will. Obey and they would be blessed; disobey and they would be cursed.
So, what went wrong in Joshua 7? Verse 1 tells us the anger of the LORD burned against Israel because Achan had taken of the accursed things in Jericho. They arrogantly went to Ai, but fell in battle there. God revealed to Joshua that there was sin in the camp (v 10-12).
What about Judges 1:34? How is it that the Amorites did not flee before the people of Dan, but actually forced them into the mountains? God’s command was for the Israelites to drive out the inhabitants of the land (Numbers 33:52). They had the ability to do so (Deuteronomy 11:22-23), but if they did not drive them out, those who remained would harass the people (Numbers 33:55). This happened, not just with the people of Dan, but most of the tribes (Judges 1).
Had all the people had the faith of Caleb, the land would have been purged of the inhabitants (Judges 1:12-15; Joshua 14:14; 15:14). They didn’t have faith as he had, and therefore didn’t drive the people out as he did.
There is no contradiction.
A response to 1001 Bible Contradictions.