The passuk states והורשתם את הארץ וישבתם בה… לרשת אותה which the Ramban explains is the mitzvas asei of ישוב הארץ, settling in Eretz Yisrael. Hashem told Moshe that Bnei Yisrael should not think about going to conquer the land of Shinur, Ashur, or other lands in order to live there. If they do, they will transgress the mitzvah of living and inheriting Eretz Yisrael. Rather specifically go to the land of Eretz Yisrael to dwell in it. The Mi’at Tzuri says that the word והורשתם means and you shall inherit the land. The previous passuk mentioned destroying the dwellers and their idolatry, and this passuk adds the mitzvah of dwelling in Eretz Yisrael. Onkelos translates the word והורשתם differently, “and you should drive out the dwellers of the land.” According to this, the passuk teaches that we should banish the dwellers from the land.
Hashem commanded Bnei Yisrael to drive out the dwellers from the land in order to inherit it. The passuk states, “and if you will not listen to drive out the nations of the land then,והיה אשר תותירו מהם לשכים בעיניכם ולצנינים בצדיכם וצררו אתכם it will be that those who remain will be as שכים in your eyes, and צנינים at your sides and they will distress you.” What does שכים and צנינים mean, and what will happen if we do not drive out the nations from Eretz Yisrael?
The Ramban explains that שכים and צנינים are sharp thorns, which refers to blinding Bnei Yisrael’s eyesight to mislead us from serving Hashem. This is as the Torah states “לא ישבו בארצך פן יחטיאו אותך לי they shall not dwell in the land lest they will cause you to sin to Me.” Hashem commands us to get rid of the dwellers in Eretz Yisrael so that they won’t influence us the wrong way and ruin our spirituality. Onkelos translates differently, they will be “לשכים… as a group carrying weaponry towards you,” “ולצנינים… and camps surrounding you.” The Nefesh HaGer explains that Onkelos translates the intent of the passuk, Hashem commands us to drive out the people from Eretz Yisrael in order so that they will not gang up to physically harm and kill us.
When Bnei Yisrael went out of Mitzrayim, the Mitzri’im took 600 choice chariots to chase after them. The Yerushalmi is bothered, where did they have these animals from, why weren’t they struck by the makkos like the rest of the animals? The Yerushalmi answers that they were from those who were ירא את דבר ה’, the G-d fearing Mitzri’im who brought their animals into their houses. When Bnei Yisrael left Mitzrayim, even the G-d fearing Mitzri’im came out to chase them. They only feared Hashem to escape punishment, but did not sincerely fear Hashem. The Maseches Sofrim brings, even the best of the Cana’anim deserve to be killed. We see that one needs to suspect and stay far away from even the best of the non-Jews, since they constantly desire to destroy Klal Yisrael.
May Hashem give us the zechus to dwell in Eretz Yisrael, clear of the non-Jewish people who try to destroy us physically and spiritually, with the rebuilding of the Bais HaMikdash bimheira v’yameinu amen!