The Canaanites are the people already living in the land God has given Israel. They are people who worship other gods and do so in ways that are particularly offensive. Baal refers to a specific false god considered to be the god of storms or rain. Ashtareth was a false goddess. Since the success of the people was extremely dependent on rain, it was tempting to worship this god. It was believed that it rained when Baal and Ashtareth had sex, so the worship of Baal included prostitution to remind Baal of what they wanted him to do. This also made the worship of Baal even more tempting. God does not want his people to become distracted by these false gods, so he commands that the Canaanites be completely wiped out. Although the people attack and mostly defeat the Canaanites, they fail to do all God has asked of them. This sets the stage for conflict which will continue through the rest of Judges and the entire Old Testament. Generations of people were deceived into following false gods. As a result, God could no longer give them success. God raises up deliverers for Israel called judges. Generally, these are people who lead the people militarily and spiritually, but their positive influence never becomes permanent. The idea of incomplete obedience is one we are going to see. People seem to rationalize that if they mostly do what God wants, at least that makes them better than others, and God should be satisfied with that. He’s not. God considers incomplete obedience disobedience. In fact, God seems to actually view it more harshly than he does people who worship the wrong gods!