This phrase, “for the iniquity of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure”, means that the Amorites were not yet evil enough for God to destroy. God doesn’t rejoice at the death of the wicked – he wants wicked people to change and become righteous. Ezekiel 18:23:
Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord GOD, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?
God allows some societies to exist until they become so depraved that he ends them. (See examples below) But he gives people time to repent. This applies then to the Amorites and it applies now. We read in 2 Peter 3:9:
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
Although God was patient and gave the the Amorites time to change, they did not repent from their evil ways. When their iniquity reached its full measure, Israel executed God’s judgement on them. (See below, verses describing some of the reasons God didn’t like the Amorites) We can see other examples of this idea of iniquity reaching its full measure. Jesus says to the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23:32:
Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers.
Their fathers had killed God’s prophets, and they, the scribes and Pharisees, were doing the same iniquitous deeds – going so far as to murder the son of God, thus bringing God’s judgment on them, as we know happened in AD70, when the Romans ended Jewish society in Judea. The apostle Paul refers to this in 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16:
For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, (15) who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind (16) by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved–so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But God’s wrath has come upon them at last!
Examples of societies God terminated:
Society before the great flood – Genesis 6:5-8:
The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (6) And the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. (7) So the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” (8) But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
Sodom – Genesis 18:20-21:
Then the LORD said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, (21) I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know.” Gen 19:24-25 Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the LORD out of heaven. (25) And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.
Judah when Josiah was king – 2 Kings 22:16-20:
Thus says the LORD, Behold, I will bring disaster upon this place and upon its inhabitants, all the words of the book that the king of Judah has read. (17) Because they have forsaken me and have made offerings to other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the work of their hands, therefore my wrath will be kindled against this place, and it will not be quenched. (18) But to the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the LORD, thus shall you say to him, Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Regarding the words that you have heard, (19) because your heart was penitent, and you humbled yourself before the LORD, when you heard how I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and you have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you, declares the LORD. (20) Therefore, behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes shall not see all the disaster that I will bring upon this place.'” And they brought back word to the king.
The Jews (they will be restored when they repent) – 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16:
… For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, (15) who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind (16) by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved–so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But God’s wrath has come upon them at last!
Edom – Ezekiel 35:3-7:
and say to it, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I am against you, Mount Seir, and I will stretch out my hand against you, and I will make you a desolation and a waste. (4) I will lay your cities waste, and you shall become a desolation, and you shall know that I am the LORD. (5) Because you cherished perpetual enmity and gave over the people of Israel to the power of the sword at the time of their calamity, at the time of their final punishment, (6) therefore, as I live, declares the Lord GOD, I will prepare you for blood, and blood shall pursue you; because you did not hate bloodshed, therefore blood shall pursue you. (7) I will make Mount Seir [another name for Edom] a waste and a desolation, and I will cut off from it all who come and go.
Verses detailing some of the reasons God didn’t like the Amorites:
1 Kings 21:26:
He acted very abominably in going after idols, as the Amorites had done, whom the LORD cast out before the people of Israel.
Leviticus chapter18 & chapter 20 describe the disgusting practices of the people of the land that resulted in God destroying them.
“Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean, (25) and the land became unclean, so that I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. (26) But you shall keep my statutes and my rules and do none of these abominations, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you (27) (for the people of the land, who were before you, did all of these abominations, so that the land became unclean), (28) lest the land vomit you out when you make it unclean, as it vomited out the nation that was before you. (29) For everyone who does any of these abominations, the persons who do them shall be cut off from among their people. (30) So keep my charge never to practice any of these abominable customs that were practiced before you, and never to make yourselves unclean by them: I am the LORD your God.”
“You shall therefore keep all my statutes and all my rules and do them, that the land where I am bringing you to live may not vomit you out. (23) And you shall not walk in the customs of the nation that I am driving out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I detested them.
“When the LORD your God cuts off before you the nations whom you go in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, (30) take care that you be not ensnared to follow them, after they have been destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods?–that I also may do the same.’ (31) You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the LORD hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods.
“And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken your commandments, (11) which you commanded by your servants the prophets, saying, ‘The land that you are entering, to take possession of it, is a land impure with the impurity of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations that have filled it from end to end with their uncleanness.
They did not destroy the peoples, as the LORD commanded them, (35) but they mixed with the nations and learned to do as they did. (36) They served their idols, which became a snare to them. (37) They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons; (38) they poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was polluted with blood.