To the cities afar, YHWH instructed Israel to open with peace, but if peace was not made, to go to battle against it.. sparing not the males, but taking the rest as spoil.  
To the cities near, YWH instructed Israel to not open with peace, because no peace could be made, and to go to battle against it.. sparing nothing.

A good example of how we are to treat sin in our lives.. Israel was not to spare the evil inhabitants of the promised land, nor to spare the spoils of those wicked.. Instead, the people of YHWH were to utterly overturn the enemy. 

The promised land is where Israel was led to possess, after their wilderness and cleansing.. A physical place, one that could easily stand for our own homes and households, our individual lives after we have been in the wilderness and cleansed by Yahushua - our new creature lives in Him, like the new life land of promise for Israel - is the proving ground for our fortitude in Yahushua, against sin.

The cities near are like our own lives, homes and households.  The cities afar are likewise akin to the people and places we interact with during the course of our new lives in Yahushua.. We can offer them the peace of Yahushua, but if that peace is not met, we react by removing the sin we would otherwise come into contact with when spending time in places or with people, the way that Israel would not have patience with the sin in the cities afar is the same we we should not have patience with sin in our extended lives.

Employment environments are one most of us can relate to from personal experience.. regardless of our work environment, we are called as believers to stick to our moral guns, so to speak, and not to sin by proximity, omission or otherwise, just because we 'aren't at home'.

Rooting sin out of our personal lives also can resemble the outcome of Israel's efforts agains the cities near.. He instructed them to completely remove, just as we are to leave no sin comfortably residing in our lives - and they did almost everything YHWH instructed them to do.. but they left the loose ends of some inhabitants here, some spoils there.. we know these loose ends formed into a snare for Israel, just as YHWH warned. 

And our own loose ends, those we leave undone when rooting out our own sin, will accordingly weave into a snare for us. Like the cities near, we cannot offer peace to sin, because sin has no peace to give. As we draw closer to Yahushua's return, we can all share in the task of tying up our loose ends of sin in our home lives near and lives outside the home, afar, to make as sure as possible that in these days we do not weave a noose for our lives out of our own unresolved strands of sin.

This is the spiritual battle we fight each day as believers.. first at home, and second in the field.. thankfully, we have Yahushua as our strength. 

"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." John 16:33

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