The list of destroyed and surviving Canaanite cities at Judges 1:17-36 is an account of the failures and successes of the military campaigns of the Israelites in their attempt to conquer Canaan. While the Book of Joshua portrays complete victory, Judges presents the tribes which were to become the western half of the Kingdom of Israel as having several failures. In each of these cases, the book of Judges says that the tribes later subjugated the Canaanites into forced labour.

According to the Bible, God inflicted the later tribulations in Judges upon the Israelites partially because they failed to completely extinguish the Canaanite race despite his somewhat genocidal command elsewhere to the contrary. According to modern textual criticism the discrepancy with the picture of victory that Joshua portrays is down to the use of different sources. The less pious and more realistic presence of failures leading to the text being considered more historically reliable, and from a potentially earlier, less censured, source.

The list does not consider the tribes who became the eastern half of the Kingdom of Israel, but the western part of the Kingdom of Israel are only described as failing, and the only successes are by those tribes which became the Kingdom of Judah. In particular, even where Judah fails, an excuse is given - the occupants had chariots. Hence, many biblical critics see the list as biased, and partly deliberate propaganda, by an author hailing from the Kingdom of Judah.

One curious feature of the list is that Jerusalem is described as having not been conquered and containing Jebusites to this day. This is somewhat in contrast to the slightly earlier Judges 1:8, which says that everyone there was killed and the city burnt to the ground. Another unusual feature is that it lists every single tribe whose lands are west of the Jordan, except Levi, the holy tribe, and Issachar, who apparently had no failures, but also no successes worthy of mention.

The list


The Tribe of Judah take:

  • The southern hill country
  • Hebron, where Caleb drives out the three sons of Anak

The Tribe of Simeon together with that of Judah destroy:

  • Zepath, which they rename Hormah (which translates as destruction)


Owing to the occupants having iron chariots, the Tribe of Judah fails to take:

The Tribe of Benjamin fails to drive out the occupants from:

The Tribe of Manasseh fails to drive out the Canaanites from:

The Tribe of Ephraim is unable to drive out the Canaanites from:

The Tribe of Zebulun is unable to drive out the Canaanites of:

  • Kitron
  • Nahalol

The Tribe of Asher is unable to drive out the Canaanites from:

The Tribe of Naphtali is unable to drive out the Canaanites living in:

  • Beth Shemesh
  • Beth Anath

The Tribe of Dan was confined to the hill country by the Amorites and could not capture:


This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at List of surviving and destroyed Canaanite cities. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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