Israel could not or would not drive out the Canaanites?

Old Testament: Jdg 1.29–36

To read the Bible in a year, read Judges 1–2 on March 30, In the year of our Lord Christ 2021

By Don Ruhl 

The Lord wanted the children of Israel to remove the Canaanites and related nations from the land, because He knew that they could remove the nations, for He would be with Israel. However, it did not happen completely, although Israel had the upper hand over the vile nations of the promised land: 

Nor did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites who dwelt in Gezer…Nor did Zebulun drive out the inhabitants of Kitron or the inhabitants of Nahalol…Nor did Asher drive out the inhabitants of Acco or the inhabitants of Sidon, or of Ahlab, Achzib, Helbah, Aphik, or Rehob…Nor did Naphtali drive out the inhabitants of Beth Shemesh or the inhabitants of Beth Anath…And the Amorites forced the children of Dan into the mountains…

– Judges 1.29–36 

The God who plagued Egypt for the sake of Israel and who opened the Red Sea for Israel to cross over on dry land, and closed the Red Sea upon the pursuing Egyptians, and who fed Israel and defeated all their enemies during 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, could have easily enabled Israel to conquer the Canaanites, Amorites, and the other peoples of the Land of Canaan. 

However, Israel did not fully obey the Lord, but stopped short of removing the vile inhabitants of the land. 

By the way, in the summer of 2019, I participated in an archaeological dig at Beth Shemesh! 


  • What five tribes did our text name? 
  • Can you find Beth Shemesh on a map? 

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