Canaanite destruction – ATA

Were all the Canaanites destroyed or not?

Joshua 10:40 reads:

So Joshua conquered all the land: the mountain country and the South and the lowland and the wilderness slopes, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel had commanded. (Joshua 10:40)

This text is a summary of the southern campaign of Israel in the land of Canaan. The phrase “all the land” here refers to the land secured in the southern campaign, not all the land of Canaan.

In Joshua 11:14, we read:

And all the spoil of these cities and the livestock, the children of Israel took as booty for themselves; but they struck every man with the edge of the sword until they had destroyed them, and they left none breathing. (Joshua 11:14)

Again, this is not a statement about all of Canaan, but the cities of the northern kings mentioned in the preceding context. Israel destroyed all they engaged in battle, but neither text states that every Canaanite was destroyed, but those spoken of in their respective contexts.

After both these, we read:

Now Joshua was old, advanced in years. And the LORD said to him: ‘You are old, advanced in years, and there remains very much land yet to be possessed. (Joshua 13:1)

Thus, it is no surprise when we get to the book of Judges, that following Joshua’s death there were still Canaanites in the land. There is no text in the book of Joshua that says all the Canaanites in the land were destroyed. The texts given by the questioner are regional statements.

There is no contradiction.

A response to 1001 Bible Contradictions.

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