The Conquest of Canaan – Southern & Central

The Israelite conquest of the ‘promised land’ of Canaan took at least two years. The first year was occupied with a campaign to destroy the southern cities of Canaan. The Israelites moved west from their camp on the Plains of Moab, crossed the River Jordan and attacked Jericho in April in c.1406BC. After seven days of noisy marching round the city (to intimidate the inhabitants and perhaps to distract them from the Israeli tunnellers who were secretly undermining the city walls) Jericho fell and was burnt to the ground.

The next target was the city of Ai. The first approach, a pitched battle outside the city, was a disaster, but a second, more subtle, approach succeeded in luring the defenders away from the city – which was then successfully destroyed in a commando raid.

After making a treaty with the people of Gibeon, the Israelites then confronted the five Amorite kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon when these Canaanite kings beseiged Gibeon. The five kings were killed in a surprise attack, and the city of Makkedah was captured. Joshua then took advantage of the situation to destroy the southern cities of LibnahLachish, Eglon, Hebron and Debir – though the well-fortified city of Jerusalem remained an independent Canaanite enclave until it was captured by King David in 1004 BC.

Gezer also appears to have maintained its independence as a Canaanite stronghold, and was only handed over to the Israelites by Pharoah Haremheb of Egypt when King Solomon married his daughter in c.970BC.

By the end of c.1406BC, the Israelites had conquered much of the southern region from Kadesh Barnea in the Negev Desert to Gaza on the Mediterranean coast, and from Goshen on the southern border with Egypt to Gibeon in the north.

Source: The Bible Journey

Remains of the Main Gate at Lachish  (Wilson 44691)

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