The settlement of the tribes in the north (Judg 1:27-1:36)

“Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shean with its villages, Taanach with its villages, Dor with its villages, Ibleam with its villages, or Megiddo with its villages. The Canaanites continued to live in that land. When Israel grew strong, they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but did not in fact drive them out.”

Now the truth comes out. The north was not a conquered land. Most of the tribes lived with the Canaanites as some kind of semi-slave owners. Taanach, Dor, and Megiddo, were listed among the conquered towns with their kings in Joshua, chapter 12, but here the Canaanites still live there.

“Ephraim did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer. But the Canaanites lived among them in Gezer.”

Gezer was another conquered town in Joshua, chapter 12, but apparently it was not.

“Zebulun did not drive out the inhabitants of Kitron or Nahalol. But the Canaanites lived among them, and became subject to forced labor.”

This is the only mention of Kitron and Nahalol in Zebulun.

“Asher did not drive out the inhabitants of Acco, Sidon, Ahlab, Achzib, Helbah, Aphik, or Rehob. But the Asherites lived among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land. They did not drive them out.”

Ahlab, Helbah, and Aphik in Asher are only mentioned here. The coastal town of Asher was never really conquered either. This included Rehob that was a Levitical town.

“Naphtali did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh or Beth-anath, but lived among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land. Nevertheless the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh and of Beth-anath became subject to forced labor for them.”

Beth-anath was on the border with Issachar.

“The Amorites pressed the Danites back into the hill country. They did not allow them to come down to the plain. The Amorites continued to live in Harheres, in Aijalon, and in Shaalbim, but the hand of the house of Joseph rested heavily upon them. They became subject to forced labor. The border of the Amorites ran from the ascent of Akrabbim, from Sela and upward.”

Dan had already been driven from the coast. This is not a pretty picture that Judges paints here. These tribes were not exactly big winners here. The best that can be said is that the Canaanites were semi-slaves or forced labor for the Israelites, but not wiped out.  Oddly enough, there is no mention of Issachar among these tribes.