Three Models for Reconstructing the Settlement of Israel in Canaan


by Lien-yueh Wei



The Conquest Modal

The Immigration Model

The social Revolution Modal










The narrative of the conquest and settlement in the book of Joshua

Form Criticism (social context)

Sociological and Anthropological methods


The conquest of Israel in Canaan is a real event in Canaanite history

As the nomads, Israelites gradually move into the Canaan where had not too many people and beyond the control of Canaanite city-state at that time

The conquest of Israel in Canaan is a peasants’ (social) revolution


As the narrative of the book of Joshua

The conquest of Israel in Canaan is an etiological legend. The purpose of this legend is to offer a theological explanation for a given situation.

1) Israelites were the same ethnicity to the Canaanites; they were not the new outside comers.

2)Israelites were agricultural society

3)the peasants’ (social) revolution is to oppose the system of tax, military, or labor conducted by Canaanite city-state

Archeological evidence

Cannot confirm the historicity of the conquest

Ex: the destruction layer cannot be date to the end of the Late Bronze Age or the beginning of the Iron Age (ca. 1200 B.C.E.)

Cannot support the Israelites as nomads

Ex: Israelites were agricultural society; nomadic form is subtype of livelihood.

Support the Israelites as peasants and residents, and agricultural society at that time



Berlin, Adele & Brettler, Marc Zvi, The Jewish Study Bible, (NY: Oxford University Express, 2004)

Frick, Frank S., A Journey through the Hebrew Scriptures, (CA: Thomson Learning, 2003).