How did the Israelite Tribes Acquire Land in Canaan?

The Book of Joshua preserves tradition of rapid military conquest and destruction of cities

The Book of Judges preserves tradition of gradual settlement, individual tribal fighting, and co-existence

The Military Occuptation Hypothesis

--Associated with William Albright and Yigdal Yadin

Late Bronze Age (ca. 1200) shows pattern of city destruction in Canaan

Archaeological evidence thus supports biblical account of invasion and city destruction

United Israelite tribes vs. disunited Canaanite city-states

The Gradual Settlement Hypothesis

--Associated with Albrecht Alt and Martin Noth

Semi-nomadic groups gradually infiltrated thinly populated areas outside city-states in the central hill country

Gradually built settlements

Period of military expansion is late in the period of Judges

Formation of tribal confederacy centered around worship of YHVH is a product of the settlement

--Archaeological evidence doesn't support theory of military hypothesis

No evidence of walled city at Jericho after 2300 BCE

Ai destroyed about 2400 BCE and only occupied as unfortified site after 1200 BCE

No evidence of city at Gibeon in the 13th c. BCE

The Peasants' Revolt Hypothesis

--Associated with Norman Gottwald

Revolt of indigenous groups against Canaanite overlords

How did People in Canaan Live in the Early Iron Age?

A few small cities

Generally, small villages

Central hill country settled before southern Israel

Primarily farmers with small herds

Rock hewn cisterns and hill terracing made highlands inhabitable

Political fragmentation of Egyptian and Hittite empires

Migration of "Sea Peoples" (Philistines) to coastal areas

If the tribal confederacy emerged gradually from local populations in the central hill country of Canaan

then the "Israelites" shared generally in the culture and lifestyle of their Canaanite neighbors