Jericho. By A. Sobkowski – Own work, Public Domain,

For over 50 years now, a school of thought associated with the names of the great German scholars Albrecht Alt and Martin Noth has espoused a particular view of what is described in the Bible as the Israelite conquest of Canaan. This view that there was no conquest but, in fact, a peaceful infiltration by way of transhumance—pastoralism, the herder’s trek—into hitherto unoccupied areas, particularly in the central hill country of Palestine.

This “infiltration” model has been accepted widely, inter alia, by several Israeli scholars, in particular by the late Yohanan Aharoni. Other interpretations of the Israelite occupation of Canaan have become fashionable in recent years, most notably the so-called “revolt” model. This model was first suggested by George Mendenhall of the University of Michigan and recently elaborated by Norman K. Gottwald in his adept book The Tribes of Yahweh (Mary-knoll- New York,1979).a

Both the “infiltration” model and the “revolt” model hold some truth. No doubt some peaceful infiltration and settlement occurred. No doubt there was dissension and some insurgence in the Canaanite cities, with some Canaanites even joining forces with the invading Israelites. Consider, for example, Rahab, the harlot, who let the Israelites into Jericho (Joshua 2) and the informer from Bethel who showed the Israelites the way into that city (Judges 1-24–25).

Read the rest of How Inferior Israelite Forces Conquered Fortified Canaanite Cities in the online Biblical Archaeology Society Library.