Often throughout the Tanakh, you will see references to foreigners living the Holy Land, e.g. in Leviticus 19 I think.

Were these foreigners Noahides, and if not, why didn't they convert them so that no idolatry would happen?

If they were Noahides, please cite a source showing that they were.

  • In the Gemara (a tangent in Gittin), one is not required to let the non jewish poor glean from fields and vineyards, but by rabbinnic enactment. I have always heard that most references to "strangers" are converts, though there were certainly unconquered non Jews in the land as well as Gibeonites, who tricked Joshua into permitting them to stay in the land. There were idol worshippers in the land because: They were too strong to conquer, the Jews lacked the will to conquer them, Jews worshipped idols, they were of a country which Israel had diplomatic relations with. Sep 21, 2023 at 15:34
  • According to the Ibn Ezra, the reason why the "ger" is included in the gathering during hakhel, is due to the fact that they might convert see here
    – Shmuel
    Sep 21, 2023 at 15:51

1 Answer 1


It's not clear who was expelled from the Land, if anybody. In the Book of Judges, it says:

-And the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites that inhabited Jerusalem; but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem unto this day. [Judges 1:21]

-And Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-Shean and her towns, nor Taanach and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Dor and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Ibleam and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Megiddo and her towns; but the Canaanites continued to live in that land. [Judges 1:27]

-And Ephraim did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer; but the Canaanites lived in Gezer among them. [Judges 1:29]

-And Zebulun did not drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, nor the inhabitants of Nahalol; but the Canaanites lived among them… [Judges 1:30]

-And Asher did not drive out the inhabitants of Acco, nor the inhabitants of Sidon, nor of Ahlab, nor of Achzib, nor of Helbah, nor of Aphik, nor of Rehob; but the sons of Asher lived among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land; for they did not drive them out. [Judges 1:31-2]

-And Naphtali did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-Shemesh, nor the inhabitants of Beth-Anath; but he lived among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land… [Judges 1:33]

and finally:

-And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. [Judges 3:5]

  • 1
    Did you accidentally paste this on the wrong question? Bc I asked if the foreigners living in the Holy Land were Noahides or not, and if not, why they didn't try to convert them and instead let idolatry happen?
    – setszu
    Sep 22, 2023 at 0:28
  • Nevermind, I'm the one who's confused
    – setszu
    Sep 22, 2023 at 0:29
  • -1 The book of Judges, as a whole, describes the situation and events that took place between the passing of Joshua, and the crowning of Saul. It ends with (Judges 21:25): "In those days there was no king in Israel...". The OP asks about during the times of the Monarchy, when Israelites had control of most, if not all, of the land.
    – Tamir Evan
    Sep 22, 2023 at 11:25
  • There is no record in the Tanakh of things changing in that respect with the advent of the monarchy. Sep 22, 2023 at 12:17

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