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The Perizzites (Hebrew: פְּרִזִּי, romanizedpərīṣṣī) are a group of people mentioned many times in the Bible as having lived in the land of Canaan before the arrival of the Israelites. The name may be related to a Hebrew term meaning "rural person."[1]


Biblical mentions of Perizzites extend from the time of Abraham (Genesis 13:7) to the time of Ezra and Nehemiah (Ezra 9:1–2). According to Michael LeFebvre, Ezra's reference to the Perizzites does not imply that a group still known as Perizzites existed in the land in Ezra's time. It is instead to be understood as a literary reference by Ezra to passages such as Exodus 34:11–16, Exodus 33:2 and Deuteronomy 7:1–5, which prohibited intermarriage with a variety of non-Israelite peoples, including Perizzites, among others.[2]

The time during which Perizzites were most in conflict with the Israelites seems to be the time of Joshua into the early period of the Judges.

According to the Book of Joshua, the Perizzites were in the hill country of Judah and Ephraim (Joshua 11:3, 17:14–15). According to 1 Kings 9:21, they were enslaved by Solomon.

According to Hittitologist Trevor R. Bryce, "The Perizzites cannot be linked to any peoples or lands known from extra-biblical sources" but there are speculative links to the Hivites and the Jebusites, who may have originated from a region called Que in Assyrian sources or Kue/Quoah in biblical sources.[3]

Jewish Encyclopedia entry[edit]

Canaanitish tribe settled in the south of Canaan between Hor and Negeb, although it is not mentioned in the genealogy in Gen. x. According to the Biblical references, Abraham, when he entered Canaan, found the Perizzites dwelling near the Canaanites (ib. xiii. 7), and God promised to destroy both these peoples (ib. xv. 20). Jacob reproved his sons because of the crime of Shechem, inasmuch as he feared the Perizzites and the Canaanites (ib. xxxiv. 30). Moses promised the Israelites to bring them unto the place of the Perizzites and the Amorites (Ex. xxx. 8); and at a later time the tribes of Simeon and Judah conquered the Canaanites and the Perizzites (Judges i. 4). The Perizzites were among the tribes that were not subjected to tribute by Solomon (I Kings ix. 20–22), while the complaint was brought to Ezra that the priests and the Levites would not separate themselves from the Perizzites and the other peoples of the land (Ezra ix. 1).

The view was formerly held that the Perizzites were a prehistoric tribe which became assimilated to the Canaanites when the latter invaded Canaan; but this is in contradiction to the fact that the Perizzites are not mentioned in the genealogy. More recent commentators are of the opinion that the names "Perizi" and "Perazi" are identical, and that the Bible has included under the name "Perizzites" all stocks dwelling in unwalled towns.

New Research Reveals[edit]

DEUTERONOMY 7:1-2 ,“When the LORD your God brings you into the land that you are entering to take possession of it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations more numerous and mightier than you, and when the LORD your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them, then you must devote them to complete destruction. You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them."All the people groups mentioned here have biblical lineages to the people of Canaan and specifically “Canaan, son of Ham.” However, the Perizzites are not mentioned in any biblical genealogy or narrative. Most people groups in the Old Testament are reasonably traced to their genealogical origins or geographic regions that identify the various nations and cultures. However, the Perizzites are an exception. The Perizzites rise as a formidable force before Israel’s entry into the land of Canaan but eventually disintegrate or assimilate without much trace or information.

The biblical and archaeological evidence will show that much of the land that Israel occupied by the end of the Late Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age was occupied by the Perizzites, specifically in the critical geographical areas of the central hill country of Ephraim and Manasseh. On the surface, very little is known about these Perizzites, other than the fact that they are listed as indigenous people in the Land of Canaan (Exod. 3:17, Deut. 7:1-2, Josh. 3:10). This study will bring to light the origin of the Perizzites and their influence on the early life of the nation of Israel. Although their name is vaguely known, their influence and cultural practices help lead Israel astray and perpetually becomes a covenant failure on behalf of God’s people. A brief reflection on the persistent sin of the Northern Kingdom of Israel and their kings are evaluated in order to assess the influence of the Perizzites, relative to religious practices, geography, and assimilation of various people groups in the Southern Levant.

This same type of evidence leads to the conclusion that the Perizzites are most probable descendants of the Phoenicians and therefore offspring of Sidon, the “first son” of Canaan, son of Ham, and son of Noah. The Perizzites do have a unique place in history and should not be ignored or jettisoned. God used the Perizzites as an example of His providence and patience to the nation of Israel. God enabled His purpose to be revealed through His faithfulness and the forced movement of the Perizzites, and other Canaanite tribes, throughout the central hill country of Canaan. The research will show that the Perizzites are more than simply a group of “unwalled villagers” or “rural dwellers” that briefly occupied the central hill country. Perhaps their name lends better to the unwalled hearts of the Israelites that took their land but also coveted their gods, their people, and their depraved practices.[4]

Keywords: Perizzites, Land of Canaan, Genealogy of Canaan, Late Bronze Age, Early Iron Age, Baal, Ashtoreth, Phoenicians, Sidonians, Central Hill Country, Ephraim, Manasseh, Israel, Northern Kingdom of Israel



  1. ^ For the etymology, see David Noel Freedman; Allen C. Myers (31 December 2000). Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible. Amsterdam University Press. p. 1030. ISBN 978-9-05356-503-2.
  2. ^ Michael LeFebvre (1 October 2006). Collections, Codes, and Torah: The Re-characterization of Israel's Written Law. A&C Black. p. 114. ISBN 978-0-56702-882-2.
  3. ^ Trevor Bryce (15 March 2012). The World of The Neo-Hittite Kingdoms: A Political and Military History. Oxford University Press. p. 66. ISBN 978-0-19921-872-1.
  4. ^ "The Lost Tribe of the Perizzites". Online Memorial Single-Page. Retrieved 2024-05-10.

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