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.