1. Exposition

How many tribes are noted as failing?

Judges 1:27–33 (ESV)

27 Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shean and its villages, or Taanach and its villages, or the inhabitants of Dor and its villages, or the inhabitants of Ibleam and its villages, or the inhabitants of Megiddo and its villages, for the Canaanites persisted in dwelling in that land.

After the failure of Benjamin, six more tribes failed. In Judges 1:27–33, the phrase did not drive out appears seven times. The number seven in Scripture stands for completeness. Ivill explains:

This is not about geography but theology. Manasseh failed to drive them out because they persisted in dwelling in their land. While the Israelites did grow strong…and were even able to subject the Canaanites to forced labor, this was disobedience to God’s command to drive out the Canaanites completely. If they were strong enough to subject them to forced labor, they were strong enough to drive them out of the land…. This failure is the root cause of Israel’s apostasy that is recorded all through the book. All the 'ites' (Canaanites, Perizzites, etc.) were going to be seen as yikes for Israel’s spiritual health! It is important for us to recognize that spiritual disaster didn’t happen in a day. As the Israelites intermingled with the Canaanites and tolerated their existence in the land, they were subtly moving into spiritual decay. Isn’t this how it always is? We rarely set out for spiritual decay; it is usually a subtle moving away from the Lord and his Word. It is one compromise at a time that leads us further away from the Lord’s will for our lives.1