Who conquered the Canaanites? Was it Joshua (Joshua 11:23) or Judah (Judges 1:1, 4)? Is there a contradiction?
The conquest of the land of Canaan by Israel is detailed in the book of Joshua. The central campaign is discussed in chapters 6-8, the southern campaign in chapters 9-10, and the northern campaign in chapter 11. Joshua was the leader of the nation through the conquest. A summary of their battles is provided in Joshua 11:16-12:24.
Despite all the victories listed in the above texts, there still remained much for the people of Israel to do. When Joshua was an old man, the LORD said to him:
…there remains very much land yet to be possessed. This is the land that yet remains: all the territory of the Philistines and all that of the Geshurites, from Sihor, which is east of Egypt, as far as the border of Ekron northward (which is counted as Canaanite); the five lords of the Philistines—the Gazites, the Ashdodites, the Askelonites, the Gittites, and the Ekronites; also the Avites; from the south, all the land of the Canaanites, and Mearah that belongs to the Sidonians as far as Aphek, to the border of the Amorites; the land of the Gebalites, and all Lebanon, toward the sunrise, from Baal Gad below Mount Hermon as far as the entrance to Hamath; all the inhabitants of the mountains from Lebanon as far as the Brook Misrephoth, and all the Sidonians… (Joshua 13:1-6)
The whole land was taken by the Israelites, such that the division between the tribes could take place (Joshua 11:23), but scattered throughout the land were pockets of Canaanite people. That is why when we get to Judges 1, after Joshua’s death, the people are preparing to go into battle against the Canaanites.
There is no contradiction.
A response to 1001 Bible Contradictions.