Were the inhabitants of Gibeon the Hivites (Joshua 11:19) or Amorites (2 Samuel 21:2)? Is there a contradiction?
The Amorites were highland dwellers. Easton’s Bible Dictionary calls them “warlike mountaineers.” The Amorites were not a single nation, but a description used to refer to several tribes in a particular region. Sihon and Og, were “two kings of the Amorites” who were contemporaries (Joshua 2:10). In Joshua 10:5, we read of the “five kings of the Amorites” who came up against the men of Gibeon and were killed by the Israelites. Their respective areas were Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon.
Deuteronomy 1:44 and Numbers 14:45 describe the same event, but Moses identified the enemy of Israel in one text as the Amorites, but in the latter as the Amalekites. The same is true of the texts of the Hivites (see Genesis 34:2; 48:22). Again, the Amorites are not a specific nation, but refers to multiple people in the same general region, whether they be Amalekites, Hivities, Jebusites, etc..
Who inhabited Gibeon? The Hivites according to Joshua 11:19; the Amorites according to 2 Samuel 21:2. However, if we don’t know how “Amorites” is used in the Bible, we may think this is a contradiction. It is not.
If someone identifies himself as a North American, we have a general idea where he is from. However, within the classification of “North American,” it is possible that he is from Canada, the United States or Mexico. Equally, an Amorite was from one of several tribes or peoples of highland dwellers in the land of Canaan.
There is no contradiction.
A response to 1001 Bible Contradictions.