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Study Resources :: Dictionaries :: Canaanites

Dictionaries :: Canaanites

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Below are articles from the following 2 dictionaries:
Easton's Bible Dictionary

Canaanites:

the descendants of Canaan, the son of Ham. Migrating from their original home, they seem to have reached the Persian Gulf, and to have there sojourned for some time. They thence "spread to the west, across the mountain chain of Lebanon to the very edge of the Mediterranean Sea, occupying all the land which later became Palestine, also to the north-west as far as the mountain chain of Taurus. This group was very numerous, and broken up into a great many peoples, as we can judge from the list of nations (Gen 10), the 'sons of Canaan.'" Six different tribes are mentioned in Exd 3:8, 17; 23:23; 33:2; 34:11. In Exd 13:5 the "Perizzites" are omitted. The "Girgashites" are mentioned in addition to the foregoing in Deu 7:1; Jos 3:10.

The "Canaanites," as distinguished from the Amalekites, the Anakim, and the Rephaim, were "dwellers in the lowlands" (Num 13:29), the great plains and valleys, the richest and most important parts of Palestine. Tyre and Sidon, their famous cities, were the centres of great commercial activity; and hence the name "Canaanite" came to signify a "trader" or "merchant" (Job 41:6; Pro 31:24, lit. "Canaanites; Zep 1:11; Eze 17:4). The name "Canaanite" is also sometimes used to designate the non-Israelite inhabitants of the land in general (Gen 12:6; Num 21:3; Jdg 1:10).

The Israelites, when they were led to the Promised Land, were commanded utterly to destroy the descendants of Canaan then possessing it (Exd 23:23; Num 33:52,53; Deu 20:16,17). This was to be done "by little and little," lest the beasts of the field should increase (Exd 23:29; Deu 7:22,23). The history of these wars of conquest is given in the Book of Joshua. The extermination of these tribes, however, was never fully carried out. Jerusalem was not taken till the time of David (2Sa 5:6,7). In the days of Solomon bond-service was exacted from the fragments of the tribes still remaining in the land (1Ki 9:20,21). Even after the return from captivity survivors of five of the Canaanitish tribes were still found in the land.

In the Tell-el-Amarna tablets Canaan is found under the forms of Kinakhna and Kinakhkhi. Under the name of Kanana the Canaanites appear on Egyptian monuments, wearing a coat of mail and helmet, and distinguished by the use of spear and javelin and the battle-axe. They were called Phoenicians by the Greeks and Poeni by the Romans. By race the Canaanites were Semitic. They were famous as merchants and seamen, as well as for their artistic skill. The chief object of their worship was the sun-god, who was addressed by the general name of Baal, "lord." Each locality had its special Baal, and the various local Baals were summed up under the name of Baalim, "lords."

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The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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