- Bible Reference: 1 Chronicles 2:3
- Included in Eastons: Yes
- Included in Hitchcocks: No
- Included in Naves: No
- Included in Smiths: No
- Included in Websters: No
- Included in Strongs: Yes
- Included in Thayers: No
- Included in BDB: Yes
- H3669 Used 1 time
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 (Genesis 10), the sons of Canaan.'" Six different tribes are mentioned in Exodus 3:8, 17; 23:23; 33:2; 34:11. In Exodus 13:5 the "Perizzites" are omitted. The "Girgashites" are mentioned in addition to the foregoing in Deuteronomy 7:1; Joshua 3:10.
The "Canaanites," as distinguished from the Amalekites, the Anakim, and the Rephaim, were "dwellers in the lowlands" (Numbers 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; Proverbs 31:24, lit. "Canaanites;" comp. Zephaniah 1:11; Ezekiel 17:4). The name "Canaanite" is also sometimes used to designate the non-Israelite inhabitants of the land in general (Genesis 12:6; Numbers 21:3; Judges 1:10).
The Israelites, when they were led to the Promised Land, were commanded utterly to destroy the descendants of Canaan then possessing it (Exodus 23:23; Numbers 33:52, 53; Deuteronomy 20:16, 17). This was to be done "by little and little," lest the beasts of the field should increase (Exodus 23:29; Deuteronomy 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 (2 Samuel 5:6, 7). In the days of Solomon bond-service was exacted from the fragments of the tribes still remaining in the land (1 Kings 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."
Defeated by the Egyptians
1 Kings 9:16
Isaac forbidden by Abraham to take a wife from
The exile Jews take wives from
a word used in two senses:
- A tribe which inhabited a particular locality of the land west of the Jordan before the conquest; and
- The people who inhabited generally the whole of that country.
- In (Genesis 10:18-20) the seats of the Canaanite tribe are given as on the seashore and in the Jordan valley; comp. (Joshua 11:3)
- Applied as a general name to the non-Isr'lite inhabitants of the land, as we have already seen was the case with "Canaan." Instances of this are, (Genesis 12:6; Numbers 21:3) The Canaanites were descendants of Canaan. Their language was very similar to the Hebrew. The Canaanites were probably given to commerce; and thus the name became probably in later times an occasional synonym for a merchant.