Where in the world is Canaan?

Canaanites as they were portrayed in the Ancient Egyptian "Book of Gates"  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canaan

Canaanites as they were portrayed in the Ancient Egyptian “Book of Gates” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canaan

 

Canaan, the land promised to Abram, was fully organized and occupied by the people called Canaanites.  Canaan was the fourth son of Ham and the brother of Mizraim, who is Egypt.  It was Canaan, the grandson of Noah, who Noah had cursed in Genesis 9:25.  His descendants are listed in Genesis 10:15-19.  They were the tribes that dwelt west of the Dead Sea and have conquered the whole area east of the Jordan River.  The Lord clearly told Moses and the Hebrews that they were to wipe out all of these people (Deuteronomy 7:1-5) when they took possession of their land.  This they did not and as a result, the Philistines became a deadly enemy throughout Israel’s history.  The Lord gave the land to Abraham’s descendants but he gave it to them “…little by little…”  (See Deuteronomy 7:22) until he felt they were ready to possess it.

Where is Canaan?  It is in the international cross-roads of the world at that time.  The Hebrews and later the Israelites, were placed in the cross-roads of the world, in the cross-hairs of the struggles of history’s great powers.  Because of this, they developed extensive cross-ties that influenced many cultures for thousands of years, up to, and including, today.


CHARACTERISTICS OF THE LAND.  The People.  There were 7 nations:  The Amorites; the Hittites; the Perrizites; the Canaanites; the Girgashites; the Hevites; and the Jebusites.

The tribes in Canaan worshipped Baal and his wife,Ashteroth, fertility deities with religious practices that involved temple prostitution, human sacrifice and orgies.  The discovery of Tell el-Amarna Letters revealed the name of Canaan (Kinakhna).  Later on, the Greeks called the Phoenicians this same name.  The Mesopotamian city of Nuzi called this land Kinahnu because of the red or purple-dye produced there.

map-7-nations-of-canaan_shgThe Land.  The land itself was fertile, overflowing with natural resources and criss-crossed by trade routes from both the land and the sea.  The Biblical image is “a land flowing with milk and honey.”  (Exodus 3:8).  As a side note, modern agricultural scientists have become increasingly aware of the importance of bees and their contribution to food production.  The numbers of food products totally reliant upon pollination for successful propagation is staggering.  Honey is not just a sweetener for God’s people, but the bees who make  it are critical parts of the sustainability of agricultural production.  God is making it clear to his people that he, not the pagan fertility gods like Baal, will provide for their needs.  Failure to grasp this by Israel’s kings leads to Israel’s exile and ruin.

Commerce.  Goods came from China:  frankincense, myrrh, coffee and porcelain.  From other countries passed through Canaan caravans with fabrics, spices like saffron, cinnamon, vanilla, pepper, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger.  An aromatic resin called ud (pronounced like wood) from the jungles in Borneo, Vietnam and Cambodia are traded in and pass through Canaan.  There is active trade in obsidian (a black stone for weapons & tools), turquoise, lapis lazuli, cooper, bronze, tin, iron, arsenic, glass, beads, silks and bitumen.  Canaan was and is a land rich in natural resources and commercial opportunities.  In 2000, for example, the Dead Sea produced for Israel $23.8 billion dollars worth of exported goods. arab-quarter-old_~k10201507

The Sinai with the Dead Sea lies between Canaan and Egypt:  a critically strategic zone for the Egyptian pharaohs.  The mines of copper, turquois and other minerals provided wealth for Egypt’s potentates.  Skipping ahead, Cleopatra became the richest queen of her time when Antony gifted to her the Dead Sea.

The Silk Road from China, meandering through central Asia and Northern India, Tibet and the Orient makes it way through Canaan.  When God chose Jerusalem for the Israelites, it was as it they pitched their tents at the nexus of I-75, I-85 and I-20 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Where is Canaan?  It is in the international cross-roads of the world at that time.  The Hebrews and later the Israelites, were placed in the cross-roads of the world, in the cross-hairs of the struggles of history’s great powers.  Because of this, they developed extensive cross-ties that influenced many cultures for thousands of years, up to, and including, today.

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