Ancient Canaanites

This wall relief from Egypt reveals an image of an ancient Canaanite. The Bible reveals that Canaan was the fourth son of Ham and brother of Mizraim, who is Egypt. It was Canaan, the grandson of Noah who Noah had cursed in Genesis 9:25. The descendants of Canaan are listed in Genesis 10:15-19. The Canaanites actually became a general term for "all the inhabitants" of the land of ancient Israel, and especially to the tribe who dwelt west of the Dead Sea and had conquered the whole area east of the Jordan River. 

The Canaanites worshipped Baal, and his wife Ashteroth, fertility deities. There religion involved temple prostitution, human sacrifice and orgies. 

These cursed people were eventually annihilated, for the most part, by the Israelites. The Lord commanded Israel to utterly destroy them, but they fell short. The Philistines became a deadly enemy throughout Israel's history.

The discovery of the Tell el-Amarna Letters reveal the name of Canaan (Kinakhna). The Greeks later identified this same name (Chna) with the Phoenicians.

This wall relief discovery of an ancient Canaanite is important in the study of Biblical Archaeology. It confirms the Biblical account of the people know and the Canaanites. Many high places of Baal and Ashteroth have been excavated revealing their religious practices and child sacrifice.

"When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, [and] utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them: Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly. But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire." - Deuteronomy 7:1-5

"And Canaan begat Sidon his firstborn, and Heth, And the Jebusite, and the Amorite, and the Girgasite, And the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite, And the Arvadite, and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite: and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad. And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as thou comest to Gerar, unto Gaza; as thou goest, unto Sodom, and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim, even unto Lasha." - Genesis 10:15-19

Images may be used for non-commercial use.

Biblical Archaeology

Return to Bible History Online