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Canaan is an ancient term for a geographical area that encompassed modern day Israel, the West Bank, and some land east of the Jordan River, the land and home of the ancient Canaanites. The people who inhabited the region, the Canaanites, were an abomination in the sight of God, engaging in all forms of detestable practices including human sacrifice. The land was promised to the descendants of Abraham by God. The land of Canaan became the kingdom of Israel as the Hebrews, under Joshua, came to take the land they had been promised around 1400 B.C.

Canaan is also the name of one of the sons of Ham. He was Noah's grandson and his descendants settled in the land that came to bear his name. He was cursed by Noah, apparently for his evil ways. (Genesis 9:25)


Canaan opposed to Aram is the term used to describe lowlands in Ancient Semitic West Arabian dialects (Amorite).

The ancient West Arabians (Amorites) branched into three main groups:

Aramean meaning the highlanders of the North (Syria and Interior Lebanon) West Cannanites the lowlanders of Phoenicia and Philistia (Modern Israel, Coastal Lebanon and Jordan) East Cannanites the lowlanders of the old Babylonian kingdom (Modern Western/Southwest Iraq)

The East Canaanites will move to the lands of the West Canaanites in the 17th century BC, after the fall of the Old Babylonian kingdom. Some will stay in Canaan and some will dwell into Egypt (The Hyksos). Moses will escape into the promised land around the 1540s settling Southern Canaan in the 1400s BC.