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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Hebrews Kena'an, כְּנ עִן, perhaps low; Sept. and N.T. Χαναάν ; Josephus Χανάανος ), the name of a man and of a country peopled by his descendants.

1. The fourth son of Ham, and grandson of Noah (Genesis 10:6; 1 Chronicles 1:8; comp. Josephus, Ant. 1:6, 4). B.C. post 2514. Thetransgression of his father Ham (Genesis 9:22-27), to which some suppose Canaan to have been in some way a party, gave occasion to Noah to pronounce that doom on the descendants of Canaan which was, perhaps, at that moment made known to him by one of those extemporaneous inspirations with which the patriarchal fathers appear in other instances to have been favored. (See BLESSING). That there is nojust ground for the conclusion that the descendants of Canaan were cursed as an immediate consequence of the transgression of Ham, is shown by Professor Bush, who, in his Notes on Genesis, has fairly met the difficulties of the subject. (See HAM).

The posterity of Canaan was numerous. His eldest son, Zidon, founded the city of the same name, and was father of the Sidonians and Phoenicians. Canaan had ten other sons, who were fathers of as many tribes, dwelling in Palestine and Syria (Genesis 10:15-19; 1 Chronicles 1:13). It is believed that Canaan lived and died in Palestine, which from him was called the land of Canaan. (See CANAANITE).

2. The simple name "Canaan" is sometimes employed for the country itself more generally styled "the land of C." It is so in Zephaniah 2:5; and we also find "Language of C." (Isaiah 19:18); "Wars of C." (Judges 3:1); "Inhabitants of C." (Exodus 15:15); "King of C." (Judges 4:2; Judges 4:23-24; Judges 5:19); "Daughters of C." (Genesis 28:1; Genesis 28:6; Genesis 28:8; Genesis 36:2); "Kingdoms of C." (Psalms 135:11). In addition to the above, the word occurs in several passages where it is concealed in the Auth. Vers. by being translated. These are, Isaiah 23:8, "traffickers," and Isaiah 23:11, "the merchant city;" Hosea 12:2, "He is a merchant;" Zephaniah 1:11, "merchant-people." (See COMMERCE).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Canaan'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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Canaan, Language of
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