Christian Churches of God

No. 45E




Sons of Ham: Part V



(Edition 1.5 20070920-20071008)


Canaan is a most important historical character and features prominently in the Bible. Understanding who his descendants are is important for an understanding of modern nations and the unfolding of Bible prophecy.






Christian Churches of God

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Sons of Ham Part V: Canaan




Canaan is recorded as the fourth son of Ham in the list of nations in Genesis 10 and 1Chronicles 1. The name Canaan or Kenaan means lowland (SHD 3667; also SGD 5477).


Genesis 10:6  The sons of Ham: Cush, Egypt, Put, and Canaan. (RSV)


Canaan was also the progenitor of a number of distinguished tribes, most of whom are well known in both biblical and secular history, including the Phoenicians, who were originally descended from his son Sidon, and the Southern Hittites from another son, Heth.


The Phoenicians eventually became a great trading alliance of Tarshish as well as Sidon and Tyre, all of whom assisted Israel in its trading endeavours under David and Solomon. This alliance eventually became the Punic civilisation from Carthage and included Edomites.


The Hittite Empire was a large aggregation of people, which included the sons of Gomer in what is now Turkey, based at Troy and to the East and North. Even the sons of Cush from Ethiopia took part in the Trojan war that ended in 1054 BCE, as allies of the Hittites (see Sons of Ham: Part II Cush (No. 45B).


Each of the sons of Canaan and their descendants will be discussed later in this paper.


The Canaanites

The Jewish historian Josephus wrote the following concerning Canaan and his sons:


Canaan, the fourth son of Ham, inhabited the country now called Judea, and called it from his own name Canaan. The children of these [four] were these: Sabas, who founded the Sabeans; Evilas, who founded the Evileans, who are called Getuli; Sabathes founded the Sabathens, they are now called by the Greeks Astaborans; Sabactas settled the Sabactens; and Ragmus the Ragmeans; and he had two sons, the one of whom, Judadas, settled the Judadeans, a nation of the western Ethiopians, and left them his name; as did Sabas to the Sabeans: but Nimrod, the son of Chus, stayed and tyrannized at Babylon, as we have already informed you.


The sons of Canaan were these: Sidonius, who also built a city of the same name; it is called by the Greeks Sidon; Amathus inhabited in Amathine, which is even now called Amathe by the inhabitants, although the Macedonians named it Epiphania, from one of his posterity: Arudeus possessed the island Aradus: Arucas possessed Arce, which is in Libanus. But for the seven others, [Eueus,] Chetteus, Jebuseus, Amorreus, Gergesus, Eudeus, Sineus, Samareus, we have nothing in the sacred books but their names, for the Hebrews overthrew their cities; and their calamities came upon them on the occasion following. (Antiq. Jews, I, vi, 2)


Josephus does not give the full extent of the area, as they inhabited what became known as Palestine and the surrounding areas including what became Judea and Galilee and Lebanon and into Syria. The Philistines in Gaza were not sons of Canaan, however. They were sons of Mizraim who was a large element of E3b. The current Lebanese in Tyre are K2, which is not a Canaanite lineage. It is Javanite of the Mediterranean Islands including Malta.


The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (ISBE) provides a comprehensive description of Canaan and the Canaanites. Part of the relevant article reads:


In Numbers 13:29 the Canaanites are described as dwelling "by the sea, and along by the side of the Jordan," i.e. in the lowlands of Palestine. The name was confined to the country West of the Jordan (Num. 33:51; Josh. 22:9), and was especially applied to Phoenicia (Isa. 23:11) …


As the Phoenicians were famous as traders, it has been supposed that the name "Canaanite" is a synonym of "merchant" in certain passages of the Old Testament. The pursuit of trade, however, was characteristic only of the maritime cities of Phoenicia, not of the Canaanitish towns conquered by the Israelites. In Isa 23:11 we should translate "Canaan" (as the Septuagint) instead of "merchant city" (the King James Version); in Ho 12:7 (8), "as, for Canaan" (Septuagint), instead of "he is a merchant" (the King James Version); in Ze 1:11, "people of Canaan" (Septuagint), instead of "merchant people" (the King James Version); on the other hand, "Canaanite" seems to have acquired the sense of "merchant," as "Chaldean" did of "astrologer," …


The ISBE entry states further that, during the Bronze Age, the “name of Amorite has been given to it, this being the name under which the Semitic population of Canaan was known to the Babylonians”, for Canaan had become part of the Babylonian empire for a while. Also, “colonies of "Amorites" engaged in trade were settled in the cities of Babylonia”. The article continues:


After the fall of the Dynasty of Ur, Babylonia was itself conquered by the Amorites who founded the dynasty to which Khammurabi, the Amraphel of Ge 14:1, belonged …. In an inscription found near Diarbekir the only title given to Khammu-rabi is "king of the land of the Amorites." Babylonian now became the official, literary and commercial language of Canaan, and schools were established there in which the cuneiform script was taught. Canaanitish culture became wholly Babylonian; even its theology and gods were derived from Babylonia. …


The gods and goddesses of Babylonia migrated to Canaan; places received their names from Nebo or Nin-ip; Hadad became Amurru "the Amorite god"; Ishtar passed into Ashtoreth, and Asirtu, the female counterpart of Asir, the national god of Assyria, became Asherah, while her sanctuary, which in Assyria was a temple, was identified in Canaan with the old fetish of an upright stone or log. But human sacrifice, and more especially the sacrifice of the firstborn son, of which we find few traces in Babylonia, continued to be practiced with undiminished frequency until, as we learn from the excavations, the Israelite conquest brought about its suppression.


Under the heading ‘Egyptian Conquest’, the ISBE states that: “the Pharaohs of the XVIIIth Dynasty expelled the Hyksos and conquered Palestine and Syria. For about 200 years Canaan was an Egyptian province”. Also, under ‘Commerce’, the entry reads:


The position of Canaan made it the meeting-place of the commercial routes of the ancient world. The fleets of the Phoenician cities are celebrated in the Tell el-Amarna Letters, and it is probable that they were already engaged in the purple trade. The inland towns of Canaan depended not only on agriculture but also on a carrying trade: caravans as well as "commercial travelers" (damgari) came to them from Cappadocia, Babylonia and Egypt.


Bronze, silver, lead, and painted ware were brought from Asia Minor, together with horses; naphtha was exported to Babylonia in return for embroidered stuffs; copper came from Cyprus, richly chased vessels of the precious metals from Crete and corn from Egypt. Baltic amber has been found at Lachish, where a furnace with iron slag, discovered in the third Amorite city, shows that the native iron was worked before the age of the Israelite conquest. The manufacture of glass goes back to the same epoch.  (ISBE)


Under the heading “Canaan, Language of”, the McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia (MSE) states that:

(/u^n~K= tp^c=‎, lip of Canaan), occurs Isa 19:18, where it undoubtedly designates the language spoken by the Jews dwelling in Palestine. That the language spoken by the Canaanites was substantially identical with Hebrew appears, 1. From the fact that the proper names of Canaanitish persons and places are Hebrew, and can be accounted for etymologically from the Hebrew as readily as Hebrew proper names themselves (thus we have Abimelech, Kirjath-Sapher, etc.); 2. Close as was the intercourse of the Hebrews with the Canaanites, there is no hint of their needing any interpreter to mediate between them, which renders it probable that their respective languages were so nearly allied to each other as to be substantially the same; 3. The remains of the Phoenician language, which was undoubtedly Canaanitish, bear the closest analogy to the Hebrew, and are best explained from it, which proves them to be substantially the same language (Bochart, Geogr. Sacr. 2, col. 699 sq., ed. 1682).


The MSE further indicates (under the heading, “CANAANITES”) the languages were the same from the fact that Abram and Jacob, shortly after their entrance to the country, seem able to hold converse with them, and also that the names of Canaanite persons and places which we possess are translatable into Hebrew. Such are Melchizedek, Hamor, Shechem, Sisera, Ephrath, and also a great number of the names of places. (See also their reference to Gesenius, Hebr. Spr., pp. 223-225.)


Sons of Canaan

The eleven sons of Canaan or the tribes they founded are listed in 1Chronicles 1:13-16. Each of these will be discussed in order.


1Chronicles 1:13-16  Canaan was the father of Sidon his first-born, and Heth, 14 and the Jeb'usites, the Am'orites, the Gir'gashites, 15 the Hivites, the Arkites, the Sinites, 16 the Ar'vadites, the Zem'arites, and the Ha'mathites. (RSV)


The apocryphal Book of Jasher, chapter 10, gives additional details on the descendants of Canaan.


24 And the children of Canaan also built themselves cities, and they called their cities after their names, eleven cities and others without number. 25 And four men from the family of Ham went to the land of the plain; these are the names of the four men, Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboyim. 26 And these men built themselves four cities in the land of the plain, and they called the names of their cities after their own names. 27 And they and their children and all belonging to them dwelt in those cities, and they were fruitful and multiplied greatly and dwelt peaceably. 28 And Seir the son of Hur, son of Hivi, son of Canaan, went and found a valley opposite to Mount Paran, and he built a city there, and he and his seven sons and his household dwelt there, and he called the city which he built Seir, according to his name; that is the land of Seir unto this day.



The name of Canaan’s first-born son, Sidon or Zidon (SHD 6721, tsiydon), means hunting, from the root tsud, to hunt. The Akkadians called the people of this city Sidunu, and the Tell el-Amarna tablets from Egypt referred to them as Sa’idunu. Josephus used the name Sidonius for both the patriarch and the city he founded (AJ, I, vi, 2).  Today it is the third largest city in Lebanon and is located on the Mediterranean coast about 25 miles north of Tyre.


Sidon is mentioned several times in the New Testament. Christ prophesied that in the Last Days, Jerusalem will suffer more than the city of Sidon did during its destruction (Mat. 11:21-22). In Luke 4:26, we see Christ visiting a Sidonian woman in the town of Sarepta.



Heth is alleged to be the father of the famous Hittites. However, there are several problems with the allocation of this name to the Hittite Empire. The biblical writers tend to allocate the name Hittite to every one of the peoples that comprised the ancient Hittite Empire, which virtually occupied all of central Anatolia and contained the ancient Assyrians from at least 2000 BCE. The original Hittites spoke a non-Indo-European language termed Hattic or proto-Hittite (Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, art. ‘Hittites’, Vol. 2, p. 612).


This language is known to us only from scattered personal and geographical names in the Ancient Assyrian texts from Cappadocia (ca. 2000 BCE) and from a small number of inscriptions a few centuries later. Indo-Europeans invaded this area and expanded the Hittite kingdom into a huge empire covering vast areas of Anatolia and Syria. Their furthest expedition south was marked by the conquest of Babylon by the Hittite King Mursilis ca. 1600 BCE. We know of them from this event and the mentions in the Old Testament ca. 1200 BCE or earlier.


The Hittite Empire was broken up by the invasions of the ancient Aegean and Mediterranean Alliance that culminated after a struggle of over 200 years, with the war waged by what we understand as the Greeks, as told by Homer in the Iliad. This was against the centre of the kingdom of Wilusia at Troy and it fell in 1054 after a ten-year war. However, the break-up of the Hittites was contributed to by the Thracians (sons of Tiras) whose close relatives, the Phrygians, played an important part. This Northern Hittite Empire and the Thracians will be dealt with in the papers concerning the Sons of Japheth, where the story rightly belongs.


After this collapse, a state of darkness descended over Anatolia. The whole area was divided into small kingdoms and principalities with its main centres at Kayseri, Tyana, and Malatya in Anatolia, and Carchemish, Aleppo and Hamath in Northern Syria. These states were conquered and absorbed into the expanding Syrian Empire, which up until this time had been contained in the West by the Hittites (cf. Interp. Dict., ibid.). The fall of Carchemish in 717 BCE to the Assyrian king Sargon II saw the end of the small independent Hittite states. It is for this reason that the Sons of Heth in Canaan’s area of settlement are identified as the source of the Hittite Empire, which is quite incorrect. The Sons of Heth were merely the southernmost branch of the Hatti and Kalti that formed the empire we know as the Hittites. The Northern Branch, called the Keltoi by the Greeks (cf. Homer’s Iliad) was the progenitor of what we know as the European Gomerite Celts. The Magogites, although to the east of them, were also allies and were called Scythians, and were also identified as Celts; but their language was not the same form.


Carchemish was also to see the transfer of power to the Babylonians in 605 BCE when Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon assumed the throne.


Heth has a name that means terror (SHD 2845, cheth), perhaps from his (and the tribe’s) seriously warlike nature. In the LXX they are known as the Chettaioi. Heth was the second son of Canaan. As with the Philistines, there are many references to his descendants in both the Bible and secular sources. They were known as Chatti to the Assyrians and Kheta or Cheta’las to the Egyptians. Hence the name Hatti as the Southern Hittites.


As stated, the western branch of the Hittite Alliance was the kingdom of Wilusia whose capital was at Troy. Troy was to become the centre of the conflict of two civilisations over 200 years. Troy was aided by the Northerners and those branches of the Hatti and their allies as far south as Ethiopia. They are not and never were confined to the sons of Heth.


In its article on the Hittites, the ISBE has the following:


The "sons of Heth" are noticed 12 times and the Hittites 48 times in the Old Testament. In 21 cases the name occurs in the enumeration of races, in Syria and Canaan, which are said (Ge 10:6 f) to have been akin to the early inhabitants of Chaldea and Babylon.


From at least 2000 BC this population [of northern Hittites?] is known, from monumental records, to have been partly Semitic and partly Mongolic; and the same mixed race is represented by the Hittite records recently discovered in Cappadocia and Pontus. Thus, while the Canaanites ("lowlanders"), Amorites (probably "highlanders"), Hivites ("tribesmen") and Perizzites ("rustics") bear Semitic titles, the Hittites, Jebusites and Girgashites appear to have non-Sem[itic] names. …


In later times the "land of the Hittites" (Jos 1:4; Jud 1:26) was in Syria and near the Euphrates …; though Uriah (2Sa 11) lived in Jerusalem, and Ahimelech (1Sa 26:6) followed David. In the time of Solomon (1Ki 10:29), the "kings of the Hittites" are mentioned with the "kings of Syria," and were still powerful a century later (2Ki 7:6). Solomon himself married Hittite wives (1Ki 11:1), and a few Hittites seem still to have been left in the South (2Ch 8:7), even in his time, if not after the captivity (Ezr 9:1; Ne 9:8).


Following the Egyptian invasions up to Carchemish on the Euphrates river during the XVIIIth (Theban) Dynasty, the Hittites, although still relatively powerful, became tributaries to the Egyptians. Tutmoses IV, grandfather of Pharaoh Akhenaton, wrote of his campaign against the Land of Kheta.


Over the next few centuries, the Egyptians and Hittites appeared regularly at war with one another. During the XIXth Dynasty, however, Rameses II and the Hittite king Chattusil enacted a treaty (engraved on an extant silver tablet), in which, “the two "great kings" treated together as equals, and formed a defensive and offensive alliance, with extradition clauses which show the advanced civilization of the age”, as the ISBE entry states.


It appears that the Northern Hittites included those described as Mongoloid peoples. The land of Khatti, called Khus, was the home of the original Northern Cushites. They became the progenitors of the Mongols as we see from the YDNA C Haplogroup present in NW Africa and in the Mongols. They moved northeast out of Anatolia into Asia proper. The ISBE article gives further details about this aspect, including the Mongol connection to the Hittite language.


The questions of race and language in early times, before the early stocks were mixed or decayed, cannot be dissociated, and we have abundant evidence of the racial type and characteristic dress of the Hittites. The late Dr. Birch of the British Museum pointed out the Mongol character of the Hittite type, and his opinion has been very generally adopted. In 1888 Dr. Sayce (The Hittites, 15, 101) calls them "Mongoloid," and says, "They had in fact, according to craniologists, the characteristics of a Mongoloid race." This was also the opinion of Sir W. Flower.


The fact of the matter is that the Hittites were a mixture of Japhethitic and Hamitic peoples and their languages were numerous, as we see from the account of the Fall of Troy in the Iliad. We have found Mongoloid remains with Melanesoids and Eskimoids in China in the Chekoutien cave in the same family group. They were widespread in Asia (see the paper Sons of Ham: Part II Cush (No. 45B)). We now know that the Mongols were Hg C or Northern Cushites and the Chinese were in the main Hg O from entirely different ancestors (see Genetic Origin of the Nations (No. 265) and Creation: From Anthropomorphic Theology to Theomorphic Anthropology (B5)).


We now know that this northern branch of the Cushites went into Asia. From their common ancestral YDNA at M168 and P9 they split into the Hamitic groups C, D, and E, with F becoming the root ancestral group for all Semite and Japhethite lineages. The sons of Canaan appear to have all been developed from Haplogroup E, as were the sons of Mizraim or Egypt.


Under the heading ‘Religion’, the ISBE entry again speaks (probably) of the Northern Hittites.


The Hittites like their neighbors adored many gods. Besides Set (or Sutekh), the "great ruler of heaven," and Ishtar (Ashtoreth), we also find mentioned (in Chattusil’s treaty) gods and goddesses of "the hills and rivers of the land of the Chatti," "the great sea, the winds and the clouds." … They also believed in demons, like the Akkadians and others. … The religious symbolism, like the names of deities, thus suggests a close connection with the emblems and beliefs of the Kassites and Akkadians.


As we saw, the Northern Hittites became known to the Greeks as Keltoi, the same as those called Celts, who had migrated westwards into Europe and the British Isles. In his book The Hittites, the author Johannes Lehmann writes of a possible German connection with the Hittites.


We now know that the Hittites were Indo-Germans – or, to use the more up-to-date and accurate term, Indo-Europeans – whose laboriously inscribed cuneiform texts embody words still current among the Germans of today. …


Their language was Indo-European, but the Celts were a mixture of the sons of Gomer and the sons of Magog as we now know from the YDNA structures of both groups. The sons of Magog were Scythian Celts whilst the western Celts in Anatolia were sons of Riphath, and the Anglo-Saxons were a combination of Gomer and Tiras and the Sons of Shem. We will deal with these aspects in the papers on the Sons of Japheth. Lehmann continues:


In his Germania, the Roman historian [Tacitus] mentions some tribes that appeared between the Rhine and the Weser during the centuries immediately preceding our era. Called the Chatti, they were a tough and warlike people who excelled their neighbours in the martial arts (Germania, xxix et seq.) These Chatti, whose name gradually became modified to Catti and, much later, Hassi, were the forefathers of the Hessians of central Germany (Wm. Collins Ltd, London, 1977, transl. from German by J.M. Brownjohn, pp. 9, 80).


Their YDNA, however, is not Hamitic but Japhethitic and Semitic being R1b (R1b1c) and I Haplogroups. In other words, they are the same or similar YDNA combination as the Anglo-Saxons and the Celts. They were the Northern Hatti or Kalti of the Hittite Alliance who were not predominantly Hamitic.


We can thus see that Heth was part of a major alliance. The Exodus and the occupation of Canaan by Israel were made possible by expansion of the Northern Hittites (Kalti) into Babylon. However, its expansion saw a conflict develop with the maritime empire of the Ancient Sea Kings and the preoccupation with the Thracians in the north. The subjugation of Canaan was accomplished by the expansion of the Semites after the Hyksos expulsion from Egypt and the Egyptian war on Canaan under the Ahmosid XVIIIth Dynasty. That action weakened Gaza and Canaan enough to allow Israel to capture it piecemeal after the sojourn in the wilderness; and the Northern Hittites could not assist them.



The son of Canaan called Jebus (SHD 2982), meaning threshing place, was the progenitor of the Jebusites (2983, yebusiy) who were the pre-Israelite inhabitants of Jerusalem later assimilated by the Israelites. These people are predominantly E3b.


The ISBE entry provides the following information:

"Jebus" is an old name for Jerusalem (Jud 19:10,11; 1Ch 4:5 parallel 2Sa 5:6-9, "the same is Jerus"; ... The original name of Jerusalem was Babylonian, Uru-Salim, "the city of Salim," shortened into Salem in Ge 14:18 and in the inscriptions of the Egyptian kings Ramses II and Ramses III. In the Tell el-Amarna Letters (1400 BC) Jerusalem is still known as Uru-Salim, and its king bears a Hittite name, implying that it was at the time in the possession of the Hittites. …


When Jerusalem was taken by David, the lives and property of its Jebusite inhabitants were spared, and they continued to inhabit the temple-hill, David and his followers settling in the new City of David on Mt. Zion (Jos. 15:8,63; Jud 1:21; 19:11). And as Araunah is called "king" (2Sa 24:23), we may conclude that their last ruler also had been allowed to live. His name is non-Sem[ite], and the various spellings of it … indicate that the Hebrew writers had some difficulty in pronouncing it. The Jebusites seem ultimately to have blended with the Israelite population.


Ezekiel 16:3 states that the Jebusites were a mixed Hittite-Amorite people. Thus they were part of the Hittite Alliance, but when David conquered Jerusalem in 1005 BCE Troy had already fallen in 1054 and its inhabitants had already declared for Rome and Britain, and the sons of Hector had gone north into what is now Armenia – although they did return to Troy for a short while after this. The remnant Hittites were left to forge an alliance with the Israelites under David and the price they paid was to accept him as ruler of Jerusalem. Uriah the Hittite was made one of the thirty Mighty Men of Israel in this alliance (see the papers Rule of the Kings Part II: David (No. 282B) and Rule of the Kings Part III: Solomon and the Key of David (No. 282C)).



One of the most notable tribes of the Bible, the Amorites were often in conflict with Israel. The word Amorite (‘emoriy, SHD 567) means a sayer (BDB) or “publicity, that is, prominence; thus a mountaineer” (Strong). The Babylonians knew them as the Amurru.


The Bible gives three distinct locations for the Amorites.

(1)   the west shore of the Dead Sea (Gen. 14:7), at Hebron (Gen. 14:13), and Shechem (Gen. 48:22);

(2)   in Gilead and Bashan (Deut. 3:10); and

(3)   under Hermon (Deut. 3:8; 4:48).


They are named instead of the Canaanites as the inhabitants of Palestine whom the Israelites were required to exterminate (Gen. 15:16; Deut. 20:17; Jdg. 6:10; 1Sam. 7:14; 1Kgs. 21:26; 2Kgs. 21:11). This leaves a curious position in the texts regarding the curse of Canaan. His progeny were to be slaves to Shem and Japheth, but that did not require extermination; however, this branch did require extermination.


In Numbers 13:29, we see the Amorites described as dwelling in the mountains like the Hittites and Jebusites of Jerusalem, while the Semitic Amalekites (termed Bedouins by the ISBE) lived in the south and the Canaanites lived on the seacoast and in the valley of the Jordan.


Sihon, "king of the Amorites", had conquered the northern half of Moab (Num. 21:21-31; Deut. 2:26-35). These were all dealt with in the occupation.


From the records, there appears to be a strong Semite component to the Amorites.


The Amorite kingdom is asserted to have embraced the larger part of Mesopotamia and Syria in what must be the post-Flood period. Its capital was probably at Harran. A few centuries later an Amorite dynasty established itself in northern Babylonia with their capital at Babylon. They traced their ancestry from Samu or Sumu, who is understood to be the biblical Shem. Khammu-rabi, (the Amraphel of Gen. 14:1) came from this dynasty. The ISBE states that the astrological documents of the period make frequent reference to "the king of the Amorites”.


Amorites were settled in Ur and other Babylonian cities for the control of trade, and the Amorite kingdom continued to exist down to the time of the Israelite invasion of Palestine. Mention is made of it in the Egyptian records as well as in the cuneiform Tell el-Amarna Letters, and in the Hittite archives recently discovered at Boghaz-keui, the site of the Hittite capital in Cappadocia.


The Egyptian conquest of Canaan by the kings of the XVIIIth Dynasty had put an end to the effective government of that country by the Amorite princes. This was to assist the Israelites in their occupation of Canaan as the Exodus occurred under this dynasty (see the paper Rule of the Kings Part III: Solomon and the Key of David (No. 282C)). The rule of the Amorites, however, still extended eastward to the borders of Babylonia, with its southern limits at approximately what was afterward the northern frontier of Naphtali.


From this time the Amorite kings were, in name, the vassals of the Egyptian Pharaoh. But with Israel’s entry to Canaan the power of the Amorites and the control of the Egyptians were limited significantly.


As we saw above, the Hittite empire was destroyed by an invasion of "northern barbarians," the Phrygians, probably, of Thracians and Greeks, who marched southward against Egypt through Palestine, carrying with them "the king of the Amorites". The invaders, however, were defeated and practically exterminated by Ramses III of the XXth Egyptian Dynasty (1200 BC). The Amorite king, captured on this occasion by the Egyptians, was thought to be the predecessor of the Sihon of the Old Testament, however, the timing of the Exodus in the XVIIIth Dynasty makes that problematic.


With the fall of Sihon, the Amorite kingdom disappears. The Syrians of Zobah, of Hamath and of Damascus ascend to prominence. With the rise of Assyria, the "Amorites" who had extended to the Babylonian frontier are not found in contemporary literature of the inhabitants of western Asia. See the paper Descendants of Abraham Part IV: Sons of Keturah (No. 212D).



Also called Girgasite, this tribe from the son of Canaan apparently has a name meaning dwelling on a clayey soil (SHD 1622). They were located east of the Sea of Chinnereth (Galilee) when the Israelites first entered the Promised Land. The ISBE has the following:


Pinches (The Old Testament in the Light of the Historical Records, 324) would identify the Girgashites with the Kirkishati of an Assyrian tablet; the latter people, however, seem to have lived to the East of the Tigris, and it may be that, as in the case of the Hittites, a colony of the Qarqish, from Asia Minor, was established in Palestine.


The name apparently survived in the Gergesenes or Gadarenes of Matthew 8:28.



From the son of Canaan whose Hebrew name Chivviy means villager (SHD 2340); it is rendered Heuaios in the LXX. The ISBE gives brief details on the Hivites.


In the list of Canaanite peoples given in Ge 15:19-21, the Hivites are omitted in the Hebrew text, though inserted in Septuagint … The difficulty of explaining it is increased by the fact that it has been confused with "Horite" in some passages of the Hebrew text. In Jos 9:7 the Septuagint reads "Horite" as also does Codex A in Ge 34:2, and in Ge 36:2 a comparison with 36:24,25 shows that "Horite" must be substituted for "Hivite." … No name resembling Hivite has yet been found in the Egyptian or Babylonian inscriptions. (ISBE)


The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (Vol. 2, p. 615) gives more information. The Bible seems to mention them but there is no real extra-biblical evidence for their existence and we might assume they were in fact Hurrians.


Their name appears in the list of nations expelled by the Israelites (Ex. 3:8,17; 13:5; 23:23,28; 33:2; 34:11; Deut. 7:1; 20:17; Josh. 3:10; 9:1; 11:3; 12:8; 24:11; Jdg. 3:5; 1Kgs. 9:20; 2Chr. 8:7).


The genealogical entry in Genesis 10:17, which is repeated in 1Chronicles 1:15, tells us little about them except that they were sons of Canaan.


Genesis 34:2 applies the term to Hamor, father of Shechem. Thus the city of Shechem was the city of the Hivites. Shechem had raped Dinah, daughter of Leah, and asked her for wife. Then the sons of Jacob, under the leadership of Simeon and Levi, by ruse had the entire city circumcised, and on the third day came in and slew every man in the city and took the women and children and made them slaves and concubines in Israel, and took all their flocks and herds and all their grain. It is for that reason that the Hivites of Shechem are not mentioned in sources after this period.


The inhabitants of Gibeon north of Jerusalem are identified as Hivites in Joshua 9:7 and 11:19.  2Samuel 24:7 states that Hivites are encountered on the way from Sidon to Beersheba. However, that means they were scattered from the north of Canaan to the south. They had settlements in Mount Lebanon (Jdg. 3:3) and even at the foot of Mt. Hermon (Josh. 11:3). In the Septuagint (LXX) reading of a mutilated Masoretic Text (MT) passage, the Israelite conquest left behind deserted places of the Hivites (Interp. Dict., ibid.) and the Amorites (Isa. 17:9). The LXX renders the word Evaioi and Brenton renders it as Evaeans.


The reference here may not be to Hivites at all, as the importance indicated from this passage is not supported by an extra-biblical text.


The problem arises from the fact that the Hebrew names for Hivite, Horite and Hittite differ from each other by the middle consonant alone. Thus confusion occurs in the MT itself in referring to Zibeon the Hivite in Genesis 36:2, but lists him as a Horite at verse 20.


The LXX also has Horites for the MT Hivites in Genesis 34:2 and Joshua 9:7. The Interpreter’s Dictionary asserts that the term on the LXX text of Isaiah 17:9 reflecting the Hebrew hry is corrupted in the MT to hr.


The LXX speaks of Hittites in Joshua 11:3 whereas the MT speaks of Horites.


It is thus likely that the reference asserted to the Hivites along with the Amorites is actually referring to the Hittites, which would readily explain the prominence; and it may be that we are looking at the Hivites as a group of the Hittite Alliance. Hurrian personal names are attested from Central Palestine including Shechem, Lebanon and inland Syria (cf. Gen. 34:2; Interp. Dict., op. cit.). Hivites are mentioned in lists before the Jebusites who were well known Hurrian affiliates. The Hurrians had little if anything to do with the Edomite Horites. However, they were in Palestine where we find the Hivites located. It is thus to be deduced that the Hivites and Jebusites were part of the Hittite Alliance along with Heth, and were identified as Hurrians or Hittites.



The tribal head of the Arkites was known as Arki (‘arqiy, SHD 6208) meaning gnawing. The modern village of Arqa is near Miniara in the Akkar district of northern Lebanon about four miles from the coast. It is some ten or twelve miles Northeast of Tripolis, Syria. The Arkites are mentioned in Genesis 10:17 and 1Chronicles 1:15 as being the descendants of Canaan. They were associated with the Phoenicians and formed part of the early stock. Arka, while of little importance, is mentioned in the Assyrian inscriptions under the name Irkatah.

[Arka was] taken by Tiglathpileser III in 738 BC. Not being on the sea its trade was small and it probably belonged to Tripoli or Botrys originally. It was the birthplace of Alexander Severus, hence its Roman name, Caesarea Libani. Its site is marked by a high mound near the foothills of Lebanon. (ISBE)



Their name derives from Sin, meaning thorn or clay (siyniy, SHD 5513). The ISBE says: “The identification is uncertain. Jerome mentions a ruined city, Sin, near Arka, at the foot of Lebanon”.


Strabo mentions a town called Sinna on the slopes of Lebanon. Hieronymus was also of the opinion that the civitas Sini could be located on the foothills of Lebanon near Nar el Arqa.


The Interpreter’s Dictionary says others have suggested that these people are the North Phoenician Sianu mentioned in Assyrian inscriptions, but nothing can be said for certain (Interp. Dict., Vol. 4, p. 379). It appears to have been part of the Canaanite settlements of Lebanon subjugated by David and brought into Greater Israel.



These were descended from Arvad, son of Canaan, whose name means I shall break loose (SHD 721). The modern day Arwad is now called Ruad Island; it is the only island in Syria and lies some 30 miles north of Tripolis between Tripolis and Ladhigiyeh. The Arvadites inhabited this island, which was a Phoenician island, with most of the Phoenician cities on this coast forming a trading alliance. It had a powerful navy, and its ships are mentioned in the monuments of Egypt and Assyria.


It appears to have had a similar place in the northern Phoenician cities, from Mt. Cassius to the northern limits of Lebanon, as did Sidon in the South, with its own local dynasty and coinage. Some of the names of its kings have been recovered. Its inhabitants are mentioned in the early lists of Genesis 10:18, and Ezekiel 27:8,11 states its seamen and soldiers were in the service of Tyre.


The Assyrian king, Tiglath-pileser I (ca. 1020 BCE) proclaimed that he sailed in the ships of Arvad, which seems to indicate it had some maritime importance. Asshur-nazir-pal (ca. 876) made it tributary, but it revolted and 200 men of Arvad are listed among the allies of Ben-hadad of Damascus at the great battle of Quarqar, when all Syria seems to have been in league against Shalmaneser II (ca. 854) (cf. ISBE).  It was afterward tributary to Tiglath-pileser III and Sennacherib (cf. ibid.)


It is mentioned in a rescript from Rome about 138 BC, in connection with other cities and rulers of the East, to show favor to the Jews. It was after Rome had begun to interfere in the affairs of Judea and Syria, and indicates that Arvad was of considerable importance at that time (see 1 Macc 15:16-23). The town is not mentioned in the New Testament … (ISBE)


I Maccabees 15:23 refers to it as Arvadus using the Roman form.



This tribe was also known as the Zemaraim; their name means double woollens (SHD 6786). In the Septuagint they are known as the Samaraios.


The occurrence of the name between Arvadite and Hamathite gives a hint as to locality. A place called Cumur is mentioned in the Tell el-Amarna Letters along with Arvad. The name probably survives in that of Sumra, a village on the seacoast between Tripolis and Ruwad, about 1 1/2 miles North of Nahr el-Kebir. We may with some certainty identify this modern village with the site of the town from which the inhabitants were named "Zemarites." (ISBE)


These people are mentioned only in Genesis 10:18 and 1Chronicles 1:16 and as sons of Canaan and brothers of the Arvadites and the Hamathites. They were no doubt part of the area under the control of the Arvadites and their identities are historically merged with them.



The Hamathites (chamathiy, SHD 2577) were descended from Hamath (2574), meaning a fortress or citadel. Hama (fortress in Arabic), the fifth largest Syrian city today, sits on the banks of the Orontes river in central Syria. It is the modern Nahr el ‘Asi, and stands on the railway between Aleppo and Damascus at 1015 feet above sea level.


Genesis 10:18 mentions Hamath among the sons of Canaan, but in historic times (judging from the personal names) the city seems to have been for the most part Semitic (cf. ISBE).


It was part of a kingdom in ancient times whose southern boundary was the northern boundary of Israel (cf. Num. 34:8; Josh. 13:5; Ezek. 47:13-21). David entered into friendly relations with Toi, its king (2Sam. 8:9-10; 12:26-31), and Solomon erected store cities in the land of Hamath (2Chr. 8:4).


It has been excavated by the Danish to twelve levels, and level H is understood to approximate that of the Old Babylonian period (cf. Interp. Dict., Vol. 2, p. 516). There are no findings from the Hyksos period. It was the centre of an Amorite kingdom in the Amarna age. However, it was conquered, along with a large area of Syrian territory, by Abdi Ashirta who was trying to maintain friendly relations between the Hittites and the Egyptians (ibid.).


From its inscriptions, Hamath was a Hittite centre. David allied with it and was thus able to overcome Hadadezer of Zobah, who was allied with Damascus (2Sam. 8:3-12).


Jeroboam II re-established the border of Israel at the southern border of Hamath (2Kgs. 14:25 ff.). That would mean he had retaken the areas taken by both Damascus and Hamath.


Zakir was king of both Hamath and L’sh.


Shalmaneser II says he conquered it and it was again taken by Sargon II. Hamath at that time was practising an Assyrian-type cult.


In the days of Ahab it is mentioned on the cuneiform inscriptions as mat hamatti. Its king Irhuleni was a party to the alliance of the Hittites with Ben-hadad of Damascus and Ahab of Israel against Shalmaneser II. The alliance was destroyed by the battle of Qarqar in 854 BCE, and Hamath became subject to Assyriawhich is when the cult was most probably introduced.


Jeroboam II attacked, partially destroyed, and held it for a short time (2Kgs. 14:28; Amos 6:2) (cf. ISBE).


In 720, Sargon "rooted out the land of Hamath and dyed the skin of Ilubi’idi (or Jau-bi’idi) its king, like wool" and colonized the country with 4,300 Assyrians, among whom was Deioces the Mede. A few years later Sennacherib also claims to have taken it (2Ki 18:34; 19:13). In Isa 11:11, mention is made of Israelites in captivity at Hamath, and Hamathites were among the colonists settled in Samaria (2Ki 17:24) by Esarhaddon in 675 BC. (ISBE)


Hamath retained its importance into the Hellenistic Age, and under Antiochus IV was renamed Epiphania. During the Maccabean War, the centurions of Demetrius stationed their armies there (1 Macc. 12:24-25).


In the Islamic Age Hamath became a Christian centre and retained the Easter festivals that it no doubt had worshipped under the Assyrian name Ishtar. The Arab historian Dimashqi (tr. Mehren, cf. Interp. Dict., ibid.) records the festival.


The town Hammath-Zobah mentioned in 2Chronicles 8:3 situated south of Hamath is probably Zobah (cf. 2Sam. 8:9; 2Chr. 8:3-4; cf. also Ezek. 47:17).


The Canaanite structure of modern Hammath can be determined by its YDNA. Like most of Palestine it will have a composite YDNA but retain some of its Canaanite E3b, as does Judah itself. 


Canaanite Repentance

References to the Canaanites are few in the New Testament, however, there was a significant incident when a woman of Canaan approached Christ for him to heal her daughter, as we see in Matthew 15:22ff. Unlike his own people, she recognised him as the promised son of David. Messiah commended her for her faith, particularly as a non-Israelite, and granted her request.


The Phoenicians

The Phoenicians were among the most illustrious and talented peoples of the ancient world. It was they who invented an early form of the alphabet, which is still in use in many countries today.


The McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia reports under the heading, “Phoenicia, History”,


History. — One of the most powerful and important nations of antiquity, Phoenicia has yet left but poor information regarding her history. According to Josephus, every city in Phoenicia had its collection of registers and public documents (comp. Targum to Kirjath-Jearim, Judg 1:11,15). Out of these, Menander of Ephesus, and Dias, a Phoenician, compiled two histories of Tyre, a few fragments of which have survived (comp. Josephus, Contra Ap. 1:17, 18; Ant. 8:5, 3; 13:1 sq.; 9:14, 2; Theophil. Ad Autol. 3:22; Syncellus, Chron. page 182).



Broadly speaking, we may begin to date Phoenician history from the time when Sidon first assumed the rule, or about  B.C. 1500. Up to that time it was chiefly the development of the immense internal resources, and the commencement of that gigantic trade that was destined soon to overspread the whole of the then known world, which seem to have occupied the attention of the early and peaceful settlers…. The symbolical representative of their political history during that period is El, or Belitan, builder of cities, supreme and happy ruler of men. The conquest of Canaan by the Israelites marks a new epoch, of which lists of kings were still extant in late Greek times. We now hear first of Sidonian colonies, while the manufactures and commerce of the country seem to have reached a high renown throughout the neighboring lands. The Israelites drove out Sidonian settlers from Laish, near the sources of the Jordan. Somewhat later (beginning of 13th century), Sidonian colonization spread farther west, founding the (island) city of Tyre, and Citium and Hippo on the coast of Africa. About 1209, however, Sidon was defeated by the king of Askalon, and Tyre, assuming the ascendency, ushered in a third period, during which Phoenicia reached the summit of her greatness. At this time, chiefly under the brilliant reign of Hiram, we hear also of a close alliance with the Israelites, which eventually led to common commercial enterprises at sea. After Hiram's death, however, political dissensions began to undermine the unparalleled peace and power of the country. His four sons ruled, with certain interruptions, for short periods, and the crown was then assumed by Ethbaal, the father of Jezebel. His grandson, Mattan, left the throne to his two children, Pygmialion and Dido (Elissa). The latter, having been excluded from power by her brother, left the country, together with some of the aristocratic families, and founded Carthage (New-Town), about  B.C. 813. Of the century that followed, little further is known save occasional allusions in Joel and Amos, which tell of the piratical commerce of Tyrians and Sidonians. Assyrian, Chaldean, Egyptian invasions followed each other in turns during the last phase of Phoenician history, dating from the 8th century, and soon reduced the flourishing country to insignificance. Deeds of prowess, such as the thirteen years' siege sustained by Tyre against overwhelming forces, could not save the doomed country. Her fleet destroyed, her colonies wrested from her or in a state of open rebellion, torn by inner factions, Phoenicia was ultimately (together with what had been once Nebuchadnezzar's empire) embodied with Persia  B.C. 538. Once more, however, exasperated by the enormous taxes imposed upon them, chiefly during the Greek war, together with other galling measures issued by the successive satraps, the Phoenicians, under the leadership of Sidon, took part in the revolution of Egypt against Artaxerxes Mnlemon and Ochus, about the middle of the 4th century B.C., which ended very unhappily for them. Sidon, the only city that refused to submit at once at the approach of the Persian army, was conquered, the citizens themselves setting fire to it, and more than 40,000 people perished in the flames. Although rebuilt and repeopled shortly afterwards, it yet never again reached its ancient grandeur, and to Tyre belonged the hegemony, until she, too, had to submit, after a seven years' siege, to Alexander, who through the battle on the Issus (B.C. 333) had made all Phoenicia his as part and parcel of the gigantic Persian empire. Under Antiochus the Great, all except Sidon became subject to Seleucidian sway. Pompey, incorporating Phoenicia with Syria (B.C. 65), made it a Roman province. During the civil wars of Rome, when Cassius divided Syria into small provinces, and sold them separately, Tyre again became for a short period a principality, with a king of its own. Cleopatra in her turn received Phoenicia as a present from Antony. What shadow of independence was still left to the two ancient cities was taken from them by Augustus (20). Tyre, however, retained much of her previous importance as an emporium and a manufacturing place through the various vicissitudes of Syrian history during the sixteen centuries that followed, until the Ottoman Turks conquered the country, and the opening up of the New World on the one hand, and of a new route to Asia on the other, destroyed the last remnant of the primitive grandeur of one of the most mighty empires of the ancient world, and one which has contributed one of the largest shares to the civilization of all mankind.


In his book Legend: Genesis of Civilisation, David Rohl gives details of the derivation of their name.


Although the term Phoenicia does not appear until later periods, we do find one Middle Kingdom Egyptian source -- the Tale of Sinuhe -- referring to the land of Fenku which may be an early vocalisation of the familiar Greek appellation Phoinike from which we derive Phoenicia. I have previously offered examples of this switch from p to f (ph), the most obvious of which is Arabic Faiyum for ancient Egyptian Pa-Yam (the sea).


In ancient times the whole of the western side of the Indian Ocean and, in particular, the Persian Gulf was known as the Red Sea (the Erythraean Sea of the Greeks). Its waters were named after the mariners who first sailed upon them -- the descendants of the red-ones from Tilman/the Garden of Eden.


In their own language these skilled mariner-traders were known as the Poen or Pun. At the entrance to the southern end of the Red Sea they established a port which would act as an emporium for the exotic produce of Africa and Arabia for centuries to come. The later pharaonic Egyptians called the place Poene or Pun(t) after its people.


The Poen have a long history which sees them colonising the eastern Mediterranean littoral where they founded new city-ports, two of which -- the islands of Tyre and Arad -- are named after their homeland islands of Tylos (from Tilmun) and Arad on Bahrain. The Greeks knew the Poen as the Phoenike -- the Phoenicians of classical times.


Several thousand years after their original migration from the Persian Gulf into the Mediterranean via the Red Sea they began to colonise the western Mediterranean and beyond along the Atlantic seaboard. In doing so they eventually found themselves up against the new power in the region -- Rome. Thus began the Punic [from Pun or Poen] wars between the Roman empire and Carthage (Arrow Books Ltd, London, 1999, pp. 300, 450-451).


Under the subheading Flight of the Phoenix’ in Legend, Rohl states further:


Go to visit a Lebanese school and sit in on a history class. There you will hear the teacher explain to the children that the modern Lebanese are descended from the ancient Phoenicians who, in turn, originated from the islands of the Persian Gulf. The legendary origins of the Phoenicians are not an invention of the Lebanese Christian community purely to provide a separate ethnic tradition from their Muslim neighbours. The idea that the ancestors of the Phoenicians came from far-off Bahrain to found the new cities of Canaan on the Eastern Mediterranean coast was well known to the classical writers. Justin, Pliny, Ptolemy and Strabo all regarded the original homeland of the Phoenicians in the Gulf as an historical fact (ibid., pp. 248-249).


The problem we have in regard to the Lebanese is that the YDNA marker they now possess is K2, which is not a Canaanite marker but rather a Tarshish Japhethite marker. Many Scientists make this conclusion but it appears to be in error. The Phoenicians were not all one people and they combined both sailors and ships of Tarshish and of Tyre and Sidon and also that of the Edomites, as we know from the Bible (cf. the papers Rule of the Kings Part II: David (No. 282B) and Rule of the Kings Part III: Solomon and the Key of David (No. 282C)).


Alexander the Great wiped out Tyre in accordance with prophecy, and others rebuilt it after its inhabitants were taken into captivity and its city destroyed.


The modern Lebanese gene pools comprise a composite structure, which includes immigration waves from other early Phoenician groups from Iberia, plus Greeks, Arabs, Crusader Europeans, and Seljuk Turks.


The American University of Beirut launched the Phoenician genographic project to map the genetic makeup of the Lebanese population and also the Mediterranean populations where allegedly ancient “Canaanites” colonized. What they assumed was that, because a high frequency of the YDNA K2 gene was detected in the Iberian Peninsula as well as in Malta (an island that Phoenicians colonized), these were Canaanites, when in fact those areas were the homes of the original ships of Tarshish and the people were therefore not Canaanites.


If the K2 gene is Canaanite it will be the only Hamitic gene to jump the Yap divide and intrude through the F Haplogroup division – which appears to be specifically a Semite and Japhethite division. However, the K2 inhabitants of Tyre may also have come from the sons of Javan that inhabited the islands and repopulated Tyre after it was destroyed. It probably comes from the Dodanim or the Rhodanim, or perhaps is of Tarshish.


The Phoenicians were the ancient worlds pre-eminent sailors, and it is recorded that Pharaoh Necho of Egypt sent one of their fleets to circumnavigate Africa as early as 600 BCE. It has been confirmed that the Phoenicians later crossed the Atlantic to America, centuries before either the Vikings or Columbus. These sailors went from Tarshish, and they were Japhethite. They appear to have even navigated to Australia, Melanesia and South-East Asia, as Hgs K and its derivative M are present there. Even Aryan RxR1 basic comprises 10-15% of Australian Aborigines.