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Tribes of Israel Map

Tribes of Israel Map

Definition: Canaan is an inexact ethnic and geographic term; however, it is a location familiar from the Bible. Joshua 1-11 and Judges 1 describe the conquest of Canaan. In the second half of the second millennium B.C., Canaan was a province of Egypt's empire. The Israelites are thought to have entered Canaan c. 1200 B.C. It was a land of milk and honey.

Canaan refers to the Promised Land of the ancient Israelites. Sometimes it was limited to from the area west of the Jordan River to the Mediterranean on the West, with a northern boundary somewhere in Lebanon. Sometimes it goes through Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, and north to Ugarit. Those known to us as Phoenicians lived in Canaan.

Sometimes Canaan is the area inhabited by residents of ancient Palestine. Sometimes it refers to descendants of Noah's son Ham's son Canaan.


  • P. Kyle McCarter, Jr. "Canaan" The Oxford Guide to People and Places of the Bible. Ed. Bruce M. Metzger and Michael D. Coogan. Oxford University Press, 2001.
  • Biblical Literacy, by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin (1997).

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