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10 Things You Don't Know About the Promised Land

By: Katherine Abraham

You are probably familiar with the Promised Land, aren't you? You know some facts and stories about it from the Bible.

However, there may be ten things you still don't know. If you have ever wondered what the Promised Land is, check out these facts.

What is This Promised Land?

"Promised Land" is not an actual name of a region or country. It is just what the Bible used to refer to Canaan.

It was the land the Lord promised Abraham and his descendants, hence, the name. One significant event that fulfilled this was in the time of Joshua.

When Moses did not make it to Canaan, Joshua led the Israelites into this place. It marked the beginning of their ownership of the land.

Now, Canaan is a large and prosperous ancient country in the Levant region. It is in present-day Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Israel.

10 Things You Don't Know About The Promised Land

1. The name "Canaan" had different origins.

"Canaan" comes from the Hebrew root-verb kana. It denotes order from chaos, blending, or synchronous existence. It also means "to bow down."

It takes its name from Canaan, son of Ham and grandson of Noah. Genesis 10:15-19 mentions him as the ancestor of the original tribes that occupied the land.

2. Greeks called Canaanites "Purple People."

The Greeks knew Canaanites as Phoenicians, which means "purple." Coincidentally, Phoenicians worked in purple dye. Hence, the Greeks called them "purple people."

What a fact!

3. Canaan never had a unified ethnic group.

The Bible and other sources often refer to the inhabitants of Canaan as "Canaanites."

However, not all of them were Canaanites, as some were Phoenicians. It is also unknown whether they shared a common language and worldview.

4. Canaanites worshipped many gods.

The indigenous people of Canaan had many gods and goddesses.

Among these were Elohim, Baal, El, Asherah, and Astarte. These also include Sumerian deities such as Utu-Shamash. Still, there were minor gods like Yahweh, the god of metallurgy. As such, their religious beliefs were polytheistic.

5. Canaanite women mirrored the cultural values of Mesopotamia.

Women of Canaan served as priestesses. They could own land, enter into contracts, and initiate divorce. These reflected the Mesopotamian way of living.

6. One of Canaan's cities was the origin of the Bible's name.

As you probably know already, the Bible got its name from the Greek word byblos. Surprisingly, Byblos was Canaan's most famous city. It was a haven for many papyruses.

7. Canaan prospered through trade.

Because of its location, trade favored Canaan.

It began in 4000 BCE, establishing its first trade between Byblos and Egypt. Egypt was its most significant business partner in 2000 BCE. Tyre and Sidon were also among its industrial and learning centers.

8. Canaan contributed to the first writing system.

The Phoenician Alphabet was the first alphabetic writing system. It originated from the Canaanites and Phoenicians. Later, it developed Mesopotamian mathematical principles.

9. Despite its biblical destruction, scientists found living descendants.

We know from the Bible that God destroyed the Canaanites because of their rebellion.

However, there was a genetic study claiming that some of them survived. The surviving Canaanites passed on their DNA over the centuries. Their descendants are now settling in modern-day Lebanon.

10. Nature never favored Canaan for the cultivation of crops.

The hills between Jordan and the coastal plain were dry and infertile. Growing crops would be hazardous. As such, most dwellers in this area lived as nomads.


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