Canaan is the fourth son of Ham, the son of Noah, who Noah cursed because his father sinned against him (Genesis 9:20-25). And in Genesis 10:15-19, we learn of 11 groups descended from Canaan. 

Canaan was situated west of the Jordan and Dead Sea (Genesis 13:12; Deuteronomy 11:30) opposite the “land of Gilead” — that is, the high table-land on the east of the Jordan (Numbers 32:26,32 and 33:51). The area to which the name of “low land” was applied contained several elevated spots: Shechem (Genesis 33:18), Hebron (Genesis 23:19), Bethel (Genesis 35:6), Bethlehem (Genesis 48:7), and Shiloh (Joshua 21:2), which are all stated to be in the “land of Canaan”  (From <>).

The Bible also explains the extent and boundaries of Canaan. On the west, the sea was its border from Sidon to Gaza (Genesis 10:19). On the south, it was bordered by Gaza to the southern end of the Dead Sea, including the Judaean hills, excluding the country of the Amalekites (Genesis 10:19, Numbers 13:29). The Jordan was the eastern boundary; no part of Canaan lay beyond that river (Numbers 33:51, Exodus 16:35). On the northern end, Canaan extended as far as Hamath, which was also the utmost boundary of the “land of promise” (Genesis 17:8, Numbers 34:8). From <

The Canaanites are mentioned over 150 times in the Bible. Scholars doubt that the Canaanites were ever united into a single kingdom. Canaan was not a nation but a land area where kings ruled over cities and territories. And the term “Canaanites”  is used more broadly to refer to all the inhabitants of the land and were made up of different ethnic groups – the Hivites, Girgashites, Jebusites, Amorites, Hittites, and Perizzites (Exodus 3:8, Numbers 13:29, Judges 1:9–10, Joshua 11:3). From <

The land of Canaan was the land God promised to give to Abraham and his descendants (Genesis 12:7). God promised them a new land that would be pleasant,  beautiful, and fruitful, with numerous benefits (Numbers 13:27, Ezekiel 20:6). Canaan was often described as the land of “milk and honey (Exodus 3:8).” This poetic description speaks to the fertility of the soil and abundant living that awaited God’s chosen people. The reference to “milk” suggests that many livestock could find pasture there, and “honey” suggests the vast farmland available—the bees had plenty of plants to draw nectar from (From <>).

This promise of Canaan, a land flowing with milk and honey, wasn’t just a reward from God to His people for being good children. This promise was a part of God forming the Children of Israel into a new people and a new nation, inclusive of taking them to a new land that was to become known as the Promised Land. Although the land of Canaan was promised to the Israelites, it wasn’t going to be given to them simply. They would have to conquer it, take it, and finally possess it (Genesis 12:1, 28:15, Deuteronomy 1:8, Leviticus 20:24). 

There’s been much debate regarding the “fairness” and “goodness” of God. “How could a loving God order the slaughter of the Canaanites by the Israelites (Deuteronomy 20:10 –18)?” So we’ll start here. From the Bible and our personal experiences, we know that God is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love, faithful, and forgiving of all wickedness, rebellion, and sin when we repent (Psalm 103:8). From <>. We also know that we won’t understand everything, for God’s ways are bigger and more complex than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). Finally, know that God is a God of order and detail (I Corinthians 14:33). He is a God with a plan and a purpose for our salvation (Acts 16:31, Ephesians 2:8-9). 

As part of God’s plan for the Children of Israel, they promised to become a great nation that would point others to God (Genesis 12:1-3), and Canaan would serve as the backdrop from which God’s greatness would shine forth (Genesis 15:18-21). To have simply given the land to Abraham would have circumvented the journey of coming to know God, and it would have also involved injustice. The promise could only have been fulfilled when it coincided with God’s timing and His justice. So before the Israelites could occupy Canaan, it had to be well documented that the Canaanite’s sin warranted judgment (Leviticus 18:24-30, Deuteronomy 9:4-5). From

According to the Bible, the Canaanites were wicked, sinful, detestable, and idolatrous people (Genesis 15:16, Deuteronomy 9:5, 12:29:31, 18:9-13, 20:16-18, Leviticus 18:21 and 20) From <>. The Canaanites cut pregnant women open and burned their children as sacrifices to their pagan gods (Leviticus 18:21, 24, 25, 27-30). Other ungodly acts included adultery, bestiality, and homosexuality (Leviticus 18:20-30).  The Canaanites were not clueless about their responsibility to God; instead, they openly mocked His sovereignty and committed horrible acts that even the most hardened of us would deem worthy of judgment.

So the occupation of Canaan was more than just an invasion or conquest. This was God’s planned punishment for the people of Canaan as a result of their wicked ways. Yes, God was displacing them from the land to give it to the Children of Israel; but that displacement came because of their habitual, evil and unrepentant wickedness (From <>). 

The pursuit of Canaan began when Moses commissioned twelve spies to spy out the land of Canaan, which had been promised for their occupancy (Numbers 13). However, God’s wrath was kindled because of the disobedience and fear and the outright rebellion of the Children of Israel (Numbers 14:1-10). But, Moses, yet again interceded on behalf of the Israelites, and God spared their lives (Numbers 14:11-38). But the Israelites were punished and had to wander in the wilderness for forty years without being able to see the Promised Land (Numbers 14:32-35), save two – Caleb and Joshua (Numbers 14:38). After the death of Moses, God commissioned Joshua to go and possess the land that He had promised (Joshua 1:2-9). The first Canaanite city they came to was Jericho. With God’s help, the walls of Jericho fell, and the victory was a sign of God’s power and might. The Children of Israel eventually drove out most of the Canaanites from Canaan with only a few pockets of Canaanites remaining (Judges 1:27–36). 

Joshua led the Children of Israel into 13 battles to conquer the land of Canaan. And during this time, God provided the Canaanites the opportunity and time for repentance (Joshua 2:13-14). 

First, in Genesis 15:16, God told Abraham that his descendants would have to remain slaves in Egypt for 400 years before taking possession of Canaan, “for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” God demonstrated His patience in dealing with the Canaanite nations, waiting until they reached the point of no return (From <>). 

These nations were cut off to prevent the corruption of Israel and the rest of the world (Deuteronomy 20:16-18).

God is never arbitrary or unjust, despite how things appear. His love for us is beyond comprehension. His patience and forgiveness are immense. God is waiting for our repentance, and He is allowing each of us to choose between salvation and judgment. Choose Whom you will serve this day (Joshua 24:15), and I pray that you choose the serve Him (From < >)!