Canaan, Land of

Genesis 15:18; Genesis 17:8; 1 Kings 4:24; Numbers 34:5-8; Numbers 34:9-11; Deuteronomy 1:7; Deuteronomy 8:7-9; Zechariah 2:12; Isaiah 8:8; Hebrews 11:9; Acts 7:11; Acts 13:19; Exodus 15:14; Isaiah 14:29,31; Joel 3:4
The land possessed by the descendants of Canaan, the son of Ham, which is now commonly called PALESTINE. The whole of it was promised to Abraham, and a further territory was also promised “from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates” (Gen. 15:1818In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: (Genesis 15:18); Gen. 17:88And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. (Genesis 17:8)). The word used here three times for “river” is nahar, which is not applicable to a winter stream, so that “river of Egypt” doubtless refers to the most easterly branch of the Nile, called Pelusiac. These limits of Abraham’s promised possession are on the S. W. and N. E.; the Mediterranean being the western limit, the eastern being undefined; but the “river Euphrates” boundary must be on the north part of that river, which indeed was reached by Solomon at Tiphsah (about 35° 50' N, 39° E) (1 Kings 4:2424For he had dominion over all the region on this side the river, from Tiphsah even to Azzah, over all the kings on this side the river: and he had peace on all sides round about him. (1 Kings 4:24)).
In Numbers 34:5-85And the border shall fetch a compass from Azmon unto the river of Egypt, and the goings out of it shall be at the sea. 6And as for the western border, ye shall even have the great sea for a border: this shall be your west border. 7And this shall be your north border: from the great sea ye shall point out for you mount Hor: 8From mount Hor ye shall point out your border unto the entrance of Hamath; and the goings forth of the border shall be to Zedad: (Numbers 34:5‑8) directions are given as to the boundaries of the land to be then possessed by the tribes, and here a different word is used for “river” (nachal) in “river of Egypt.” This word signifies “brook in a valley,” and cannot refer to the Nile; indeed the places also mentioned are more in the latitude of the wady called el Arish, 31° 5' N, near to the ancient city Rhinocolura. This is not so far south as the country over which Solomon had dominion, which extended to Ezion-geber on the gulf of Akaba. In Numbers 34:9-119And the border shall go on to Ziphron, and the goings out of it shall be at Hazar-enan: this shall be your north border. 10And ye shall point out your east border from Hazar-enan to Shepham: 11And the coast shall go down from Shepham to Riblah, on the east side of Ain; and the border shall descend, and shall reach unto the side of the sea of Chinnereth eastward: (Numbers 34:9‑11), the north border is also given, and though some of the places cannot be traced, it is yet clear that the border did not extend as far as was possessed under Solomon, who anticipated for the moment the possession which will yet be inherited by Israel under Christ. “From Dan to Beersheba” became the common way of describing the whole of Canaan. This comprised about 150 miles from north to south. In Deuteronomy 1:77Turn you, and take your journey, and go to the mount of the Amorites, and unto all the places nigh thereunto, in the plain, in the hills, and in the vale, and in the south, and by the sea side, to the land of the Canaanites, and unto Lebanon, unto the great river, the river Euphrates. (Deuteronomy 1:7) the borders are named as between “the mount of the Amorites,” near the Dead Sea on the south, to “Lebanon and the river Euphrates” on the north.
The land is declared to be like no other country on earth, presenting as it does in so small a compass such diversity of surface; some parts being fruitful plains; other parts rugged rocks and spacious caves, and mountains with their sides covered with vineyards. One part is 1200 feet below the level of the sea, with a tropical atmosphere; its highest part 9000 feet above the sea, with an Alpine temperature. In some places it is a garden of flowers; in others an arid desert. See SEASONS.
The land of Canaan may be described as having four zones: by the Mediterranean Sea a plain runs from north to south, much wider in the south than in the north; it is broken into by Mount Carmel running across it. Parallel with the plain is a zone of hill country from Lebanon to the south, varying in height, and with some mountains. To the east of this is the valley in which runs the Jordan with the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. To the east of the Jordan valley is another range of hill country, which declines into the desert on its east. In the west, south of Aijalon, 31° 51' N, is a district called the Shephelah. It is distinct from the plain by the sea coast, and distinct from the hill country. It is sometimes described as low hills or “the lowland.” It was the part where the Israelites were so often attacked by the Philistines.
God Himself describes the land as “a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive and honey; a land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack anything in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass” (Deut. 8:7-97For the Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; 8A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; 9A land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass. (Deuteronomy 8:7‑9)). Universal testimony is given to the great productiveness of the soil if it were properly cultivated; but under the judgment of God and the misrule of man comparatively little is produced. Recently however portions of the land have been purchased by wealthy Jews, and have been let out to Jewish agriculturists, by whom various colonies have been founded, and the villages greatly improved. A railway has been completed from Jaffa to Jerusalem, and others are in progress. It is estimated that there are now 100,000 Jews in Palestine, and many are resorting there, but, alas, in unbelief.
The land on the west of the Jordan and some portions on the east have been surveyed by the officers of the Palestine Exploration Fund, which has been the means, as far as their judgment goes, of identifying many Biblical sites. Their map has enabled the longitude and latitude of the principal places being given in this work.