Canaanite Facts for 3-8 Year Olds

Categories: Elijah and Elisha, Noah

  • The Canaanites lived in the land of Canaan.
  • We know these lands as Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.
  • The name, Canaan, might mean “to be low, humble.”
  • Stories about Canaanites date back 3800 years.
  • The “Amarna Letters” from Egypt (ca 1300s BCE) have letters between Pharaoh and various rulers in Canaan.
  • Pharaoh exercises a lot of power over these areas.
  • The groups of people living in these areas do not unite into one kingdom.
  • Nonetheless, there are references to “kings of Canaan.”
  • A 1929 discovery at Ras Shamra in Ugarit has religious information about the Canaanites.
  • There are many similarities with biblical passages.
  • Some of the names for God are the same, i.e. El.
  • They also have female gods, called goddesses, such as Asherah.
  • A grandson of El and Asherah is Baal.
  • Baal is the god of rain and storms.
  • Baal is defeated by Elijah at Mount Carmel (see 1 Kings 18:16-42).
  • The prophets tell the Israelites not to worship these gods.
  • It’s hard for them not to do so.
  • The Israelites think God is connected to the land.
  • When people move to a new land, they think it makes sense to adopt the gods of that land, like Baal.
  • It takes them a long time to change this belief.
  • After the Exodus, God promises this land to the Israelites.
  • They have to fight the Canaanites to get it.
  • Israel wins most of the battles.
  • Two of Noah’s sons are blessed.
  • Noah says words that predict the destinies of the tribes and nations that descend from his sons.
  • The Israelites also took in many of the Canaanite practices.