Individuals who decide to take up learning about the Old Testament of the Bible are immediately faced with the difficult proposition of identifying the various peoples that the Hebrews met and sometimes came into conflict with when they entered the territory that eventually became Israel. The Moabites and Edomites were just two of the many Canaanite groups that the Hebrews dealt with, often violently, but there were dozens of other Canaanite groups, which were all for the most part identified through the names of their respective cities.
In fact, before the Hebrews established a kingdom and before the Phoenicians colonized much of the Mediterranean, the Canaanites were the most important group in the Levant for much of the Bronze Age and into the early Iron Age. Although the Canaanites never created a unified nation-state or kingdom, their importance in the ancient Near East cannot be overstated. It was at least partially because of that fact that the Canaanites were unable to resist their larger and more powerful neighbors that the average person today knows so little about their history.
©2016 Charles River Editors (P)2016 Charles River Editors
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