... Jerusalem ... 22 Just as the new earth and the new heavens will endure by my power, so your descendants and your name will endure ... Isaiah 66 (GNT), 18 ... Jerusalem will be rebuilt, and its PALACE restored. Jeremiah 30:18 (GNT)


Israel's boarders through ages: maps, kingdoms and empires part 2 of 7 - Canaan

Canaan 14th century BCE

Canaan situated on the southern cost of the Mediterranean Sea, gave access to merchants to the Middle East, through which they could reach the Near and Far East. According to the report of the twelve Israelite scouts that Moses send to make a reconnaissance on Canaan, it was populated by different peoples.

29 Amalekites live in the southern part of the land; Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites live in the hill country; and Canaanites live by the Mediterranean Sea and along the Jordan River.” Numbers 13:29 (GNT)

In a period before Moses time Canaan was already repeatedly mentioned in the Bible, with the oldest parts of the Hebrew Bible being of the Iron Age (c. 1200 BCE-700 CE). The reference started in Genesis with the story that pre-dates the Bronze Age about Noah and his sons that would inhabit the world after the flood. The land of Canaan is named after Ham's son Canaan, Genesis 9: 22-25 and 10:6.

Centuries after the flood one of the descendants of Shem - Genesis - 11:10-26 - Abraham (Abram) would be chosen by God to be the Patriarch of the people of Israel, that would inherit the Promised Land from him. The chronology of the Bible places Abraham at around 2000 BCE. Abraham and his ancestors came from Mesopotamia where they lived in Ur of the Chaldees (since 3800 BCE) an important Sumarian city-state (since 26th century) in Southern Mesopotamia.

31 Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Harran, they settled there. 32 Terah lived 205 years, and he died in Harran. Genesis 11:31-32 (NIV)

On their way to Canaan they stayed in Harran (since 3000 BCE) a major ancient city in Upper Mesopotamia, situated in today's Turkey. From there Abraham moved to Canaan. He was seventy five years old when he arrived in Canaan - Genesis 12:4 - and died there aged one hundred and seventy five years, Genesis 25:7-8.

… 4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there. … Genesis 12:1-9 (NIV)

Canaan, source: Wikipedia

Map: Zoom into this map to find Jerusalem, and in North Canaan: Byblos and Tyre (Phoenicia)

City state in Canaan: Jerusalem

Abraham also visited Jerusalem, at the time one of the city-states located in Canaan ruled by king and priest Melchizedek - Genesis 14, Psalm 110, Hebrews 7 - and also known as Salem in ancient times.

... 18 And Melchizedek, who was king of Salem and also a priest of the Most High God, brought bread and wine to Abram, 19 blessed him, and said, “May the Most High God, who made heaven and earth, bless Abram! 20 May the Most High God, who gave you victory over your enemies, be praised!” And Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the loot he had recovered. … Genesis 14 (NIV)

Evidence concerning settlements in Jerusalem can be found through ceramic findings, the Amarna letters and the Execration Texts also called Proscription Lists.
The ceramic evidence indicates that there was an occupation of the City of David within present-day Jerusalem during the Copper Age, c. 4th millennium BCE, and a permanent settlement during the early Bronze Age, c. 3000-2800 BCE. During the Bronze Age Jerusalem was the capital of an Epyptian vassal city-state, a modest settlement with a small Epyptian garrison gouverning a few outlying villages by appointee kings such as Abdi Heba. At the time of Seti I and Ramesses II prosperity increased and major construction took place there.

The Execration Texts, c. 19th century BCE, are Egyptian hieratic texts, listing enemies of the Pharaoh and or of the Egyptian state or troublesome neighbours. The first published collection of texts are inscribed on pottery shreds , and contain the names of about 20 places in Canaan and Phoenicia and over 30 rulers of that period. They mention a city that could be transcribed into Rušalimum/Urušalimum/Rôsh-ramen, that could mean Jerusalem, which could be the first known mention of Jerusalem.
Amarna letters, source: Wikipedia
The Amarna letters with the ú-ru-sa-lim inscription, c. 14th century BCE, or Amarna tablets, were found in Upper Egypt at Amarna, founded during the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt by pharaoh Akhenaten (1350s-1330s BCE) and named at that time Akhetaten. The letters are mostly diplomatic correspondence over a period of at most thirty years, between the Egyptian administration and its representatives in Canaan and Amurru during the New Kingdom archived on clay tablets. They were mostly written in Akkadian cuneiform, rather than of ancient Egypt. These tablets shed much light on Egyptian relations with other nations at the time and establishing both the history and the chronology of that period. Egypt had relations with Babylonia, Assyria, the Mitanni, the Hittites, Syria, Canaan and Alshiya, modern-day Cyprus. A Middle Eastern group known as Habiru is also mentioned, which has a possible connection with the Hebrews due to the similarity of the words and their geographic location. But, to this day this remains debatable under scholars.


North Canaan: Phoenicia (1200-939 BC)

An ancient Semetic civilization in the north of Canaan, and situated on the coastline of modern Lebanon, with all its major cities on the eastern Mediterranean coastline. Their civilization was organized in city-states with Byblos (1200-1000 BCE) and Tyre (1000-333 BCE) as major cities.

Its believed to have originated from the early Canaanite inhabitants, they didn't have a culture, language, religion, that would set them apart from the other Semitic cultures of Canaan, but they did have a remarkable achievements when it came to seafaring. There was no difference neither in archaeological terms, and they didn't see themselves as having a Phoenician identity. The term Phoenicia was a Greek Classical term used to refer to the major Canaanite port town at the time, and it didn't correspond to an exact identity.

They spoke a Canaanite dialect later also referred to as Phoenician, and when comes to the use of the alphabet, they were the first state-level society to use it extensively. Through their maritime trade they passed their Phoenician phonetic alphabet, which didn't have vowels, on to North Africa and Europe. In Europe it went first to the Greeks, whom added vowels to it, and passed it on to the Etruscans – ancient civilization of Italy - whom in turn passed it on to the Romans.

The Ahiram epitaph is the oldest Phoenician alphabet inscription found engraved on the sarcophagus of King Ahiram from c. 1200 BCE. Until the mid 11th century it has become conventional to refer to the alphabetic script as “Proto-Canaanite” when it was first attested on inscribed bronze arrowheads, and after 1050 BCE it was referred to as “Phoenician “.

The Paleo-Hebrew alphabet dates back to the 10th century BCE or earlier and is an abjad - a writing system where each symbol always of usually stands for a consonant, the appropriate vowel is supplied by the reader - offshoot of the ancient Semitic alphabet and closely related to the Phoenician alphabet. It was used by the Israelites to write Hebrew. In the 5th century BCE the Israelites adopted the Aramaic alphabet, from which the present Jewish “square-script” Hebrew alphabet descends, as their writing system and the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet fell gradually out of use. The small number of Samaritans continue to use a derivative of the Old Hebrew alphabet, known as the Samaritan alphabet.

Other seats of power in the region of the Middle East were ancient Egypt - where the descendants of Abraham's son Israel (Jacob) lived for four centuries - and the Hittite Empire.

Author: © Mrs A. vd Laan-LeitoPosted in: History