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Canaan (Bible)

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Canaan is a Biblical figure who, according to the Old Testament, was the son of Ham and the grandson of the patriarch Noah. The Book of Genesis states that the Canaanites, a people who mostly occupied modern-day Israel, were descendants of this Canaan. Canaan fathered the Phoenicians through his son Sidon, and the Hittites through his son Heth. The Bible also says that he fathered the Jebusites, Hivites, Arkites, Girgashites, Zemarites, Amorites, Sinites, Arvadites, and Hamathites.

In Genesis, Canaan was cursed by Noah because of his father's transgressions. This is referred to as the Curse of Ham.

However, according to the Book of Jubilees, both the Israelite conquest of Canaan and the curse are attributed instead to Canaan's steadfast refusal to join his elder brothers in Ham's allotment beyond the Nile, instead "squatting" on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean, within the inheritance delineated for Shem.

The Persian historian Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari (c. 915) recounts a tradition that the wife of Canaan was named Arsal, a daughter of Batawil son of Tiras, and that she bore him the "Blacks, Nubians, Fezzan, Zanj, Zaghawah, and all the peoples of the Sudan."


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