Monday, June 20, 2011

The Canaanites

The Canaanites inhabited only a small region of Israel, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine, yet, it inhabits a large place in history and the imagination. Due to Canaan's location at the crossroads of the world, it like Israel has always been important and invovled in conflict. They built cities like Jericho, the oldest big city in the world. There typical city was walled, with a market. In the surrounding countryside, farms of barley, wheat, pistachios, olives and grapes abounded. The Canaanites were one of many groups in the complex and confusing world of the ancient Middle East.

The Canaanite religion was polytheistic. Among the gods worshiped were Moloch (Molech and also Molekh), Asherah, Dagon, Hadad and the main deity, El. Though Ba‘al (Baal) is the most well known god of the Canaanites, this is actually a generic name that can apply to many Canaanite deities, often Hadad. The religion of the Canaanites drew heavily on the Egyptian and Mesopotamian religions and possibly involved human sacrifice, particularly to the horned demonic god, Molech. Today, there are still some followers of the Canaanite religion.

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