Canaan — (1.) The fourth son of Ham (Gen. 10:6). His descendants were under a curse in consequence of the transgression of his father (9:22–27). His eldest son, Zidon, was the father of the Sidonians and Phoenicians. He had eleven sons, who were the founders of as many tribes (10:15–18).
(2.) The country which derived its name from the preceding. The name as first used by the Phoenicians denoted only the maritime plain on which Sidon was built. But in the time of Moses and Joshua it denoted the whole country to the west of the Jordan and the Dead Sea (Deut. 11:30). In Josh. 5:12 the LXX. read, “land of the Phoenicians,” instead of “land of Canaan.”
The name signifies “the lowlands,” as distinguished from the land of Gilead on the east of Jordan, which was a mountainous district. The extent and boundaries of Canaan are fully set forth in different parts of Scripture (Gen. 10:19; 17:8; Num. 13:29; 34:8). (See CANAANITES , PALESTINE.)