Canaan, per the Book of Genesis, is a grandson of Noah who fathered the many Canaanite tribes that settled in the Land of Canaan.

The name of the fourth son of Ham ben Noah (Gen. 9:22; 10:6); also used to denote the tribe inhabiting the lowland (hence the name) toward the Mediterranean coast of Palestine; sometimes as a general name for all the non-Israelite inhabitants of the country west of Jordan, called by the Greeks Phoenicians. The Hebrew and Phoenician languages were almost identical. As the Phoenicians were great traders, Canaanite came to denote merchant (Isa. 23:8; Ezek. 17:4; Hosea 12:7).

Curse of Cainan

Land of Canaan in Patriarch Times showing placement of various Canaanite Tribes.

The Book of Genesis records an curious story about Ham, who apparently did wrong in observing his father's ( Noah) drunken nakedness, and for this act, one of his sons, Cainan is sorely cursed.

18 And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan.
19 These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.
20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:
21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.
23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness.
24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.
25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
26 And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
Source: Genesis 9:18-27

Marriage and Family

Ham, son of Noah (Gen. 5:32; 6:10; 7:13); cursed (9:18–22). The names of his descendants are given in 10:6–7; they were the southern nations. The descendants of Canaan are recorded in two places in the Old Testament of the Bible.

Genesis 10 Narrative

6 And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan.
15 And Canaan begat Sidon his firstborn, and Heth,
16 And the Jebusite, and the Amorite, and the Girgasite,
17 And the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite,
18 And the Arvadite, and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite: and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad.
19 And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as thou comest to Gerar, unto Gaza; as thou goest, unto Sodom, and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim, even unto Lasha.
20 These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, and in their nations.
Source: Genesis 10:6, 15-20

1 Chronicles Narrative

13 And Canaan begat Zidon his firstborn, and Heth,
14 The Jebusite also, and the Amorite, and the Girgashite,
15 And the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite,
16 And the Arvadite, and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite.
Source: 1 Chronicles 1:13-16

Canaanite Tribes

  1. Sidon - Father of the Sidonites - today represented as the third largest city in Lebanon.
  2. Hittites - (Descendants of Heth) - by 1300 B.C., the Hittite Empired covered much of modern day Turkey.
  3. Jebusites - (Descendants of Jebus) and inhabitants of Jerusalem before it was conquered by King David.
  4. Amorites - inhabitants of area of Syria by 2400 B.C.
  5. Girgashites - minor tribe
  6. Hivites - minor tribe
  7. Arkites - a minor tribe that settled in northern area of Lebanon.
  8. Sinites - minor tribe that is lost to history
  9. Arvadites - minor tribe that inhabited Arvad/Arwad, an island city that is now part of Syria.
  10. Zemarites - minor tribe that inhabited Sumur, a city near the coast of present-day Syria.
  11. Hamathites - minor tribe that inhabited the Kingdom of Hamath, located in what is now western Syria and northern Lebanon.


Offspring of Canaan and unknown parent
Name Birth Death Joined with


Footnotes (including sources)

‡ General
  • Book of Genesis


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