The Bible speaks of the annihilation of the Canaanites, but their descendants are living in Lebanon.

DNA evidence has brought up some questions about the story of the Canaanites.

In an article, the New York Times discusses the Hebrew Bible’s story of the annihilation of the Canaanites. The Bible quotes God instructing not to leave any survivors, but evidence shows that there were those that did indeed survive.

Today, descendants live in modern Lebanon.

“Dr. Tyler-Smith and an international team of geneticists and archaeologists recovered ancient DNA from bones belonging to five Canaanites retrieved from an excavation site in Sidon, Lebanon, that were 3,650 to 3,750 years old.”

“The team then compared the ancient DNA with the genomes of 99 living people from Lebanon that the group had sequenced. It found that the modern Lebanese people shared about 93 percent of their ancestry with the Bronze Age Sidon samples.”

If Christians were to disagree with this information, should they:

  1. Challenge it? Should research be done of Christians’ own accord in order to show other evidence? The Bible does quote God saying, “You shall not leave alive anything that breathes.” Did he mean this literally?
  2. Adjust the Bible interpretation to fit it? Again, did God mean this literally? Is there another way to interpret the passages?
  3. Get further information from other sources? There’s always more research out there with a different point to make.
  4. Keep an open mind? What is there to learn from this information?


16: But in the cities of these peoples that the LORD your God gives you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes,
17: but you shall utterly destroy them, the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Per’izzites, the Hivites and the Jeb’usites, as the LORD your God has commanded;
18: that they may not teach you to do according to all their abominable practices which they have done in the service of their gods, and so to sin against the LORD your God.

Deuteronomy 20:16-18


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