A. These sea people settled in Palestine around 1200 B.C., having traveled from the Isle of Crete (Caphtor). (See Deut. 2:23; Jer. 47:4; Amos 9:7. They came from the line of Ham, through his second on Mizraim (1 Chron. 1:12). Because of this they were distantly related to the Egyptians.
B. It is thought that, en route to Palestine, they may have destroyed the Hittites and the great ancient Syrian city of Ugarit. In 1190 B.C. they attempted to invade Egypt but were repulsed by Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses III. After this they settled on the upper coastline and gave Palestine its name.
C. The Philistines formed a five-city league called the Pentapolis. This consisted of Gaza, Ashdod, Askelon, Ekron, and Gath. Each city was ruled by a lord.
D. The Philistines were very religious, worshiping Dagon (the grain god), Ashtaroth (god of propagation), and Baal-zebub (god of habitation). (See I Sam. 5:4, 3 1:10; 2 Ki. 1:2.) Baal-zebub later be came known as Beelzebub, meaning "the prince of demons" (Mt. 12:24). The Philistines celebrated their victories in the house of their idols (1 Sam. 31:9) and often carried their gods into battle (2 Sam. 5:21).
E. The main reason for their early victories over Israel was their possession of the "atomic bomb" of the day, iron smelting. This they probably learned from the Hittites, who were the first to rediscover this method after the great Flood. (See 1 Sam. 13:5, 19-22.)
F. The Philistines were the "boozers" of their day. consuming great quantities of barley beer.
II. The Bible and the Philistines.
A. Shamgar and Samson fought with them (Jdg. 3:31, 13 L 15:20).
B. Jonathan, Saul's son, defeated them (1 Sam 14:1 -47).
C. They were eventually driven back to the coast by Samuel (1 Sam. 7:12-14).
D. Jonathan, Saul's son, defeated them (1 Sam. 14:1-47).
E. Saul lost to them and was killed in the battle (1 Sam. 31).
F. David fought with them (1 Sam. 17; 2 Sam. 5).
G. They were totally subjected by the time of Solomon (1 Ki. 4:2 1).
The word Canaanite is a general term for those people living in the Promised Land at the time of Israel's entrance led by Joshua. They would include the Phoenicians, Philistines, Ammonites, Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites, and Hivites.
Many of these people were the descendants of Canaan, Ham's fourth son. (see Gen. 9:22-27; 10:6, 15-20). The name Canaanite may well have come from him. However, some believe the land was called Canaan by the Phoenicians, who traveled there to secure a purple dye from the Murex shellfish. This trade became so well known that the Greeks referred to the entire area as Canaan, a Greek word meaning blood-red.
Some of the early cities founded by the Canaanites were Gezer, Megiddo, Jericho, Sodom, Gomorrah, and Jerusalem.
The abundance of the land can be seen through the testimony of an Egyptian refugee named Sinuhe who fled to Canaan around 1950 B.C. He writes:
"It is a good land . . figs and grapes are in it, it has more wine than water, it has much honey and olive oil in plenty; all fruits are upon its trees, limitless barley is there, and all kinds of herds and flocks."
This statement should be compared with Exodus 3:8 and Deuteronomy 8:8.
The Canaanites probably invented the alphabet Theirs consisted of thirty-one alphabetic signs
The first recorded war in biblical history took place between four Mesopotamian kings and five Canaanite kings. (see Gen. 14)
THE RELIGION OF THE CANAANITES
It may be stated without exaggeration that the Canaanite religion was the moist sexually perverted, morally depraved, and bloodthirsty of all ancient history. It was for this reason that God ordered Joshua to exterminate their very culture, citizens, and cities. (see Deut. 7:1-5; 20:10-15; Josh. 9:24).
There are three primary sources proving the disgusting debauchery of the Canaanites.
1. The Word of God. (see Gen. 13:13; 15:16; 18:20; 19:1-11; Num. 25:1-3; Jdg. 19:14-25; 1Ki. 14:24; 15:12; 22:46; 2Ki. 23:7). These verses refer primarily to their sexual sins.
2. The testimony of Philo of Byblos, a Phoenician scholar, who wrote around 100 B.C. He collected ancient religious materials from his homeland.
3. The Ras Shamra literature of ancient Ugarit, found in A.D. 1929.
The head god of the Canaanite religion was El. His wife was Asherah. He also married his three sisters, one of whom was Astarte. (see Jdg. 10:6). El had seventy children, the most famous being Baal. El not only killed his brother, but also some of his own sons. He then cut off his daughter's head, castrated his father, castrated himself, and compelled his confederates to do the same.
The sister of Baal (and daughter of El) was Anat. She became the vile and vicious goddess of passion. war, and violence. She fought Baal's enemies. The Baal-epic of Ugarit depicts her as follows:
"With her might she mowed down the dwellers of the cities, she struck down the people of the sea-coasts, she destroyed the men of the east. She drove men into her temple and closed the doors so that no one could escape. She hurled chairs at the youths, tables at the warriors, footstools at the mighty men. She waded up to the knees, up to the neck in blood. Human heads lay at her feet, human hands flew over her like locusts. She tied the heads of her victims as ornaments upon her back, their hands she tied upon her belt. Her liver was swollen with laughing, her heart was full of joy. When she was satisfied she washed her hands in streams of human blood before turning again to other things."
The national god of the Canaanite Ammonites was Molech. (see 1Ki. 11:5,7). An important rite in the worship of Molech was the sacrificial burning of children. Two Judean kings, Ahaz and Manasseh, abandoned the worship of Israel's true God and actually sacrificed their own children to this murderous Molech. (see 2Ki. 16:3; 21:6). Thus, the slaughtering of little ones became a common practice of the Canaamte religion. (see Ezek. 16:20-21; 23:37). In excavations at Gezer, an archaeologist named Macalister (1904-1909) found the ruins of a Canaanite temple. Inside he discovered hundreds of urns containing the bones of children from four to twelve years old who had been burned alive. Another horrible practice along this line was called "foundation sacrifice". This called for the slaughter of a child upon the construction of a house. Its body would then be stuffed into a wall to assume "good luck" to the remaining family.
Some reference has already been made to the sexual perversions of the Canaanites. Its priests were usually notorious homosexuals, and the priestesses common prostitutes. Cult figures, figurines, and other objects have been dug up, some of which are carved idols of human sex organs.
I. Rise of the Mesopotamian Cities and Peoples.
A. It is speculated that sometime prior to 3000 BC, the events in Genesis 11 took place. Nimrod, Ham's grandson, led a rebellion against God by constructing the Tower of Babel.
B. After the language dispersion, various groups settled all over the Middle East.
C. By the year 3000 BC, two groups of people had settled in Mesopotamia, a word meaning, "the land between the two rivers." These rivers are the Tigris and the Euphrates, both of which flow south into the Persian Gulf
D. One group, called the Akkadians, lived in the upper Valleys, and the other group, known as the Sumerians, occupied the lower valleys. This was known as the land of Sumer.
II. Political History of the Valleys.
A. Some of the more important cities of the southern area where the Sumenans lived were Eridu, Kish, Lagash, Larsa, Nippiur, Umma, Ur, and Urak.
B. Between 2500-2300 BC, the kings of Ur had made their city the ruling one over all of Sumer. They then invaded the Akkadians in the north.
C. Shortly after 2300 BC, the story changed and the Sumerians were conquered by a powerful Akkadian ruler named Sargon.
D. According to tradition, as a baby Sargon was left to die in a basket on the Euphrates River. He was found by a gardener who raised him to become a soldier.
E. Sargon was a superb military leader, organizer, and administrator. He established the first recorded empire in history and united all of Mesopotamia.
F. His headquarters were in the city of Babylon. He ruled for fifty-six years. Sargon was a great lawgiver.
G. After his death, however, his children were unable to continue his strong rule. Sumer was then invaded and conquered by a group of barbarian mountain men from the north called the Gutians. They ruled for approximately 100 years (2170-2070 BC).
H. At this time the Sumenans rallied and drove out the Gutians. The new capital became the thriving seaport of Ur on the Persian Gulf The greatest ruler of this era was a man called Dungi. He was an able administrator and compiled the Law Code of Dungi, which predated the Code of Hammurabi by some three centuries.
I. The Sumerian state ended around 200 BC when some wandering eastern people called the Elamites invaded and conquered Sumer.
III. The Accomplishments of the Mesopotamians.
A. The Sumerians were excellent architects and builders. The city of Ur, for example, had massive royal palace with huge staircases, large columns, and paneled walls. On these walls were beautiful paintings of humans and animals. The aristocrats lived in homes two stories high, which were built around a courtyard. They also knew how to construct a vault, arch, and a dome. One architectural form (later copied by the Egyptians for their pyramids) was the ziggurat. This was a temple tower with a platform built upon another platform, each one a little smaller than the last. It was probably patterned after the Tower of Babel.
B. They used gold and silver and possessed a knowledge of alloys, casting, and setting, which resulted in excellent metal work and jewelry.
C. Astronomy, mathematics, astrology, mapmaking, and surgery were taught in schools.
D. There were numerous songs, legends, and ballads written by the Sumerians. Among the most famous were The Creation and The Epic of Gilgamesh.
E. The Sumenans made great strides in mathematics, inventing a numerical system based on the unit of six. They multiplied, divided, and worked in fractions. They had a lunar calendar, with a year of 354 days.
F. The kings of ancient Sumeria made use of chariots and their troops were well organized, marching in compact units. They were armed with copper helmets and spears.
G. They were also very skillful in agriculture, raising great crops of grain, vegetables, and dates. They kept such domestic animals as cows, sheep, and goats. For plowing they made use of oxen while the donkeys pulled their carts and chariots. They also had a flourishing dairy industry.
H. The Sumerians were the earliest recorded people to write. They employed pictographic symbols, but later changed these symbols into conventional signs, writing them upon soft clay tablets with a stylus. The stylus has a triangular tip and made the strokes in the shape of a wedge. This writing later became known as cuneiform, that is, "wedge-shaped".
IV. The Religion of the Mesopotamians.
A. Religion dominated the lives of the people, as in other civilizations of ancient times.
B. There were gods for each city and town, and for each characteristic, or phase of mature. A complicated mythology was developed.
1. Ishtar, the mother-goddess, was the goddess of love and fertility.
2. Tammuz, the favorite son deity, was the god of spring, flowers, and grain; he also was god of the hereafter, where he lived half of the year, returning to earth each spring.
3. During the Babylonian dynasty, Tammuz was replaced by a similar god, Marduk of the Amorites.
C. The Babylonians also worshiped heavenly bodies, which led to a study of astronomy and a strong belief in astrology.
D. There were sacrifices of all kinds, including human.
E. There were temples, altars, and schools run by the priests.
F. Omens, oracles, and magic played an important part in religion.
1. Dreams were deemed important and were interpreted.
2. The future was often foretold by reading the lines on the liver of a sheep brought for sacrificial purposes.
A. Egypt, like Mesopotamia, saw the rise of the earliest record of man (apart from the Bible). Egypt was protected on all sides by natural barriers. The sea on the north and deserts on the south, east, and west had to be crossed by any would-be enemy.
B. Egyptian civilization is really a gift from the Nile River. The longest river in the world (9037 miles), it starts at Lake Victoria In North Africa and flows north, ending in the Mediterranean Sea.
C. The Nile winds make two-way navigation on the river easy. Ships going north would simply drift downstream, while those vessels headed south would raise their sails and be pushed against the up-river current.
D. Because of the lay of the land, upper Egypt is really in the south (being higher) and lower Egypt is located north at the delta, where the river parts into seven currents and pours into the sea.
E. The rulers of upper Egypt (south) wore a white crown, while those of lower Egypt (north) wore a red crown.
II. The Dynasties of Egypt.
The period from 3300 B.C. to the reign of Alexander the Great (330 B.C.) was divided politically into thirty dynasties by Manetho, a historian of the third century B.C.
III. A Basic Outline of Egypt's History.
A. Early dynastic period-3000-2700 B.C. Dynasty 1 and 2. Capital at Memphis-biblical Noph (Isa.
19:13; Jer. 2:16; 46:14, 19; Ezek. 30:13, 16).
Note: A ruler named Menes was the first king of the thirty dynasties. It is thought that he was the Mizraim of Genesis 10:6. Mizraim was the second son of Ham.
B. Old kingdom-2700-2200 B.C. Dynasty 3 to 6. During this time the great pyramids were constructed.
C. First intermediary period-2200-2000 B.C. Dynasty 7 to 10.
D. Middle kingdom-2000-1800 B.C. Dynasty 11 and 12. Capital moved to Thebes (biblical No) (Jer. 46:25; Ezek. 3o:14-16; Nahum 3:8). This was the time of the artistic decorations of the tombs.
E. Second intermediary period- 1800-1600 B.C. Dynasty 13 to 17. The Hyksos, Asian overlords, ruled from 1674-1567 B.C., during the fifteenth to seventeenth dynasties.
F. New kingdom- 1600-1100 B.C. Dynasty 18 to 20. The age of Egypt's supreme power and wealth. During this time the children of Israel were in Egypt and the Exodus took place.
G. Post-empire period - 1100-300 B.C. Dynasty 21 to 30. During dynasty twenty-two Shishak ruled (1 Ki. 11:40; 14:25-27; 2 Chron. 12:2-12). During dynasty twenty-six, Pharaoh Necho ruled (2 Ki. 23:28-30 33-35; 2 Chron. 35:20-24; 36:4; Jer. 46:2) Persian rule - 525-332 B.C. Ptolemaic period - 300-30 B.C. Alexander the Great-332-323 B.C. Ptolemy I - XII - 309-5 I B.C. Cleopatra - 51-30 B.C. Of these seven periods, the most important events transpired during the old, middle, and new kingdoms.
IV. A Brief History of Important Events.
A. The old kingdom (2700-2200 B.C.). Includes age 38 dynasties 3-6.
1. The first pyramid was built by Pharaoh Zoser. It was probably copied and improvised upon from the Ziggurats of Mesopotamia. Zoser was of the third dynasty.
2. Pharaoh Khufu (also called Cheops) of the fourth dynasty ordered the construction of the great pyramid. The Greeks considered this pyramid one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It took some 100,000 men over twenty years to complete it. The base of the pyramid is 755 feet; limestone blocks, each weighing two-and-a-half tons, were used.
3. The great Sphinx was built for Pharaoh Khafre (son of Khufu), also of the fourth dynasty. It had a lion's body and a Pharaoh's head. The body is 240 feet long and 66 feet high. Its face is thirteen feet wide.
4. Pepi II, of the sixth dynasty, was the final and most powerful king of the old kingdom. He ruled for more than ninety years. Shortly after his death, the old kingdom came to an end. For the next 200 years (2200-2000 B.C.) there was political chaos in Egypt as one invader after another crossed the deserts and disrupted life. Irrigation and building projects fell into ruin and civil war raged as three ambitious families tried to set up their own government. This is sometimes called the feudal age, and consisted of dynasties 7-10. The patriarch Abraham visited Egypt during this period (Gen. 12:10-20) around 2045 B.C.
B. The middle kingdom (2000-l8oo B.C.). Includes dynasties 11, 12.
1. Pharaoh Amenhotep I, of the eleventh dynasty, reunited Egypt. He and his successors began rebuilding the country and developing world trade.
2. It was during the final part of the middle kingdom period, around 1897 B.C., that Joseph was sold into Egyptian slavery (Gen. 37) and Jacob, his father, moved to Egypt (Gen. 96) in 1475 B.C. Similar conditions of turmoil and warfare which had marked the last years of the old kingdom prevailed during the final period of the middle kingdom. Shortly after 1700 B.C., a group of invaders called the Hyksos (shepherd kings) moved into the Delta from Syria and Asia and conquered northern (lower) Egypt. The Hyksos had war chariots pulled by horses. They used two-edged daggers and swords. The bows were of a powerful double-curved nature and shot bronze-tipped arrows. The Egyptians, untrained and almost unarmed, were no match for them. The Hyksos stopped all work on the pyramids, introduced new gods, and attempted to simplify the Egyptian language. The total time period of this second intermediary period would be from 1800-1600 B.C., covering dynasties 13-17. It is thought by some (but not all) that the Hebrew oppression began in Egypt at this time (Ex. 1) around 1730 B.C. In 1580 a rebellion led by Egyptian soldier Ahmose I successfully drove out the hated Hyksos invaders.
C. The new kingdom (1600-1100 B.C.). Includes dynasties 18-20.
1. Ahmose I and his successors spent much of their time rebuilding Egypt. An intense spirit of nationalism prevailed. Many believe it was during this time and for these reasons (need for cheap labor and suspicion of all foreigners) that the Hebrew oppression in Egypt began. Thus, all the Pharaohs mentioned in the book of Exodus would come from the famous eighteenth dynasty. Consider:
a. The "new king" who "knew not Joseph" of Exodus 1:8, would be Thutmose I (1539-1520 B.C.). Moses was born in 1525 B. C.
b. The "daughter of Pharaoh" of Exodus 2:5 was Hatshepsut, who raised Moses and took over the throne of Egypt when her husband Thutmose II died.
c. The pharaoh who sought to kill Moses of Exodus 2:15 was Thutmose III, step-son of Hatshepsut, who bitterly hated the queen and deposed her. Upon his coming to power, Moses, a friend of Hatshepsut, would naturally suffer Thutmose III's wrath also.
d. The pharaoh during the ten plagues of Exodus 5:1 was Amenhotep II. This pharaoh's tomb was never finished. This may be explained in Exodus 14:8-31 where we are told Pharaoh and his armies perished in the Red Sea crossing attempt. Further more, his son never ruled over Egypt. Again, Exodus 12:29 may account for this, as we are told the pharaoh lost a child in the Passover death plague.
2. The more important rulers during this period belonged to the famous eighteenth dynasty. Some have already been mentioned. A few from the new kingdom period are:
a. Ahmose . The first ruler of the eighteenth dynasty, and one who helped drive out the Hyskos, thus reuniting Egypt.
b. Hatshepsut. The one who raised Moses and first queen to assume the godship with the kingship of Egypt. She wore a double crown and false beard.
c. Thutmose III. The step-son of Hatshepsut who hated her with a passion and was finally able to depose her. Thutmose III was one of the greatest of all Egyptian pharaohs. He is Called the Alexander the Great and Napoleon of Egypt. His empire stretched from the Sudan to northern Syria. He was pharaoh when Moses fled Egypt at age forty. He left Egypt so secure that it remained the greatest power of its time for many decades.
d. Amenhotep II. The pharaoh of the ten plagues of Exodus 5:1 was Amenhotep II. This pharaoh's tomb was never finished. This may be explained in Exodus 14:8-31 where we are told Pharaoh and his armies perished in the Red Sea crossing attempt. Further more, his son never ruled over Egypt. Again, Exodus 12:29 may account for this, as we are told the pharaoh lost a child in the Passover death plague.
e. Amenhotep III. The Egyptian empire reached its zenith during his reign. He was called Amenhotep III the Magnificent.
f. Amenhotep IV. He is better known as Akhnaton, and attempted to Change the polytheistic religion of Egypt to worship of the sun god, Aton. He may have been influenced by the power of the true God which was demonstrated during the ten plagues. Amenhotep IV married a beautiful woman named Nefertiti. Many paintings and statues have been found of this couple. It is interesting to note that ancient records have been unearthed (the El Amarna tablets found in AD. 1880) which include urgent messages from certain Canaanite kings in Palestine to Amenhotep IV for Egyptian help in repulsing a group of invading people called the Hapirus. It is thought by some (but many would disagree) that the Hapirus were in reality the Hebrews as led by Joshua.
g. Tutanhaton. He was the son-in-law of Amenhotep IV. In A.D. 1922 his tomb was discovered by Howard Carter. The tomb contained over $100,000 in gold alone. Tutankhaton' s mummy had been placed inside three golden cases and put in a stone sarcophagus. The coffin was then enclosed in four gilded wooden outer cases. He began ruling at age ten in 1361 B.C. and died at nineteen.
h. Ramses II He was the last powerful Pharaoh and one of the most boastful, ruling for some sixty-seven years. He signed the first recorded treaty in history (around 1250 B.C.) with the Hittites.
i. Ramses III. He is remembered for defeating the Philistines in a pitched sea battle in 1190 B.C. From this point on it was downhill all the way for Egypt. The only other important Pharaoh in biblical history was Necho II of the twenty-sixth dynasty. He killed the godly Judean king, Josiah (2 Ki. 23:29), and was so soundly defeated by the Babylonians at the battle of Carchemish in 605 B.C. (Jer. 46-2)