All my life as I’ve studied the Bible and heard it taught, reading the odd list of Canaanite names feels like driving over potholes. I think, Why doesn’t somebody fill in those holes?
In fact, most of the time when I hear preachers read the list of “Canaanites, Hittites, and Jebusites,” they typically add “Termites” to the list just to get a laugh. We chuckle because—if we’re honest—including those Canaanite names seems a bit ridiculous—and irrelevant.
What difference do all those “—ites” make to us? In this post I’ll give a simple overview of these names, who they were, and where they lived.
But more importantly, I’ll share what difference they make to us today.
I asked the helicopter pilot to fly to Hazor so that I could take video of the site. Before long we hovered over a modern town with houses, streets, and parks. The pilot and I exchanged awkward glances, and I clarified what I wanted: “I meant Tel Hazor.”
He still looked confused.
After five minutes of searching the area, we finally saw it. Two hundred acres huge, rising from the floor of the Huleh Basin, ancient Hazor looms as Israel’s largest tell.
I had to marvel at how times have changed. What was once Canaan’s most important city has somehow gotten lost in the weeds of contemporary minds.
How could the pilot not have known where it was?
At Tel Arad, the whole land of Canaan lay before the Hebrews. They had waited and wandered forty years in the wilderness. The Promised Land was theirs for the taking. Right there before them!
Instead, God led the Hebrews on a major detour.
Tel Arad in Israel’s Negev offers many benefits to its visitors. It’s an oasis of ancient archaeology. It gives a rare glimpse of Judah’s idolatry.
And it speaks to us today of the need to tap the brakes on our impatience with God’s leading.