I know the Hebrews (Jews) started traveling from shumor and Mesopotamia before entering Canaan (Today it is Israel).

The Phoenicians were located at the time in Lebanon and Israel area.

The Phoenicians lived in Canaan, they were a lost civilization that disappeared by Alexander the Great and his conquests.

Why did the Phoenicians let the Hebrews enter Canaan and stay there?

For clarification:

  1. When I refer to the Hebrews, I mean Jews and not any other ancient people who lived in Canaan.

  2. I’m not referring to any Exodus; the migration of the ancient Israelites from Egypt into Canaan.

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    Preliminary research would improve this question. I think there are some assumptions that I don't share, and I suspect that preliminary research would make it much easier to answer the question.
    – MCW
    Oct 9, 2015 at 11:15
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    The premise is false, the Hebrews originated in Canaan and were the same Semitic people as the Phoenicians and the Canaanites.
    – Semaphore
    Oct 9, 2015 at 15:36
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    I am the only here thinking that the OP is talking about the travel of Abraham from Ur (Mesopotamia) to Palestine (part of the Genesis IIRC) and not of the Exodus (as most of the answers seem to assume)? Anyway, I agree that the OP should be explicit about what is the source of his "knowledge".
    – SJuan76
    Oct 9, 2015 at 17:50
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    Hebrews didnt originate in Canaan. They entered it from Mesopotamia and Shomur. Cananites were there first
    – XWorm
    Oct 9, 2015 at 19:01
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    @Xworm - it would help greatly if you could update your question with some of the information from J. C. Davis's book. That would help to clarify our research and exclude answers that contradict the assumptions that underly your question. Comments can be deleted at any time, and are frequently deleted in long, complex comment strings like this one. Questions should stand on their own without reference to the comments. Thanks!
    – MCW
    Nov 17, 2016 at 14:41

8 Answers 8


There's no reason to think the Phoenicians could stop people from traveling over their land, or would even want to. The Biblical narrative suggests that the ancestors of the Hebrews were nomads who immigrated into Canaan, liked what they found, and settled down there. Even to the time of the passage into Egypt, it seems they remained relatively small; at best a tribe that cared for flocks and perhaps engaged in trade. The locals may even have welcomed them if they had some special skill, and as long as the newcomers paid their taxes and didn't threaten them, the local rulers likely wouldn't care much.

As an aside, T.E.D.'s link to support that there was no exodus actually asserts that an exodus did occur (In Search of Pre-Exilic Israel, p.36). I recently had a conversation with someone who has studied this (no biblical literalist by any means, and nor am I) who likewise said that the consensus is that some group called the Habiru do seem to have come out of Egypt, but not on the scale indicated by Exodus. & this concurs with what I read elsewhere.

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    I believe what most scholars mean when they say there was no exodus is there was no Hebrew exodus. The groups that have come out of Egypt cannot be linked to the Israelites who developed, as T.E.D. mentioned, in situ in Canaan. Oct 9, 2015 at 16:19
  • called2voyage, there are two different issues here. My main answer refers to the original question (the Phoenicians). My remark on the Habiru, however, applies; it becomes Hebrew in the things I've read. and you see this in the source cited by T.E.D. (p. 31, for example). About the only thing T.E.D.'s source indicates is that there has been some controversy; in no wise does it imply a consensus.
    – John Perry
    Oct 9, 2015 at 18:24
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    John, has the only answer that I like. So when the jews/hebrews entered Israel from Mesopotamia, the king of Canaan, just let them stay there as long as they brought some economic value?
    – XWorm
    Oct 9, 2015 at 19:10
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    The Torah certainly doesn't meet the standards that academics mean by "historical", but I understand it to be not entirely unreliable, and scholars frequently come to a premature consensus using questionable conclusions from documents whose own reliability are no less suspect, if not more. Two decades ago, for instance, an artifact was found with the stamp "House of David;" this caused a huge stir because (from what I read) "most scholars" had decided David was a merely mythical figure. (Some searching suggests I'm thinking of the Tel Dan stele.)
    – John Perry
    Oct 9, 2015 at 22:54
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    @XWorm re "I also dont know how many of the jews migrated from palestine to egypt after they experienced the droughts" Do note the land the Palestinians conquered (much later) was a narrow land strip by the sea, roughly overlapping the Gaza strip and north towards modern day Ashdod. Using the term palestine to describe geopolitical events that preceded the term's existence by a few dozen years at least is problematic at best.
    – Dani_l
    Mar 8, 2016 at 20:11

There's been a lot of debate about the Exodus over the last several decades. Its obviously a touchy subject for religious reasons, but the balance of the current scholarly opinion currently appears to be that there's no good evidence that such an event actually occurred.

The Book of Exodus appears to have been written and molded over a 200 year period starting around 600 BC. However, the setting is 600 to 1000 years prior to that. During all that time it would have had to have been an oral tradition. There are some obvious errors in it too (eg: mention of cities that didn't exist yet, a given population for the Hebrews almost greater than that of all of Egypt, etc.) Nothing you wouldn't expect of course from a oral tradition that had been passed down for at least 30+ generations.

Note that the authorship date of 600 BC is actually very significant in Jewish history, as it is the start of the Babylonian Exile. However true it may or may not be, having a story about how your people managed to escape captivity and return to their land seems like it would be a very useful thing for keeping together a people who were now in captivity away from their homeland. Egyptians would have also been very convenient bad guys who their Babylonian oppressors couldn't complain about.

If we look at the linguistic evidence, we get a slightly different story. Phoenician, Canaanite, and Hebrew are very closely related languages. Not only are they all Semitic, but they are all Central Semitic. Not only are they all Central Semitic, but they are all Northwest Semitic. Not only are they all Northwest Semitic, but they are all Canaanite.

What this implies is that there was a point when the Phoenicians, Hebrews, and other Canaanites were all one people. Linguists figure the time of this "Proto-Canaanite" to be from 1500 to 1100 BC. Given the geography of these languages (see below) the Phoenicians, Hebrews, and other Canaanites all likely differentiated from each other in-situ.

So as near as we can tell historically, around the end of the third millennium BC central Semitic people were living in the area from Syria to the Arabian peninsula. By the late second the Proto-Canaanites had evolved their separate identity in their historical area. By the start of the first millennium the Phoenicians and their various relatives in the hinterlands had evolved separate languages. There's no real evidence that the Jews specifically ever left this area and then came back.

Essentially, the Jews were just the Phoenicians' country cousins back off the coast.

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    One important note: I am not arguing that The Book of Exodus is unimportant. Quite the contrary, it is arguably the most historically-important work of literature in the Western world. It has inspired slave revolts and social movements the world over. Even if (at worst) it were initially just a work of propaganda, it is probably the most successful and important one ever. The current culture of my country is unimaginable without it.
    – T.E.D.
    Oct 9, 2015 at 12:42
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    @T.E.D. "The current culture of my country is unimaginable without it." Your country being ..what? Oct 9, 2015 at 16:00
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    @jwenting Naive of me, I know, but I did not read that in the question, why did you?
    – CGCampbell
    Oct 9, 2015 at 16:04
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    @jwenting - More to the point, I'd caution anyone into imputing motives into questions in all but the most obvious cases. Not only does it color your responses in a non-fact-based way, but historically here the assumptions have often been quite wrong (often 180 degrees wrong). That can lead to a lot of work for your poor moderators. Safest to stick to facts.
    – T.E.D.
    Oct 9, 2015 at 16:43
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    @PieterGeerkens The "Apiru" references are not as little-known as he claims. They make a rather prominent appearance in McEvedy's Penguin Atlas of Ancient History (complete with his own timeline for when the Exodus occurred), which is a popular work. The referenced article states quite openly that "Apiru" being a reference to Jews is no longer mainstream historical opinion. Still, it seems possible (even likely) there is some kind of relation.
    – T.E.D.
    Oct 9, 2015 at 16:59

They didn't. Your geography is a little off. As you can (sort of) see in TED's map Phoenicia is actually considerably north of Judea. Also, at the time of the Exodus, the empire of Tyre did not exist and the Phoenicians were a much smaller and less consequential people than they later became.

Of far greater concern to the Hebrews were the Philistines and other Canaanite peoples. In Chapter 34 of Exodus, it reads:

Do that which I command you and I will drive out before you the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite.

From this you can see there were arrayed against the migrating Hebrews a whole collection of enemies which already occupied Canaan and opposed them.

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    One more fact along these lines: Phoenicia was a maritime trading city, along the lines of Medieval Venice. They took over useful shoreline along their routes, but by and large couldn't care less what happened far inland in places like Jericho.
    – T.E.D.
    Oct 9, 2015 at 16:47
  • The Hebrews were pheonicians and other Canaanites?? So the same hebrews that travelled form mesopotamia and shomur.. became pheonicians and canaanites... <- that doesnt make any sense! BTW, teh pheonicians civilization ended by Alexander the great and the jews continued to live..
    – XWorm
    Oct 9, 2015 at 19:06
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    @XWorm You are misreading the English. Oct 9, 2015 at 19:07
  • If memory serves, the Philistines entered the picture much later, after the Phoenicians already lost most of their power in the area.
    – Dani_l
    Mar 8, 2016 at 20:20

The levant area (Syria, Lebanon, Israel/Palestine) of the time was dominated by an overall cannanite culture. The phoenicians were the coastal branch of the canaanite culture - who lived in individual city-states that made their wealth by ocean trade.

The hebrew's core ancestors were likely pastoral tribes related to the arameans, which is even stated in the bible - i.e. "my father was a wandering aramean". The canaanite language was probably the region's lingua franca (trade language) similar to how aramean and later arabic became wide-spoken trade/religious languages.

If there was an Exodus from Egypt of runaway semitic slaves, it was probably very small but became a religiously significant event over time. Some time during 1500-1200 BC, there was a civilizational collapse in the various cultures in the eastern Meditarranean among the existing canaanite and agean civiliations.

Some scholars believe that the semitic pastoral nomads moved into the formerly canaanite areas during this "Dark Age". These nomadic proto-hebrew tribes absorbed the canaanite civilization, culture and religious ideas, but still maintained their own sense of separateness that evolved into the Israelite identity.

I think that the Proto-Hebrew tribes were probably a minority, less than 10% of the population, but similar to the later invading armies of the Arabs and Turks, they changed the larger culture of their territories - this can be deduced from the text of the Torah that illustrates the Hebrews as a tribal confederation, which inter-married with the existing canaanite populations of the time.

So the original Hebrews/Israelites were pastoral nomads, who conquered some canaanite cities - just a few, not all of them as listed in the bible, and intermarried and incorporated these canaanites and their culture into the Israelite


I think it's hard to facilitate an answer as so few primary sources date from that period that we know of and can actually "read" (understand.)

So perhaps in the abstract we can infer but I think we'll never know. Our Western "traditions" (of communicating the past on something other than stone) don't really begin until the Greeks...and very few of the original texts of that time survive. Ironically the Comedian Aristophones is one of the larger resources. He was credited with causing Socrates to kill himself...and even made fun of that too.

Far from a Biblical tale of course.

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    Mate this is third one of your low quality "answers" if you call them that. You are only making comments and those too without any source or reference. You have not once attempted to answer any question you post these "answers" on. Please don't.
    – NSNoob
    May 27, 2016 at 5:12
  • Well I guess we'll just read directly from the papyrus and make no inferences whatsoever then... May 27, 2016 at 8:57
  1. Like all geopolitical hinterlands with marginal crop value The Levant has been a useful buffer zone controlled by the presiding power of its day. The writing of The Torah under Babylonian tutelage makes it unreliable unless viewed appropriately in this light. The Egyptian Exodus Myth would explain away the usurpation of the buffer zone by Egypt and her allies; Also, an Israelite incursion over a forty year period to displace other Canaanites is supported by their frequent application to Egypt for military support. The word Messiah may equally have been a similar distortion to disguise the Nilitic language peoples now revered as much for their fearlessness as for their name - The Massai - who wear a distinctive Red cloth of their own.
  2. Herodotus recorded the view expressed by the former Persian over-lords of Egypt that The Phoenicians originated from the shores of The Arabian sea. Their trade-mark product for trade was reliant on farming molluscs which alone produced the valuable Tyrian Purple dye supports the hypothesis that non-coastal property was of little value to them, just as coastal land was of little value to the Cities and Towns of the region. They may well have traversed the Arabian and Indian coasts before seeking shelter from its turbulent Tsunami nature in The Mediterranean.
  3. The journey of the name such as Brahma, Abram, Abraham and Ibrahim may also represent the usefulness of an esoteric cultural disguise, recorded thus etymologically, that translated well whilst maintaining established trading franchises in the familiar fashion. It should not be so surprising to find that the first Bramanical written record (Brahmi Script) also belongs to the Semitic language group.
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    This answer would be improved with sources. Nov 17, 2016 at 17:39
  • Herodotus records the Persians as claiming The Phoenicians originally came from The Arabian Sea. Nov 18, 2016 at 10:34
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    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahmi_script#Semitic_model_hypothesis suggests Brahmi Script may have developed from a semitic precursor but says that is not generally accepted as proven, still less that Hindu Brahma is anything to do with Hebrew Abraham.
    – Timothy
    Nov 20, 2016 at 13:40
  • A person who wants to believe is capable of believing anything - though generally it is what was presented to said person before the age of seven. People who want o understand the usefulness of 'Belief' to an emperor need to be able to step beyond belief. It's reasonable to state Emperors are not only in the business of creating history but also re-creating history -changing the collective memory is the natural consequence of the emperor's will especially when disperate peoples fall under his command. It would be a pointless exercise writing a history that an emperor has commanded forgotten. Dec 4, 2016 at 17:34

In an unstable geological region such as the Middle East it is not surprising to hear of displaced peoples seeking refuge elsewhere. It is indisputably the fact that many city states failed for this reason alone – earthquakes-landslides-temporarily damned rivers-floods- tsunamis- starvation all led to changes of fortune without the intervention of conquest.

However,Conquerors of the species Homo sapiens sapiens are all similarly inclined in so far as they all denigrated the accomplishments of the peoples they have conquered whilst immersing themselves in vain worshipful glory. Histories which are the product of conquests are therefore rarely as reliable as they profess to be; especially when supervised by a conquering overlord, such as logic dictates was the case with the writing of The Torah in Babylon, and, to an even greater extent The Bible imposition of The Germanic leaders replacing or usurping the power of Rome in its former European Imperial lands. The Quran is I expect the product of a similar process. Indeed, in my opinion, all religious material aligned to ‘The State’, existential or otherwise, is of that ilk.

Conquerors have regularly successfully obliterated the entire memory of a region of disperate peoples by removing or replacing their processes of education –e.g. The Assyrian dispersal of God’s ‘Chosen Peoples’ The Israelites (a process made more interesting because it was instigated by The Jews who claim the same mantle in a book they were forced to write ). Also in the main, Europe was stripped of its greater memory by The Roman Conquest. It is still without it.

Other Conquerors such as The Babylonians were satisfied with a written replacement to an oral tradition that could not subsequently be contradicted. That clearly pleased them, favored their outlook, displaced or replaced a rival (memory) such as Egypt’s: The 1st century desecration of Egyptian hieroglyphs by Christian zealots probably fits well with this political picture nicely.

In answer to the question: Why did The Phoenicians allow Abraham to settle? Answer: Because the passage of displaced peoples didn’t interfere with their business arrangements in Canaan i.e. shipping Cedar wood and producing dye, especially since it doubtless only occupied the most in-fertile fringes of Canaan and which they knew would inevitably fail to sustain them for long and would cause them to move on to Egypt in Abraham/Abram/Brama'n quest to return to India after his chosen passage through Hittite territory was blocked. And, possibly Abraham and The Phoenician's shared a memory of The Arabian Sea - that the prevailing winds blow for six months of the year towards India and six months of the year from India i.e. The vital clue that may explain how Abram/Brahmaan got trapped in Ur to begin with. It might also explain why in India today there are only two temples dedicated to Brahma in all the sub-continent, aside from the fact that contemporary Hinduism is a resurgent reinvented religion its most recent form the product of its recreation between the 7th-12th centuries of the current era.

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    I can't find the answer to the question in this wall of text; I also can't find any evidence of research.
    – MCW
    Nov 17, 2016 at 12:10
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    I've done the rest of our users the service of putting in paragraph breaks where it looked like the author was trying to put them (hint: You have to hit return twice). I can't do anything about its lack of sourcing though, nor the fact that this user already posted another answer almost a week ago.
    – T.E.D.
    Nov 17, 2016 at 14:31
  • The answer lies in the last paragraph which begins: "In answer to the question..." - which I forgot to put in my first response ...The second response hints at the possibility that Abram may not necessarily have been a Semite but could well have been of Indian extraction attempting to return home by acting as leader of disaffected Semites with little idea where to go or how to get there. It is common knowledge in India that an early trading experiment across The Arabian Sea ended in failure which led to the Brahmanical edict forbidding Brahmans to travel West of The River Indus. Nov 18, 2016 at 11:30
  • Logic doesn't require research. It is simply stark and obvious. If a conqueror requires a history to be written it is because he wants it written in his favor and ultimately to alter the memory of the people who must now recite it . Under this premise the most obvious alteration is The Exodus from Egypt story. What becomes clear is that a prince of Egypt organised a successful incursion of Canaan, perhaps over a forty year period to create a buffer state in Egypt's defence. The logic infers a forced migration from Ur was responsible for turning Semite against Semite now united under Babylon. Nov 18, 2016 at 11:57
  • The Jesuit motto, alleged to be attributed to Francis Xavier, the co-founder of the Jesuit Order reads "Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man." exemplifies the purpose of all religious and state tuition. How great is the disappointment of finding oneself alone at the moment of death without a single promise being fulfilled? The anguish born of faith is surely a travesty. To find that the history of indoctrination i was created to that end and that end only is surely a liberating thought for all, and therefore worth the exploration? Nov 20, 2016 at 10:15

The Jewish People are made up of the two remaining tribes of Judah/Benjamin. The 12/13 tribes are the same genetically as the Phoenicians. The Phoenicians were very close with the tribe of Dan who were known to live in ships.

The only difference is the 12 tribes became monotheistic. Yahweh was originally part of the Canaanite pantheon. He was the son of El and cup bearer of Baal. El was originally the manifestation of the sun rising in the time of Taurus. With the procession of the equinox, the sun rose in 12 different houses. Thus, we have the song "House of the Rising Sun". This is what that song is about, the procession of the equinox.

The word El can be broken down in Proto-Hebrew/Phoenician as an aleph and a lamed. The Alef is the symbol of a bull (Taurus) and the Lamed is a pictogram of a leg. Thus, the word is a pictoral representation of the bull that walks (in the sky).

Thus, we can deduce that the pictograph alphabet was created in the time of Taurus. Taurus represented god/the sun at that time. Adam and Eve were the twins or Gemini, Virgo is the virgin, Pisces is Christ, etc.

In the new testament, one asks Jesus "Who do we follow when you are gone?" He answers "As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters," Jesus/ Pisces is telling them to follow Aquarius as the sun will be rising in the house of Aquarius.

The word Baal is the same word as El/Al. The only difference is there is a letter Beit in front of it. This is the original symbol for a house. So it's the house of the bull that walks. The sun rises in the house of Taurus. The word Hebrew, Eberu,Iberu, Abreu are all linguistically related to the Phoenician/Canaanite word for the god of summer Hiribi.

It is by deduction, that the Phoenician were the same people as the Hebrew, and the later Judah/Benjamin. The Phoenicians and the Tribe of Dan were extremely friendly with the Egyptians. They at some point fragmented due to religious differences, but remained allies. The King of Tyre was called to build the Temple. Akhenaten may have been Moses, the Ark may have been taken from Egypt (It resembles many arks in Egypt, which were originally boats) and they may have brought this back home.

This does not mean that Abraham was not from Ur. I believe that before UR, a part of the proto-semites were from the highest caste of India. The Brahmas. Ab-Brahma would literally mean "Father Brahma", this would be like the highest Rabbi. People tend to assimilate into cultures, linguistically, culturally and by blood. The Phoenicians are now known as the Lebanese. However, this does not mean every Lebanese is Phoenician.

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    This answer is incomplete unless you weave in how the Phoenicians founded cities in Iberia. (Better yet, provide a few sources to support your varied references and allusions). Nov 17, 2016 at 17:45

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