We want to welcome you to the website! Kanaan Ministries was founded by Roly and Amanda Buys with one desire: restoration … the restoration of the Bride of Messiah, as well as equipping the saints with the tools needed to walk in victory and blessing. This restoration takes place in all three areas of man: spirit, soul, and body. You will find our resources cover many different aspects and subjects, but always come down to our foundation: restoration. To find out more about us, please browse through the various sections, as well as the links below. We bless you in your walk with the LORD … may He reveal to you His Ways! Shalom!

Meaning of the word “Kanaan”

  • Kana is the place where PRIDE and ARROGANCE gets exposed.
  • Kana is the place where my soul must bow down in humility.

One afternoon in the city of Tyre, the story has it, the Canaanite god Melqart (also known as Heracles) and his mistress, Tyros, were strolling along the beach with their pet dog when the dog took a bite of a snail that had washed ashore. The dog’s mouth turned purple, and immediately Tyros decided that she wanted an outfit dyed that exact same colour. 

And who can blame her? 

I can’t attest to the Canaanite gods’ dog discovering purple, but the Canaanites did extract purple dye, which when left in the sun turns blue, from tens of thousands … millions of various types of snails off the coasts of Lebanon and Syria about 3,500 years ago. The word “Canaan” might be etymologically connected to the Hurrian word,Kanahu,purple; and more certainly, “Phoenicia” means “purple land” in Greek. 

These Canaanites, later referred to as Phoenicians (purple people), became known for this purple and blue dye, said to be worth more than its weight in gold and they exported it extensively throughout the Mediterranean. 

In the Bible, the colour purple is mentioned often, usually within the phrase, “and blue and purple and scarlet and fine linen…”. Both purple and blue are colours of royalty and power and wealth. 

The Tabernacle’s curtain and veil, the hem of the high priest’s robe, the ephod of the high priest that predicted the future … all were dyed in blue and purple, along with some other colours.

Likewise, the colour blue, tekhelet, was used in the Tabernacle. A blue cloth covered the bread, as well as the lampstand. Solomon’s Temple featured tekhelet drapes, and Israel’s high priests wore tekhelet robes.

Blue was not reserved for the lofty, however. The Children of Israel were commanded by the Torah “…to make tzitzit – fringes) on the edges of their garments … and put on the fringe a thread of tekhelet (blue).” Looking at it, they were to remember the Commandments, and be reminded not to follow their own desires.

So who were these Canaanites and how were they inadvertently responsible for the blue in the modern-day Israeli flag? 

The questions come to mind this week as Jews mark the 70th anniversary of Israel’s creation and the colour blue will figure prominently in the celebrations.

Canaan and the Canaanites are mentioned about 160 times in the Bible, beginning with Canaan as the grandson of Noah. According to Genesis, when Abraham arrived in the land of Canaan, Melchizedek, the Canaanite priest or ruler of the city of Salem, Jerusalem, greeted him. Abraham set up his own temples to his own God, Yahweh, to whom he was newly committed … alongside the temple of the Canaanites’ god, El. 

By Biblical chronology, this took place around 1800 BCE. The Canaanites are attested to from about 3000 to 1200 BCE, after which they are referred to as Phoenicians.

It would appear that Abraham and his descendants lived comfortably side by side with them for a while. Abraham’s great-grandson Judah’s first wife was the daughter of a  Canaanite. After Abraham’s descendants became slaves in Egypt, they returned to the land of Canaan, waging war against the Canaanites. Regardless of the fighting, or maybe due to it, a lot of cross-cultural exchange occurred, including the dye industry, archaeological remains of purple dye have been found in potsherds at sites containing broken shells of murex snails.

For a variety of historical reasons, however, the knowledge and ability to extract the dye from the murex was lost for 13 centuries. Because the Bible commanded this specific blue for the tzitzit thread, the rabbis decided that, rather than use blue derived from another source, all of the threads would be white.

As a compromise, stripes of blue or purple were woven in the prayer shawl, a nod to the blue they could no longer obtain, to dye their tzitzit, as well as to the symbolic meaning of the colour: the heavens, the sea and the lapis lazuli of God’s Throne.