Canaanite Gene Study Actually Proves the Bible Right, But Don't Tell the Media
Last week, the American Journal of Human Genetics published a study connecting the DNA of ancient Canaanites to modern-day people in Lebanon. Various news outlets immediately reported that this study proved the Bible wrong, when nothing could be further from the truth.
Evolution News' David Klinghoffer compiled a helpful series of headlines:
- “Study disproves the Bible’s suggestion that the ancient Canaanites were wiped out” (The Telegraph)
- “Bible says Canaanites were wiped out by Israelites but scientists just found their descendants living in Lebanon” (The Independent)
- “Bronze Age DNA disproves the Bible’s claim that the Canaanites were wiped out: Study says their genes live on in modern-day Lebanese people” (Daily Mail)
- “Scientists Find Evidence That Ancient Canaanites Survive Today: Was The Bible Wrong?” (Tech Times)
- “New DNA study casts doubt on Bible claim” (Mother Nature Network)
- “The Bible was WRONG: Civilisation God ordered to be KILLED still live and kicking” (Express)
- “Genetic evidence suggests the Canaanites weren’t destroyed after all” (Ars Technica)
- “Canaanites Weren’t Annihilated by Ancient Israelites After All” (Newser)
- “Study disproves the Bible’s claim that the ancient Canaanites were wiped out” (Click Lancashire)
- “Canaanites survived Biblical ‘slaughter’, ancient DNA shows” (ABC Online)
- “DNA vs the Bible: Israelites did not wipe out the Canaanites” (Cosmos)
- “The Bible got it wrong: Ancient Canaanites survived and their DNA lives in modern-day Lebanese” (Pulse Headlines)
To be fair, The Telegraph corrected the headline to "Study shows ancient Canaanites survived divine call in Bible for them to be wiped out."
As Klinghoffer noted, the Bible does not say the Israelites wiped out the Canaanites — in fact, it explicitly says they survived.
God commands the Israelites to wipe out the Canaanites in Deuteronomy 20: "But in the cities of these people that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes ... the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites ... that they may not teach you to do according to all their abominable practices that they have done for their gods, and so you sin against the Lord your God."
But this is not the Bible's last word on the Canaanites. The first chapter of Judges says that Israel "put the Canaanites to forced labor, but they did not drive them out completely" (Judges 1:28). In fact, various tribes of Israel (Ephraim, Zebulun, Asher, and Naphtali, to be exact) allowed Canaanites to live among them.
God was not pleased. He told Israel that since "you have not obeyed my voice," God would "not drive them out before you, but they shall become thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you" (Judges 2:2-3).