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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

CANAANITISH. —The Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885 rendering of Χαναναία (Authorized Version ‘of Canaan’) in  Matthew 15:22 (only here in NT). The word is used to describe the woman who came out of the borders of Tyre and Sidon, desiring to have her daughter healed who was grievously vexed with a devil. St. Mark ( Mark 7:26) calls her a Greek (Ἑλληνίς), a Syro-phœnician (Συροφοινίκισσα) by race. A Canaanite, signifying properly ‘dweller in the lowland,’ is used in a wider or a narrower meaning in the OT, Canaan being a name applied either to the strip of seacoast from Gaza to Sidon, or, more loosely, to the whole possession of Israel, or that part which lay west of Jordan ( Genesis 10:19; cf.  Joshua 5:1,  Numbers 13:29,  Genesis 11:31). The LXX Septuagint renders Canaanite (בְּנַעֲנִי) indifferently by Φοίνιξ and Χαναναῖος ( Exodus 6:15,  Joshua 5:1,  Numbers 13:29, ( Numbers 13:30),  Judges 1:30-33, while in  Exodus 16:35 and  Joshua 5:12 we find אָרָץכְנַעַן translation by μέρος τῆς Φοινίκης and χώρα τῶν Φοινίκων. These coast inhabitants being the great traders of the old world, ‘Canaanite’ or ‘Phœnician’ was often used simply to mean ‘a merchant’ ( Isaiah 23:8 [LXX Septuagintἔμποροι], and cf.  Hosea 12:7,  Zephaniah 1:11).

The woman who came to our Lord was a ‘Canaanite’ in the sense that she belonged to the stock of the old Phœnicians of Syria termed ‘Syro-phœnician’ to distinguish them from those of Africa. These were heathen, and between them and the Jews existed the bitterest hostility; see Josephus circa (about) Apion . i. 13 (who mentions the Phœnicians, especially of Tyre, with the Egyptians as bearing the greatest ill-will towards the Jews). This fact makes instructive a comparison between our Lord’s treatment of this woman and His dealing with the woman of Samaria; cf. especially  John 4:9 with  Matthew 15:26. The Clementines ( Hom. ii. 19, iii. 73) mention her by the name of Justa, and maintain that the Lord first won her from heathendom, and after that was able to heal her daughter, whose name is given as Bernice.* [Note: Χαναναῖος is to be distinguished Irom Κανανίτης, TR Καναναῖος ( Matthew 10:4), which means a Zealot, and is the designation of the Apostle Simon. See Cananaean.]

Literature.—The Commentaries on the Gospels, esp. Swete on  Mark 7:26; the articles in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible and the Encyc. Bibl .; Trench, Miracles, ad loc .; Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah , ii. 37ff.; Expos. Times , iv. [1892] p. 80ff.; W. Archer Butler, Serm , i. 155 ff.; Lynch, Serm. to my Curates , p. 317ff.; Ker, Serm ., 2nd ser. p. 200ff.; Bruce, Galilean Gospel , p. 154ff.

J. B. Bristow.

Webster's Dictionary [2]

(a.) Of or pertaining to Canaan or the Canaanites.