And Abram passed through the land to the place of Sichem, to the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land.
When Abraham was brought by the guidance of God into the land of Canaan, he found himself in the midst of population which could not be regarded as wholly alien. Nor do the inhabitants appear to have been of a character which would repel all intercourse. They had already abandoned, at least to a certain extent, their original pastoral and nomadic habits, and we find them gathered into cities, leaving the open country principally to the occupation of friendly strangers such as Abraham. Their civilization was, however, but little developed; for good and for evil they seem to have retained much of their primitive character. Where kings are mentioned, they approach more nearly to the patriarchal heads of tribes than to the barbarous despots of later days. We come across no traces of the fearful moral corruption that afterwards made "the land spue out" its inhabitants, except, indeed, in the wealthy and luxurious cities of the plain. There the degeneracy that was afterwards to bring the Divine judgments upon all the nations of Canaan had rapidly run its fatal course. But the rest of the land was still comparatively uncorrupted. Later on we find the numerous cities of the land, excluding such as were still held by the warlike and savage aborigines, loosely grouped into four main divisions. There are the Amorites, or Highlanders, a fierce people — apparently the furthest removed from the Canaanites proper — that dwelt in the mountains, from the Scorpion Range, south of the Dead Sea, to the hills of Judah. The Hittites are their neighbours, dwelling in the valleys, lovers of refinement at an early period, and living in well-ordered communities possessing national assemblies. The fertile lowlands by the course of the Jordan, and along the coast of the Mediterranean, are held by the Canaanites, who, as possessors of the choicest of the land and by far the best known by foreigners, often gave their name to the whole of the population of the country. These also were much more addicted to commerce than to war, in this resembling the fourth main division, the Hivites of the midland region, whose principal city seems to have been the flourishing, wealthy, but timorous Gibeon.
(A. S. Wilkins.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land.
WEB: Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. The Canaanite was then in the land.