Church of God, New World Ministries

Bible Q & A

Q. Did Abraham forbid Isaac to marry a Canaanite woman because the Canaanites were of a different race?
A. Although the Israelites invaded the land of Canaan and lived side by side with Canaanites for many years, there is no statement in the Bible that the Canaanites were racially different from Israel, though this has often been assumed.

The Bible does not specifically tell us why Abraham did not wish his son Isaac to marry a Canaanite, but the most likely reason was because of religious difference. (The Pentateuch later forbade such marriages because those of non-Israelite stock would introduce Israel to false religions (See Deut. 7:3-4.)

In other words, Abraham did not want Isaac to marry a woman who would be a worshiper of Canaanite gods. With such practices going on among Isaac’s Canaanite neighbors, it seems likely that his children would be influenced to become involved in pagan religious practices. Thus Abraham was seeking to ensure that his descendants would continue to worship the one true God.
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