An international team of geneticists has made an amazing discovery by mapping mass migrations in the Middle East. Using DNA from the area's ancient and modern day inhabitants, the team was able to 'read' the genetic history of the often tumultuous region. They made an amazing discovery connection the biblical Canaanites and the modern day Lebanese, which their research being published in “The American Journal of Human Genetics.”

What the Bible says about the Cannanites

The ancient Cannanites were a Bronze Age people that lived sometime between 3,000 and 4,000 years ago.

Their civilization was located in a region that now encompasses modern day Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, and Syria. They are the first group of people known to have used an alphabet and are mentioned often in the Bible. However, they left are almost no written records. In the Book of Deuteronomy in the Old Testament, Yahweh (God) commands that the Cannanites, along with the people of six other nations, be exterminated. In Deut. 7:1-6, he commands Israel to kill everyone who was part of these nations. However, this study seems to prove that this was not the case.

The Cannanites are the Lebanese

The research done by the international team has found that the Cannanites did not get slaughtered as it says in the Bible.

Instead, the DNA evidence shows that they have lived into current times, becoming the modern day Lebanese people. In fact, this was the first study ever done analyzing the ancient Cannanites DNA. The study found that more than 90% of the ancestry of the modern day Lebanese came from the Bronze Age Cannanites.

Further analysis of the genetic traits revealed that the Cannanites would have looked remarkably similar to the Lebanese, with the exception of them having a slightly darker skin tone.

In order to compare the two sides, researchers used five complete genomes from that were recovered from human remains found in the ancient city of Sidon, Lebanon. They then compared these with the genomes of 99 Lebanese who were living in the area.

Dr. Marc Haber, who works for the Wellcome Trust Sanger Inisututie in the United Kingdom, was part of the study.

He said that it was an exciting find for geneticists to see such continuity between a Bronze Age and present day population of people. Haber added that due to the expansion and conquest that has taken place in the region of time, it was expected that there would have been more new gene flow brought in.