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The Haamek Davar on B'reshis 12:6 says that "the Canaanite was then in the land" is in that verse to teach us that

this More [after whom the area was named], although he was not of Canaanite descent, was considered Canaanite. This is because the Canaanite had then conquered the land, so everyone was called [Canaanite].… All the residents of his land were subjugated to [the Canaanite] so were considered Canaanites, except Abraham who had not become subjugated. And God was with him.

I'm having difficulty understanding his point.

  • So the point of "the Canaanite was then in the land" is to tell us that More was considered Canaanite? Who cares?
  • Or is the main point that everyone was subjugated to the Canaanite but Abraham wasn't? or that God was with Abraham? If so, doesn't the verse miss that point (העיקר חסר מן הספר) by mentioning only that "the Canaanite was then in the land"?
  • Or what is his point?
  • And why was Abraham not subjugated?

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I think the Netziv is only supplementing Rashi. Rashi told us that Avraham came to a formerly Semetic land which is now being conquered by a Hammite Canaan, this is somewhat of a contradiction to his prophecy of this land belonging to his Semitic family in the future, so Hashem gave a special reassurance that He will return this land to Avraham's children, being of proper Semetic lineage. The Netziv is adding to this important message by saying even the true Semites that still lived there and even had land called after their own name were still swept up in this revolution and their land was no longer considered under Semetic domain, necessitating Hashem's assurance. Being that the entire focus here is on property ownership and not the human family affiliation, Avraham is not a player, he owned no land in Canaan to speak of.

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