The City of Hazor and Old Testament Accuracy
The city of Hazor lay almost nine miles north of the Sea of Galilee. During the time of Joshua, it was a Canaanite stronghold in northern Palestine. During the conquest of Canaan, as Joshua marched his army northward, he was confronted by a coalition of forces under the leadership of Jabin, king of Hazor. The biblical record declares that the Israelite army resoundingly defeated this confederation and burned Hazor to the ground (Joshua 11:1-14).
In excavations at Hazor in 1955-1958, and in 1968, Yigael Yadin discovered evidence that this city had been destroyed in the thirteenth century B.C. He identified the ruins with Joshua’s conquest. The problem with this assertion, however, is that it does not harmonize with Bible chronology regarding the time of Israel’s exodus from Egypt. The data contained in 1 Kings 6:1 indicate that the exodus occurred some four hundred eighty years prior to the fourth year of Solomon’s reign (ca. 966 B.C.), thus in the mid-fifteenth century B.C.
Liberal critics, subscribing to the documentary hypothesis, simply dismiss 1 Kings 6:1 as an addition of some later time, and therefore assume it is chronologically worthless. It is interesting to note, though, that “the name of the month which appears in that text is the archaic form of the name and not the late one” (Davis 1971, 29).
But the fact of the matter is, Professor Yadin’s discoveries actually revealed that there were two destructions of Hazor—one in the thirteenth century B.C., and another in the fifteenth century B.C. (Avi-Yonah 1976, 481-82). This is precisely the picture presented in the Old Testament.
In addition to the conquest of Hazor during the time of Joshua in the mid-fifteenth century B.C., two hundred years later, in the period of Israel’s judges, the Hebrews again engaged the king of Hazor in battle. In the days of Deborah and Barak (ca. 1258 B.C.), the armies of Hazor, under Sisera, were decisively defeated by the Israelites (Judges 4:2ff), and, as Professor Siegfried H. Horn has observed, “undoubtedly Hazor was destroyed” (1963, 31).
Once more, the sublime accuracy of the biblical record has been vindicated, and the charges of liberal critics have been shown to be baseless.
Thank God for the fidelity of his Word.
- Avi-Yonah, Michael, ed. 1976. Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land. Vol. 2. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
- Davis, John J. 1975. Moses and the Gods of Egypt. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker.
- Horn, Siegfried H. 1963. Records of the Past Illuminate the Bible. Washington, DC: Review & Herald.