Saturday, November 1, 2014

City of Hazor, Joshua

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Hello friends, the following is evidence of the city of Hazor, which was burnt by Joshua. 
God delivered Hazor into Joshua's hand. Today we can still see evidence of the fire that took place in Hazor; deep layers of ash.
(Credit given at the bottom of the article :D)

Joshua 11 

11 And it came to pass, when Jabin king of Hazor had heard those things, that he sent to Jobab king of Madon, and to the king of Shimron, and to the king of Achshaph,
2 And to the kings that were on the north of the mountains, and of the plains south of Chinneroth, and in the valley, and in the borders of Dor on the west,
3 And to the Canaanite on the east and on the west, and to the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Jebusite in the mountains, and to the Hivite under Hermon in the land of Mizpeh.
4 And they went out, they and all their hosts with them, much people, even as the sand that is upon the sea shore in multitude, with horses and chariots very many.
5 And when all these kings were met together, they came and pitched together at the waters of Merom, to fight against Israel.
6 And the Lord said unto Joshua, Be not afraid because of them: for to morrow about this time will I deliver them up all slain before Israel: thou shalt hough their horses, and burn their chariots with fire.
7 So Joshua came, and all the people of war with him, against them by the waters of Merom suddenly; and they fell upon them.
8 And the Lord delivered them into the hand of Israel, who smote them, and chased them unto great Zidon, and unto Misrephothmaim, and unto the valley of Mizpeh eastward; and they smote them, until they left them none remaining.
9 And Joshua did unto them as the Lord bade him: he houghed their horses, and burnt their chariots with fire.
10 And Joshua at that time turned back, and took Hazor, and smote the king thereof with the sword: for Hazor beforetime was the head of all those kingdoms.
11 And they smote all the souls that were therein with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them: there was not any left to breathe: and he burnt Hazor with fire.
12 And all the cities of those kings, and all the kings of them, did Joshua take, and smote them with the edge of the sword, and he utterly destroyed them, as Moses the servant of the Lord commanded.
13 But as for the cities that stood still in their strength, Israel burned none of them, save Hazor only; that did Joshua burn.
14 And all the spoil of these cities, and the cattle, the children of Israel took for a prey unto themselves; but every man they smote with the edge of the sword, until they had destroyed them, neither left they any to breathe.
15 As the Lord commanded Moses his servant, so did Moses command Joshua, and so did Joshua; he left nothing undone of all that the Lord commanded Moses.
16 So Joshua took all that land, the hills, and all the south country, and all the land of Goshen, and the valley, and the plain, and the mountain of Israel, and the valley of the same;
17 Even from the mount Halak, that goeth up to Seir, even unto Baalgad in the valley of Lebanon under mount Hermon: and all their kings he took, and smote them, and slew them.
18 Joshua made war a long time with all those kings.
19 There was not a city that made peace with the children of Israel, save the Hivites the inhabitants of Gibeon: all other they took in battle.
20 For it was of the Lord to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them, as the Lord commanded Moses.
21 And at that time came Joshua, and cut off the Anakims from the mountains, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, and from all the mountains of Judah, and from all the mountains of Israel: Joshua destroyed them utterly with their cities.
22 There was none of the Anakims left in the land of the children of Israel: only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod, there remained.
23 So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the Lord said unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. And the land rested from war.

Praise The Lord JESUS CHRIST!!!

Joshua and Hazor

Hazor was in the upper Galilee, and was the largest and most important city in that part of the world. At its height it had about 20,000 people. 

Why was it important? Location. It sat across the route connecting Egypt and Babylon, guarding the Via Maris. Most travellers (traders, soldiers, etc) had to pass through the city. 
According to the Bible, Jabin the King of Hazor headed an alliance of Canaanite cities against the advancing Israelites, led by Joshua. The Israelites won the battle and Joshua burned and ravaged the city (Joshua 11:1-12).
"And Joshua turned back at that time, and took Hazor, and smote its king with the sword. Everyone in it they put to the sword. They totally destroyed them, not sparing anything that breathed, and he burned up Hazor itself . Israel did not burn any of the cities built on their mounds - except Hazor." 
(Joshua 11:10-12). 
Evidence for the burning of Hazor was found when the site was excavated by archaeologists. There was a deep layer of ash.

Hazor: Aerial view of some of the excavations at Hazor
Aerial view of excavations at Hazor
Hazor: Aerial view of excavations at Hazor, long shot
Some of the excavations of the city of Hazor

Deborah and Hazor

Later on, Deborah's  arch enemy  was King Jabin of Hazor. Judges 4 and 5 described yet  another violent destruction by fire, this time by Sisera, King Jabin's general.  
Read Deborah's story at Women in the Bible: Deborah and Jael
There is a battle plan, photographs of excavated weapons, and images of Mount Tabor where Deborah assembled her army at Bible Warfare

Solomon and Hazor

At the time of David and Solomon, Hazor was roughly ten times the size of Jerusalem, a far richer and larger city. There was a cultic 'high place', a six-chambered gate and a casemate wall built sometime in the 10th century BC. 
Hazor had two distinct sections: the upper city, where the public buildings were sited, and the lower city, a fortified enclosure with massive fortifications.

Hazor: Excavation of the revetment wall at Hazor
The revetment wall at Hazor
Hazor: Part of the massive gate complex at the entrance to the city of Hazor
Part of the gate complex at the entrance of the city

Ahab and Hazor

In the 9th century BC, most probably under King Ahab, husband of Queen Jezebel, the city expanded. The eastern part of the upper city was fortified by a solid wall and various important buildings, such as a store house, citadel and a water system, were added.

Hazor: The entrance to the water system at Hazor, with steps leading down into a well
Part of the water system at Hazor - a necessary feature
for any city that might find itself under siege
Hazor: Stone foundations of a four-room building in Hazor
Foundation walls of a four-room structure, probably an official building, in Hazor

The Assyrians destroy Hazor

Hazor suffered repeated destruction, as a result of both the Aramean and Assyrian invasions. It was finally destroyed by the Assyrian King Tiglath-Pilesser III. In 732 BC he conquered the entire area of Galilee (Kings II, 15:29) in a campaign that marked the beginning of the end of the independence of the Northern Kingdom of Israel.

Hazor: Wall relief showing Assyrian archers and a siege machine (battering ram) attacking a city
The Assyrians besiege a town. Note the impaled captives, top left.
The fate of the defeated citizens of Hazor does not bear thinking about.

Hazor was never again to regain its importance. During the 7th - 2nd century BC it shrank to just a citadel in the western end of the upper city.
The last historical reference to Hazor is to be found in the book of Macabees (I Macc. 11:67). Here we are told that Jonathan fought against Demetrius (147 BC) in the "plain of Hazor".

King Jabin of Hazor was the arch enemy of Deborah, the judge of Israel - see her story in Women in the Bible: Deborah and Jael
For the battle plan, weapons, and battle field at Mount Tabor where Deborah assembled her army, see Bible Archaeology: War

HAZOR: archaeological information

Extract from Cornfeld G., Pictorial Biblical Encyclopedia, 1964
One of the largest and most important of the fortified cities of Canaan, Hazor lies in the upper Jordan Valley, between Lake Huleh and the Sea of Galilee. Its name comes from the word "hazer", meaning an enclosed area protected by embankments or artificial fortifications (ramparts).

Written Records

Hazor is mentioned in some of the earliest records. Its name appears in the Egyptian execration texts (19th century BC), and in Akkadian inscriptions among the Mari documents of the 18th century BC, in one of which Hazor's king, Ibn Addu, is mentioned. The Mari archives show that during this period, Hazor was an important centre, forming part of the political and economic network of the Amorite- Mesopotamian states, and with extensive trade contacts with Mari.
Hazor is listed by Thothmes III and Amenhotep II (15th century BC), by Seti I (end of 14th century BC) and by Ramses III (12th century BC). It is mentioned in the Tel el Amarna letters (14th century BC) and in Papyrus Anastasi I (13th century BC, time of Ramses II).

Leading the Canaanite Kingdoms

The Old Testament ascribes eminence to Hazor, "for Hazor was formerly the head of all those kingdoms" (Josiah 11:10). It was at the head of the northern Canaanite coalition opposing the invading Israelite tribes. Its king, Jabin, led the fight against Joshua by the waters of Merom. After the Canaanite defeat, Hazor —alone among the cities of the area — was destroyed by fire. 
Whether the "King of Hazor" of the period of the Conquest ruled over as mighty a kingdom as was known in the 18th century BC seems doubtful. It has been suggested that the statement that Hazor "formerly was the head of all those kingdoms" did not refer to the actual situation at the time of Joshua, but to the city of the earlier Middle Bronze Age. The position given to Hazor in resisting the Israelites probably represents the last stage in the greatness of a once mighty kingdom, when the king of Hazor had indeed been King of Canaan.
Once Israelite domination was acknowledged, Hazor was included in the territory of the Naphtali tribe (Jos. 19:36). Later, it was rebuilt and fortified by Solomon (I K. 9:15). Some scholars think that Hazor was captured by the Arameans during the campaign of Ben Hadad I. 
Finally, it was destroyed by Tiglath-Pileser in 732 BC during the Assyrian invasion of Palestine (11 Kings 15:29); Hazor's existence as a city came to an end, but the citadel continued to be used down to the Hellenistic period.
Later sources (1 Mac. 11:67) refer to the Valley of Hazor as the scene of the battle between Jonathan, the Hasmonean prince, and Demetrius II, but make no mention of a town. Josephus described its position (Antiquities Book 5, 5:1) as "above Lake Semechonitis".

Archaeological History of Hazor

The tel forms a rectangle 700 x 1000 metres (about 183 acres), making it by far the largest site to be excavated in Palestine. 

To deal with this huge area, the main site was divided into nine excavation areas, marked A—K, plus one or two smaller subsidiary sections. The site consists of two principal divisions; the tel proper, or the upper town on the south-west corner of the area, and a huge fortified plateau to the north.


Altogether, 21 superimposed layers of human settlement, representing 25 centuries of occupation, were uncovered.
The lowest strata (21-19) contained pottery from the Early Bronze Age III (2700-2400 BC), but no traces of buildings. Stratum 18 revealed potsherds from the Middle Bronze Age 1 (2100-1900 BC), corresponding to the period when Hazor is mentioned in the Egyptian execration texts. During all these periods, people lived only in the restricted area of the tel proper, which continued to be occupied until Hellenistic times.

Founding of the Lower City

Strata 17-16 of the Middle Bronze Age II (18th-16th centuries BC) belong to the period during which the town reached the peak of its prosperity and importance. It was at this time that the lower town was built, protected by impressive fortifications. These were formed by a deep ditch surmounted by a high bank protecting the western approaches. This arrangement is characteristic of Hyksos fortifications and its use here is evidence of Hazor's importance to their empire.

Hazor fortifications: a deep ditch surmounted by a high stone bank

The city's gate, one of the most formidable found in Palestine, was uncovered on the north side together with part of a thick wall. The defence system remained in use with slight changes right through the Bronze Age and lasted perhaps into the beginning of the 13th century BC.

In the excavated sanctuary, three halls open one into the other,
a plan common throughout the Bronze Age

Stratum 15 (15th century BC) revealed a large sanctuary in area H (see above). It was built on the plan used throughout the Bronze Age, with three halls opening one into the other.

The figure of a lion found at Hazor: this basalt orthostat was found near the sanctuary

Strata 14 and 13 were both of the Canaanite period (1400-1200 BC). The earlier layer appears to have been of a rich and prosperous city. Rubble from this city was used as the foundation upon which the more modest city of stratum 13 was erected. In area C, where the remains of the last 13th century Canaanite city were discovered, a small sanctuary from this period was found built into the earthen ramparts. A network of stone tunnels and a large stone altar were uncovered in section F.
Occupation of the lower plateau ceased some time in the 13th century, perhaps when Hazor was captured by the Israelites. After this, the inhabited area was confined to the upper town.

Israelite Settlement

Strata 12 and 11 (12th-11th centuries BC) are the remains of a temporary and unimportant Israelite occupation similar to early Israelite settlements elsewhere. Prosperity returned to Hazor during Solomon's reign (stratum 10, 963-930 BC) when the city was again fortified. A solid wall was built around the upper town and a fort erected in the Acropolis (the western part of the tel). The Solomonic city gate containing six rooms built on either side of an internal passage was also uncovered. It is similar to the gates found in contemporary layers at Megiddo and Gezer. 

This town (stratum 9) continued almost unchanged throughout the 10th and early part of the 9th centuries BC. Stratum 8 is attributed to the period of Ahab (9th century BC). The town was extended eastward and surrounded by a new wall, built in the best style of the time. No gate for this wall has yet been uncovered (this was written in 1964), although in section A a big store-house was found, with two columns of stone in front of it. The fortressof the town was uncovered in section B, the western elevated part of the tel. Slightly altered, the fortifications continued to be used in stratum 7 (second half of the 9th century BC), stratum 6 (end of the 9th and beginning of the 8th century BC) and stratum 5 (8th century BC until 732 BC). In 732, during the reign of Pekah ben Remaliahu, the upper town was destroyed by Tiglat-Pileser III, the Assyrian conqueror.
This was the last Israelite town. However, small forts built on the higher eastern part of the tel (section B) existed during the Assyrian period (strata 4 and 3) and the Persian stratum (2), and continued in use until the Hellenistic period (stratum 1). The site was finally abandoned about 150 BC.

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