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. In 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 (1955-1958, 1968), Yigael Yadin discovered evidence that this city had been destroyed in the thirteenth century B.C. He identified it with Joshua’s conquest. The problem with this assertion is this: it does not harmonize with scriptural chronology regarding the time of the Exodus from Egypt. The data contained in 1 Kings 6:1 indicate that the Exodus occurred some 480 years prior to the fourth year of Solomon’s reign (c. 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 chronologically worthless. It is interesting to note, however, 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, p. 29).
But the fact of the matter is, Professor Yadin’s discoveries revealed that there were two destructions at Hazor: one in the thirteenth century B.C. and another in the fifteenth century B.C. (Avi-Yonah, 1976, 2:481-482). Actually, 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 centuries later, in the period of Israel’s judges, the Israelites again engaged the King of Hazor in battle. Under the leadership of Deborah and Barak (c. 1258 B.C.), the armies of Hazor, under Sisera, were decisively defeated (Judges 4:2ff.), and as professor Siegfried H. Horn observed, “undoubtedly Hazor was destroyed” (Horn, 1963, p. 31).
Once more, the precise accuracy of the biblical record has been vindicated, and the charges of liberal critics have been shown to be baseless.
Avi-Yonah, Michael, et al. (1976), Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land (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, D.C.: Review & Herald).