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Certainly the Israelites’ fight was not a personal vendetta against the king himself, as a man, but rather against the city of Hazor and its influence in northern Canaan.
On the side of the latter view, biblical archaeologists such as James Hoffmeier contend that a 13th century BC Exodus better fits the material evidence, in large part due to alleged connections between sites mentioned in the biblical text—such as the store-city of Raamses (Exod ), which he asserts “is likely to be equated with the Delta capital built by and named for Ramesses II, that is, Pi-Ramesses”—and excavated or identifiable sites in Egypt.Ancient Hazor consisted of a large, rectangular lower city (170 acres) and a bottle-shaped upper city (30 acres), essentially an elongated mound called a tel, which rises about 40 m. Yigael Yadin, the archaeologist who excavated at Hazor from 1955–19–1969, documented the great conflagration that accompanied the total destruction of the final Late Bronze Age city, which he believed to have occurred by Evidence of this destruction consists of layers of ashes, burnt wooden beams, cracked basaltic slabs, mutilated basaltic statues, and fallen walls.Yadin’s findings in the lower city confirm that public structures such as the Orthostats Temple and the Stelae Temple were violently destroyed, while the renewed excavations in the upper city—under current excavator Amnon Ben-Tor—corroborate the existence of a fierce conflagration that also is mostly limited to public buildings.The destruction of Hazor under Joshua transpired in With this date secured, the account of Hazor’s demise in Judges 4 must be dated, even if only approximately, because unquestionably the dating of the period of the judges is one of the most intriguing challenges related to biblical chronology.Given that the exact survival-span of these faithful elders cannot be quantified precisely, this period will not be included in the measurement of time between Joshua’s death and the victory over Hazor’s king during the days of Deborah and Barak (Judg ).As mentioned already, archaeology reveals that the very peak of Hazor’s might throughout the entire Canaanite era was achieved at this time, which is confirmed by the epigraphical evidence from the Amarna Letters, in which Hazor’s king is the only Canaanite ruler referred to as a king in letters written to the Egyptian pharaoh.
Considering Hazor’s exalted status in Canaan from the middle of the 14th century BC through the second third of the 13th century BC, a period of over 100 years, Hazor represented the most imposing national threat to the Israelites in the Promised Land.
The matter that will be discussed here, however, is whether these destructions are distinct or one and the same.
This study may go a long way toward determining whether or not the Exodus and Conquest transpired in the 13th century BC..
As for the destruction under Joshua, Josh clearly states that “he [Joshua] burned the city [of Hazor] with fire.” Most archaeologists who accept the historicity of the biblical account thus link the massive conflagration of the final Late Bronze Age city of Hazor to the fiery destruction accomplished under Joshua.
Moreover, they commonly connect the later story of the seemingly independent defeat of Hazor’s King Jabin, which is recorded in Judges 4, to the destruction described in Joshua 11.
The intentional nature of the desecration of these statues and vessels is clear: “This was a systematic annihilation campaign, against the very physical symbols of the royal ideology and its loci of ritual legitimation.” Moreover, Yadin went as far as to make a connection between this particular destruction and the text of Joshua 11: “This destruction is doubtless to be ascribed to the Israelite tribes, as related in the Book of Joshua.”In Sharon Zuckerman’s wonderful article that whets the appetite of all those awaiting the disclosure of Canaanite Hazor’s cuneiform archive(s), she challenges the notion that the Israelites were the actual culprits behind the destruction of the final Canaanite city of the Late Bronze Age, arguing that an internal revolt instead led to the city’s annihilation.