Hazor (spelling based on Hebrew = hatzor) is not the most famous biblical city to modern readers, but it is linked to some famous biblical people and events.
- At its peak in the Late Bronze Age, Hazor’s population is estimated to have been between 15,000 and 20,000 – easily the largest in Canaan. It covered more than 200 acres. Joshua 11:10 states that Hazor “was the head of all those kingdoms” in northern Canaan.
- Around the time of Joshua’s conquest, the archaeological record shows the city was destroyed in a massive fire. Ash deposits from the conflagration have been located all across the ancient site.
- Prior to the destruction by fire Hazor had an upper and a lower city, all inhabited and fortified. The upper city was rebuilt and inhabited for several more centuries, but the lower city was never rebuilt.
- Jabin, king of Hazor, was Israel’s chief antagonist during the time of Deborah and Barak. (Judges 4) His top general was Sisera, whose forces included 900 chariots.
- Solomon fortified the upper city of Hazor and turned it into his northern administrative center. (1 Kings 9:15)
- Hazor was captured and its inhabitants carried into captivity by Assyria. (2 Kings 15:29) This was the beginning of the Israelite captivity.
Hazor’s current archaeologist, Amnon Ben-Tor desribes Hazor as “Number One” in the Bible. It was number one in size. Its destruction by Joshua opened the way for the Israelite settlement of Canaan. Its capture by the Assyrians was the beginning of the captivity.
This short video from Hazor reveals a few more details about the biblical site.
I am now at the Khirbet Qeiyafa excavation, but my internet connection has been difficult to establish. Next time I will save trouble and time and simply rent a wireless card!