Glimpses of Israel - Hazor

by Joseph Hunting

At the time Joshua led the Children of Israel into the Promised Land, Hazor (pronounced Hatzor) was one of the chief fortified cities of the Canaanites in what is now known as northern Galilee.

When Jabin, king of Hazor heard of Joshua's victories in the south he gathered "much people, even as the sand is upon the sea shore for multitude, with horse and chariots very many ... to fight against Israel." In the ensuing battle "the Lord delivered them into the hand of Israel. And Joshua at that time turned back and took Hazor ... and he burnt Hazor with fire."

During the meticulous excavation of Hazor commenced in 1928 by John Garstang and later by Yigael Yadin in 1955 a layer of ash confirmed the account that Joshua "burned Hazor with fire".

Because of its strategic position commanding the fertile Huleh valley Hazor was rebuilt, and during the reign of the Judges over Israel Sisera led an army against the Israelites, only to be defeated by Deborah, an event immortalized by the paean of praise unto the Lord God of Israel by Deborah in Judges chapter 5.

King Solomon fortified Hazor and excavations have revealed the massive casemates built during his reign. A feature of Hazor is the amazing engineering skill required to obtain water by means of a vertical shaft and system of tunnels.

Hazor was destroyed by Piglath-pileser king of Assyria in the eighth century B.C. Finally Jeremiah prophesied that "Hazor shall be a dwelling for dragons, and a desolation for ever: there shall no man abide there, nor any son of man dwell in it" , a prophecy fulfilled even to the present time.