The biblical author used the verb The Israelites “went harder and harder against Jabin” until they killed him, meaning that they grew stronger and stronger in relation to Hazor, until they were able to defeat its king.Yet could the mere killing of the king who controlled this entire region be seen as a victory that would earn its way onto the pages of Judges?The strength of Jabin’s army and that of the lesser vassal-cities of the surrounding area was what the Israelites finally overcame, resulting in the king’s death.
This includes both the monumental cultic edifices and the administrative palatial buildings, all of which served as the foci of religious and civil power and wealth at the height of Canaanite Hazor in the 13th century BC.
Seemingly, the smaller-scale domestic and cultic buildings in the lower city were not similarly burned or violently destroyed, though the campaign did include the decapitation of basaltic statues of gods and kings, and probably also the smashing of ritual vessels found in the temples.
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 ).
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.
In truth, exterminating Hazor’s king alone would be a hollow and meaningless victory for the agents of God’s wrath (Deut 7:1–2).
Yadin betrays his commitment to this conclusion when he notes that “[t]he narrative in the Book of Joshua is therefore the true historical nucleus, while the mention of Jabin in Judges 4 must have been a later editorial interpolation.”.
The first textual objection to the theory that Joshua 11 and Judges 4 describe the same attack is that a large and undeniable gap in time separates the two narratives.
In the introduction to the king list, a common type of record kept by Ancient Near Eastern (hereafter ANE) conquerors, the text notes that “these are the kings of the land, whom the sons of Israel killed, and whose land they possessed” (Josh 12:1).
For the biblical writer of Joshua, the smiting of a king is inextricably bound to the acquisition and possession of his land.
While she notes that the other of the two possible explanations for the destruction is military conquest, she completely rules out this option because “there is no archaeological evidence of warfare, such as human victims or weapons, anywhere in the site.” Zuckerman’s theory aside, most maximalistic archaeologists and conservative biblical scholars attribute this destruction to the Israelites, mainly due to the “intentional desecration of shrines and cultic objects,” including decapitation and the severing of the hands of the cultic figures and idols, which is considered “a practice unique to Israel.” However, Hoffmeier refuses to assign this Israelite destruction to Deborah and Barak, objecting that Wood invented an attack on Hazor not claimed in the text (Judg 4).