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Tel Hazor

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Places of Interest





1. Hazor is located about 10 miles (16 km.) due north of the Sea of Galilee and just to the east of Hwy. 90.


2. It was on one of the most important travel routes called the “Via Maris,” which linked Africa and Egypt with Syria and Asia.


3. It was the largest and most strategic city in northern Galilee due to its size and location.


Historical Background


1. Hazor was one of the most important cities of the Canaanites and was the head of all the northern kingdoms (Josh. 11:10). 


2. It was 10 times the size of Jerusalem and totaled 200 acres (81 hectares, 200 football fields) in size.


3. The upper part of the tel is around 30 acres (12 hectares), and the lower part is around 170 acres (69 hectares).


4. What we see today of Hazor is 1/8 the size of what it once was. 


5. To the north lies most of the city, which is now a farm field.


6. It’s the largest tel in Israel.


7. It’s also believed to have been the largest city in ancient Canaan.


8. It was one of three major cities of defense in Israel (Gezer, to the south, Megiddo, in the middle of the country, and Hazor, in the north). All three cities were on the Via Maris.


9. Hazor rivaled Nineveh in size and importance.


10. Hazor is mentioned 19 times in the Bible.


Places of Interest


1. Israelite City Ruins


2. Israelite Walls


3. Lower City


4. Temple Tombs


5. Northern Walls


6. Canaanite Temple/Palace


7. Solomon’s Walls and Gate (archaeologists have uncovered a six-chambered gate at Hazor, which is nearly identical in size and design to gates at Megiddo and Gezer).


8. Ash layer in the Canaanite Palace/Temple


9. Canaanite Altar


10. Water System (a century after Solomon’s time, the Israelites built a massive shaft 131 ft. (40 m.) deep into the tel, reaching the water table below).


11. Israelite Fortress/Tower


12. Rooms & Buildings

13. Canaanite passage between the upper and lower cities.


Hazor in the Bible


The victory over Hazor by Joshua and the Israelites is probably one of the most overlooked miracles in the Bible. When we realize how powerful Hazor was and how Jabin, the King of Hazor, gathered countless armies against the Israelites, we see that it was only God who could have given them the victory.

1. When Jabin, king of Hazor, heard that Joshua and the Israelites had been on a conquering rampage throughout all the southern part of the land, he gathered a host of kings in the northern part of the land to unite and fight against the Israelites.
Joshua 11:1–5: When Jabin, king of Hazor, heard of this, he sent to Jobab king of Madon, and to the king of Shimron, and to the king of Achshaph, 2 and to the kings who were in the northern hill country, and in the Arabah south of Chinneroth, and in the lowland, and in Naphoth-dor on the west, 3 to the Canaanites in the east and the west, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, and the Jebusites in the hill country, and the Hivites under Hermon in the land of Mizpah. 4 And they came out with all their troops, a great horde, in number like the sand that is on the seashore, with very many horses and chariots. 5 And all these kings joined their forces and came and encamped together at the waters of Merom [3.5 miles, 5.5 km. north of Hazor] to fight against Israel.


2. All the unified kings and soldiers believed that with their countless armies and gods, Israel would be no match for them.


3. God told Joshua and the Israelites not to be afraid because He would be with them and deliver all these kings into their hands.
Joshua 11:6–9: And the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them, for tomorrow at this time I will give over all of them, slain, to Israel. You shall hamstring their horses and burn their chariots with fire.” 7 So Joshua and all his warriors came suddenly against them by the waters of Merom and fell upon them. 8 And the Lord gave them into the hand of Israel, who struck them and chased them as far as Great Sidon and Misrephoth-maim, and eastward as far as the Valley of Mizpeh. And they struck them until he left none remaining. 9 And Joshua did to them just as the Lord said to him: he hamstrung their horses and burned their chariots with fire.


4. After defeating all the armies, Joshua conquered Hazor and burned it with fire.
Joshua 11:10–13: Then Joshua turned back at that time, and captured Hazor and struck its king with the sword; for Hazor formerly was the head of all these kingdoms. They struck every person who was in it with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them; there was no one left who breathed. And he burned Hazor with fire. Joshua captured all the cities of these kings, and all their kings, and he struck them with the edge of the sword, and utterly destroyed them; just as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded. 13 But none of the cities that stood on mounds did Israel burn, except Hazor alone; that Joshua burned.


Evidence of the burn marks and ash layer can be seen in the Canaanite Palace at Hazor.


5. Hazor was later retaken and rebuilt by the Canaanites. God used the Canaanites to punish Israel for their disobedience to Him.
Judges 4:1–3: And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord after Ehud died. 2 And the Lord sold them into the hand of Jabin [title, not a person’s name, i.e., pharaoh] king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. The commander of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth-hagoyim. 3 Then the people of Israel cried out to the Lord for help, for he had 900 chariots of iron and he oppressed the people of Israel cruelly for twenty years.


6. God used Deborah and Barak to deliver the Israelites after they repented of their sins and cried out to Him for help.
Joshua 4:14–16: And Deborah said to Barak, “Up! For this is the day in which the Lord has given Sisera into your hand. Does not the Lord go out before you?” So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with 10,000 men following him. 15 And the Lord routed Sisera and all his chariots and all his army before Barak by the edge of the sword. And Sisera got down from his chariot and fled away on foot. 16 And Barak pursued the chariots and the army to Harosheth-hagoyim, and all the army of Sisera fell by the edge of the sword; not a man was left.


7. Hazor later came under the control of Israel during the period of King David and Solomon, and Solomon rebuilt and fortified Hazor, along with Megiddo and Gezer.
1 Kings 9:15: Now this is the account of the forced labor which King Solomon levied to build the house of the Lord, his own house, the Millo, the wall of Jerusalem, Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer.


8. . Jeremiah prophesied against Hazor due to the Israelites disobedience after David and Solomon’s time.
Jeremiah 49:33: Hazor will become a haunt of jackals, a desolation forever; no one will live there, nor will a son of man reside in it.


It’s amazing that this once sought-after prime location is now desolate. It shows the power of God and His proclaimed word.


9. As a result of Israel’s disobedience to God, Hazor was destroyed by Assyria in 722 BC, and the northern 10 tribes of Israel were deported.
2 Kings 15:29: In the days of Pekah king of Israel, Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria came and captured Ijon, Abel-beth-maacah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and he carried the people captive to Assyria.


Faith Lesson from Hazor


1. When the Israelites obeyed God, He blessed them and made them victorious over countless kings and multitudes of soldiers.


2. When they disobeyed God, He caused them to become weak and defeated.


3. The same lesson from the Old Testament applies to us today (Rom. 15:4). When we are obedient and faithful to God, we live victoriously and receive His blessings. However, when we disobey Him, we become weak and defeated.


4. What kind of lives are we living today? Are we victorious or defeated?

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