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Undoubtedly, Hoffmeier’s aversion to this reality is due to his need to reconcile the archaeological remains at Hazor with the late-Exodus theory, since a destruction under Deborah and Barak would require the archaeology of Hazor to reveal two later destructions—one at the end of the Late Bronze Age, and a subsequent one before the first Israelite occupation—if this theory were to remain credible.Yet as the spade has shown, Hazor—after the destruction of the final Bronze Age city in a massive conflagration—remained completely abandoned until the initial Israelite settlement of the 12th century BC.The importance of Hazor’s contribution to the debate on the timing of the Exodus cannot be underestimated, as “Hazor provides the only possible evidence for an Israelite conquest of Canaan in the late 13th century” BC.[ Hazor—strategically located on the Great Trunk Road, which is the main commercial highway that cut through Canaan and was part of the principal military route throughout the Late Bronze Age (1550–1200 BC)—thus is at the center of the debate over the timing of the Exodus, since it was both destroyed by Joshua and destroyed in the 13th century BC.The biblical text requires that the former is true, while archaeology requires that the latter is true.

The Israelites experienced a decisive and final victory over Hazor, which eradicated its powerful king and eliminated Hazor’s influence over the territory of northern Canaan, where its sovereignty had posed a suppressive threat to the expanding Israelites.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.Should the writer of Judges be expected to depart from this standard?Surely the territorial land controlled by Hazor was the prize that Israel won, and it could not have been acquired without “military action against Hazor itself.” unless one were to theorize that the Israelites somehow frightened the entire city’s population into fleeing in panic, never to return.

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