“And they smote all the souls that were therein with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them: there was not any left to breathe: and he burnt Hazor with fire.”
The Bible tells us that in conquering Canaan, Joshua destroyed the city of Hazor, which was the chief city in the area. Bible critics are usually skeptical of the claims made by the Bible, especially when it comes to Israel’s conquest of Canaan. Excavations at Hazor began in 1955 and have gone on sporadically ever since. Archaeologists wanted to know when Hazor was destroyed and who it was that destroyed it. Doubting that Israel could have caused the destruction, some suggested Hazor was destroyed by the Philistines, by another Canaanite city, or the Egyptians.
New excavations during the 1990s revealed some interesting answers. The city was clearly destroyed by fire, as attested by the remaining ashes of the city, which are 3 feet deep in some places. This is consistent with Scripture’s account. Because of the large amount of olive oil stored in large jars in the palace, the fire was especially bad there, reaching temperatures estimated at over two thousand degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, statues and idols were smashed, which is what the Israelites typically did in obedience to God. The idols destroyed were gods worshiped by the Philistines, Canaanites and Egyptians, making them unlikely as the destroyers. The pattern of destruction is the same as described by Scripture, leaving the only conclusion, say those closest to the excavations, that only Israel could have done this! It’s good to see that even those who doubt the truth of Scripture can be convinced of its truth by history itself.
I thank You, Lord, that I can be sure of the Bible’s promise of salvation. Amen.
Amnon Ben-Tor and Maria Teresa Rubiato, “Did the Israelites Destroy the Canaanite City?”, Biblical Archaeology Review, May/June 1999, p. 22. Photo: Tel Hazor. (PD)