Joshua embarks on the Northern Campaign
Josh 11:1-4 In c.1405BC, the kings of the north join forces to attack the Israelites. They include King Jabin of Hazor, King Jobab of Madon, the kings of Shimron and Acshaph, kings of the northern hill country in the mountains west of Lake Kinnereth (meaning ‘the harp’ – the Sea of Galilee) and on the coast near Dor, and the Hivites below Mt Hermon near Mizpah.
Josh 11:5-9 Joshua approaches their camp at the Waters of Merom (Lake Merom, north of the Sea of Galilee) and launches a surprise attack (see 8 on Map 48). The Israelites win a resounding victory and pursue the enemy as far as Misrephoth Maim, Sidon and the Valley of Mizpah (see 9 on Map 48).
Josh 11:10-11 Joshua captures Hazor and kills King Jabin.
Remains of the Citadel at Hazor (Qasinka)
Hazor was situated on high ground overlooking Lake Merom in the Jordan Valley to the north of Lake Kinnereth (the Sea of Galilee). It guarded a steep-sided pass on the main trade route to the north, and had become the largest and most powerful city-state in Canaan at the time of the conquest by the Israelites. When its ruler, King Jabin, heard of the success of the Israelites over the southern cities of Canaan, he assembled the armies of Hazor, Madon, Shimron, Acshaph and some smaller towns at the Waters of Merom (Lake Merom). Using their most successful tactic – a surprise attack – the Israelites defeated the Canaanite confederation and King Jabin was killed. The city of Hazor was burnt down and razed to the ground. The heat of the fire consuming the cedar-panelled walls of the palace was made more intense by the enormous stocks of olive oil that burst into flame.
Archaeological excavations at Tell el-Kedah - the site of Hazor - have revealed the remains of King Jabin’s palace underneath a metre-thick layer of ash and debris, as well as more recent remains dating from the reign of King Solomon when the city was rebuilt (see 1 Kings 9:15). These later remains include a magnificent six-chambered gateway (similar to the one built by Solomon at Megiddo) and a deep shaft and tunnel leading to an underground water supply (again similar to the water system at Megiddo).
Hazor remained an important city of northern Israel until it was captured and destroyed by King Tiglath-Pilesar of Assyria in 732BC. Archaeological finds from the Canaanite and Israelite cities can be explored on site at the Hazor Museum.
The Solomonic Gateway at Tel Hazor (האיל הניאוליתי.)
Josh 11:12-20 The lands captured now extend north from Mt Halak on the border with Edom to Baalgad near Mt Hermon (see Map 48).
Josh 11:21-23 Joshua destroys the Anakim - a tall race of people reputed to be ‘giants’ - at Hebron, Debir and Anab. Only a few survive at Gaza, Gath and Ashdod (see 1 Samuel 17 for the story of David and Goliath – the ‘giant’ of Gath).
Josh 12:1-24 The account lists thirty one Canaanite kings killed by the Israelites, including the kings of Jericho, Ai, Hebron and Megiddo (see Map 48).
Josh 13:1-7 This is followed by a list of all the territories of Canaan still to be conquered by the Israelites. This includes the Mediterranean coastal lowlands occupied by the Philistines (Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron) and the northern territories occupied by the king of Sidon, including “the area of Lebanon east of Baal Gad below Mount Hermon to Lebo Hamath” (Joshua 13:5).
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