Dividing the Land & Hazor: Head of all those Kingdoms

Finger Pointing UpWow, when You 1say something You aren’t joking.

“Now Joshua was old and stricken in years; and the LORD said unto him, Thou art old and stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed. 

This is the land that yet remaineth all the borders of the Philistines, and all Geshuri” (Josh 13:1-2).

See verses 2-33 and chapter 21.

1. Hebron
Hebron, known as the Tomb of the Patriarchs or the Cave of Machpelah
The earliest signs of settlement were on the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age I site centered on Tel (mound) Rumeida. Hebron was a Canaanite royal city when Abraham arrived there to settle.
With the exception of Jerusalem, there is no other ancient city more important in Biblical tradition than Hebron.
The Biblical Hebron is a city in Eretz Israel 19 miles south of Jerusalem in the Judean Hills 3050 feet above sea level. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the world and was founded seven years before Zoan in Egypt (Num 13:22) in the 18th century BC (circa 1725 BCE). The Bible first mentions Hebron in connection with Abraham and the cave of Machpelah.
After Abraham departed from his nephew Lot he moved his tent and settled at the oaks (terebrinths) in the plain of Mamre. Then Abram removed his tent and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre. Abraham approached the Hittites to buy the field owned by Ephron to bury his wife Sarah.
Gen 23:1 – And Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah. And Sarah died in Kirjatharba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her.
Gen 23:17 – And the field of Ephron [the Hittite] which was in Machpelah (Hebrew double tombs or later Patriarchs), which was before [to the east of] Mamre; the field and the cave which was therein and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all the borders round about, were made sure .
Then under Joshua’s leadership the Israelites attacked and conquered Hebron itself. The clan of Caleb was the force that captured the Canaanite city and then settled in it.
By King David’s time Hebron was an important city in Judah. It was therefore a natural place for God to send David to be acknowledged as King of Judah (Hebrews) (2 Samuel 2:1-4).

“If you remember the only two people that made it to the Promised Land, which is where they are now, is Joshua and Caleb” (Lev 14:24).

“And unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh he gave a part among the children of Judah, according to the commandment of the LORD to Joshua, even the city of Arba the father of Anak, which city is Hebron. 

And Caleb drove thence the three sons of Anak, Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai, the children of Anak. 

And he went up thence to the inhabitants of Debir: and the name of Debir before was Kirjath-sepher.

And Caleb said, He that smiteth Kirjath-sepher, and taketh it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter to wife. 

And Othniel the son of Kenaz, the brother of Caleb, took it: and he gave him Achsah his daughter to wife. 

And it came to pass, as she came unto him, that she moved him to ask of her father a field: and she lighted off her ass; and Caleb said unto her, What wouldest thou?

Who answered, Give me a blessing; for thou hast given me a south land; give me also springs of water.  And he gave her the upper springs, and the nether springs” (Josh 15:13-19).

“And they appointed the city Kedesh in Galilee in mount Naphtali, Shechem in mount Ephraim, and Kirjath-arba which is Herbon in the mountain of Judah to be refuge cities” (Josh 20:7).

1 God never lies, and whatever He says will be:

“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Is 55:11).  

God made us in His own image and after His likeness (Gen 1:26-27) so He expects us to do the same. 

God not only wants us to treat Him with respect, but everyone:

“The second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy  neighbor as thyself” (Matt 22:39). 

As the saying goes, A man is no better than his word. The same as when we make a promise or vow to others and certainly to God:

“When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. 

Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay” (Ecc 5:4-5).

Head of all those Kingdoms

2. Tel Hazor
Tel Hazor
Tel Hazor is one of the largest, most important biblical sites in the Canaanite and Israelite periods. The bible gave it the title: “the head of all those kingdoms”.

View of King Solomon’s walls in Tel Hazor.

” And Joshua at that time turned back, and took Hazor, and smote the king thereof with the sword: for Hazor beforetime was the head of all those kingdoms” (Josh 11:10).

Hazor was the largest and one of the most important Canaanite city-states before Joshua’s destruction of the city (Josh 11:1-10).

Located nine miles north of the Sea of Galilee at the point where the international trade route crossed the Jordan on the way to Damascus, Hazor dominated the Huleh Basin and controlled a key commercial route.  

Documents from Mari written about 1850 B.C. mention Hazor as a major commercial center involved in the vital tin trade used in making bronze.

Egyptian sources often refer to Hazor, starting with its first appearance in the Execration Texts (2000-1800 B.C.) down to the reign of Seti I (1304-1290 B.C.).

We are especially well informed about Hazor during the 1300s, when the city reached its zenith. The Amarna Texts mention Hazor’s king, Abdi-tirshi.

Few Canaanite rulers used the title “king” during this period, another indication of Hazor’s importance.

3. Gate from King Solomons period the 10th C BC.
This photo shows the reconstructed gate from King Solomon’s period, the 10th C BC.
The gate is symmetric on both sides of the entrance, and is composed of two towers, three rooms within each tower, and two bastions projecting on both side.

The road turns around towards the right side (North).

Tel Hazor is located on the east of the northern part of Israel, the upper Galilee.

Its prime location on the main ancient road through Syria to Babylon, made it an important city.

This road bypassed the impossible way through the desert, and was an important link between the two strong empires of the ancient world: Egypt on the south, and Mesopotamia (Babylon, Assyria, Persia) on the north.

You can reach the site, a national park, by driving north from Rosh-Pina (road 90).

The museum that hosts most of the archaeological findings is located in another location: in the nearby Kibbutz, Ayyelet Ha-shachar, 0.5KM north to the park’s entrance.

Additional findings are displayed in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

After Joshua conquered Hazor, the Bible rightly recalls that Hazor “formerly was the head of all those [Canaanite] kingdoms” (Josh 11:10).

The massive tell of Hazor looms 130 feet above the surrounding plain.

To the north, a large earthen rampart built by Canaanites in the Middle Bronze Age (ca. 1750 B.C.) enclosed a “Lower City” inhabited until its final destruction in approximately 1220 B.C. After 1200 B.C. the people who inhabited Hazor occupied only the high mound.

Together, the tell and Lower City cover an area of over two hundred acres, making Hazor the largest city in Palestine prior to the Hellenistic era.

Yigael Yadin conducted excavations at Hazor from 1955 to 1958 and again in 1968. Excavations have recently resumed under the supervision of Ammon Ben-Tor.

Although inhabited before 2000 B.C., Hazor achieved prominence in the Middle Bronze Age when the tell was resettled and the city greatly enlarged to the north.

A massive rampart constructed of earth layered against an inner core enclosed an area 1,000 yards long and seven hundred yards wide.

Excavations within the enclosure revealed a substantial city complete with public buildings, domestic structures, and an unprecedented array of temples.

A major destruction occurred about 1550 B.C. Yadin attributed this to the Egyptian pharaoh Ahmose, who expelled the Hyksos from Egypt. The destruction marks the transition into the Late Bronze Age (1550-1200 B.C.).

Late Bronze Age Hazor has yielded archaeological evidence illustrating the religious life of the city. Several temples and a wealth of objects used in worship have enriched our knowledge of the period. 

One temple displays a plan similar to Solomon’s temple of a later day. The layout of the building consists of a porch with two pillars (reminiscent of “Jachin” and “Boaz” of  Solomon’s temple [1 Kg 7:15-22]), a slightly wider hall, and an inner “holy of holies.”

This structure, one of a series of temples erected on the same spot, still contained the furniture used in worship when the temple was destroyed about 1220 B.C.

The objects found in the holy of holies included libation tables, two large kraters, an offering table, and a basalt incense altar decorated with an emblem associated with the storm god Hadad.

The temple directly above contained a beautiful lion orthostat in the doorway. The term orthostat refers to well-worked stone slabs often used as panels along the lower parts of interior walls. 

4. Tel Hazor the water system
A huge system to supply fresh water is located in the south west side of the upper city.
This system was built in the 9th C B.C., during the time of King Ahab.

It was designed after similar inner-city water systems, such as in Tell Megiddo, Gezer, Lachish, and possibly the “conduit” (“gutter”) the King David captured in Jerusalem (2 Sam 5:8).

The builders dug into the ground, going through earlier Iron age levels, and supporting the dig with large walls. They dug down 46M deep in a square vertical shaft – until reaching bedrock.

Similar orthostats were found in other areas and point to Hittite influence at Hazor. An inscribed clay model of a cow’s liver used in divination was found nearby.

A small rectangular temple located on the inner slope of the western rampart yielded several small stele (upright stones called mazzeboth in Hebrew, cf. Deut 12:3) and a seated statue of a god or king.

A relief on the central stele depicted two hands extended upwards toward a crescent containing a disk.  These emblems have been associated with the moon god Sin and his consort.

Nearby, a potter’s workshop contained small clay masks and a silver-plated bronze standard showing a goddess holding two snakes. The cult standard suggests the “Stele Temple” was dedicated to the consort of the moon god.

A Late Bronze Age Canaanite shrine termed the “Stele Temple” found at Hazor. Notice the seated figure to the left and the line of sacred stones (Hebrew mazzeboth).

Late Bronze Age Hazor was a truly cosmopolitan city. In addition to the Hittite influence noted above, cylinder seals of Mitannian influence and large quantities of Mycenaean pottery indicate wide-ranging international relations.

However, the Late Bronze Age in Palestine was not peaceful; a major destruction of Hazor about 1450 B.C. probably was the result of an Egyptian raid during the reign of Thutmose III or Amenhotep II.

Shortly before 1200 B.C. both the Upper and Lower cities were violently destroyed in a great conflagration, bringing to an end Canaanite Hazor.

Many scholars connect this destruction with Joshua and the Israelite who “burned Hazor with fire” (Josh 11:11).

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