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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.In the introduction to the king list, a common type of record kept by Ancient Near Eastern (hereafter ANE) conquerors, the text notes that “these are the kings of the land, whom the sons of Israel killed, and whose land they possessed” (Josh 12:1).For the biblical writer of Joshua, the smiting of a king is inextricably bound to the acquisition and possession of his land.
Yet could the mere killing of the king who controlled this entire region be seen as a victory that would earn its way onto the pages of Judges?
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 matter that will be discussed here, however, is whether these destructions are distinct or one and the same.
This study may go a long way toward determining whether or not the Exodus and Conquest transpired in the 13th century BC..
Continue reading On the side of the former view, biblical archaeologists such as Bryant Wood argue that the Exodus must have occurred in the middle of the 15th century BC, since the ordinal number “480th” in 1 Kgs 6:1 only can be understood literally (contra allegorically, as late-Exodus proponents suggest).