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While she notes that the other of the two possible explanations for the destruction is military conquest, she completely rules out this option because “there is no archaeological evidence of warfare, such as human victims or weapons, anywhere in the site.” Zuckerman’s theory aside, most maximalistic archaeologists and conservative biblical scholars attribute this destruction to the Israelites, mainly due to the “intentional desecration of shrines and cultic objects,” including decapitation and the severing of the hands of the cultic figures and idols, which is considered “a practice unique to Israel.” However, Hoffmeier refuses to assign this Israelite destruction to Deborah and Barak, objecting that Wood invented an attack on Hazor not claimed in the text (Judg 4).Hoffmeier states, “[T]he text is absolutely silent regarding any military action against Hazor itself,” so “there is no basis to believe that the destruction of the final LB IIB (late 13th century) city was caused by Deborah[’s] and Barak’s triumph over Jabin and Sisera.” Hoffmeier correctly observes that the text does not expressly state that these Israelites destroyed the city, but his argument from silence cannot prove that Hazor was not destroyed during the judgeships of Deborah and Barak.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..

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The biblical text requires that the former is true, while archaeology requires that the latter is true.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.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.In light of the emphasis on this fortified city and its unequivocal regional influence, the “cutting off” also must include Hazor, not purely the death of its king.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.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.Yadin betrays his commitment to this conclusion when he notes that “[t]he narrative in the Book of Joshua is therefore the true historical nucleus, while the mention of Jabin in Judges 4 must have been a later editorial interpolation.”.The first textual objection to the theory that Joshua 11 and Judges 4 describe the same attack is that a large and undeniable gap in time separates the two narratives.

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