Place name meaning, “enclosed settlement.”

Hazor was located in upper Galilee on the site now known as tell el-Qedah, ten miles north of the Sea of Galilee and five miles southwest of Lake Huleh.
The site of Hazor is composed of a 30-acre upper tell or mound rising 40 meters above the surrounding plain and a 175-acre lower enclosure which was well fortified. These dimensions make Hazor the largest city in ancient Canaan. Estimates set the population at its height at over 40,000.

The upper tell had twenty-one separate levels of occupation beginning between 2750 and 2500 B.C. and continuing down to the second century B.C. Canaanites occupied Hazor until Joshua destroyed it. The Israelites controlled it until 732 B.C. when the Assyrians captured the city. Hazor then served as a fortress for the various occupying powers until the time of the Maccabees.

Hazor’s location was strategic both economically and militarily. It overlooked the Via Maris, the major overland trade route from Egypt to the north and east, and thus became a major trading center. It is mentioned extensively in both Egyptian and Mesopotamian records in conjunction with the other major trading cities of the day.

Hazor also overlooked the Huleh Valley, a critical defense point against armies invading from the north. Joshua 11:1-15; 12:19 relate how Jabin, king of Hazor, rallied the forces of the northern cities of Canaan against Joshua. Hazor was “the head of all those kingdoms” (Josh. 11:10), that is, it was the dominant city-state of the Canaanite kingdoms. Joshua defeated the Canaanite forces, slew the leaders, including Jabin, and burned the city of Hazor. Modern archaeology lends support to this biblical account. The size and location of the city of Hazor, as well as references to it in other ancient literature, would indicate that Hazor probably controlled a vast portion of Canaan. Yadin dated the destruction to ca. 1400 b.C.

Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary
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