Jabin, King Of Hazor -- By: Bryant G. Wood
BSP 8:3 (Summer 1995) p. 83
Jabin, King Of Hazor
After the Israelites completed the conquest of southern Canaan, they headed north to bring that region of the country under their dominion. The most powerful city in the North was Hazor (Jos 11:10), whose king was named Jabin (Jos 11:1). Jabin united the other city states of the area to form a united front against the approaching Israelite army (Jos 11:1).
They came out with all their troops and a large number of horses and chariots — a huge army, as numerous as the sand on the seashore. All these kings joined forces and made camp together at the Waters of Merom, to fight against Israel (Jos 11:4–5).
With God’s help, Joshua and the Israelites defeated the northern coalition there at the Waters of Merom (Jos 11:7–9). Following their victory, they advanced against the control center of the North, Hazor. They killed the inhabitants, including king Jabin, and set the city ablaze (Jos 11:10–11). According to Biblical chronology, this took place in about 1400 BC.
Some 170 years later, the Israelites were involved in another struggle against Hazor. During the period of Judges, the prophetess Deborah and her lieutenant Barak led six of the tribes to victory over this important city (Jgs 4–5). What was the name of the king of Hazor in the days of Deborah and Barak? None other than Jabin! Of course this was not the same Jabin defeated by Joshua. Besides the
BSP 8:3 (Summer 1995) p. 84
fact that 170 years separated the two events, we are told specifically that the Jabin of Joshua was killed by the Israelites (Jos 11:10). It appears that the Jabin of Deborah and Barak was also put to the sword: “the hand of the Israelites grew stronger and stronger against Jabin, the Canaanite king, until they destroyed him” (Jgs 4:24).
Why two kings with the name Jabin? Did the Bible writers get the two events mixed up and somehow use the name of the king from one story in the other? Could it be that we have here two different versions of the same event, as some Bible scholars maintain? No, on both counts. Even though Bible critics have had a field day with the two Jabins over the years, archaeology has shown us that the Bible has it right. There were in fact several other Jabins at Hazor, since it was a dynastic name.
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