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JABIN (jā'bĭn, Heb. yāvîn, able to discern)

JABIN jā’ bĭn (יָבִ֣ין [God] perceives; one who is discerning). 1. King of Hazor and head of a coalition of Canaanite kings who sought to withstand the Israelites (Josh 11:1-12). The confederacy of Canaanite princes produced an army described in Joshua as “like the sand that is upon the seashore.” Excavations at Hazor, conducted by Yadin in 1955, indicate that the city was quite extensive with a population of about 40,000.

In view of the size of the coalition, an imposing force blocked further entry into Canaan. Joshua’s advance, however, took the Canaanites by surprise and enabled the Israelites to defeat them. Hazor was then destroyed and Jabin, along with the other princes of the confederation were put to death (11:10-12).

2. A Canaanite king who reigned in Hazor and prob. a descendant of the former (Judg 4:2). The idolatry of the Israelites led to their being oppressed by him for twenty years. His armament was extensive, being described as 900 chariots of iron (Judg 4:3). The commander of his forces was Sisera, who seemed to be more prominent in the incident than Jabin the king. The oppression of the Canaanites was overthrown by the strategy of Deborah. Barak effected the strategy that resulted in eventual victory. The victory was celebrated in song (Judg 5).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

(yabhin, "one who is intelligent," "discerning." The word may have been a hereditary royal title among the northern Canaanites. Compare the familiar usage of par`oh melekh mitsrayim):

(1) "The king of Hazor," the leading city in Northern Palestine, who led an alliance against Joshua. He was defeated at the waters of Merom, his city was taken and he was slain (Jos 11:1-9).

(2) "The king of Canaan, that reigned (or had reigned) in Hazor." It is not clear whether he dwelt in Hazor or Harosheth, the home of Sisera, the captain of his host at the time of the story narrated in Jgs. He oppressed Israel in the days preceding the victory of Deborah and Barak. To the Israelites he must have been but a shadowy figure as compared with his powerful captain, Sisera, for the song makes no mention of him and there is nothing to indicate that he even took part in the battle that freed Israel (Jud 4:2,7,17,23,24 bis; Ps 83:9,10).