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(tay' uh nak) Place name of uncertain meaning. One of the sites along the northern slope of the Mount Carmel range protecting the accesses from the Plain of Esdraelon to the region of Samaria. Irbid, Megiddo, and Taanach each protect strategic passes through the Carmel range.

Taanach thus sat along one fork of the major north-south road of antiquity that went through Palestine, usually called the Via Maris. It also sat on an east-west road that led from the Jordan Valley to the Mediterranean Sea near modern Haifa.

In the Bible, Taanach is only mentioned seven times, usually in lists such as tribal allotments (Joshua 17:11 ; 1 Chronicles 7:29 ), administrative districts (1 Kings 4:12 ), Levitical towns (Joshua 21:25 ), or conquered cities (Joshua 12:21 ; Judges 1:27 ). The most famous biblical reference to Taanach is that of the battle fought at “Taanach by the waters of Megiddo” where the Hebrew forces under Deborah and Barak defeated the Canaanites under Sisera (Judges 5:19 ).

Taanach was a town of about 13 acres, about the same size as the better known Megiddo. Its history runs through the Bronze Ages and into the Iron Age, from about 2700 B.C. to about 918 B.C. when it was destroyed by the Egyptian Pharaoh Shishak. A large fortress was built on the site during the early Islamic period, and that fortress may well have continued in use during the Crusades.

While Megiddo was apparently a major Canaanite administrative center, Taanach seems to have been less heavily populated and perhaps the home for the farmers of the surrounding area and their tenants. Excavations have shown a number of cultic objects and installations at Taanach, suggesting that it was a religious center as well.

Joel F. Drinkard, Jr.

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Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Taanach'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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