TAANACH tā'ǝ-nak "Heb. ta'anāḵ or ta'nāḵ; LXX Thaanach, with many variants". A city on the southern edge of the Valley of Jezreel, about 8 km. (5 mi.) SE of Megiddo.
I. Recorded History.–Taanach first appears in the annals of Pharaoh Thutmose III (mid-15th cent. B.C.). During his first military campaign Thutmose discussed with his general staff the option of marching from the Sharon to the Jezreel Valley via the pass leading from Bâqā el-Gharbîyeh to the Valley of Dothan (Sahl 'Arrâbeh) and finally past Taanach. Fortunately for the Egyptians, scouts evidently warned them that the enemy was arrayed near Taanach in anticipation of their arrival, so that they were able to choose another route (ANET, pp. 235f.). After his victory at Megiddo, Thutmose also took Taanach, which appears in his great topographical list (Ta-'(a)-na-k; no. 42). Like most other Canaanite city-states, Taanach became subject to Egypt; emissaries of the maryannu warrior class were sent from Taanach (Ta-'"a"-na-ki) to the pharaonic court (Papyrus Leningrad 1116 A).
Two cuneiform epistles discovered at Taanach (see III below) were demands by a certain Amenhotep to the local ruler that he come in person with his troops, apparently to join an expedition. In the Amarna correspondence a certain Yašdata reported that the men of Ta-aḫ-"nu-k"a had deposed him, slaughtered his cattle, and driven him away (Am.Tab. 248:10-17). The reading of this geographical name is quite uncertain, however. Yašdata had found political asylum at Megiddo; his ouster (from Taanach or elsewhere) may have been due to the machinations of Lab'ayu ruler of Shechem. Yašdata's association with Taanach rests on nothing but the poorly preserved place name (for a conflict with the present state of the archeological evidence, see II below).
As one of the royal Canaanite cities encountered by the Israelites (Josh. 12:7f., 21), Taanach fell within the tribal territory of Issachar but was later transferred to Manasseh (Josh. 17:11; 1 Ch. 7:29), who failed to occupy it (Josh. 17:12f.; Jgs. l:27f.). The famous clash between the Israelite tribesmen and the city-state chariot forces took place in the Valley of Jezreel (= Esdraelon). but the Canaanite rulers, instead of dividing the spoil on the broad plain — i.e., the southern portion of the valley, before Taanach and Megiddo — were swept away by the “torrent Kishon” in the center of the valley (Jgs. 5:19-21).
When Israel finally did become the dominant power in the valley (cf., e.g., 1 S. 31), they subjected the inhabitants of the city-states, including Taanach (Jgs. l:27f.), to forced labor. Taanach became a Levitical center (Josh. 21:25) along with several of its neighbors, and under Solomon it was included in the administrative district of Baana son of Ahilud (1 K. 4:7, 12). During the fifth year of Rehoboam, the Egyptian army under Shishak (Sheshonq; 1 K. 14:25-27; 2 Ch. 12:2-12) ravaged the northern kingdom of Israel, and Taanach was certainly one of its conquests, as witnessed by Shishak's topographical list (no. 14, Ta-'-n-k-1EC93). The city is not mentioned in written sources of the later Iron Age or of the Persian, Hellenistic, or Roman periods.
Tell Taanach and the surrounding fields (D. Blatt)