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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Much Is Known About the City of Jericho

By Rocky Wilson
Author of Sharene:
Death: A Prerequisite For Life

Much is Known About the City of Jericho

Although much is known about the city of Jericho, located in what’s now the West Bank between Israel and Jordan, whether its walls did come tumbling down as recorded in the Bible can be disputed.

Some archeologists, such as Brit John Garstang (1930-1936), and another British archeologist, Kathleen Kenyon (1952-1958), said their findings confirm that the walls of Jericho did collapse. Still, Garstang argued the walls came down in about 1,400 A.D., when Joshua and the Israelites in Joshua 6 are reported to have conquered the city by walking around it, playing trumpets, and crying out loud on the seventh day; and Kenyon claimed the walls came down 150 years earlier.

A known Bible scholar, Bryant Wood, a graduate of Syracuse University, in New York, claimed in 1990 that pottery uncovered by Kenyon is from 1400 B.C., and not 1550 B.C. And the arguments go on.

As often is the case, a faith versus science scenario exists as to how and when the city‘s walls fell.

What is known about ancient Jericho is it’s considered to be the oldest inhabited settlement known to man, at about 8,000 B.C.; is said to have been the world’s lowest city, at about 900 feet below sea level; and was prominent in Biblical times because of its strategic location in the middle of Palestine. Located about 10 miles north of the Dead Sea and only a slightly greater distance east and north of Jerusalem, the site of ancient Jericho, less than two miles from modern Jericho, includes an oasis made by natural irrigation from the nearby Jordan River and underground water sources from the Central Mountains.

Interesting facts and figures about the city of Jericho include:

* Mentioned many times in the Old Testament, Jericho was the first city Israel conquered upon entering the Promised Land

* Kenyon’s research, though not consistent chronologically with Biblical history, did conclude the city then was razed by fire, as stated in Joshua 6; and that the city’s north wall, where tradition says Rahab the Harlot and her family were spared, was left standing

* Jericho was destroyed and rebuilt many times, including by Herod the Great

* Jericho was conquered by Muslim Arabs after the seventh century

* Jericho was one of few ancient cities connected both to Via Maris (a major trade route to the west) and King’s Highway (a major trade route to the east)

* Jericho means “fragrant”

* Modern Jericho was captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War; and was the first city handed over to the Palestinian Authority in 1994 in the Oslo accords

Like much of the West Bank, the modern city of Jericho currently is living in a world of hostility between Israel and Palestine. Today, it’s a small city of about 20,000 people.

Much of what we know about the city of Jericho deals with its defensive walls which first were built about 2900 B.C.

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