Walls of Jericho

This morning we started a three month class on Joshua, Judges and Ruth. I started to think about my trip to Jericho earlier this year and some of the other places that I have visited in Israel or Palestine that were part of the setting for these books. As we progress through the class, I will try and share some pictures of the places that I have visited.

To view links to the entire class series click on Walls of Jericho

This evening, I will be sharing a few pictures of Jericho as that was the first city that was conquered by the Israelites. Many of you will remember the story of Rahab and how she hid the spies and about Joshua marching around Jericho with his army.

One of the first things that we saw when we arrived at Jericho was this neat fountain.

Oldest City in the World - Jericho - Tell es-Sultan

Jericho is one of several cities that claim to be “The oldest city of the world.” We will not consider the other claims here, and just say that Jericho is indeed one of the oldest cities in the world. It is also the city that is the furthest below sea level.

Tell es-Sultan - Neolithic Tower - Oldest Tower in the world

The tell of Jericho is named Tell es-Sultan. There have been many excavations here and many disagreements over the interpretation of what has been found. The picture here shows a Neolithic Tower that is considered the oldest building in the world. The tower is 3.6 meters tall and is connected to a wall from the same time period.

Tell es-Sultan - Walls of Jericho

Now for the walls of Jericho. Here we have some of the remains of the walls from the time that the Israelites conquered Jericho. The city was surrounded by a revetment composed of large stones. Above this revetment was a glacis that sloped up to the top of the Tell. At both the base of the glacis and the top of the tell there were mud-brick walls that were about six feet thick and more than 20 feet tall. During the conquest by the Israelites, these mud-brick walls fell and slide down to the base of the Tell.

As I was standing on top of Tell es-Sultan I was imagining the Israelite army marching around the city. I also wanted to get an idea of how far they needed to march. The city itself is about 600 meters in circumference, so one and a half times around a running track if they were walking right up against the wall. I am sure that they would have marched at a distance from the wall, so maybe their circuit was up to a mile in length.

I was actually surprised at the size of the city. From the many pictures we see of the walls of Jericho falling down I would have imagined a much larger city.

As I stood on top of the tell I also imagined what it would have been like on the seventh day when instead of the army returning to their camp they started around a second time. What would the inhabitants of Jericho have running through their minds with this change? Would the tension mount as they continued marching until they had made seven circuits of the city? I tried to imagine the fear that would be in their hearts as the army stopped and the trumpets start to blow.

Laughing Dove - Spilopelia senegalensis - Jericho

I will end the post with this picture of Laughing Doves or Spilopelia senegalensis. I took this picture while we were standing next to the fallen walls of Jericho. They had a nice place to perch while they kept an eye on the peaceful ruins of Jericho.


To view links to the entire class series click on Walls of Jericho.

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33 Responses to Walls of Jericho

  1. Glenda McDougal says:

    Steven, this is a fantastically interesting post and the pictures are awesome Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. Sheryl says:

    The pictures are beautiful. Jericho is such an interesting city.

  3. Gary Bryant says:

    Some money is getting to the West Bank. They have beautified Jericho considerably the past few years and taken down the check point entering the city. The city was really run down on our trip in ’07 and ’09. In ’11 it looked vastly different around Elisha’s Spring. I really like your pictures and thoughts.

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  21. Tim Shey says:

    I was hitchhiking in southern California several years ago and this Jewish couple from Jericho picked me up and gave me a ride. I guess this is the only connection I have ever had with Jericho. I used to have a website called Walls of Jericho.

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