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Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Fallen Walls of Jericho

The Fallen Walls of Jericho

Arthur L. Finkle

Joshua 2 has Moses’ successor, Joshua pursuing the Canaanites to the city of Jericho, a most ancient city. Joshua send reconnaissance (spies) to report what would be the best way to attack the city. The spies know, through, a women a few virtues, that morale was depleted in this city.
According to Joshua 6, the sounds of the Shofars for seven days destroyed the defensive walls of Jericho. Also thrown in was the story of Joshua’s spies garnering that Canaanite morale was low.
Accordingly, Joshua, a great general, designed a masterful plan. For six days the army would circle the city once while the priests blew their ram's horns. No one sole would make any sound. On the seventh day, the army encircled the city seven times, all the while sounding the Shofars (along with carrying the Ark of the Covenant). Thereafter, Joshua believed that the walls would tumble down; his army would maraud the city; and leave it in flames.
This article will discuss two issues:
• Was there a tumbled wall around Jericho?

• If so, Were the tumbling walls due to the Shofars or was this some type of military ploy?
Jericho’s Dig

We know that the harvest had been very good in the Autumn of the year of the siege of Jericho, thereby allowing the populace to withstand a protracted siege. A spring, still extant, provided water. And Jericho was a walled city. (Joshua 3:15)

The German excavation of 1907–1909 found that on the north a short stretch of the lower city wall did not fall as everywhere else. A portion of that mudbrick wall was still standing to a height of over two meters (eight feet).

What is more, there were houses built against the wall! It is quite possible that this is where Rahab’s house was. Since the city wall formed the back wall of the houses, the spies could have readily escaped. From this location on the north side of the city it was only a short distance to the hills of the Judean wilderness where the spies hid for three days (Joshua 2:16, 22).

Bryant Wood, director of the Associates for Biblical Research, and also director of the Kh. el-Maqatir Excavation in Israel. Accessed March 1, 2010

After the seventh trip around the city on the seventh day, Scripture tells us that the wall ‘fell down flat’ (Joshua 6:20). The Hebrew here carries the suggestion that it ‘fell beneath itself.’ Is there evidence for such an event at Jericho? It turns out that there is ample evidence that the mud brick city wall collapsed and was deposited at the base of the stone retaining wall at the time the city met its end.

Another archeologist, Kathleen Kenyon in the 1950s excavated Jericho’s walls and dated them to around 1550 BCE She provided precise detail that she found, ‘fallen red bricks piling nearly to the top of the revetment. These probably came from the wall . . . brickwork above the revetment.’ In other words, she found a heap of bricks from the fallen city walls! An Italian team excavating at the southern end of the mound in 1997 found exactly the same thing. Such a falling wall easily allowed the invaders (Hebrews) to enter the city as is expressed so well in Joshua 6:20.

Psychological Warfare

We know from Scripture that the Shofar bespoke times of war to assemble troops, to attack, to pursue, and to proclaim victory (Numbers 10:9, Judges 6:4; Jeremiah 4:5 and Ezekiel 33:3-6). Indeed, when Jonathan defeated the Philistines. “It came about when he had arrived, that he blew the trumpet in the hill country of Ephraim; and the sons of Israel went down with him from the hill country, and he was in front of them.” See Judges 3:27

An African-American spiritual, a type of traditional song once referred to as a Negro spiritual, written between 1825 and 1860, memorialized this great biblical event.

It is the product of pre-Civil War slaves and thus probably dates to the first half of the nineteenth century. Parts of its text were originally written in the slaves' dialect. The title, for instance, was given as "Joshua Fit de Battle of Jericho." The slaves wrote these songs often to signal an escape attempt or simply to express their hope for freedom. Thus, the closing line of the refrain, "And the walls (of Jericho) came tumblin' down," signified more to them than what is usually derived from the Biblical verse that inspired it -- Joshua 6:15-21.

Sometimes the words of these old stand-byes were slightly changed and adapted to special events. For example, the words of “Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho (and the walls came tumbling down)” were changed into “Marching ‘round Selma” in 1965 as a part of the Civil Rights movement.

“This constant improvement of negro spirituals gave birth to another type of Christian songs. These were inspired by the Bible (mainly the Gospel) and related to the daily life [and called Gospel Music].”

When 'Joshua fit the battle of Jericho,' he may well have been history's first general to use psychological warfare. For seven days he had his army — accompanied by priests blowing rams' horn trumpets and carrying the ark of the covenant — circle the Canaanite city's walls. We can imagine that at the first appearance of the Israelites' noisy procession, the Canaanites must have scrambled to man Jericho's defenses. On the second day, too, they leapt to their positions. And again on the third. But after the same thing had happened six days in a row, they probably became inured. On the seventh day, the Israelites made seven circuits. Whatever the bizarre performance meant, the defenders must have thought that it obviously was not a threat. But upon finishing the seventh lap, the Israelites let out a shout and attacked, catching the defenders off guard. See

“So the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon; and he blew a trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called together to follow him.” See Judges 6:34

Moreover, as a signal of war, Hebrew Scripture (Numbers 10:9) provide” “And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies.”

See Sergeant Major Herbert A. Friedman (Ret., 1995) and consultant the History channel, among other organizations, bespeaks the credence put into the strategic utilization of music on the battlefield. Example included the Shofars at Jericho; Washington’s military music; Andrew Jackson’s battle charges to Beethoven’s drum rolls; Santa Ana’s arraning for the playing of El Degüello, to scare the Spanish; the Korean Communists playing funeral dirges to depress its adversary.

Insofar as Jericho in concerned, picture a city walled restricting movement as opposed to their original use of the walls keeping people out. Now the citizenry and the army hear seven days of the opposing army, possibly outnumbering the city-dwellers, making weird sounds of war. Scary!

In capturing Jericho, Joshua employed some still valid techniques of intelligence gathering and psychological warfare. He first sent into the city two spies who learned from a harlot named Rahab (Joshua 2:1) that the inhabitants were demoralized. His army marched around the city for six days to advertise its strength before Joshua called for the trumpets to be blown. "My interpretation of the falling of the walls of Jericho," writes Gale, "was that it was in fact the crumbling of the will of the inhabitants to fight."

Time Magazine, December 6, 1968,9171,844671,00.html#ixzz0hKaCZcZR