Summary: Did the walls of Jericho actually fall? (hint: yes they did) And if they did, what can that tell us about God's power and of our faith in Him?
Children’s moment – a short clip from Veggie Tales “Josh And The Big Wall” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDpM_j1MZG8&t=11s
OPEN: I love reading Bible Stories to my grandson. Well I don’t actually “read” them to him, I kind of make them up as I go along. And I find that the ones that catch his attention are the ones where I play with the story. For example, he loves this story of the walls of Jericho. But I cheat a little bit. The story says that the Israelites marched around the 1st time – pretty much in silence. But when I tell HIM the story, every time they march around the city they shout… and they blow their horns. Yeah, I know, it’s wrong – but he loves it.
But now, here’s the real story: The LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days. Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall BLOW THE TRUMPETS. And when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then ALL THE PEOPLE SHALL SHOUT with a great shout, and THE WALL OF THE CITY WILL FALL DOWN FLAT, and the people shall go up, everyone straight before him.” Joshua 6:2-5
And that’s exactly what Israel did - and the walls came a tumbling down, the army of Jericho was routed, and Israel burned the city and everything in it. Then – for centuries – the city lay in ruin.
Now, that’s quite a story. But… (PAUSE) did it really happen? Well yeah, apparently!
You see, Archeologists dig up places like Jericho, and when they so, they examine how people lived and died, and how the cities were built and destroyed. And what they found at Jericho was so intriguing that Time Magazine dedicated an article to it. Now, bear in mind, Time is not a religious magazine – they left God completely out of their article as and they focused on naturalistic explanations of what was found at the site.
But they quoted archeologist: “It looks to me as though the biblical stories are correct”
Now before I read to you what Time wrote, I want to explain how ancient cities were conquered. 1) They are either taken by siege where the enemy attacked the walls and forced those walls to fall INWARD. 2) Or the enemy would STARVE the inhabitants into submission. There’s be no food left inside the city.
Time explained that “the walls had fallen in a way suggestive of sudden collapse (in other words - the walls fell DOWN, not INWARD). Many scholars think the destruction was caused by an earthquake (no, it couldn't possibly God did this), which could also account for a temporary damming of the Jordan River described in the Bible. Moreover, (the archeologists) found bushels of grain on the site (the city wasn’t starved out). That is consistent with the bible’s assertions that Jericho was conquered quickly. If the city had capitulated after a long siege, the grain would have been used up.” (Time, March 5, 1990)
What archeologists have discovered at Jericho was consistent with Scripture… • The city was strongly fortified (Joshua 2:5, 2:7, 2:15, 6:5, 6:20). • The siege was short (Joshua 6:15) they found burned bushels of grain inside • The walls were leveled (Joshua 6:20). • The city was NOT plundered (Joshua 6:17–18). • BUT the city WAS BURNED (Joshua 6:24). • And the city was NOT rebuilt for centuries.
God decreed that the city was not to be rebuilt, because He meant for those ruins to be a testimony to what He did to Jericho that day.
SO YES, you can trust your Bible. If God says something happened, it happened - just the way He said it did. And you’ll find that’s true over and over again as archeology invariably confirms Scripture.
Now that said, I find it interesting that God destroyed Jericho the way that He did. The Israelites didn’t tear down the wall, and they didn’t rout the enemy. They just marched around the city/ blew some horns… and shouted. Essentially, they just showed up AND GOD DID EVERYTHING ELSE!
God seems to do that a lot in Scripture. God would often send the Israelites into battles they should never have won. In II Chronicles, there were 3 armies from the East came to attack Jerusalem. The king called for a day of prayer and fasting and the prophet of God says to the people “Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is NOT YOURS but God’s. 2 Chronicles 20:15