Jericho, the City of Palms: Five Questions About the City
1) How do you get to tour Jericho?
Jericho is located northeast of Jerusalem, just west of the Jordan River, and about 6 miles north of the Dead Sea. It is referred to in the Hebrew Bible as “the city of palm trees” (Deuteronomy 34:3; Judges 1:16; 3:13) because the many springs surrounding the city provide irrigation to the land producing lush vegetation. Traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho, one must traverse through the desert either by driving on the Ascent of Adummim or by hiking through the Wadi Qelt. The oasis that is Jericho is a welcome sight after the harsh climate of the desert. Of course, Good Shepherd Travel can make getting there simple.
2) Who lived in Jericho?
Because of its strategic location, the city of Jericho has experienced thousands of years of settlement. The earliest settlement dates back to approximately 8,500 BC, making Jericho one of the earliest known inhabited cites in the world. A stone tower dating to the Neolithic Period provides one piece of evidence for this early settlement.
3) Who dug up the dirt?
Jericho was the second site in Israel to be excavated (Jerusalem being first) with the earliest recorded excavations taking place in 1867 and 1868 by Charles Warren. Additional excavations include those by Sellin and Watzinger (1907-1909, 1911), John Garstang (1930-1936), and Kathleen Kenyon (1952-1958). More recent excavations began in 1997. (For more information on excavations see: Wood, Bryant G. “Did the Israelites Conquer Jericho: A New Look at the Archeological Evidence.” Biblical Archaeology Review 16 no 2 (1990): 44-58 and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tell_es-Sultan).
4) What happened to the walls of Jericho?
Perhaps one of the most-well known stories in the Bible is the story of the Israelite conquest of Jericho. According to the biblical text, the Lord commanded Joshua and the Israelites to march around the city walls once for six days, and on the seventh day to march around the city walls seven times with the priests blowing their rams’ horns. When the people heard the sound of the horns, they were to shout a great shout and the wall of the city would fall down flat. According to the text, that is exactly what happened. (See Joshua 6:1-27. For more on the archaeology surrounding this account, see Wood, Bryant G. “Did the Israelites Conquer Jericho: A New Look at the Archeological Evidence.” Biblical Archaeology Review 16 no 2 (1990): 44-58.)
5) What did Jesus do in Jericho?
Not only did Jesus heal a blind man on his way to Jericho (Luke 18:35-43), he also had dinner in the home of a tax collector, bringing salvation to his household (Luke 19:1-10). The tax collector was a man named Zaccheus whom all Sunday school children know as “a wee little man” who climbed up a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus. (Be sure to see the sycamore tree when you’re there!)
Wood, Bryant G. “Did the Israelites Conquer Jericho: A New Look at the Archeological Evidence.” Biblical Archaeology Review 16 no 2 (1990): 44-58.