The Battle of Jericho, as described in the Bible’s Book of Joshua, marked the first battle fought in the Israelites’ conquest of Canaan. The battle is famous for the triumphant fall of Jericho’s walls, brought on about by marching Israelites blaring their trumpets. However, outside of the Bible, there is a fierce debate over whether walls of Jericho’s fell in the time described by the Old Testament.
The historical site of Jericho is located in eastern Palestine, in what is known as Tell es-Sultan or Tel Jericho.
Archaeological excavations at ancient Jericho have been inconclusive, with experts publishing mixed reports over the years.
Archaeologists like William Gwinn Dever have dubbed the fall of Jericho a fictional account “invented out of whole cloth”.
Others like British archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon have suggested there are historical inaccuracies in the Old Testament’s account.
But Professor Tom Meyer, an expert in Middle Eastern languages from Shasta Bible College and Graduate School in California, US, believes the clues are there to support the biblical narrative.
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Professor Meyer told Express.co.uk: “Jericho, though a comparatively small city by our modern standards, was a very heavily fortified ancient Canaanite city.
“Its destruction was essential for the Israelites after they crossed the Jordan River if they were to advance into Canaan.
“The fall of Jericho in 1400BC is an excellent example of textual and archaeological evidence collaborating.”
According to the Bible, the Israelites marched around the walls of Jericho with the Ark of the Covenant in complete silence for six days.
Then on the seventh day, they marched seven times and on the seventh pass, the priests blew their trumpets and the soldiers shouted at the walls to bring the fortifications down.
Every archaeologist’s report shows the walls collapsed first
Tom Meyer, The Bible Memory Man
Professor Meyer said: “According to the Bible, the order of events was that first, the walls fell down, then the city was burnt, and finally it was abandoned.
“Every archaeologist who has excavated Jericho has come to the same conclusion.
“Upon the stone retaining wall from the time of Joshua – parts of which can still be seen today – a mudbrick wall once stood.
“According to the archaeologists, the mudbrick wall fell outward and down to the base of the foundation stone wall.
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“Archeologists who dug at the base of the stone retaining wall found a pile of collapsed reddish mudbricks along the entire portion of the retaining wall they unearthed.”
A diagram of the fallen bricks can be found in Ms Kenyon’s excavation reports.
According to Professor Meyer, ancient Jericho is the only place where archaeologists have found a wall that has completely collapsed.
The Bible expert said: “The fallen wall formed a ramp for the Israelite soldiers to go up into the city and in order to set it on fire.
“Archeologists also found evidence for a massive destruction by fire – about three feet in depth – from the same time period.
“In the three-foot-thick burn layer, archaeologists John Garstang, and later Kathleen Kenyon, found room after room of ash, collapsed roof timbers, and burnt large storage jars that were full of grain.
“This is significant because not only did Joshua command the soldiers not to raid the fallen city but the Bible states that the Israelites invaded Canaan at harvest time.
“The layer of earth absent of structures which was on top of the ash layer shows that the city was abandoned for an extended period of time.
“Every archaeologist’s report shows the walls collapsed first, then the city was set on fire and subsequently the city was abandoned, just like the Bible states.”
According to UNESCO, ancient Jericho is among the oldest known towns on Earth, with archaeological excavations revealing 23 layers of ancient civilisations at the site.
Alternate historical accounts for the fall of Jericho propose the city was destroyed around 1500 BCE by Egyptian forces.
Radiocarbon dating from 1995 suggests the city fell sometime between the 17th and 16th centuries BCE.
Professor Meyer, also known as The Bible Memory Man, is a public speaker and college professor who has memorised more than 20 books from the Bible.
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