Has the biblical city and story of Jericho been verified?

Map of ancient Israel showing location of Jericho. Copyrighted.
Map of ancient Israel showing location of Jericho / Learn more about Jericho (satellite photos and more)

Excavations at the ancient mound of Jericho in the southern Jordan valley of Palestine have yielded extraordinary finds that verify the veracity of Biblical accounts. The only surviving written history of Jericho is that recorded in the Bible. Archaeology has demonstrated that the Biblical record is a precise eyewitness account of events that transpired there many thousands of years ago.

The most famous story about Jericho, of course, is that of the walls falling, as detailed in Joshua 6. Another less known, but nonetheless important, account is that of Eglon, king of Moab, building a palace there and extracting tribute from the Israelites for 18 years (Judges 3:12-30). Space does not allow a detailed discussion of the evidence, so I will briefly list the main finds and their correlation with the Bible.

Also see: THE WALLS OF JERICHO - Is the Bible accurate concerning the destruction of the walls? - Answer

There was evidence of earthquake activity, possibly the agency God used to dam up the Jordan (Joshua 3:16) and bring the walls down.

[For further details, see Bryant G. Wood, “Did the Israelites Conquer Jericho?,” Biblical Archaeology Review, March-April 1990: 44-58; and The Walls of Jericho, Bible and Spade, Spring 1999: 35-42.]

Following the destruction of Jericho the site lay abandoned for a number of decades. Then, an isolated palace-like structure was constructed. It was excavated by British archaeologist John Garstang in the 1930s. He called it the “Middle Building,” since it was sandwiched between Iron Age structures above and the destroyed 15th century B.C. city below. The archaeological finds in this stratum match the Biblical description exactly.

[For further details, see: John Garstang, “The Story of Jericho: Further Light on the Biblical Narrative,” American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literature 58 (1941), pp. 368-72; Baruch Halpern, “The Assassination of Eglon: The First Locked-Room Murder Mystery,” Bible Review, (December 1988), pp. 2-41.]

More information

Author: Bryant G. Wood, Ph.D. of Associates for Biblical Research. Provided by AIIA Institute.

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