Go to Jericho!

Most of you know this phrase, though it is not very common now. It suggested chat the last limits of patience had been reached with some incredibly stupid person, someone whose stupidity–like the story of Jericho and its capture by Joshua–was almost beyond belief.

Many attempts were made to explain the Bible story–or to explain it away–by those who were not prepared to believe it. Joshua did capture the city, they would admit; but very easily, as it had been captured many times before. The Israelites might say, figuratively, “We just walked in; the opposition collapsed.”

Later the story of the marching and the trumpets was added to explain it as a miracle, and it was the wall, now that had collapsed. Or it might be said, as one schoolgirl told me she had been taught, that it was more of a miracle that the walls stayed up at all than that they ever fell flat. I myself was told at school that the walls were so insecure and the people of Jericho so curious to see what the Israelites were doing that, as they pushed and shoved to get a better view, the walls at last gave, way and fell flat. I found that much harder to believe than the simple, unexplained record of the Bible. But to such people, whatever explanation was adopted, you obviously could not believe the Bible since it described whit could only be explained as a miracle–and miracles, according to these critics, just did not happen. If you thought they did, you could “Go to Jericho!”

Then someone went to Jericho, and made his fame as an archaeologist by what he found there. His son carried on his work and now their discoveries have been described in full by Professor J. and Mr. J. 8. E. Garstang in their book “The Story of Jericho.”

The book describes the early history of the city, one of the oldest towns on earth. It was attacked, destroyed and re-built more than once. New walls were built on top of the ruins or remains of earlier ones, one such re-building taking place just before the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. The new fortifications must have seemed formidable with walls rising perhaps twenty feet from the fosse or ditch surrounding the city. Against the wall and in places actually on it, houses were built, though the wall itself was structurally weak.

Further excavations confirmed many of the details of its capture by Joshua. There are huge cracks in the walls, which, in many places, have shifted completely from the foundations on which the/ were built, as if from a strong earthquake shock. Because of the fosse around the city, and the building up of the walls and homes on earlier ruins, the walls fell outwards, carrying with them many of the houses. The destruction was sudden and unexpected, for in some of the houses there were the charred remains of food ready for cooking, or dough being prepared for the next day’s baking.

There is widespread evidence of fire, leaving no doubt that the city was deliberately fired. “The layer of ashes was so thick and the signs of intense heat so vivid that it gave the impression of having been contrived, that fuel had been added to the fire.” This indicates the presence of an enemy at the very time when the walls fell. If, as seems evident, this was the result of an earthquake, is the fall of Jericho no longer a “miracle”? Or is it not miraculous that in this, as in other incidents of the Exodus, the forces of nature were made to coincide with the needs of God’s people, so that the walls fell at the very moment when Joshua had completed the instructions given him by God?

So, if anyone says to you, “Of course, you can’t believe the Bible,” tell him to “Go to Jericho” – or at least to read the Gaming book about it, and see how strikingly their discoveries accord with the Bible story.


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