Jericho, First City of the Conquest of Canaan

February 15, 2014

The book of Joshua has one dominant theme: God was fulfilling His promise to the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that He would give unto their descendants the land of Canaan (Gen. 12:6-7). As Joshua begins, Israel had recently conquered the transjordan territories of Sihon and Og, which would become the possession of Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh (Num. 21:21-35). Though the eastern territory was given to Israel by God, the land of Canaan proper did not include the transjordan, but rather was the land west of the Jordan River. (See discussion on this by Todd Bolen here

The book of Joshua is named after its prominent character, Joshua, the successor of Moses. Following Moses’ death (Deut. 34) and a 30-day period of mourning (v.8), Joshua sent out two spies across the Jordan. They were told “Go, view the land, especially Jericho” (Josh. 2:1).

Conquest of Canaan. Map by Marc Hinds.

Conquest of Canaan. Map by Marc Hinds.

One can see that from their location in Shittim (Acacia Grove, NKJV, CSB) that the first city that must be taken in the Conquest was Jericho, believed to be the world’s most ancient city. It was a fortress city and guarded entrance into Canaan from the east. Located in the Jordan Valley, it is 670 feet below sea level, and was one the first cities in Israel to be excavated. The record of Jericho’s destruction by Israel is found in Joshua 6.

From the standpoint of military strategy, Israel would first conquer the central territory (Josh. 7-8), then the southern (Josh. 10), and finally the northern territory (Josh. 11).

Jericho. Map by

Jericho. Map by

I always enjoy seeing Jericho. This past October Jericho was included on our itinerary for my group, though it was later in the day than what is ideal for photos.

Excavations at Jericho. Photo by Leon Mauldin

Excavations at Jericho. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Recommended reading: see Biblical Archaeology Review, “Did the Israelites Conquer Jericho? A New Look at the Archaeological Evidence,” by Dr. Bryant G. Wood (16:02, March/April 1990).

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Humble Birth: the Manger

December 17, 2011

This time of year the word manger is at the top of the list of search words that brings folks to this site. Here is a manger we photographed in Jericho back in November, 2005. This was among other artifacts visitors could see; there was no info available as to where the manger was actually discovered, whether near Jericho or elsewhere.

Manger at Jericho. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Other posts on Jesus’ becoming flesh and being placed in a manger may be seen here and here. I continue to stand amazed at the thought of our eternal Creator becoming flesh, and having a feeding trough as a bassinet! It thrills my soul to think of God becoming flesh!

Luke 2:7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (NASB).

Note the rendering of the CSB: Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough– because there was no room for them at the inn.

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (NASB).

It was necessary in God’s Redemptive Plan that the Eternal Word should become flesh, that he might defeat Satan, and become the propitiation for our sins.

It is also helpful to remember that when the Apostle John saw the resurrected Christ, the Son of God in His present glory, he did not see a baby in a manger. At Patmos, John wrote, “When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades'” (Rev. 1:17-18, NASB).

Likewise we would do well not to limit our thoughts of Jesus to a baby in a manger, but see Him also as the Lord of lords and King of kings, the One before Whom all shall give account on the last day.

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