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Easton's Bible Dictionary

 

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Jericho
        place of fragrance, a fenced city in the midst of a vast grove
        of palm trees, in the plain of Jordan, over against the place
        where that river was crossed by the Israelites (Josh. 3:16). Its
        site was near the 'Ain es-Sultan, Elisha's Fountain (2 Kings
        2:19-22), about 5 miles west of Jordan. It was the most
        important city in the Jordan valley (Num. 22:1; 34:15), and the
        strongest fortress in all the land of Canaan. It was the key to
        Western Israel.
        This city was taken in a very remarkable manner by the
        Israelites (Josh. 6). God gave it into their hands. The city was
        "accursed" (Heb. herem, "devoted" to Jehovah), and accordingly
        (Josh. 6:17; comp. Lev. 27:28, 29; Deut. 13:16) all the
        inhabitants and all the spoil of the city were to be destroyed,
        "only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of
        iron" were reserved and "put into the treasury of the house of
        Jehovah" (Josh. 6:24; comp. Num. 31:22, 23, 50-54). Only Rahab
        "and her father's household, and all that she had," were
        preserved from destruction, according to the promise of the
        spies (Josh. 2:14). In one of the Amarna tablets Adoni-zedec
        (q.v.) writes to the king of Egypt informing him that the 'Abiri
        (Hebrews) had prevailed, and had taken the fortress of Jericho,
        and were plundering "all the king's lands." It would seem that
        the Egyptian troops had before this been withdrawn from
        Israel.
        This city was given to the tribe of Benjamin (Josh. 18:21),
        and it was inhabited in the time of the Judges (Judg. 3:13; 2
        Sam. 10:5). It is not again mentioned till the time of David (2
        Sam. 10:5). "Children of Jericho" were among the captives who
        returned under Zerubbabel Ezra 2:34; Neh. 7:36). Hiel (q.v.) the
        Bethelite attempted to make it once more a fortified city (1
        Kings 16:34). Between the beginning and the end of his
        undertaking all his children were cut off.
        In New Testament times Jericho stood some distance to the
        south-east of the ancient one, and near the opening of the
        valley of Achor. It was a rich and flourishing town, having a
        considerable trade, and celebrated for the palm trees which
        adorned the plain around. It was visited by our Lord on his last
        journey to Jerusalem. Here he gave sight to two blind men (Matt.
        20:29-34; Mark 10:46-52), and brought salvation to the house of
        Zacchaeus the publican (Luke 19:2-10).
        The poor hamlet of er-Riha, the representative of modern
        Jericho, is situated some two miles farther to the east. It is
        in a ruinous condition, having been destroyed by the Turks in
        1840. "The soil of the plain," about the middle of which the
        ancient city stood, "is unsurpassed in fertility; there is
        abundance of water for irrigation, and many of the old aqueducts
        are almost perfect; yet nearly the whole plain is waste and
        desolate...The climate of Jericho is exceedingly hot and
        unhealthy. This is accounted for by the depression of the plain,
        which is about 1,200 feet below the level of the sea."
        There were three different Jerichos, on three different sites,
        the Jericho of Joshua, the Jericho of Herod, and the Jericho of
        the Crusades. Er-Riha, the modern Jericho, dates from the time
        of the Crusades. Dr. Bliss has found in a hollow scooped out for
        some purpose or other near the foot of the biggest mound above
        the Sultan's Spring specimens of Amorite or pre-Israelitish
        pottery precisely identical with what he had discovered on the
        site of ancient Lachish. He also traced in this place for a
        short distance a mud brick wall in situ, which he supposes to be
        the very wall that fell before the trumpets of Joshua. The wall
        is not far from the foot of the great precipice of Quarantania
        and its numerous caverns, and the spies of Joshua could easily
        have fled from the city and been speedily hidden in these
        fastnesses.

Bibliography Information
Easton, Matthew George. M.A., D.D., "Biblical Meaning for 'Jericho' Eastons Bible Dictionary".
bible-history.com - Eastons; 1897.

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