|Cities of Ancient Israel|
E11 on the Map
Tulul Abu el-'Alayiq. Jericho probably meant "place of fragrance" or "moon city"). An ancient city in the wide plain where the Jordan Valley broadens between the Moab mountains and the western precipices, and situated on the route of Israel after they crossed the Jordan under Joshua (Josh 3:16). The first mention of Jericho in Scripture is in connection with the advance of Israel to Canaan; they "camped in the plains of Moab beyond the Jordan opposite Jericho" (Num 22:1). The spies sent by Joshua were entertained in Jericho by Rahab, for which they promised her protection when the city would be destroyed (Josh 2:1-21; 6:25). The miraculous capture of Jericho, the sin and punishment of Achan, and the curse pronounced upon anyone who should attempt to rebuild it are graphically recorded (6-7). Jericho was given to the tribe of Benjamin (18:21), "and from this time a long interval elapsed before Jericho appeared again upon the scene.
It is only incidentally mentioned in the life of David in connection with his embassy to the Ammonite king (2 Sam 10:5). It was also called 'a city of palm trees' (Judg 1:16; 3:13). In its immediate vicinity the sons of the prophets sought retirement from the world: Elisha 'healed the spring of the waters;' and near it beyond Jordan, Elijah 'went up by a whirlwind into heaven' (2 Kings 2:1-22). In its plains Zedekiah fell into the hands of the Chaldeans (25:5; 39:5). In the return under Zerubbabel the 'children of Jericho,' 345 in number, are comprised (Ezra 2:34; Neh 7:36); the 'men of Jericho' assisted Nehemiah in rebuilding that part of the wall of Jerusalem that was next to the sheep-gate (3:2).
The Jericho of the days of Josephus was a distant "one hundred and fifty stadia from Jerusalem and fifty from the Jordan."
In the NT Jericho is mentioned in connection with Jesus' restoring sight to the blind (Matt 20:29-30; Mark 10:46; Luke 18:35) and His being entertained by Zaccheus (19:1-8). And finally, it was mentioned in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30), which revealed that robbers have always terrorized the road from Jerusalem to Jericho.
NT or Herodian Jericho stood on both sides of the Wadi Qelt almost two miles SW of Tell es-Sultan; there Herod the Great built his winter palace, and many more fine buildings. Archaeologists have found that S of the Wadi Qelt stood an artificial mound with a pavilion on top of it. S of the artificial mound was a wing of the palace, which is now covered over. Steps led from the artificial mound to the Wadi Qelt. At the foot of the mound on the E was a large pool, and on the W was a sunken garden backed by a grand facade with forty-eight statuary niches. A bridge led across the Wadi Qelt to the N wing of the palace, which consisted of a reception hall, two open courtyards, a bath complex, and other rooms. Nearby, Hasmonaean palaces and a monumental swimming pool have been discovered but are only partially excavated.
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