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JERICHO
Written by arkwriter   
Tuesday, 06 October 2009 13:56
           J E R I C H O

 

The  physical,  spiritual  and  moral
aspects  of  a  biblical  city  in  two  areas

We are all familiar with Jericho where the walls came tumbling down.  After Jericho was destroyed by the Children of Israel, “Then Joshua charged them at that time, saying, ‘Cursed be the man before the LORD  who rises up and builds this city Jericho; he shall lay its foundation with his first born, and with the youngest he shall set up its gates.’ (Josh. 6: 26)   During the time of King Ahab’s reign, Hiel, a man from Bethel attempted to rebuild Jericho.  When he laid the foundation, Abiram his firstborn died, and when he set up the gates his youngest son Segub died, just as the LORD had said through the prophesy of Joshua the son of Nun (1 Kn. 16:34).   

The reason why God had forbidden the ancient city of Jericho to be rebuilt on the same foundation is because of the heathen religion and culture of its people. He does not want false religion to be revived. As you can see, God not only allowed a new Jericho to be built on another site but also made it prosperous. 

Jericho  is  divided  into  two  areas  

After the destruction of the fortified city of Jericho the people returned to the area to build another city about two miles east of the one that was destroyed.  Jericho later fell to the Babylonians, but was rebuilt when the Jews were allowed to return from their exile. The city continued to be a resort during the rule of the succeeding empires.  King Herod built his winter palace in Jericho and constructed an enormous aqueduct which carried water from Ein Kelt. 
In the foreground is the excavated remains of the ancient fortified city of Jericho called Tell-es-Sultan that was destroyed by the Israelites described in Joshua 6.  In the background is the Jericho that was built later and remains until today.

Jericho is a key location for many Old Testament stories, including: Elijah (2 Kgs 4.4-12), Elisha (2 Kgs 4.13-22), the capture of King Zedekiah by the Babylonians (Jer 52.1-11), and the restoration of Jerusalem by people from Jericho (Neh 3.2).

The  Road  between  Jerusalem  and  Jericho  

In the parable of the Good Samaritan our Lord Jesus Christ commenced with, “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, . . .” (Lk. 10:30)  Here we find two cities of great contrast. 

Jesus was describing the man’s descent from a high point to a low point.  The elevation of Jerusalem is between 2,133 – 2,756 feet (650 - 840 meters) above sea level.  The elevation of Jericho is 853 feet (260 meters) below sea level.  Even at the lowest point of Jerusalem there is still a difference of 2,986 feet (498 meters) in elevation between the two cities.  Jericho is the lowest city on the earth.

Map showing Jerusalem and Jericho.

                 

Comparative elevations of the two cities.

 

Mountain Road from Jerusalem to Jericho.
The Valley of the Shadow of Death.

The route from Jerusalem to Jericho is a narrow and winding mountainous road that is still difficult and dangerous to travel. The "Valley of the Shadow of Death" is an actual location on this road that King David wrote: "I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me." (Psm.23:4). 

From the religious view point, Jerusalem is called the holy city” (Mt. 4:5). Jericho is “doomed by the LORD for destruction” (Josh. 6:17). The Lord’s parable indicates the man’s spiritual level had dropped tremendously, from the state of holiness to the state of sinfulness. The moral of this parable is that even when the man "fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead," and even when a priest and a Levite had both"passed by on the other side," yet there was a good Samaritan who would come to the rescue and showed love and kindness towards him (Lk. 10:29-37). No matter how awful or dreadful the situation may seem to be for those who are badly hurt and in great need, God will have some good Samaritans for them on the Jericho roads of this world.

Jericho  is  an  Oasis  in  the  Desert  

"He turns a wilderness into pools of water, and dry land into watersprings. There He makes the hungry dwell, that they may establlish a city for habitation." (Psm. 107:35-36) 

Jericho benefited from natural irrigation afforded by the Jordan River which is approximately four miles to the east, and from underground tributaries from the Central Mountains which fed her famous oasis. This irrigation resulted in teeming plant life and helped to transform Jericho into a city of greenery in an otherwise barren desert.

Jericho provides a place of rest, refreshment and also healing. At one time the Lord Jesus Christ and His disciples came to Jericho. There was a blind beggar named Bartimaeus who cried out to Jesus for mercy. "And Jesus answered and said to him, 'What do you want Me to do for you?' The blind man said to Him, 'Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.' Then Jesus said to him, 'Go your way; your faith has made you well.' And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road." (Mk. 10:46-52)

 

The Bible describes Jericho as a “city of palm trees” (2 Chr. 28:15). The palm tree not only produces dates but it also provides a sure sign there is water under its ground. 

  

The water in Jericho was healed by Elisha (2 Kn. 2:18-22).
This is Elisha’s Spring from which people drink the water.

Zacchaeus climbed a sycamore tree to see Jesus (Lk. 19:1-10)

Despite its low elevation and receiving an annual rainfall of only 145 mm (5.7 inches) Jericho has a very good supply of fresh water that is fed from the natural springs.  

Jericho's natural resources, beauty, and natural defenses caused it to become the ideal location for trade, communication and other political activities. These attributes also made her the source of envy and a coveted possession for invaders of ancient Canaan. Given the fact that Jericho has such a strategic position it had to establish and maintain a fortified city that is both attractive to friendly traders but intimidating and impregnable to enemies and invaders.

May God bless you

                                     
      This article was a presentation by Paul Wong

to the ARK Forum on March 7, 2006.

It was published on this Website on October 6, 2009

For comments please write first to: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Paul Wong is a Christian minister and the President of ARK International.
His ministry also serves as an architectural service company in Houston.
The ARK Forum on the Internet is international and non-denominational.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 October 2009 02:03