Archeology proves biblical account of fall of Jericho

 What are some examples that archeology proves the Bible?

Last week as I began to answer this question I pointed out that it is important to be cautious about making the statement that archeology proves the Bible.  Archeology, an endeavor taken on by fallible humans concerning the unseen past, can contain mistakes.  The Bible, written by the infallible hand of God, does not contain mistakes.  Dr. Clifford Wilson's quote is worth repeating: "The Bible has the capacity to defend itself…  Nevertheless, archaeology has done a great deal to restore confidence in the Bible as the revealed Word of God."

Archeology is a new science.  Not until the 19th century with the help of archeology have many of the details, background and circumstances of biblical times been understood.  Many who insisted that the Bible was only a legend have been shown to be wrong by the confirmation and illumination of the historicity of the Bible by archeology.  Many archeologists when confronted with the evidence in archeology have been forced to acknowledge the veracity and historical value of the Bible.

Two of the greatest authorities in biblical archeology in the 20th century are Dr. Nelson Glueck and William Foxwell Albright.  Neither of these men would consider themselves as "fundamentalists" but were men of integrity.  Dr. Glueck said, "As a matter of fact, however it may be stated categorically that no archeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference.  Scores of archeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or in exact detail historical statements in the Bible."  Albright said the Bible "no longer appears as an absolutely isolated monument of the past, as a phenomenon without relation to its environment.  The excessive skepticism shown toward the Bible by important historical schools of the 18th and 19th centuries has been progressively discredited.  Discovery after discovery has brought increased recognition of the value of the Bible as a source of history."

Even so, despite the veracity of the Bible shown through archaeology many in the field continue to belittle it.  Although there is a surprising appreciation for the Bible as a source book, most archeologists have little interest in the Bible.  This fact in itself confirms what we read in the Bible in 1 Corinthians 2:12-14 "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us by God.  Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.  But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."

Thus, as one considers discoveries reported in the news, for example, the natural tendency of fallen man is to consider the Bible as "foolishness" despite evidence to the contrary.

An example of evidence from archeology that is quite fascinating was reported in the Creation Ex Nihilo magazine May--March, 1999 issue entitled, "The Walls of Jericho; Archeology confirms: they really DID come a-tumblin' down."

According to Joshua, chapter six God instructed Joshua to march the Israelites around the walls of Jericho once a day for six days.  On the seventh day they were instructed to march around the city seven times and at the sound of the priest's trumpets the people were to "shout with a great shout."  At this, "the walls fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city."  Initial interpretations of archeological excavations of this area seemed to disprove this account.   However, a more careful examination of the evidence has revealed the amazing accuracy of the account recorded in the Bible.

Author of the Creation magazine article, Bryant Wood, is an internationally recognized authority on the archeology of Jericho.  Following are some of the major points he makes in his column:

First, the words, "fell down flat" carry the suggestion in Hebrew that it "fell beneath itself."  An Italian group excavating in 1997 found a "heap of bricks from fallen city walls."  British archeologist Kathleen Kenyon also found, "fallen red bricks piling nearly to the top of the revetment."

Second, in Joshua 2:15 we see that Rahab's house was "on the city wall."  Wood explains how excavations in 1907-1909 give evidence of how her house could have been spared during the collapse.  "On the north a short stretch of the lower city wall did not fall as everywhere else.  A portion of that mudbrick wall was still standing… What is more, there were houses built against the wall!"  These houses were located "on the north side of the city only a short distance from the hills of the Judean wilderness where the spies hid for three days (Joshua 2:16-22)." Third, according to Joshua 6:24 the Israelites "burned the city with fire, and all that was in it."  Excavations revealed a layer of "burned ash and debris about three feet thick."  In addition, Kenyon points out, "in most rooms the fallen debris was heavily burnt, but the collapse of the walls of the eastern rooms seems to have taken place before they were affected by the fire."

Fourth, many jars full of grain were found.  "Grain was valuable, not only as a source of food, but as a commodity which could be bartered."  Why was this valuable commodity left behind?  "And the city shall be under the ban, it and all that is in it belongs to the Lord." (Joshua 6:17)

Many other amazing discoveries from archeology could be mentioned.  However, as we consider the "fallen walls of Jericho" we can see that what was once thought to be a problem for the Bible has shown, with time, to confirm the Bible.  More than any other ancient book the critics have been seeking to cast doubt on the Bible.  However, as we learn more from archeology it reminds me of what Jesus once said of His disciples, "I tell you, if they become silent, the stones will cry out."Luke 19:40

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©Tom Carpenter
Originally published in the Rockdale/Newton Citizen