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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Jericho

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JERICHO . A city situated in the Jordan valley about 5 miles from the north end of the Dead Sea, now represented by the miserable village of er-Rîha . It was the first city conquered by the Israelites after their passage of the Jordan. The course of events, from the sending of the spies to the destruction of Achan for infraction of the tabu on the spoil, is too well known to need repetition here (see Joshua 1:1-18; Joshua 2:1-24; Joshua 3:1-17; Joshua 4:1-24; Joshua 5:1-15; Joshua 6:1-27; Joshua 7:1-26 ). A small hamlet remained on the site, belonging to Benjamin ( Joshua 18:21 ), which was insignificant enough for David’s ambassadors to retire to, to recover from their insulting treatment by Hanun ( 2 Samuel 10:5 , 1 Chronicles 19:5 ). The city was re-founded by Hiel, a Bethelite, who apparently endeavoured to avert the curse pronounced by Joshua over the site by sacrificing his sons ( 1 Kings 16:34 ). A college of prophets was shortly afterwards founded here ( 2 Kings 2:4 ), for whose benefit Elisha healed its bitter waters ( 2 Kings 2:18 ). Hither the Israelites who had raided Judah, in the time of Ahaz, restored their captives on the advice of the prophet Oded ( 2 Chronicles 28:15 ). Here the Babylonians finally defeated Zedekiah, the last king of Judah, and so destroyed the Judahite kingdom ( 2 Kings 25:5 , Jeremiah 39:5; Jeremiah 52:8 ). Bacchides, the general of the Syrians in the Maccabæan period, captured and fortified Jericho ( 1Ma 9:50 ); Aristobulus also took it (Jos. [Note: Josephus.] Ant . XIV. i. 2). Pompey encamped here on his way to Jerusalem ( ib. XIV. iv. 1). Its inhabitants, whom the great heat of the Ghôr had deprived of fighting strength, fled before Herod ( ib. XIV. xv. 3) and Vespasian ( BJ IV. viii. 2). In the Gospels Jericho figures in the stories of Bartimæus ( Matthew 20:29 , Mark 10:46 , Luke 18:35 ), Zacchæus ( Luke 19:1 ), and the Good Samaritan ( Luke 10:30 ).

The modern er-Rîha is not exactly on the site of ancient Jericho, which is a collection of mounds beside the spring traditionally associated with Elisha. The Roman and Byzantine towns are represented by other sites in the neighbourhood. Ancient aqusducts, mills, and other antiquities are numerous, as are also remains of early monasticism.

The site, though unhealthy for man, is noted for its fertility. Josephus ( BJ IV. viii. 3) speaks of it with enthusiasm. Even yet it is an important source of fruit supply. The district round Jericho is the personal property of the Sultan.

R. A. S. Macalister.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Jericho'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdb/j/jericho.html. 1909.

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