Oasis of Jericho looking
east from the excavation site of the pre-Israelite city.
Large oasis near the
west bank of the Jordan river six miles north of the Dead Sea.
Watered by several large springs, the "city of palms"
is one of the oldest cultivated spots on earth, with settlements
dating back to 9,000
BCE. At 825' below sea level it is also the
lowest city in the world. The road from Jericho to Jerusalem
winds through the badlands of the Judean wilderness climbing
more than 3,000 feet in less than 20 miles.
have unearthed extensive evidence of settlements at Jericho
before 1400 BCE, wind, water & centuries of farmers removed
any remains of the city conquered by Joshua ca. 1200 BCE as well
as later Israelite settlements. During the Persian period
[6th-4th c. BCE] Jericho was cultivated as a plantation for
aromatic balsam wood. The Hellenistic rulers of Syria again
fortified the city ca. 200 BCE.
rulers of Judea
built a large Greek style palace there, which was leveled by Herod
& replaced by a huge 25 acre palatial winter resort that
mimicked the estates of Augustus
in Rome. Herod also constructed a stadium [hippodrome] &
other Roman monuments in the city. Thus, in the early 1st c. CE
Jericho was at the height of its splendor. During the
Jewish-Roman war [66-70 CE],
made Jericho a Roman military base. Though not destroyed like
Jerusalem or other centers of Jewish revolt, historic Jericho
declined after the war & was eventually abandoned. The
modern city was founded a mile to the east in the 5th c. CE.
14.408-411, 448, 454-458;
15.53, 96; 17.304, 340.
_____, War 1.120, 170,
299-302, 335, 407, 417-418, 437, 659-666;
4.45-475, 486; 5.42, 69.
Josh 6.1-27; 2 Kings 2.1-22.
Mark 10:46-52 // Matt 20.29-34 // Luke 18:35-43.
For further information about archaeological & historical evidence, see:
resources on line:
Perspective on the
World of Jesus
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Mahlon H. Smith
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