The Wall Came Down

Trip Start Jun 14, 2011
Trip End Dec 19, 2012

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Flag of Palestinian Territory  ,
Friday, December 14, 2012

We spent the rest of the day in Jericho, which is also a significant location for many reasons.

Joshua sent two men to spy out the land, “especially Jericho.”  They stayed with a harlot named Rahab who hid the spies from the king of Jericho.  Rahab told the spies, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you.  For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.  And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.”  Then, she asked that as she showed them kindness, they would show kindness to her and her family, sparing their lives when they conquered Jericho.  The spies told her to have her entire family inside her home and to bind the line of scarlet cord in the window through which Rahab let the spies down.  The spies returned safely to Joshua and the Israelites with the report, “Truly the Lord has delivered all the land into our hands, for indeed all the inhabitants of the country are fainthearted because of us.” (Joshua 2)

After the Israelites crossed the Jordan River, they camped in the plains of Jericho, which are just east of the city.  At that time, only Joshua and Caleb were circumcised because their generation perished in the wilderness for unbelief and disobedience.  The generation born in the wilderness had not yet been circumcised.  So, after crossing the Jordan River, the first thing the Lord commanded was that Joshua circumcise them.  "Then, the Lord said to Joshua, 'This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.'  Therefore the name of the place is called Gilgal [“rolling"] to this day” (Joshua 5:1-9).  It was also in the plains of Jericho that the Israelites celebrated their first Passover in the Promised Land (Joshua 5:10).  On the day after Passover, the Israelites first ate of the produce of the Promised Land, and the daily provision of manna ceased on the day after they ate the fruit of the land (Joshua 5:11-12).

When Joshua was by Jericho, he saw a Man with His sword drawn in His hand.  Joshua asked the Man if He was for the Israelites or for their adversaries.  The Man replied, “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.”  Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and the Commander of the Lord’s army said, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” (Joshua 5:13-15)

At the Lord’s command, the Israelites marched around the city of Jericho once for 6 days with 7 priests blowing 7 trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the covenant continually.  On the 7th day, they marched around the city 7 times, and when the people heard the long blast of the rams’ horns, they shouted, and the wall of the city fell down.  Only Rahab and those in her house lived. (Joshua 6)

Jericho is also significant because it is the place of Elisha's Spring.  The men of Jericho complained to Elisha that the water was bad and the ground was barren.  So, Elisha cast salt from a new bowl into the source of the water saying, “Thus says the Lord: ‘I have healed this water; from it there shall be no more death or barrenness.’  So the water remains healed to this day, according to the word of Elisha which he spoke” (2 Kings 2:19-22).  It is true; the water of this spring remains healed and sweet to this very day, and it actually supplies the majority of the water supply for the city of Jericho.  As we always do when we visit Elisha's spring, we filled empty bottles with water to drink.

In addition, the mountain where Jesus was tempted supposedly lies in Jericho.  Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness for 40 days to be tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13).  The monastery on this mountain claims a rock to be the one where satan told Jesus to command the stones to become bread.  Jesus replied, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds for the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:3-4; Luke 4:1-4).  This mountain, or one nearby, could also be the place where satan took Jesus up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.  Satan said he would give Jesus all these things if Jesus would fall down and worship him.  Jesus said, “Away with you, satan!  For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”  Then, the devil left Jesus and angels came and ministered to Jesus (Matthew 4:8-11; Luke 4:5-8).

Furthermore, it was in Jericho that Zacchaeus climbed the sycamore tree so he could see Jesus.  When Jesus passed by, He said, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.”  And Zacchaeus received Jesus joyfully.  The other people complained saying, “He [Jesus] has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.”  Zacchaeus told Jesus, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.”  Jesus said to Zacchaeus, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:1-10)

There is also a Coptic Church in Jericho that holds the bones of Zacchaeus and his family as well as the bones of Elijah and Elisha's company of prophets.  The wife (a widow) of one of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha saying, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord.  And the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves.”  The only thing the widow had in her house was a jar of oil.  So, Elisha told the widow to borrow empty vessels from everywhere, go home, shut the door, and pour the oil into all the empty vessels.  Every vessel was filled completely with oil, and she was able to sell the oil to pay her debt. (2 Kings 4:1-7)
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