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Jericho ~ Tell Es-Sultan Overview

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Places of Interest

Jericho ~ Tell Es-Sultan Overview



1. Jericho is in the Jordan Valley about 8 miles (13 km.) north of the Dead Sea and about 15 miles (24 km.) east of Jerusalem.


2. It’s situated at 900 ft. (275 m.) below sea level, making it the lowest city in the world.


3. Jericho claims to be the oldest city in the world that has been continuously inhabited.


4. Its name means “City of Palms.”


5. It was located at the crossroads of two main travel routes. It had a north-south route that ran through the Jordan Valley, and an east-west route that connected the east side of the Jordan River with Jerusalem, the Samaritan cities, and the coastal plain cities of the Mediterranean Sea.


6. It has a year-round climate with lots of sun.


7. Tel Jericho is also known today as Tell Es-Sultan.


Historical Background


1. Jericho was a well-fortified Canaanite city before the arrival of the Israelites.


2. It’s an ancient city with about 6 thousand years of history.


3. Archaeologists have uncovered 23 levels of civilizations in Tel Jericho.


4. The city was fortified with double walls. 

5. Jericho was given by Marc Antony (Roman general under Julius Caesar) to Cleopatra (Pharaoh of Egypt) as a wedding gift in 36 BC.


6. King Herod built a winter palace in Jericho around 20 BC and would later die there as well.


7. During the Byzantine period, homes and churches were built in the area.


8. During the Crusader period, the town was moved about a mile (1.6 km.) southeast of Tel Jericho.


Places of Interest Around Jericho


1. Tel Jericho


2. Mount of Temptation Monastery


3. Jericho Cable Cars (access to Mount of Temptation Monastery)


4. Hisham’s Palace (8th-century Muslim Palace)


5. Modern Jericho


6. Shittim (place the Israelites camped on the east side of the Jordan River before entering the Promised Land)


7. Camp Gilgal (place the Israelites camped after entering the Promised Land)


8. Zacchaeus Tree


9. Herod’s Palace


10. St. George’s Monastery (hanging monastery with Cave of Elijah)


11. Baptismal Site of Jesus


12. Jordan River


13. Dead Sea


Places of Interest at Tel Jericho


1. Elisha’s Spring (tourist viewing place)


2. Tower


3. Walls


4. Ancient Homes


5. Burn & Ash Layers


6. Palace


7. Building


8. Neolithic Tower


9. Byzantine Homes


10. Walls


11. Preserved Wall and Homes (this area is likely where Rahab lived as it was spared in the destruction by the Lord)


12. Elisha’s Spring (main source)

Archaeological Evidence at Tel Jericho that Proves the Bible is True


1. Retaining Walls

  • The walls were constructed of large stones at the base and mud bricks continuing upwards. 


  • The exterior wall’s stone base was about 15 feet high (5 m.), and the mud-brick wall on top of it was another 25 feet tall (8 m.), for a total of around 40 feet (13 m.). 


  • The inner wall was constructed the same way, only it rose even higher than the exterior wall for a total height of around 50 feet (15 m.).


  • The width of the walls were around 8 ft. (2.5 m.) wide, and people lived between them. Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was built into the city wall, so that she lived in the wall (Josh. 2:15).


  • These double walls were enormous and overwhelming in size and strength. 

  • The retaining walls can still be seen today.

2. Fallen Mud-Brick Walls

  • Joshua 6:20–22: So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted a great shout, and the wall fell down flat,  so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they captured the city.

  • The Hebrew meaning for the wall fell down flat is that it fell beneath itself outward. This is exactly what archaeology reveals.

  • When the walls of Jericho were first uncovered, the fallen red bricks could be seen in large quantities. However, much of the bricks were removed so lower layers of excavations could see what was below these walls. Nonetheless, the archaeological reports clearly reveal these red mud bricks were discovered and existed.

  • What was discovered under the fallen red bricks were remains of houses (using the same red brick style) from earlier periods before cities became smaller and taller to withstand the new technology of the battering ram. The square shapes of these houses can be seen clearly today.

3. Burn Layer

  • Scripture says that the Israelites burned Jericho with fire after they conquered it. And they burned the city with fire, and everything in it (Joshua 6:24).

  • A burn layer can clearly be seen today all throughout the Tel of ashes and black burn layers. This can most notably be seen in the cut-out section as you walk up the stairs of the Tel and then on the upper part of the cut-out section.


4. Area where the burnt full Jars of barley were found.

  • Unfortunately, this evidence has been covered back over due to the current excavation team in charge of the site. This has been intentionally done for political reasons to erase any connection from the Bible to the evidence. Because Tel Jericho is in the West Bank, it is under the control of Arabs, who are mainly against the Bible and Jewish history.

  • The burnt jars of clay reveal that the battle was short, just as the Bible says. This is confirmed in the archaeology.

  • The battle took place in the Spring during the barley harvest, just as the Bible states.


5. Preserved section of the wall where Rahab likely lived.

  • On the east side of the Tel is a preserved section of the wall that suggests this is the area where Rahab lived because it was not totally destroyed.


6. Discovered abandonment layer all throughout the Tel due to Joshua's curse on Jericho.

  • Joshua cursed Jericho, and it laid abandoned for many centuries. This formed an abandonment layer that can be seen today: Then Joshua made them take an oath at that time, saying, “Cursed before the Lord is the man who rises up and builds this city Jericho; with the loss of his firstborn he will lay its foundation, and with the loss of his youngest son he will set up its gates” (Joshua 6:26).

7. Jericho was rebuilt by the Israelites during the time of King Ahab, according to Joshua's prophecy.

  • This confirms that Tel Jericho laid abandoned for quite some time until it was rebuilt: In his days Hiel the Bethelite rebuilt Jericho; he laid its foundations with the loss of Abiram his firstborn, and set up its gates with the loss of his youngest son Segub, in accordance with the word of the Lord, which He spoke by Joshua the son of Nun (1 Kings 16:34).

8. Israelite occupation layer.

  • After Jericho was rebuilt, the Israelites inhabited the city. This is confirmed by an Israelite layer found at the Tel today.

9. What can be seen today at Tel Jericho matches perfectly with the Biblical account of what happened.


  • This is amazing and is just one more piece of evidence that the Bible is true and trustworthy.

Jericho in the Bible


1. Rahab, the prostitute, who hid the Israelite Spies, was from Jericho.
Joshua 2:1: And Joshua the son of Nun sent two men secretly from Shittim as spies, saying, "Go, view the land, especially Jericho." And they went and came into the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab and lodged there.


Joshua 2:8–15: Before the men lay down, she came up to them on the roof, 9 and said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. 10 For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. 11 And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. 12 Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that, as I have dealt kindly with you, you also will deal kindly with my father's house, and give me a sure sign 13 that you will save alive my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.” 14 And the men said to her, “Our life for yours even to death! If you do not tell this business of ours, then when the Lord gives us the land we will deal kindly and faithfully with you.” 15 Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was built into the city wall, so that she lived in the wall.


2. The Children of Israel crossed the Jordan River near Jericho.
Joshua 3:14–16: So when the people set out from their tents to pass over the Jordan with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, 15 and as soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest), 16 the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho.


3. The Israelites camped at Gilgal after entering the Promised Land.
Joshua 4:19: The people came up out of the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and they encamped at Gilgal on the east border of Jericho


4. The Israelites celebrated the Passover after crossing the Jordan River.

Joshua 5:10: While the sons of Israel camped at Gilgal they celebrated the Passover on the evening of the fourteenth day of the month on the desert plains of Jericho.

5. Jericho was the first city captured by the Israelites when they entered the Promised Land.
Joshua 6:1–5: Now Jericho was shut up inside and outside because of the people of Israel. None went out, and none came in. 2 And the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor. 3 You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days. 4 Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. 5 And when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people shall go up, everyone straight before him.” 


Joshua 6:15–16: On the seventh day they rose early, at the dawn of day, and marched around the city in the same manner seven times. It was only on that day that they marched around the city seven times. 16 And at the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, “Shout, for the Lord has given you the city."


6. The mud-brick walls of Jericho fell flat (beneath themselves) and formed a ramp.

Joshua 6:20–22: So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted a great shout, and the wall fell down flat [Hebrew meaning: fell beneath themselves outward] so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they captured the city. 21 Then they devoted all in the city to destruction, both men and women, young and old, oxen, sheep, and donkeys, with the edge of the sword. 22 But to the two men who had spied out the land, Joshua said, “Go into the prostitute's house and bring out from there the woman and all who belong to her, as you swore to her.”

7. Joshua burned the city of Jericho with fire. Burn layer found throughout the tel.

Joshua 6:24: And they burned the city with fire, and everything in it.


8. Joshua cursed Jericho, and it laid abandoned for many centuries. This formed an abandonment layer that can be seen today 

Joshua 6:26: Then Joshua made them take an oath at that time, saying, “Cursed before the Lord is the man who rises up and builds this city Jericho; with the loss of his firstborn he will lay its foundation, and with the loss of his youngest son he will set up its gates.”

9. Jericho was rebuilt during the time of King Ahab in around 875 BC.

1 Kings 16:34: In his days Hiel the Bethelite rebuilt Jericho; he laid its foundations with the loss of Abiram his firstborn, and set up its gates with the loss of his youngest son Segub, in accordance with the word of the Lord, which He spoke by Joshua the son of Nun.


10. The prophets, Elijah and Elisha, traversed in Jericho often.
2 Kings 2:4: Elijah said to him, "Elisha, please stay here, for the LORD has sent me to Jericho." But he said, "As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So they came to Jericho.


11. Elisha healed the water source of Jericho.
2 Kings 2:19–22: Now the men of the city said to Elisha, "Behold, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord sees, but the water is bad, and the land is unfruitful." 20 He said, "Bring me a new bowl, and put salt in it." So they brought it to him. 21 Then he went to the spring of water and threw salt in it and said, "Thus says the LORD, I have healed this water; from now on neither death nor miscarriage shall come from it." 22 So the water has been healed to this day, according to the word that Elisha spoke.


12. The miracle of a blind man healed by Jesus occurred in Jericho.

Luke 18:35–43: As he [Jesus] drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 38 And he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40 And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me recover my sight.” 42 And Jesus said to him, “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.” 43 And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.


13. Zacchaeus, the Tax Collector, was from Jericho.
Luke 19: 1–10: He [Jesus] entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3 And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small of stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today." 6 So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all grumbled, "He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner." 8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold." 9 And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost."


14. The famous story of the Good Samaritan happened on the route from Jericho to Jerusalem (Luke 10:25–37). 


Faith Lesson from Jericho


1. The first lesson we can learn is that the Bible is true, and we can fully trust it. Jericho provides overwhelming evidence that what was written in the Bible can be found in the archaeology.  Therefore, we can fully trust the Bible as the very word of God that is inspired and living.

2. The crumbling of the walls of Jericho by the shout of the Israelites proves to be one of the greatest miracles in the Bible. Do we believe God can crumble the obstacles in our lives today as well?


3. Rahab was a sinner who chose to fear the Lord and turn to Him. She was welcomed into the Jewish faith and became part of the lineage of Christ, along with Ruth, the Moabitess. 
Matthew 1:5–6: And Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of David the king. 


Amazingly, in the genealogy of Christ, two generations in a row include foreign women who were saved by grace through faith and welcomed into the Jewish faith.


4. The lives of Rahab and Ruth illustrate that salvation has always been and always will be, open to anyone willing to listen to God’s call of salvation.


5. Jesus healed a blind man in Jericho because of his persevering faith. What about us, what kind of faith do we have in Christ? Do we give up easily, or do we persevere?


6. Zacchaeus, the Tax Collector, was another outsider who was willing to embrace Christ’s love and offer of salvation. Jericho resounds with examples of outsiders who were rejected by others but sought out by God. Do we believe God loves outsiders today, and do we welcome them into our lives and churches? 

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