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Questions From Readers

Questions From Readers

What evidence is there that the ancient city of Jericho was conquered without a long siege?

According to Joshua 6:10-15, 20, Israelite forces marched around Jericho once a day for six days. On the seventh day, they went around the city seven times, and God caused Jericho’s formidable walls to fall. This allowed the Israelites to enter Jericho and conquer it. Does archaeological evidence corroborate what the Bible says about the short siege of Jericho?

In ancient times, it was common for attackers to besiege a fortified city. Regardless of how long a successful siege lasted, the victors would plunder the city’s riches, including any remaining provisions. In Jericho’s ruins, however, archaeologists found large supplies of food. In this regard, Biblical Archaeology Review states: “The most abundant item found in the destruction, apart from pottery, was grain. . . . This is unique in the annals of Palestinian archaeology. Perhaps a jar or two might be found, but to find such an extensive amount of grain is exceptional.”

According to the Scriptural account, the Israelites had good reason not to plunder Jericho’s grain. Jehovah had commanded them not to do so. (Josh. 6:17, 18) The Israelites attacked in the spring of the year, just after harvesttime when grain supplies were abundant. (Josh. 3:15-17; 5:10) The fact that much grain remained in Jericho indicates that the Israelite siege was of short duration, just as the Bible describes it.