Joshua 6:1ff—Hasn’t archaeology shown that the account of the conquest of Jericho is inaccurate?
Problem: Joshua 6 records the conquest and destruction of the city of Jericho. If this account is accurate, it would seem that modern archaeological excavations would have turned up evidence of this monumental event. However, haven’t these investigations proven that the account in Joshua is inaccurate?
Solution: For many years the prevailing view of critical scholars has been that there was no city of Jericho at the time Joshua was supposed to have entered Canaan. Although earlier investigations by the notable British archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon confirmed the existence of the ancient city of Jericho, and its sudden destruction, her findings led her to conclude that the city could have existed no later than ca. 1550 b.c. This date is much too early for Joshua and the children of Israel to have been party to its demise.
However, recent reexamination of these earlier findings, and a closer look at current evidence indicates that not only was there a city that fits the biblical chronology, but that its remains coincide with the biblical account of the destruction of this walled fortress. In a paper published in Biblical Archaeology Review (March/April, 1990), Bryant G. Wood, visiting professor to the department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Toronto, has presented evidence that the biblical report is accurate. His detailed investigation has yielded the following conclusions:
3. That the inhabitants did not have the opportunity to flee with their foodstuffs from the invading army, as reported in Joshua 6:1.
4. That the siege was short, not allowing the inhabitants to consume the food which was stored in the city, as Joshua 6:15 indicates.
5. That the walls were leveled in such a way to provide access into the city for the invaders, as Joshua 6:20 records.
6. That the city was not plundered by the invaders, according to God’s instructions in Joshua 6:17–18.
7. That the city was burned after the walls had been destroyed, just as Joshua 6:24 says.
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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.