The Book of Joshua with BAC Commentary. Placing Stones as Evidence in the Jordan River.
The officers of Joshua commanded the People to purify themselves. The next day the Priests carried the Ark towards the Jordan. As soon as the soles of the Priests feet touched water the Jordan split in two. The peoples passed over on dry land. 2 sets of 12 stone monuments were set up. 12 stones were placed in the Jordan and another 12 at the camp in Gilgal. There were to serve as a witness. This proves the validity of archaeological and historical evidence.
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with Yair Davidiy
[Joshua 4:1] AND IT CAME TO PASS, WHEN ALL THE PEOPLE WERE CLEAN PASSED OVER JORDAN, THAT THE LORD SPAKE UNTO JOSHUA, SAYING,
[Joshua 4:2] TAKE YOU TWELVE MEN OUT OF THE PEOPLE, OUT OF EVERY TRIBE A MAN,
[Joshua 4:3] AND COMMAND YE THEM, SAYING, TAKE YOU HENCE OUT OF THE MIDST OF JORDAN, OUT OF THE PLACE WHERE THE PRIESTS' FEET STOOD FIRM, TWELVE STONES, AND YE SHALL CARRY THEM OVER WITH YOU, AND LEAVE THEM IN THE LODGING PLACE, WHERE YE SHALL LODGE THIS NIGHT.
[Joshua 4:4] THEN JOSHUA CALLED THE TWELVE MEN, WHOM HE HAD PREPARED OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, OUT OF EVERY TRIBE A MAN:
Twelve Tribes of Israel: Each tribe has its own special qualities unique to itself. We need a unity of all the tribes to realize the full potential of the Israelite people. Each one of us has a role in this world that only we can exactly fulfill. We each must do as well as we can in accordance to our own situation and capabilities.
[Joshua 4:5] AND JOSHUA SAID UNTO THEM, PASS OVER BEFORE THE ARK OF THE LORD YOUR GOD INTO THE MIDST OF JORDAN, AND TAKE YOU UP EVERY MAN OF YOU A STONE UPON HIS SHOULDER, ACCORDING UNTO THE NUMBER OF THE TRIBES OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL:
THE NUMBER OF THE TRIBES : There were actually 13 tribes but always only 12 were counted: Either Ephraim and Menasseh were counted as the one tribe of Joseph or Levi was not counted since it was the priestly tribe and had other tasks OR Simeon was subsumed under Judah.
[Joshua 4:6] THAT THIS MAY BE A SIGN AMONG YOU, THAT WHEN YOUR CHILDREN ASK THEIR FATHERS IN TIME TO COME, SAYING, WHAT MEAN YE BY THESE STONES?
WHAT MEAN YE BY THESE STONES?: Archaeology is important. The trail of megalithic dolmen monuments proves the Israelite origins of western people. See Ephraim. This is a very important point and one which we hope to dedicate more to in the future.
[Joshua 4:7] THEN YE SHALL ANSWER THEM, THAT THE WATERS OF JORDAN WERE CUT OFF BEFORE THE ARK OF THE COVENANT OF THE LORD; WHEN IT PASSED OVER JORDAN, THE WATERS OF JORDAN WERE CUT OFF: AND THESE STONES SHALL BE FOR A MEMORIAL UNTO THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL FOR EVER.
[Joshua 4:8] AND THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL DID SO AS JOSHUA COMMANDED, AND TOOK UP TWELVE STONES OUT OF THE MIDST OF JORDAN, AS THE LORD SPAKE UNTO JOSHUA, ACCORDING TO THE NUMBER OF THE TRIBES OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, AND CARRIED THEM OVER WITH THEM UNTO THE PLACE WHERE THEY LODGED, AND LAID THEM DOWN THERE.
[Joshua 4:9] AND JOSHUA SET UP TWELVE STONES IN THE MIDST OF JORDAN, IN THE PLACE WHERE THE FEET OF THE PRIESTS WHICH BARE THE ARK OF THE COVENANT STOOD: AND THEY ARE THERE UNTO THIS DAY.
THERE UNTO THIS DAY : i.e. until the day when the Book of Joshua was written. The expression until this day occurs more than 80 times in Scripture and EVERYWHERE it means until the words quoted were written. I mention this since an assumed authority once claimed otherwise concerning the Lost Ten Tribes. Concerning the exile of the Ten northern Tribes of Israel, Scripture says,
UNTIL THE LORD REMOVED ISRAEL OUT OF HIS SIGHT, AS HE HAD SAID BY ALL HIS SERVANTS THE PROPHETS. SO WAS ISRAEL CARRIED AWAY OUT OF THEIR OWN LAND TO ASSYRIA UNTO THIS DAY [2-Kings 17:23] . The person in question wanted to claim that since it says, UNTO THIS DAY concerning the Tribes being in Assyria then they must still be in that region until now! This sounds silly but it is an example of the type of reasoning we have often to deal with. UNTO THIS DAY means everywhere until the time the passage was written, and not afterwards. We can all make mistakes. The Bible is saying that the stones could be seen in the waters of the Jordan River at the time The Book of Joshua was written. Even so, the said stones may well still be somewhere in or near the Jordan waiting to be discovered.
[Joshua 4:10] FOR THE PRIESTS WHICH BARE THE ARK STOOD IN THE MIDST OF JORDAN, UNTIL EVERYTHING WAS FINISHED THAT THE LORD COMMANDED JOSHUA TO SPEAK UNTO THE PEOPLE, ACCORDING TO ALL THAT MOSES COMMANDED JOSHUA: AND THE PEOPLE HASTED AND PASSED OVER.
[Joshua 4:11] AND IT CAME TO PASS, WHEN ALL THE PEOPLE WERE CLEAN PASSED OVER, THAT THE ARK OF THE LORD PASSED OVER, AND THE PRIESTS, IN THE PRESENCE OF THE PEOPLE.
[Joshua 4:12] AND THE CHILDREN OF REUBEN, AND THE CHILDREN OF GAD, AND HALF THE TRIBE OF MANASSEH, PASSED OVER ARMED BEFORE THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, AS MOSES SPAKE UNTO THEM:
[Joshua 4:13] ABOUT FORTY THOUSAND PREPARED FOR WAR PASSED OVER BEFORE THE LORD UNTO BATTLE, TO THE PLAINS OF JERICHO.
Most of Reuben, Gad, and half-Manasseh remained on the east side of the Jordan in regions of present day Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. These regions had already been conquered as described in the Book of Numbers. 40,000 select warriors from Reuben, Gad, and half-Manasseh passed over the Jordan to assist the other tribes in conquering the Land of Canaan west of the Jordan River.
[Joshua 4:14] ON THAT DAY THE LORD MAGNIFIED JOSHUA IN THE SIGHT OF ALL ISRAEL; AND THEY FEARED HIM, AS THEY FEARED MOSES, ALL THE DAYS OF HIS LIFE.
[Joshua 4:15] AND THE LORD SPAKE UNTO JOSHUA, SAYING,
[Joshua 4:16] COMMAND THE PRIESTS THAT BEAR THE ARK OF THE TESTIMONY, THAT THEY COME UP OUT OF JORDAN.
[Joshua 4:17] JOSHUA THEREFORE COMMANDED THE PRIESTS, SAYING, COME YE UP OUT OF JORDAN.
[Joshua 4:18] AND IT CAME TO PASS, WHEN THE PRIESTS THAT BARE THE ARK OF THE COVENANT OF THE LORD WERE COME UP OUT OF THE MIDST OF JORDAN, AND THE SOLES OF THE PRIESTS' FEET WERE LIFTED UP UNTO THE DRY LAND, THAT THE WATERS OF JORDAN RETURNED UNTO THEIR PLACE, AND FLOWED OVER ALL HIS BANKS, AS THEY DID BEFORE.
[Joshua 4:19] AND THE PEOPLE CAME UP OUT OF JORDAN ON THE TENTH DAY OF THE FIRST MONTH, AND ENCAMPED IN GILGAL, IN THE EAST BORDER OF JERICHO.
THE FIRST MONTH: i.e. the month of Nisan.
[Joshua 4:20] AND THOSE TWELVE STONES, WHICH THEY TOOK OUT OF JORDAN, DID JOSHUA PITCH IN GILGAL.
[Joshua 4:21] AND HE SPAKE UNTO THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, SAYING, WHEN YOUR CHILDREN SHALL ASK THEIR FATHERS IN TIME TO COME, SAYING, WHAT MEAN THESE STONES?
WHAT MEAN THESE STONES?: Notice again the potential importance of archaeological finds when properly understood and correctly interpreted according to Biblical tradition.
[Joshua 4:22] THEN YE SHALL LET YOUR CHILDREN KNOW, SAYING, ISRAEL CAME OVER THIS JORDAN ON DRY LAND.
From this you can see that archaeological and historical facts can be used to affirm the Biblical account and strengthen belief and fear of God.
[Joshua 4:23] FOR THE LORD YOUR GOD DRIED UP THE WATERS OF JORDAN FROM BEFORE YOU, UNTIL YE WERE PASSED OVER, AS THE LORD YOUR GOD DID TO THE RED SEA, WHICH HE DRIED UP FROM BEFORE US, UNTIL WE WERE GONE OVER:
[Joshua 4:24] THAT ALL THE PEOPLE OF THE EARTH MIGHT KNOW THE HAND OF THE LORD, THAT IT IS MIGHTY: THAT YE MIGHT FEAR THE LORD YOUR GOD FOR EVER.
YE MIGHT FEAR THE LORD YOUR GOD FOR EVER: It is important to fear God. We sometimes get carried away and forget whom we are responsible for and who we are responsible to and before WHOM we will have to give an accounting. We should also remember those moments when God has helped us and made HIS presence felt to us and to all of Israel.
The following article does not necessarily reflect our own opinion but it does show how the archaeological record can be interpreted to support the Bible or misinterpreted as being against it.
Jericho, by Immanuel Velikovsky
Jericho was the first city west of the Jordan to be conquered by the Israelites under Joshua. It was surrounded by a huge wall that was wide enough to have houses built on it. Joshua sent spies into the city, and Rahab, the harlot let them down by a cord through the window: for her house was upon the town wall. About forty thousand prepared for war passed over before the Lord unto battle, to the plains of Jericho. Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in. After a few days of siege, the earth groaned loudly - the Israelites thought in answer to their invocation and their blowing the horns, and the wall fell down flat. The conquerors entered the defenseless city and utterly destroyed all that was in the city (Joshua 2:3; 4:13; 6:1; 6:20-21).
Joshua proclaimed a curse upon anyone who would rebuild Jericho: He shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it (6:26). Next the Israelites went against Ai.
Jerichos fortress wall was famous, for it was huge and impenetrable, and only thanks to a violent earthshock did the besiegers obtain entrance. This wall became even more famous after it fell, because the story of it is one of the best-known episodes of Biblical ancient history.
For about five centuries no attempt was made to rebuild the city accursed by Joshua. In the ninth century, in the days of Ahab, king of Samaria, a certain Hiel the Bethelite built Jericho: he laid the foundation thereof in Abiram his first-born, and setup the gates thereof in his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Joshua the son of Nun(I Kings 16:34).
This short record contained in a single verse tells not a little. In order to mollify the Deity and overcome the curse, this private man sacrificed two of his own sons. The ardor of Hiel, unsupported by the king of Israel, did not result in a true resurrection of the doomed city. For some time in the closing days of Ahab, a little band of prophets had its seat there, as we learn from II Kings 2:15. Near Jericho or its mound, Zedekiah, the last king on the throne of David, was seized by the pursuing Chaldeans, in -586. Eight centuries after Hiel, in the last pre-Christian century, Herod the Great built his winter palace and a Roman theater close to the site.
It was the Jericho that succumbed in the most dramatic circumstances, its great wall tumbling down, that beckoned archaeologists from the very first. A mound, visible from afar, covered the ancient city and its wall; an Arab village grew up nearby because of the clean springs that stream past the mound toward the Jordan and the Dead Sea, both in walking distance of a few hours: a fortified city that fell in a very definite moment of history is a desideratum and a prize that are matchlessand archaeological fervor sensed that here great discoveries awaited the diggers. But it was not until 1907 that E. Sellin and C. Watzinger, German archaeologists, after having obtained the necessary firman from the Turkish Government, lifted earth from a portion of the mound. The great wall was found and no archaeologist could possibly have missed it.
The excavation of this city brought to light three consecutive levels of occupation called by the excavators the blue, the red, and the green.(1) The blue was ascribed to the Canaanite period, the red to the Israelite period, and the green to the Judean period. But in the redlevel many scarabs of the Middle Kingdom were found, as well as pot handles impressed with seals of the same time. It was decided that all of them had been used as unintelligible amulets many hundreds of years after they were made.
However, thirteen years after the publication of the report of the excavations, one of the two excavators published a repudiation of their conclusions.(2) He put the city of the blue-level in the third millennium, and the city of the red level, on the basis of its scarabs, he ascribed to the Middle Kingdom, a change of eight or nine hundred years. This red city had a tremendous wall and a palace that came to an end in a violent destruction. The green city was assigned to the ninth century, as the work of Hiel the Israelite.
As a result of this new assignment, in the time of Joshua Jericho was but a heap of ruins on which, perchance, a few single hovels stood.(3)
This means that the Israelites under Joshua did not find a city on the site of Jericho; the city walls could not have crumbled during the siege by the Israelites if they were already in ruins at the end of the Middle Kingdom.
The Turkish rule in Palestine ceased before the end of World War I and was followed by British occupation and mandate. John Garstang undertook new excavations at Jericho. He saw traces of intense fire. Houses alongside the wall are found burned to the ground, their roofs have fallen upon the domestic pottery within.(4) Palace storerooms were burnt in a general conflagration.White ash was overlaid by a thick layer of charcoal and burnt debris. (5)
The consecutive settlements from the lowest level up were called by the letters of the alphabet. One city was destroyed at the end of the Middle Kingdom or at the beginning of the time of the Hyksos. The invasion of the Israelites was synchronized with the end of City D, sometime in the days of Amenhotep III: a few scarabs of this king were found in the cemetery, and the excavator reasoned that the city must have fallen during the kings reign. This theory was inspired by another theory which identified the Habiru of the el-Amarna letters with the Israelites.
Finally, after World War II, Jericho being now a part of the Jordan kingdom, Miss Kathleen Kenyon undertook the decisive work of clarifying Jerichos history from the Neolithic age on. In several painstaking campaigns she lifted one veil after another from the city of legend and history. She was not led by any theory about the time of the Exodus, neither by that of Garstang who claimed Exodus in the days of Amenhotep II and Conquest in the days of Amenhotep III of the eighteenth dynasty (Habiru theory), nor by that of Albright that the Exodus took place in the days of Ramses II and the Conquest in the days of Merneptah (Israel Stele), both of the nineteenth dynasty, except that in agreement with all schemes of accepted chronology she expected to find the Old Testament confirmed and the great walls of Jericho dating from some time of the Late Bronze: The New Kingdom in Egypt, to which both the eighteenth and the nineteenth dynasties belonged. Whether the Exodus took place in the days of Amenhotep III and of the el-Amarna letters, or in the days of Ramses II or Merneptah and the Israel stele, the Conquest must have fallen into the Late Bronze or the New Kingdom in Egypt. Miss Kenyon revised Garstangs estimates.
There was found a Jericho of the days of the Early Bronze the Old Kingdom in Egypt. Its defenses were destroyed, and immediately and in great haste the people of Jericho built again, but their hastily-erected wall was destroyed by fire before having been completed. As to the causes of these destructions, Miss Kenyon expresses herself this way: Earthquakes undoubtedly played their part. Owing to the cataclysmic terrestrial upheavals which resulted in the formation of this great cleft, the Jordan Valley is peculiarly liable to earthquakes.(6)
In the time of the Middle Kingdom, Jericho was at its apogee as a city and fortress. ...the Middle Bronze Age is perhaps the most prosperous in the whole history of Palestine.(7) The defenses ... belong to a fairly advanced date in that period.(8) There was a massive stone revetment... part of a complex system of defenses.(9) The final buildings [of the Middle Bronze Age city] were violently destroyed and left in ruins with all their contents.(10) Fire was one of the agents of destruction. Over most of the area ... excavated on the west side of the mound, the thick layer of burning above the Middle Bronze Age buildings is the highest surviving layer.(11)
After the great fortress, its palace and its walls ruined and burned, there was no Jericho again. The near-absence of Late Bronze remains is explained by an extraordinary amount of weathering on the site. The houses of Late Bronze Age Jericho have therefore almost entirely disappeared.(12) Only in one small area were foundations of Late Bronze Age houses discovered. When Garstang excavated the site, he found also traces of the several houses which sprang up independently of the fortifications upon the ruins of the city at its northern end.(13) The time of this settlement was near the end of the eighteenth dynasty in Egypt, the days of Amenhotep III or Amenhotep IV (Akhnaton).
But of any fortifications that the Late Bronze Age settlement might have had, no trace survives. Garstang thought to have found them in the excavations that he conducted on the site between 1930 and 1936; but the double line of wall, thought by Garstang to be of the Late Bronze age, or New Kingdom in Egypt, was proved to date from the Early Bronze, contemporary with the Old Kingdom in Egypt. Garstangs conclusion of a sizable fortress in the days of Amenhotep III was shown to be wrong. Very few traces were found above the destruction level of the Middle Bronze Age city, which, in accordance with the statement cited above, is the highest surviving layer.
It is a sad fact, wrote Miss Kenyon, that of the town walls of the Late Bronze Age, within which period the attack by the Israelites must fall by any dating, not a trace remains. . . . As concerns the date of the destruction of Jericho by the Israelites, all that can be said is that the latest Bronze Age occupation should, in my view, be dated to the third quarter of the fourteenth century B.C. This is a date which suits neither the school of scholars which would date the entry of the Israelites into Palestine to c. 1400 B.C. nor the school which prefers a date of c. 1260 B.C.(14)
We carefully followed this trend of thought and we see that, under the great walls of Jericho, the theories of Conquest in the days of Habiru (El-Amarna) and the Conquest in the days of Merneptah (Israel Stele) are equally well-buried.
In Conclusions to her Digging up Jericho, Kathleen Kenyon wrote with a sigh:
At just that stage when archaeology should have linked with the written record, archaeology fails us. This is regrettable. There is no question of the archaeology being needed to prove that the Bible is true but it is needed as a help in interpretation to those older parts of the Old Testament which from the nature of their sources . . . cannot be read as a straight-forward record.
And what a pity it is. When Joshua wished to lead the Children of Israel into the Promised Land, he said to his spies go view the land and Jericho, because Jericho was the entrance into central Palestine.(15)
A tragic note is heard in Kenyons report. She intended to discover the truthfulness of the written record. Some other scholars did not share Kenyons regret. Professor Martin Noth pointed to the Jericho discrepancy as the best and most decisive proof of the unreliable character of the historical parts of the Old Testament. It became a major issue for Old
Testament studies. When Professor Wright of Harvard expressed himself as trusting the historical truth of Old Testament records, he was accosted by Professor Finkelstein of Los Angeles University with reference to the walls of Jericho that were in ruins long before the Israelites reached them.(16)
The conclusion reached by the excavator of the great-walled Jerichoa Middle Bronze city, destroyed only a short time after the end of the Middle Kingdomis in perfect agreement with the time table of Ages in Chaos: the Israelites arrived at the walls of Jericho only a single generation after the end of the Middle Kingdom in Egypt, still in the Middle Bronze (the beginning of the Hyksos occupation). There is complete agreement between the archaeological finds and the scriptural record.(17)
In the days of Ahab, Hiel, his subject, built on the ruins of Jericho. No wonder that the few buildings that were erected at that time and the few tombs that were used, date from the time of Amenhotep III and IV (Akhnaton). Hiels building activity in Jericho falls in their time because they were contemporaries of Ahab. Over sixty-five of Ahabs letters addressed to these pharaohs are in the el-Amama collection, found in the short-lived capital of Akhnaton.
The stumbling block is really a foundation stone; the great walls of Jericho fell suddenly when the Israelites under Joshua, after crossing the Jordan, were closing in on the city; and the temporary reoccupation almost six hundred years later is, once more, a case of a complete agreement between archaeology and the written record; it verifies the present reconstruction and is verified by it.
E. Sellin and C. Watzinger, Jericho, Die Eigebnisse del Ausgrabungen
C. Watzinger, Zur Chronologie der Schichten von Jericho,Zeitschrift der
Deutschen Morgenl¤ischen Gesellschaft, LXXX (1926), 131-36.
John Garstang, The Foundations of Bible History (1931), p. 146.
J. Garstang and J.B.E. Garstang, The Story of Jericho (1940), p. 104.
Kathleen Kenyon, Digging Up Jericho (London, 1957), pp. 175-176.
John Garstang, The Foundations of Bible History, Joshua, Judges, (New York,
1931), p. 146.
K. Kenyon, op. cit., pp. 261-262.
G. Ernest Wright, Is Gluecks Aim to Prove that the Bible is True?, The Biblical Archaeologist Reader, (Anchor Books, 1961).
[The archeology agrees with the Biblical account even in minor details. Miss Kenyon reports of the last Middle Bronze Age city (MB II) that very little metal was found(Digging Up Jericho, p.232.). This is consistent with Joshua 6:24: And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord. On the archeological anomalies of Jericho see also John J. Bimson, The Conquest of Canaan and the Revised Chronology, S.I.S. Review I, 3 (Summer 1976), pp. 2ff, and G. Gammon, The Walls of Jericho,Ibid., pp. 4-5.]