The Battle of Jericho and Joshua, Yesterday and Today

As the story goes, land that other people with their families lived on was promised to Abraham supposedly by God. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say it was promised to Abraham by a god, since according to Priestly tradition in Biblical scholarship Yahweh, who Biblically is truly God, is first known by Moses 500 years after Abraham. Abraham then could not have known Yahweh. However, in the Yahwist tradition of Biblical scholarship Yahweh is known before His revelation to Moses at the “burning bush.” But, He is known as one of many gods. Abraham, whether in the Yahwist tradition or the Priestly tradition, was not a believer in monotheism. He was a believer in monolatry, a worshiper of one of many gods.

Terah, Abraham’s father, took him and his family out of their native land, Ur, modern day Iraq, for unknown reasons and moved them to Harran, modern day Turkey. The Biblical story says that God promised Abraham Canaan when he was in Harran.

The promise was passed on by word of mouth to Abraham’s son Isaac. Isaac had two sons, Esau and Jacob, and the promise was passed on to Jacob. It was in Jacob’s time that a severe famine hit the region and forced them to move to Egypt. They didn’t leave Egypt for over 400 years. Then they wandered in the wilderness for another 40 years.

The conquest of Canaan under Joshua was the first time that Abraham’s descendants started to take the land for themselves by violence.

The Priestly tradition of the Genesis story says that by the promise of some god, not Yahweh, the land belonged to Abraham before the Jews went to Egypt on account of a famine for 400 hundred years. But Abraham did not exert any violent claim on the land itself. In fact Abraham’s way of participating in the promise and bringing it about was to buy with the consent of the owner and pay full value for the cave of Machpelah in Hebron as a family tomb. He made absolutely certain he purchased it for the full amount with which the owner would be content. Abraham didn’t fight any of the Canaanites or Philistines for property rights in Canaan.

Battle of Jericho, 1300 BC

Gaza, 2023 AD

The Battle of Jericho, as described in the Biblical Book of Joshuawas the first battle fought by the Israelites in the course of the conquest of Canaan, The Promised Land. Thus began the cruel, beastly, brutal, homicidal, and genocidal process that continues to this hour. According to the Book of Joshua, 6:1-27, the walls of Jericho fell after the Israelites simply marched around the city walls once a day for six days, seven times on the seventh day, with the priests blowing their horns (shofars) daily and the people shouting on the last day. When the trumpets sounded, Joshua’s army shouted, and when the men gave their loud shout, the walls collapsed and all the Jews charged in, and took the city by every form of violence they had available. They devoted the city to the Lord and then destroyed with the sword every living thing in it—men and women, young and old. They burned the whole city and everything in it; but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the Lord’s house” (Jos 6:20-24).

The Book of Joshua (Th... Marten H. Woudstra Best Price: $15.66 Buy New $33.95 (as of 02:37 UTC - Details) Excavations at Tell es-Sultan, the Biblical Jericho, have failed to find any traces of a city at the relevant time (end of the Bronze Age), which has led to a consensus among scholars that the Battle of Jericho was, as one Biblical scholar phrased it, “invented out of whole cloth” and has its origins in the nationalist propaganda of much later kings of Judah and their claims regarding the territory of the Kingdom of Israel.

But origin stories, myths, regardless of their historical truth, have power over people if they are hammered into children’s brains and reinforced in adults through liturgical memory generation after generation. The story of the Battle of Jericho as it has been passed down across the centuries until today has always included that in violently taking the land from the Canaanites, Yahweh Sabaoth, the Lord God of Host, order the Jews to commit genocide, killing of every man, woman and child in Jericho. No destruction of human beings was too much or too horrific where the violent taking and possessing of the so-called Promised Land was the goal.

Again, the strong consensus among scholars is that the Book of Joshua holds little historical value. Its origin lies in a time far removed from the times that it depicts, 13th Century BC, and its intention is primarily theological/political. The story of Jericho and the rest of the conquest represent the nationalist propaganda of the Kingdom of Judah and the validation of its claims to the territory of the Kingdom of Israel after 722 BC.  An early form of the Joshua narrative fabrication justifying the violent confiscation and destruction of the lives and property of people already living in the “Promised Land” was likely written late in the reign of King Josiah (reigned 640–609 BC). The book of Joshua was revised as need be and completed after the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians in 586 BC, and possibly after the return from the Babylonian Exile in 538 BC. This is approximately 800 years after this counterfeit God-supported historical event is proclaimed to have happened.

 Yet, to this hour The Battle of Jericho is a primal and major engine that drives Jews to mercilessly murder and maim Palestinian men, women and children in body, mind, soul and spirit and to think they are doing the will of God. So also has been the fanciful, God endorsed tale of Joshua been a driving force in the mayhem and devastation that the institutional Christian Churches, their leaders and members, have visited upon humanity since in the Fourth Century, when they chose to stop following the Way of Joshua of Nazareth and instead followed the way of Joshua of Jericho.