Ancient Sources

The Jordan Valley

12. Jericho - (Ariha)


Iericho urbs quam Iordane transgresso subvertit Iesus rege illius interfecto, pro qua extruxit aliam Ozam de Bethel ex tribus Efraim, quam dominus noster atque salvator sua praesentia illustrare dignatus est. Sed et haec eo tempore quo Ierusalem oppugnabatur a Romanis propter perfidiam civium capta atque destructa est. Pro qua tertia aedificata est civitas, quae hodieque permanet. Et ostenduntur utriusque urbis vestigia usque in praesentem diem.
(Jerome 105:20-26)


Eusebius, Onomasticon 104:25-31 (ca. 295 A.D.); Jerome 105:20-26 (ca. 390 A.D.)
Jericho, a city which Joshua razed to the ground (Jos 6:1-27) and whose king he killed, after he crossed the Jordan. In its stead Asa from Bethel of the tribe of Ephraim built another one (1 Kings 16:34), which our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ honoured with his presence, but this too was conquered and destroyed by the Romans during the siege of Jerusalem because of the treachery of its citizens. A third city was built in its stead, the one existing today, and traces of the two earlier cities remain to this very day.


Josh 6 The conquest of Jericho
Now Jericho was shut up inside and out because of the Israelites; no one came out and no one went in. The Lord said to Joshua, "See, I have handed Jericho over to you, along with its king and soldiers. You shall march around the city, all the warriors circling the city once. Thus you shall do for six days, with seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, the priests blowing the trumpets. When they make a long blast with the ram's horn, as soon as 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 all the people shall charge straight ahead." So Joshua son of Nun summoned the priests and said to them, "Take up the ark of the covenant, and have seven priests carry seven trumpets of rams' horns in front of the ark of the Lord." To the people he said, "Go forward and march around the city; have the armed men pass on before the ark of the Lord."
As Joshua had commanded the people, the seven priests carrying the seven trumpets of rams' horns before the Lord went forward, blowing the trumpets, with the ark of the covenant of the Lord following them. And the armed men went before the priests who blew the trumpets; the rear guard came after the ark, while the trumpets blew continually. To the people Joshua gave this command: "You shall not shout or let your voice be heard, nor shall you utter a word, until the day I tell you to shout. Then you shall shout." So the ark of the Lord went around the city, circling it once; and they came into the camp, and spent the night in the camp.
Then Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the Lord. The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the Lord passed on, blowing the trumpets continually. The armed men went before them, and the rear guard came after the ark of the Lord, while the trumpets blew continually. On the second day they marched around the city once and then returned to the camp. They did this for six days.
On the seventh day they rose early, at dawn, 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. 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. The city and all that is in it shall be devoted to the Lord for destruction. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall live because she hid the messengers we sent. As for you, keep away from the things devoted to destruction, so as not to covet and take any of the devoted things and make the camp of Israel an object for destruction, bringing trouble upon it. But all silver and gold, and vessels of bronze and iron, are sacred to the Lord; they shall go into the treasury of the Lord." So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpets, they raised a great shout, and the wall fell down flat; so the people charged straight ahead into the city and captured it. Then they devoted to destruction by the edge of the sword all in the city, both men and women, young and old, oxen, sheep, and donkeys.
Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, "Go into the prostitute's house, and bring the woman out of it and all who belong to her, as you swore to her." So the young men who had been spies went in and brought Rahab out, along with her father, her mother, her brothers, and all who belonged to her - they brought all her kindred out - and set them outside the camp of Israel. They burned down the city, and everything in it; only the silver and gold, and the vessels of bronze and iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord. But Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, Joshua spared. Her family has lived in Israel ever since. For she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho. Joshua then pronounced this oath, saying, "Cursed before the Lord be anyone who tries to build this city - this Jericho! At the cost of his firstborn he shall lay its foundation, and at the cost of his youngest he shall set up its gates!" So the Lord was with Joshua; and his fame was in all the land.

1Kings 16:34
Hiel of Bethel re-builds Jericho
In his [Ahab's] days Hiel of Bethel built Jericho; he laid its foundation at the cost of Abiram his firstborn, and set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the Lord, which he spoke by Joshua son of Nun.

Matth. 20:29-34 The healing of the two blind men of Jericho
As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. There were two blind men sitting by the roadside. When they heard that Jesus was passing by, they shouted, "Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!" The crowd sternly ordered them to be quiet; but they shouted even more loudly, "Have mercy on us, Lord, Son of David!" Jesus stood still and called them, saying, "What do you want me to do for you?" They said to him, "Lord, let our eyes be opened." Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they regained their sight and followed him.

Marc. 10:46-52
The healing of a blind man at Jericho
They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" Jesus stood still and said, "Call him here." And they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take heart; get up, he is calling you." So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, "What do you want me to do for you?" The blind man said to him, "My teacher, let me see again." Jesus said to him, "Go; your faith has made you well." Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.

Luk. 19:1-10 Jesus visits Zacchaeus' house.
He entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. 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." So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, "He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner." Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, "Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much." Then Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost."


Josephus, War 1.33.6-8 (1st cent. A.D.)
(659) He then returned back and came to Jericho, in such a melancholy state of body as almost threatened him with present death, when he proceeded to attempt a horrid wickedness; for he got together the most illustrious men of the whole Jewish nation, out of every village, into a place called Hippodrome, and there shut them in. (660) He then called for his sister Salome, and her husband Alexas, and made this speech to them:-"I know well enough that the Jews will keep a festival upon my death; however, it is in my power to be mourned for on other accounts, and to have a splendid funeral, if you will but be subservient to my commands. Do you but take care to send soldiers to encompass these men that are now in custody, and slay them immediately upon my death, and then all Judea, and every family of them, will weep at it whether they will or no."

(661) These were the commands he gave them: when there came letters from his ambassadors at Rome, whereby information was given that Acme was put to death at Caesar's command, and that Antipater was condemned to die; however, they wrote withal, that if Herod had a mind rather to banish him, Caesar permitted him so to do. (662) So he for a little while revived, and had a desire to live; but presently after he was overborne by his pains and was disordered by want of food, and by a convulsive cough, and endeavored to prevent a natural death; so he took an apple and asked for a knife, for he used to pare apples and eat them; he then looked round about to see that there was nobody to hinder him, and lifted up his right hand as if he would stab himself; but Achiabus, his first cousin, came running to him, and held his hand, and hindered him from so doing; (663) on which occasion a very great lamentation was made in the palace as if the king were expiring. As soon as ever Antipater heard that, he took courage, and with joy in his looks, besought his keepers, for a sum of money, to loose him and let him go; but the principal keeper of the prison did not only obstruct him in that his intention, but ran and told the king what his designs were; (664) hereupon the king cried out louder than his distemper would well bear, and immediately sent some of his guards and slew Antipater; he also gave order to have him buried at Hyrcanium, and altered his testament again,-and therein made Archelaus, his eldest son, and the brother of Antipas, his successor; and made Antipas tetrarch.

(665) So Herod, having survived the slaughter of his son five days, died, having reigned thirty-four years, since he had caused Antigonous to be slain, and obtained his kingdom; but thirty-seven years since he had been made king by the Romans. Now, as for his fortune, it was prosperous in all other respects, if ever any other man could be so; since, from a private man, he obtained the kingdom, and kept it so long, and left it to his own sons; but still in his domestic affairs, he was a most unfortunate man.

Itinerarium Burdigalense 596
(333 A.D.)
Eighteen miles from Jerusalem is Jericho. Coming from the mountain range you reach a tomb on the right, and behind it is the sycamore tree which Zacchaeus climbed in order that he could see Christ. A mile and a half from the city is the spring of the prophet Elisha; at one time any woman who drank from it would never have children. Then Elisha brougth a cruse with salt in it, and came and stood over the spring, saying "Thus saith the Lord, be hath cleansed these waters." Now if a woman drinks from it she will have children. And above the spring is the house of Rahab the harlot, which is the house where the spies came and she hid them at the time when Jericho was overthrown, and she was the only one to escape. That was where the city of Jericho used to stand at the time when the children of Israel marched round it with the ark of the covenant, and the walls fell down.
From this point you have a view of the very place where the twelve stones shich they brought up out of the Jordan. It is also the place where Joshua the Son of Nun circumcised the children of Israel and buried their foreskins.

Hieronymus, Ep.108 (Peregrinatio Paulae)12 (385 A.D.)
She went directly down to Jericho, recalling the Gospel account of the man who was wounded. The priests and the levites cruelly passed him by, but the Samaritan ("the Guardian") in his mercy took the man, at the point of death, and set him on his beast, and carried him away to the inn, the Church. And she considered the place called Adummim (meaning "of blood") because robbers make so many attacks there and so much blood is shed: and the sycamore tree of Zacchaeus, signifying good works after repentance, because by this means he surmounted the bloody sins of his part extortions, and from the height of virtue saw the High Lord: and the place beside the road where the blind men received their sight, foreshadowing the two peoples who were to believe in the Lord.
Entering Jericho she saw the city which Hiel founded at the cost of Abiram, his first-born, and built its gate over Segub, his youngest son. She looked at the camp at Gilgal, and the Heap of Foreskins, mystery of the second circumcision; and at the Twelve Stones carried there from the bed of the River Jordan to strengthen the foundation of the Twelve Apostles: and at the Spring of the Law, formerly so bitter and barren, which in his wisdom the true Elisha made sweet and pure, and a source of abundance.
Night was hardly over when, with burning devotion, she reached the Jordan. As she stood on the river-bank she saw the sun rise, and remembered the Sun of Righteousness; and how the priests went dry-shod across the river-bed; and how the waters made way, and stood to right and left at the command of Elijah and Elisha; and how by his Baptism, the Lord cleansed the waters which had been fouled by the flood, and stained by the extermination of the human race.

    Anonymus Placentinus, Itinerarium 13 (ca. 570 A.D.)
    It is a six miles journey from the Jordan to Jericho, and when you see Jericho it is a paradise. Its walls are down, but the area of the city is full of remarkable things. The House of Rahab is there, which is now a guest-house and the bedroom where she hid the spies is a Chapel of St. Mary.


Georgius Cyprius 997-1027 (7th cent. A.D.)
Province of Palaestina Prima: Aelia-Jerusalem, Caesarea, Dora, Antipatris, Diospolis wich is also Georgiopolis, Iamnia, Nicopolis, Ono, Sozousa, Ioppe, Ascalon, Gaza, Raphia, Anthedon, Diocletianopolis, Eleutheropolis, Neapolis, Sebaste, region of Amathous, region of Jericho, region of Livias, region of Gadara, Azotos Paralos, Azotos, Sycomazon, Bitylion, Tricomias, Toxos, Canstantiniac Salton, Geraritic Salton wich is also Barsamon.


Bishops' list
Ianuarius (A.D. 325)
Macer (A.D. 381)
Eleutherius (A.D. 415)
John (A.D. 518)
Gregory (A.D. 536)
Basil of Tiberias, administrator (VIII cent. A.D.)


Tabula Peutingeriana

Map Section 2

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Created Saturday, December 16, 2000 at 11:52:02
by Eugenio Alliata ofm in collaboration with Stefano de Luca ofm
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copyright - Studium Biblicum Franciscanum - Jerusalem 2000