Hebrews – Chapter Eleven L

by Ed Urzi

The next stop on our tour through the Hebrews chapter eleven “Faith Hall Of Fame” takes us to another notable event- the fall of Jericho…

“By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days” (Hebrews 11:30).

Many have undoubtedly heard the account of Jericho’s demise after the people of Israel followed God’s directive to march around the city for seven days. While the record of Jericho’s fall may be familiar, there are some important things we can learn about faith when we stop to examine what took place there.

For example, the account of Jericho’s downfall began long before the Israelites ever reached the city…

“After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: ‘Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them– to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses'” (Joshua 1:1 NIV).

The person God chose to replace Moses was a man named Joshua, Moses’ former assistant (Numbers 27:15-23). Following Moses’ death, the Lord spoke to Joshua saying, “I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses” (Joshua 1:3 NIV). Since Jericho was the first city Israel encountered after they entered the Promised Land, it thus represented Joshua’s first opportunity to act upon God’s promise by faith. That brings us to our first observation from this passage: the leaders changed, but their faith in God remained the same.

Although Jericho was a residential community, it seems as if it was built more like a high-security military installation than a city. From what we know of the city today, it appears that Jericho was more than a quarter-mile wide in diameter (about .50 km). It was also built on an elevated location -a definite advantage against those who might seek to conquer the city.

It also appears that there were three different walls that surrounded the city to protect it from intruders. The first wall circled the exterior border and was 15 feet (5 m) high, and six feet (2 m) thick. Behind this perimeter wall was a second wall that was 25 feet (8 m) high, and six feet (2 m) thick. Finally, a third 25-foot (8 m) tall, six-foot (2 m) thick wall was situated behind the outer walls. These features combined to make Jericho extremely difficult to invade.

It’s also clear that Joshua and his army were dealing with a city that was filled with people who were highly motivated to keep them out. We’ll see why next.