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A city in the Jordan Valley six miles north of the Dead Sea. Jericho first appears in the biblical record in connection with the Israelite conquest of Canaan. When two spies, who were saved from death in Jericho by Rahab (Josh 2), reported favorably, Joshua’s army crossed the river, aided by a miraculous division of its waters (Josh 3:14-17), and laid siege to Jericho. After its destruction by the Israelites Jericho lay unoccupied for about four centuries. It was uninhabited during the time of the prophets Elijah and Elisha, who were both active in the region (2Kgs 2:4). Jericho was rebuilt by Hiel of Bethel during the reign of Ahab (873–851 BCE). In the loss of his eldest and youngest sons (1Kgs 16:34) Hiel suffered the consequences predicted in the curse that Joshua laid on anyone who reestablished the city (Josh 6:26). Jericho figured in a minor way in the ministry of Jesus. At Jericho Jesus healed blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52), had his encounter with the tax collector Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-11), and told the parable of the pounds (Luke 19:12-28).

  • Powell, Mark Allan, ed. HarperCollins Bible Dictionary. Abridged Edition. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2009.