As a born-again Christian, I believe the Bible is more than just a collection of historical accounts and moral teachings. It is a living document that reveals God’s character and redemptive plan for humanity.
One of the ways the Bible communicates this message is through symbolism, where objects, people, and places represent deeper spiritual truths. Many cities have been mentioned in the Bible, and a city like Jericho holds great significance.
The stories of Jericho’s conquest and destruction and its later role in the New Testament provide essential lessons about the nature of faith and the rewards of obedience to God’s commands.
Today, I seek to explore the rich Symbolism of Jericho and its relevance to our spiritual lives today. So, what does Jericho symbolize in the Bible?
Jericho is mentioned severally in the Bible. Its story is cited as an inspiration for those facing obstacles, reminding them that they can overcome any obstacle with faith and obedience. Jericho usually symbolizes the power of faith, compliance, and God’s faithfulness (Joshua 6:1-21).
I invite you to join me as I give an in-depth analysis of Jericho in the Bible. I will look at the significance of Jericho in the Bible, its meaning, and Symbolism.
I will also analyze the spiritual meaning of Jericho and the lessons we learn from the fall of the walls of Jericho in the Bible. Keep reading to learn more.
What is the significance of Jericho in the Bible?
Jericho is an ancient city located near the River Jordan in the West Bank of Palestine. It is mentioned numerous times in the Bible, and its significance in the biblical narrative is multi-layered. Below are some significances:
It was the first city the Israelites conquered after entering the Promised Land: In the book of Numbers 22:1 and Joshua 5:13, Jericho is described as the first city the Israelites conquered after crossing the Jordan River.
Numbers 22:1 says, “Then the people of Israel set out and camped in the plains of Moab beyond the Jordan at Jericho.”
Joshua 5:13 reads, “When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?””
This conquest was an important event in the history of the Israelites, as it marked the beginning of their mastery of the Promised Land.
Jericho was a place where God demonstrated his power. According to the Bible, the conquest of Jericho was a miraculous event where God caused the city’s walls to collapse after the Israelites marched around the city for seven days, blowing trumpets and shouting.
This event demonstrated God’s power and faithfulness to the Israelites and strengthened their faith in Him. Joshua 6:20 says, “So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.”
In Judges 3:13, Jericho (city of palms) functioned as a regional outpost for Eglon, the King of Moab, who held Israel in servitude for 18 years.
Additionally, King David instructed his mistreated delegates to stay in Jericho until their beards grew back in 1 Chronicle 19:5. Jericho also seems to have been the location of a “school of the prophets,” according to 2 Kings 2:4–18.
Jericho’s importance was significantly impacted by its position. The city was located in the lower Jordan Valley, ten miles northwest of the Dead Sea and immediately west of the Jordan River.
It was found in the most expansive area of the Jordan Plain, approximately 3,500 feet below Jerusalem, only 17 miles away. Jesus’ statement that the good Samaritan went down from Jerusalem to Jericho in His parable is supported by this geographic information.
Jericho was a place where people encountered Jesus and experienced healing. Mark 10:46-52 According to the Bible, a blind man named Bartimaeus was sitting by the roadside beseeching as Jesus and his disciples, along with a sizable crowd, were leaving the city of Jericho.
He started to call Jesus and begged him to have mercy when he realized it was Jesus of Nazareth. The city also played other vital roles. For Example, Elisha’s miraculous purification of spring happened in Jericho ( 2 Kings 2:1-23).
A group of prisoners at Jericho were spared during the rule of King Ahaz and provided with clothing, food, and care.
2 Chronicles 28:15 says, “And the men who have been mentioned by name rose and took the captives, and with the spoil they clothed all who were naked among them. They clothed them, gave them sandals, provided them with food and drink, and anointed them, and carrying all the feeble among them on donkeys, they brought them to their kinsfolk at Jericho, the city of palm trees. Then they returned to Samaria.”
Lastly, King Zedekiah’s capture after eluding the Chaldean army is the last time events in Jericho are mentioned in the Old Testament.
Jeremiah 39:5 notes, “But the army of the Chaldeans pursued them and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. And when they had taken him, they brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, at Riblah, in the land of Hamath; and he passed sentence on him.”
Meaning of Jericho in the Bible
The meaning of Jericho in the Bible is uncertain, and scholars have proposed different etymologies, such as: Fragrant” or “Place of Fragrance“: Some scholars believe that the name Jericho comes from the Hebrew word “reach,” which means “moon.”
They suggest that the city was named after the fragrance of the balsam plant, which blooms under the moon’s light, and that the name means “Place of Fragrance.”
City of the Moon“: Another interpretation is that the name Jericho comes from the Hebrew word “search,” which means “month.”
In this case, the name would mean “The City of the Moon,” possibly referring to the city’s location on a hill that resembled a crescent moon.
What does Jericho symbolize in the Bible?
Jericho has several symbolic meanings in the Bible. Here are some of them:
The Power of God: The conquest of Jericho is a powerful symbol of God’s strength and power. The Israelites could overcome the seemingly impenetrable walls of the city only because God intervened and caused the walls to crumble. This event demonstrated God’s power.
Joshua 6:20 reads, “So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.”
The Importance of Faith: The story of Jericho symbolizes the importance of faith in God because the Israelites were instructed to march around the city for seven days, blowing trumpets and shouting, without any weapons or military strategy.
All these actions tested their faith in God, and their obedience and trust in Him were rewarded with victory.
Hebrews 11:30 says, “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.”
Repentance and Salvation: In the New Testament, Jericho is the site of several events in the ministry of Jesus. For example, the healing of a blind man in Jericho is seen in Mark 10:46-52 and the conversion of a tax collector named Zacchaeus with Jesus.
Luke 19:1-9 states that Zacchaeus repented all his sins and pledged to repay those he had cheated. Jesus said that Zacchaeus’ home had experienced redemption.
These events symbolize the importance of repentance and salvation, and they show how Jesus came to save all people, regardless of their background or status.
The Promise of God’s Blessing: Jericho was located in the Promised Land, which God had promised to give to the Israelites. The conquest of Jericho symbolizes the fulfillment of God’s promise and the beginning of the Israelites’ possession of the land.
The city became a symbol of God’s blessings in store for His people if they remained faithful to Him. We are told this in Deuteronomy 34:1-4 when Moses could see the Promised Land from the top of Mount Nebo.
He could see Jericho and the surrounding area, the land God had promised to give to the Israelites. Additionally, in Joshua 6:16, Joshua commanded the Israelites to Shout for the Lord that had given them the city.
This verse demonstrates how the conquest of Jericho was the beginning of the fulfillment of God’s promise to provide the Promised Land to the Israelites.
Jericho was also seen as a symbol of perseverance: This is seen in the Bible through the Israelites’ persistence in following God’s instructions to conquer the city.
God had promised the Israelites that He would give them the land of Canaan as their inheritance, but they had to fight to possess it.
Jericho was the first city they encountered in their conquest of the ground, and it was a heavily fortified city with walls that seemed impenetrable.
Despite the seemingly impossible odds, the Israelites persevered in their obedience to God’s instructions.
What does the city of Jericho represent in the Bible?
In the Bible, the city of Jericho is mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testament, Jericho represents a place of conquest and victory.
Jericho was a city in the Promised Land of Canaan, which was conquered by the Israelites under the leadership of Joshua, as described in the book of Joshua 6:20, “So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.”
The city was known for its strong walls. Still, the Israelites could defeat it through God’s divine intervention. This is seen as God’s faithfulness to the Israelites and his power to deliver them from their enemies.
On the other hand, In the New Testament, Jericho is mainly mentioned in Jesus’ stories as a backdrop for several of Jesus’ teachings and miracles.
For example, Jesus healed a blind man Bartimaeus, as described in the Gospel of Mark 10:46-52. In Matthew 20:29, Jesus and his disciples left Jericho on their way to Jerusalem when He healed two blind men who called out to him for mercy: “And as they went out of Jericho, a great crowd followed him.”
This healing took place as Jesus passed through Jericho on his way to Jerusalem, and it is seen as a symbol of Jesus’ power to heal and restore sight to those who are spiritually blind.
Another example is in Luke 10:25, where Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan, in which a man is robbed and left for dead on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, only for the Samaritan to help him.
Spiritual meaning of Jericho in the Bible
Jericho is associated with a place of spiritual victory and breakthrough. The Israelites’ conquest of Jericho demonstrated God’s faithfulness to his people and his power to deliver them from their enemies.
Joshua 6: 20 reads, “So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.”
Through Jericho, Christians can trust in God’s promises to deliver them from their spiritual foes and grant them victory over sin and death. They can also overcome their spiritual obstacles through faith, prayer, and reliance on God’s power and grace.
Scholars also associated Jericho with a place of testing and temptation. In the story of the Good Samaritan, Jericho is the setting for a man who is robbed and left for dead on the road.
Luke 10:25 says, “And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?””
This story highlights the dangers and temptations of travel and living in a fallen world. Jericho, thus, is a place where we must remain vigilant and rely on God’s protection and guidance.
Jericho in the Bible is also portrayed as a place of spiritual growth and transformation. In the story of Zacchaeus, Luke 19:1-9, Jesus enters Jericho and has a meal with a tax collector despised by his fellow Jews.
Through this encounter, Zacchaeus repents his sins and promises to give half his possessions to the poor. This story demonstrates how God can work unexpectedly and transform the hearts of those who are open to his grace.
Why did Jericho fall?
According to the Old Testament account in the book of Joshua, Jericho fell because God commanded the Israelites to conquer the city and promised to give them victory over its inhabitants.
The story of the fall of Jericho is one of the most famous events in the Bible, and it is recounted in Joshua 6:1-27.
In the story, the Israelites, under the leadership of Joshua, had just crossed the Jordan River and were preparing to conquer the Promised Land.
The first city on their list was Jericho, a walled city with formidable defenses. God commanded Joshua to march around the city once a day for six days and, on the seventh day, to march around the city seven times.
After the seventh time around the city, the Israelites were instructed to blow their trumpets and shout, and the walls of the city would fall down.
The Israelites followed God’s instructions, and on the seventh day, the walls of Jericho did indeed fall down. The Israelites then captured the city and destroyed everything in it, sparing only Rahab, the prostitute, and her family, who had helped the Israelite spies.
However, some believers believe that the Wall of Jericho fell because of an earthquake.
The fall of Jericho was thus attributed to God’s power, grace, and intervention on behalf of the Israelites. The story emphasizes the importance of obedience to God’s commands and trust in his promises, as well as the power of faith to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
Lessons from the Fall of the Walls of Jericho
Obedience to God’s commands brings victory: The Israelites were victorious over Jericho because they obeyed God’s commands, even when those commands seemed strange and unusual.
Similarly, in our own lives, obedience to God’s commands and guidance can bring us victory over our own obstacles and challenges.
We should listen to hear God speaking to us. The fact that God spoke to Joshua is a radical aspect of this biblical story. Joshua was attentive and plainly heard from the Lord what to do because he took the time to listen to God and seek His guidance.
Christians today may learn a lot about the value of creating time and space for God to speak to them. We can hear from God and understand how the Spirit is leading our steps when we take the time to listen by reading Scripture, spending time in prayer, being still, worshiping, and journaling.
Faith in God’s promises is essential: The Israelites had faith that God would deliver them victory over Jericho, and this faith was essential to their success.
In our own lives, faith in God’s promises is essential to our spiritual growth and progress.
God’s power can overcome any obstacle: The walls of Jericho seemed to be an impassable barrier, but God’s power overcame them.
Similarly to this, we may encounter challenges in our own life that seem insurmountable, but if we put our trust in God, His might is able to get us through them.
God can work in unexpected ways: The Israelites’ victory over Jericho was achieved through a seemingly unconventional method of marching around the city and shouting.
This reminds us that God can work in unexpected ways in our own lives to bring about His plans and purposes.
God is faithful to His promises: God had promised the Israelites victory over Jericho, and He was faithful to that promise.
This teaches us that God is faithful to His promises and that we can trust Him to fulfill His plans and purposes for our lives.
Is modern-day Jericho the same place as Biblical Jericho?
Modern-day Jericho is located in the West Bank, which is part of the Palestinian Territories. It is believed to be located near the site of the ancient city of Jericho, which is mentioned in the Bible.
However, the exact location of the ancient city of Jericho is a matter of some debate among archaeologists and historians.
Some scholars believe that the ancient city was located in a different spot than the modern city, while others believe that the modern city occupies the same general area as the ancient city.
Despite this uncertainty, there is evidence of human habitation in the vicinity of modern-day Jericho dating back to ancient times, including the Neolithic period (8000-3000 BC).
There are also ruins of ancient structures and walls in the area that may be related to the biblical city of Jericho. In any case, whether or not modern-day Jericho is the exact same location as the biblical city of Jericho, the city’s historical and cultural significance cannot be denied.
It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, with a rich history that spans thousands of years.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.