Fall of the Moon City -- By: David Livingston

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 03:2 (Spring 1990)
Article: Fall of the Moon City
Author: David Livingston


Fall of the Moon City

David Livingston

In our Premiere Issue of Archaeology and Biblical Research we published an article on Jericho by Dr. Bryant Wood. In the article Wood showed that there is ample archaeological evidence for a violent destruction o f Jericho at ca. 1400 BC (the Biblical date for its overthrow) contrary to what most present day scholars think. At that time we suggested it might be the most important article we would ever publish. Now that D r. Wood has produced a fuller version of that article in Biblical Archaeology Review (3–4/90), and it has received worldwide notice, it seems fitting for us to publish another article on Jericho from a different viewpoint.

During the conquest of Jericho, have you ever wondered why God told Joshua and Israel to do so many unusual things? Why march around six times? And why seven times on the last day? Why march in a certain order? Why keep quiet, then shout to make the walls fall down? And so on.

Various explanations have been offered. We have a new suggestion. We do not s ay it is the answer. But it may provoke some thought.

Jehovah Verses the Gods of Canaan

Our proposed explanation is this. Many of Israel’s actions were commanded by Jehovah as a travesty, a mockery of a ritual or

pageant known to the Canaanites living in Jericho. It possibly was related to the marriage festival of a “divine” king, or had some connection with an annual fertility festival. If so, it should have occurred at the turn of the year—in the spring, possibly April, just when the overthrow of Jericho took place.

The Bible is not a synthesis of other religions. It is in controversy with them. This was the battle of Jericho! And it was not just men fighting men. It was a spiritual battle. There was spiritual wickedness in heavenly places and the “Lord of Hosts” had come to be the Leader (Jos 5:14).

Divine Kingship and Religion

First, a little background. The kings of the ancient near east were tyrannical god-kings. (See the Winter 1990 issue of A&BR.) “A tyrant was roughly what we would call a dictator, a man who obtained sole power in the state… (He) is not necessarily a wicked ruler, but he is an autocrat…” (A. Andrewes, The Greek Tyrants, NY: Harper, p. 7).

In every place the sons of Ham went, “divine kingship” was established. In Mesopotamia, Cush (or Kish) was the founder; in Egypt, Mizraim. In Canaan, named for one of Ham’s sons, it follows that “divine” kings cont...

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