During this lesson it proved that God did have mercy and to read the Bible is to read it with understanding. God still showed mercy to his people no matter whst city or what town.
Prior to this, I would not have known that when it says “all” it is not saying men, women and children. If it meant that, it would have specified them. It does bring some peace to the perspective on Jericho because fighting and killing combatants versus kill all in the city, combatant or not, is much easier to accept. This is a good clarification to anyone who see God’s actions at Jericho as cruel.
It’s likely there were not much non combatants
This lecture has been an eye-opener. My preconceptions of these battles, which began with Jericho, bordered on genocide. I have always struggled with scripture saying that God commanded all people to be slain, where is the mercy?
In light of the knowledge of the Hebrew language which Dr. Hess expounded I can appreciate the evidence that these cities could have been military outposts. That they were not cities as we understand today and that they housed only a small number of non-combatants who were there working for the military.
Listening to the lecture, my thoughts turned to Hadrian’s Wall in the UK. This wall, stretching across northern Britain, built during the Roman occupation, connected many military fortifications of different sizes and, in a way, the biblical cities could be seen as something similar, albeit without a connecting wall. Maybe connecting roads?
It makes sense that Jericho was a fortress and not that large. Other excavation documentaries Jericho’s ruins point that out as well. Not everyone lived in the fortress and some likely fled when the Israelites attacked. Those that held up inside the fortress met their fate. I found it interesting regarding the Hebrew phrases as to what they meant when they were used to describe the inhabitants of a fortress like Jericho. I still have to wonder that there must have been “civilians” or commoners that held up inside the fortress as well. They would have met their fate by sword or fire since the city was burned.
Jericho was probably more like a fort with warriors. There would have been few noncombatants. Rahab and her family, who were noncombatants were saved.
There were very few noncombatants in the actual city of Jericho, which was most like a fort. Most noncombatants lived outside the actual city, but could go there in times of protection. Also, people who were travelling could stay within the city for safety and protection during their journey. Why was Rahab there? Well, mainly because what was being run there was an inn for travelers to stay in. Jericho was actually very small, it was not large and was mainly occupied by leaders, soldiers, and a king.
israelites obey god
the jericho is only about 2 acres in size and was primarily a fort and to collect taxes and protect and keep order in the area
There probably was few noncombatants. Even in todays world, the military units have support personnel, and this was probably true 3000 years ago also
It doesn’t matter to me if there were noncombatants at Jericho, if God asked for everyone therein to be killed, that is God’s prerogative decision… which I won’t contend against nor does it diminish my reverence and love for Yahweh. Dr. Hess’ persuasive arguments seems as using human intellect to futilely deciphers God’s thoughts and ways (
Looking back from over 3000 years later with little archaeological evidence, it’s hard to be dogmatic about who exactly lived in Jericho when Joshua and the Israelites began their conquest of Canaan. I find Dr. Hess’ argument for a smaller fortified settlement persuasive.