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Jericho is one of the oldest cities in the world. At about 750 feet (229 m) below sea level, it is also one of the lowest cities in the world. Jericho receives only a few inches of rainfall each year, and yet it was an oasis for travellers because of its abundant supply of spring […]


Circumcision was widely practiced in the ancient Near East, though not by every people group. In Egypt, it was considered a rite of passage. For the people of Israel, however, it was a sign of the nation’s covenant with God. Flint or obsidian knives were generally used to perform circumcision.

The Jordan River

The Jordan River. In Hebrew, Jordan means “descending” or “downward.” From Galilee to the Dead Sea the river drops 600 feet (185 m) in 65 miles (105 km). The spring rains and snowmelt from Mount Hermon in the north flood the river, causing it to overflow its banks (3:15).

Double walls

Double walls. Like several other ancient cities, Jericho was most likely protected by a double wall. Poorer citizens of the city often built their homes between the inner and outer walls.

The Historical Books

The Historical Books. Joshua begins the section of the Bible known as the Historical Books. There are 12 Historical Books: Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1–2 Samuel, 1–2 Kings, 1–2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther.