As we were going over this week’s story today during the education hour, I was suddenly struck by the similarity between the fall of Jericho and the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis. In both cases ,the cities were slated for complete destruction by God. In fact, not JUST destruction. Joshua declares that anyone who even attempts to rebuild Jericho will be cursed! As far as I know, no other city was so singled out for eternal oblivion when the Israelites conquered Canaan.
But it’s not just a matter of the devastation.
In the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, the cities are to be wiped from the Earth, along with all the inhabitants, except for Lot and his family. Jericho was to be burned to the ground, except for Rahab and her family. Lot was visited by two strangers, and Lot showed them hospitality, even to the point of putting himself and his family in danger. Rahab welcomed the two spies from Israel into her house, even hiding them from the authorities in Jericho.
Of course, it’s not identical. Nobody gets turned into a pillar of salt in Jericho, and Sodom and Gomorrah weren’t besieged by any army, but I still find the parallels interesting. I wonder what was the sin of the people of Jericho that was so great, it warranted the same sort of treatment as Sodom and Gomorrah. I know that the “standard” explanation for the fall of Sodom and Gomorrah was the homosexuality of the residents there, but there is a counter argument that it was the violence and lack of hospitality that was actually the sin illustrated by the story. As far as I know, there is no mention in the Bible of the exact reason why Jericho was to be eliminated so completely. I wonder if it wasn’t the hostility of the city, in opposition to the hospitality of Rahab.
No real point to this. Just something I was wondering about. Any thoughts?