Jericho and the Jordan River
The Jordan River flows from Northern Israel to the Dead Sea, with a length of 156 miles (251 kilometers). The name Jordan, or Yarden, comes from the Hebrew word “yarad” or descend, which the river does. In the north, it begins above sea level, descending all the way to the Dead Sea in the south at 422 meters below sea level. The river forms the western border of Israel, and is the site of many interesting and important events in Biblical history.
The Jordan River was crossed by Gideon and his 300 men pursuing the oppressive Midianites.
Then Gideon and the 300 men who were with him came to the Jordan and crossed over, weary yet pursuing. (Judges 8:4)
An attempted crossing here turned into a massacre of the Ephraimites by Jephthah and the Gileadites.
The Gileadites a captured the fords of the Jordan opposite Ephraim. And it happened when any of the fugitives of Ephraim said, “Let me cross over,” the men of Gilead would say to him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” If he said, “No,” then they would say to him, “Say now, ‘Shibboleth.’ ” But he said, “Sibboleth,” for he could not pronounce it correctly. Then they seized him and slew him at the fords of the Jordan. Thus there fell at that time 42,000 of Ephraim. (Judges 12:5-6)
Jericho – From Joshua to Jesus
The Jordan River is also the site where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptizer.
Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.” (Luke 3:21-22)
One of the earliest and most significant crossings of the Jordan River occurred when the Israelites under Joshua finally entered the Promised Land.
And when those who carried the ark came into the Jordan, and the feet of the priests carrying the ark were dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks all the days of harvest), the waters which were flowing down from above stood and rose up in one heap, a great distance away at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan; and those which were flowing down toward the sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. So the people crossed opposite Jericho. (Joshua 3:15-16)
This was the beginning of the Conquest of the Promised Land, with Jericho, the first city to be conquered, on the other side of the Jordan River.
Compliments of Titus and our friends at Drive Thru History. Copyright 2010 – All rights reserved in the original.
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