Did God Destroy the Walls of Jericho? A Brief History of Bible Literalism

Why did Joshua’s conquest of Ai only succeed the second time around? Did parents really name their son ‘horned viper’? Why some people believe scriptural stories as they were written

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Rami Arav
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The Canaanite city of Ai was the second city conquered by Joshua. Even though its conquest is described in detail in Chapter 7 in the Book of Joshua, few remember its name, possibly because of the drama involved in the first conquest – Jericho.

The conquest of Jericho in Chapter 6 is a spectacular story. No battle is described, no warriors are mentioned and no heroes are involved. Even the role of Joshua, the head of the Israelite military operation, is marginalized. It was God’s victory over the Canaanites. He did it with his agents upon earth, the priests. Seven priests carried the Ark of the Covenant around the city walls throughout six days, blowing the ritual shofar horns. On the seventh day they marched around the city seven times and on the seventh circuit, the priests blew the horns. The crowd shouted and the walls came tumbling down.