Headline: Joshua (Yehoshua), Battle of Jericho, Battle of Highland Border Fortress at Ai, First Jubilee, Grand Jubilee Cycles, Mitanni Kingdom (1406 BC)

Image: Battle Ai Joshua 8

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n97nVMxxues

Date Range: 1406 BC

People: Aaron, Achan, Caleb, Joshua, Moses, Rahab, Salmon

The events of Joshua 5-8 occurred 40 years after the Exodus from Egypt. The 10th Plague of Egypt occurred on Nisan 14, 1446 BC. The observation of Passover at Gilgal described in Joshua 5:10 occurred on Nisan 14, 1406 BC. It is not specifically stated in the Bible, but the Israelites most likely observed the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Nisan 15-21). This means that the seven days of the Battle of Jericho occurred between Nisan 22 and Nisan 28, 1406 BC. There is substantial debate over the Battle of Jericho. Some, such as Kathleen Kenyon, have stated that the evidence does not support Biblical text. Archaeologist Bryant Wood, who is with Associates for Biblical Research (biblearchaeology.org), has stated that Kathleen Kenyon ignored significant evidence. His conclusion is that the evidence supports a conclusion that Jericho was destroyed in the spring circa 1400 BC. The Battle of Ai occurred shortly after the Battle of Jericho. While some have placed Ai at et-Tell, Bryant Wood has placed it at Khirbet el-Maqatir. This location is consistent with details provided in Biblical text, and it was also destroyed circa 1400 BC. Ai was a Canaanite highland fortress. It was located about 14 miles west of Jericho and 10 miles north of Jerusalem. Since Ai was a fortress north of Jerusalem, who was to the north of Canaan that the fortress was designed to protect against? The short answer is the Kingdom of Mitanni, and to a lesser degree the Hittite Empire. There were complex political relationships during this time period between the four major powers in the region: Egyptians, Hittites, Kassites, and Mitanni. Ai was a fortress to protect against northern invasion of the Canaanite region.

There is much disagreement as to how old Joshua was during specific events described in the Bible. The only specific number provided is that he lived to be 110 years old. Joshua’s age was within a few years of Caleb’s age. They were both selected as spies, and they were the only two of their generation to go to the Promised Land. 40 is a significant number in Hebrew culture, and it represents the age in which a person receives the deepest measure of understanding. Caleb was forty years old when selected as a spy, Moses was forty years old when he killed the Egyptian beating a Hebrew, and it would be reasonable to conclude that Joshua was at least forty when he was selected as a spy. Jewish tradition states that he was three years older than Caleb. The Bible is not specific on this matter, so any suggested age for Joshua is an estimate. For the purpose of this lesson and the timeline provided on this website, the conclusion is that Joshua was three years older than Caleb.

Spring 1406 represents the beginning of the Jubilee Cycles for the Israelites in the Promised Land. This is a complicated subject and there is much to say about it. The short description is that the Year of Jubilee as described in the Bible is a 50-year cycle that begins in 1406 BC. One last thing is that Rahab, the protector of Joshua and Caleb within the city of Jericho, married Salmon who was the father of Boaz and the great-great grandfather of King David.

Bible Verses: Leviticus 25:1-22, Numbers 1:1, Numbers 26:65, Numbers 33:38-39, Deuteronomy 34:7, Joshua 2, Joshua 5-8, Joshua 14:6-10, Judges 2:8, Matthew 1:5

15th Century BC Scarab from Joshua’s Ai (Khirbet el-Maqatir) Video
40 and Hebrew Mysticism
Biblical Sites: Three Discoveries at Jericho
Book of Joshua Video
Evidence for Inerrancy from a Second Unexpected Source: The Jubilee and Sabbatical Cycles
Finding the Lost City of Ai (Part One) Video
Finding the Lost City of Ai (Part Two) Video
Khirbet el Maqatir Map
Map of Mesopotamia c. 1400 BC
Mitanni Kingdom

Topic Questions:
1. What is the significance of Joshua 5:6 and Joshua 5:10?
2. Describe the Battle of Jericho.
3. What was the significance of Ai? Who were the Mitanni?
4. Describe the Battle of Ai.
5. Briefly describe some artifacts found at Jericho and Ai.
6. Do these artifacts support Biblical text?
7. Describe Jubilee cycles and their relationship to Joshua 5:10.
8. Who is Rahab and who did she have a child with?

Does archaeology prove the Bible? This is the wrong question to ask. The better question to ask is if external evidence is consistent with Biblical text. There is good evidence that is consistent with Biblical text. Much happened in 1406 BC. The Israelites entered Canaan, Jericho was destroyed, Ai was destroyed, and the Jubilee cycles began. Dr Bryant Wood is an archaeologist who specializes in the study of Jericho and Ai. He has clearly stated with evidence to back him up that there is a significant amount of archaeological evidence that is consistent with Biblical text.

Timeline and Chronology:
1378 BC: Death of Joshua
1406 BC, Summer: Destruction of Ai
1406 BC, Nisan 28: Destruction of Jericho
1406 BC, Nisan 14: Observance of Passover by Joshua at Gilgal
1488 BC: Birth of Joshua

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