When setting out to conquer the Promised Land, the Israelites’ first military confrontation was with Jericho. This battle is famous…Why? Because (now sing aloud to yourself): “Joshua fit the battle of Jericho…and the walls came tumblin’ down!”

Following Divine instructions, Joshua marched the Israelite troops around the city walls once each day for six days (thus making the city inhabitants rather nervous). On the seventh day (by which point the people in Jericho probably thought – oh those Israelites are circling again, no big deal), Joshua and his troops encircled the city seven times, and on the seventh time, at Joshua’s signal, seven priests blew on seven shofars. Upon hearing the blasts of the shofars, the troops began shouting and yelling and, lo and behold, the walls of Jericho collapsed. Joshua and his people easily captured the city and began their conquest of Canaan.

A miracle? In the 1950s, archaeologists discovered the walls of ancient Jericho. Rather than falling inward, it appeared from the archaeological evidence that the walls had collapsed outward (exactly as described in the book of Joshua). Not willing to attribute this to a miracle, the archaeologists concluded that the walls had obviously collapsed as a result of an earthquake, thus negating evidence of a miracle. However, one sees that, according to Jewish tradition, a miracle rarely involves a complete aberration of nature. Rather, when performing Divine miracles, God often uses nature to change the course of events. Timing, of course, is also part of the miracle. So let’s say the Israelites encircled Jericho, blew their shofars and, just as they let out their great shouts, an earthquake struck the town of Jericho.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty miraculous to me!

This Treat was last posted on June 30, 2009.

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