Surviving Jericho

In which an unremarkable phrase offers circumstantial evidence of the historical authenticity of the book of Joshua.

Some time ago I was reading through Joshua and stumbled into a verse that I had to re-read several times to make sure I wasn't daydreaming; one of those verses that you can't believe you've not noticed before.

The fall of Jericho is a memorable story for many reasons. There's mystery in Israel's silent march around the city, suspense in Rahab's salvation, and a dramatic, destructive finale as God brings the city walls crashing down.

I suppose after such an action-packed account it's easy to overlook the phrase in Joshua 6v25:

And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father's household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho. (Joshua 6v25, KJV)

Rahab was alive when the account was written: "she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day". Depending on her age, that puts this account within... what... 70 years of the events?

Perhaps she outlived Joshua and could be referenced in this way when the account of his life was written.

It's easy to disregard such statements as part of an original record that was later embellished, or even deliberate fraud. Such dismissals seem overly cynical to me, and don't explain why anyone would conspire to produce a record that has no obvious benefit to the writer.

Most simply it appears that the narrator is appealing to an independent authority able to validate his account.

I don't suppose a little quote like this is going to convince any nay-sayers that the Bible is God's message to man, but perhaps it will make the rest of us read a bit more carefully.

Bonus - Here's a spreadsheet containing all 88 instances of the phrase "unto this day", (including a couple more verses which bind the record to a specific time frame).

Nathan

Bible enthusiast, husband, Dad, and tech-head with too many projects and not enough time.