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Wikipedia explains three archaeological studies of the Jericho site, and concludes that the city was abandoned at the time the supposed Biblical battle took place.

How do Christians reconcile the Biblical account with this science?

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The Wikipedia article says archaelogy "dated the destruction to 1562 BCE (plus/minus 38 years)". What year is generally accepted that the Battle of Jericho occurred? –  a_hardin Sep 21 '11 at 21:46
    
@a_hardin: I'm not entirely sure. The wikipedia article also says "Garstang discovered the remains ... which he dated to about 1400 BCE, the time he believed the Israelites were on their conquest" But I don't know how credible the 1400 BC date is... –  Flimzy Sep 21 '11 at 21:51
    
this source puts the Battle of Jericho at 1405 BC. –  Flimzy Sep 21 '11 at 21:55
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Considering that dating is never 100% accurate and the city could have been plundered. I wouldn't see this "science" as discrediting anything. –  Jonathon Byrd Sep 22 '11 at 2:28
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Interestingly, the later evidence doesn't (at least in that article) seem to refute the conclusion that the walls fell "in a dramatic fashion". –  gmoothart Sep 22 '11 at 22:33
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1 Answer 1

What is there to 'reconcile'?

If God's word is true (a presuppositional point I take because God cannot lie and scripture comes from God and the 'battle' record itself starts with "The LORD said to Joshua"), then the science will conform to the Bible, and not the other way around.

As to precise dates - we have several plausible timelines. Starting from the creation of the world, I charted [almost] all of the Bible's characters and lives (that we have years on) through Jacob. Based on a whole-years reckoning of lives, Jacob died ~2255AA (After Adam). Based on several other people's work, I agree that the earth was created in about 4004 BC.

That places Jacob's death (in Egypt) at approximately 1749 BC. From a chronological study of Exodus through Joshua I am currently engaged in, but have not published yet, from Moses' birth to the destruction of Jericho is ~121 years (he dies at age 120, and Jericho is conquered within the next several weeks).

The Israelites were in Egypt for between 215 and 530 years.

That puts the conquest of Jericho approximately between 1534 and 1219 BC - right in the range as shown in the wikipedia article cited for when Jericho was abandoned.

As a sidebar, wouldn't a city appear to be "abandoned" if it had just been completely destroyed?

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I think this refutes the part of the Wikipedia article which states "Jericho had been deserted at the accepted Biblical date of the Conquest." Especially since they don't state what the accepted Biblical date is or provide references for it. –  a_hardin Sep 22 '11 at 17:13
    
@Warren: What's to reconcile is an apparent mismatch of dates. Reconciliation of these dates does not, in any way, mean that the Bible is the source that is wrong. It just means there's an apparent inconsistency, and I'd like to know how to resolve that inconsistency. –  Flimzy Sep 22 '11 at 20:11
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