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Jericho's Giants (Cont.)
Josephus on the Giants
Kiriath Arba
Mercury, the Giant

Jericho's Giants (Cont.)
Having been built to a considerable height and breadth, these walls "were of a type which made direct assault practically impossible," writes Leon Wood. "An approaching enemy first encountered a stone abutment, eleven feet high, back and up from which sloped a thirty-five degree plastered scarp reaching to the main wall some thirty-five vertical feet above. The steep smooth slope prohibited battering the wall by any effective device or building fires to break it. An army trying to storm the wall found difficulty in climbing the slope, and ladders to scale it could find no satisfactory footing. The normal tactic used by an enemy to take a city so protected was siege, but Israel did not have time for this, if she was to occupy all the land in any reasonable number of months."

While they still stood, Jericho's high walls enclosed about seven acres and made it the strongest fortress in Canaan. So when the vast Hebrew army crossed over the Jordan, the "thick population round-about" hurriedly left their homes to enter the city and join in preparations for its defense. Meanwhile, on the plain of Gilgal just opposite Jericho, the Israelites pitched their camp. The Jordan Valley at this juncture widens to almost fourteen miles, becoming the broadest expanse in its entire length. At the time of Israel's invasion, a forest of noble palms nearly three miles broad and eight miles long stood between their camp and the city.
134 But from Gilgal's elevated ground the Hebrews could see over this grove to the stout walls of Jericho some two miles in the distance. Beyond the city they viewed the hills of the western highlands rising abruptly from the plains. Just behind the hills, a mountain cliff, called Jebel Kuruntul, rose so high that in the early afternoon its cooling shadow enfolded the town. High up there stood the Amorites' first strong-holds. These the Israelites also had to demolish before making assaults on the several independent kingdoms located farther inland.

From the time they spied out the land, Joshua knew that the only trails offering access to the Holy Land began in these foothills.
135 But Jericho stood in the way. Serving as an outpost for the three passes, it prevented hostile invasions of Canaan from the east. So the capture and annihilation of the rich, depraved city became imperative. To accomplish this objective, Joshua announced to all the armed men and the priests a most unusual plan of attack.136

Waiting behind their stout walls, the inhabitants of Jericho fully expected the Hebrews' hundreds of thousands of warriors to begin a head-on assault. Much to their surprise, no attempt was made to scale the walls or force the gates. Instead, reports the historian Henry Hart Milman, "they saw what might seem a peaceful procession going regularly round the walls of the city. The army marched first, in total silence. In the rear came the Ark, escorted by seven priests, blowing seven trumpets, made of ram's horns. For six successive days this mysterious circuit took place; no voice was heard from the vast and breathless army--nothing but the shrill wailing of the trumpet. On the seventh day this extraordinary ceremony was repeated seven times. At the close of the last round, the whole army on a sudden set up a tremendous shout, the walls of the city fell, and the defenseless people found the triumphant enemy rushing along their streets."
137 The men of Jericho, Josephus adds, were so astounded and "affrighted at the surprising overthrow of the walls that their courage became useless, and they were not able to defend themselves."138

A German-Austrian team led by John Garstang came upon the ruins of the collapsed walls while digging in the Tell es-Sultan mound in the 1930s. What his team found was the remains of two high walls, running parallel and spaced about ten feet apart. The outer wall, the city's first line of defense, measured only six feet across. The higher inner wall, however, was twelve feet broad. Its massive thickness ordinarily would have presented any potential enemy with a real problem. But as the three continued digging they saw how the walls were destroyed, and what they saw astounded them. With great excitement, Garstang, Pere Vincent, also an archaeologist, and Clarence Fisher, a pottery and architectural expert, detailed their extraordinary findings in a statement that all three signed. In part, they reported: "... The outer wall suffered most, its remains falling down the slope. The inner wall is preserved only where it abuts upon the citadel, or tower, to a height of eighteen feet; elsewhere it is found largely to have fallen, together, with the remains of buildings upon it, into the space between the walls which was filled with ruins and debris. Traces of intense fire are plain to see, including reddened masses of brick, cracked stones, charred timbers and ashes. Houses alongside the wall are found burned to the ground, their roofs fallen upon the domestic pottery within." Then the three men added this particularly interesting statement: "As to the main fact, then, there remains no doubt; the walls fell outwards so completely that the attackers would be able to clamber up and over their ruins into the city."139

News of their discovery eventually brought other famous archaeologists to the excavations at Jericho. One of these, Sir Charles Marston, after carefully examining the ruins of the walls, filed this report: "Study of the geological strata, in addition to archaeological work on the walls themselves, now has revealed undoubted evidence that the wall was raised by an earthquake."

Evidence of an earthquake, continues Marston, "does not destroy belief in a miracle. Surely it was a miracle that the earthquake could take place at the particular time when the city was besieged by the Israelites."

Obeying Joshua's instructions to devote Jericho as a holocaust, the Hebrews set fire to the whole city. They also burned the country round about it. What structures escaped the fire, they tore down. Garstang reports that while sifting through the ruins of the royal residence, and many other homes and storerooms, he found a thick layer of ash, sometimes knee-deep. He also saw a lot of wheat, bar-ley, dates, lentils, and other foods, all of which had been turned into charcoal by intense heat. In the kitchen of one home, the archaeologist uncovered "a family provision of dates, barley, olives, a piece of bread, and a quantity of unbaked dough, all charred but unmistakable. It was sad evidence of a people cut off in full activity."

The scriptures relate that the Hebrews left none they found inside alive, save the harlot Rahab and her family. But by some means at least some of Jericho's giants managed to escape. "Those who survived," says The Jewish Encyclopedia, "were led by a certain Ifrikish ibn Kais to Africa, and, having killed the king of that country, settled there. The Berbers are their descendants."

Other records also reveal that some Canaanites fled for their lives to Africa. According to Procopius, some of these dispossessed peoples settled in Libya and then overspread Africa as far as the Pillars of Hercules.
144 He further declares that in the sixth century A.D., "two marble pillars were to be seen in the Numidian town Tigisis, with a Phoenician inscription, in these terms: 'We are those who fled from the face of Jesus (Joshua) the robber, the son of Nun.' Suidas states this also; giving the words as, 'We are Canaanites, whom Jesus the robber drove out,' and the Talmud reveals that the Girgasites driven out by Joshua wandered to Africa."145 (See Canaan's Anakim; Israel's Wars with the Giants; Sihon's and Og's Overthrow; also see Chad's Giants; Curigueres; Sudan's Giants; Watusi Giants; Zanzibar's Giants)

In an Israelite attack on Gath, a boastful giant with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, came out and dared any Israelite to fight him. Jonathan, David's nephew, accepted his challenge to single combat and dispatched him. (See David vs Goliath)

Josephus on the Giants
After telling in his histories what great difficulty the people of Judah faced in their long siege against Jebus, Josephus next reports that they left there to assist Caleb against the giants at Hebron. "And when they had taken it," he adds, "they slew all the inhabitants. There were till then left a race of giants, who had bodies so large, and countenances so entirely different from other men, that they were surprising to the sight, and terrible to the hearing. The bones of these men are still shown to this very day, unlike to any credible relations of other men."

Josephus also writes that Jews who lived at Hebron as late as his day occasionally dug up human bones of a gigantic size that apparently belonged to the Anakim who once dominated that region.
147 He further declares that the king of Persia sent a Jew called Eleazar the Giant, who stood seven cubits, or over ten feet tall, to Rome along with some other hostages as part of a peace agreement.148 (See Eleazar the Giant; Israel's Wars with the Giants)

Kiriath Arba
Kiriath Arba was the chief city and ancestral home of the Anakim, who named the place after their famous forefather, Arba. The twelve spies that Moses sent out visited here, and ten felt great terror when they looked upon the Anakim's astounding stature. Following the Hebrews' conquest of Canaan, this "highest town in Palestine" became the possession of Caleb, who renamed it Hebron. (See Abraham and the Giants; Canaan's Anakim; Israel's Wars with the Giants)

Lahmi, who was as huge as Goliath and bore a spear just as massive, was slain by Elhanan, the son of Jair, on the battlefield at Gob. (See David vs Goliath; Ishbi-benob; Sippai; Six-fingered, Six-toed Giant)

Mercury, the Giant (See Giants Who Became Gods)

According to Moses, the Nephilim (i.e., the fallen ones) came in to the beautiful daughters of men and fathered the giants. They are described by Jude as a people of "strange flesh" because they evolved out of the animal kingdom. (See Origin of the Giants--Biblical Account)

Offerus (See Christopher, Saint)