At that time Joshua invoked this curse: “May the curse of the LORD fall on anyone who tries to rebuild the town of Jericho. At the cost of his firstborn son, he will lay its foundation. At the cost of his youngest son, he will set up its gates.” So the LORD was with Joshua, and his reputation spread throughout the land. (Joshua 6:26-27 NLT)
Before the Israelites showed up, Jericho was known for its walls. Moses himself had told the Israelites, “Listen, O Israel! Today you are about to cross the Jordan River to take over the land belonging to nations much greater and more powerful than you. They live in cities with walls that reach to the sky!” (Deut 9:1). It is believed that the wall around Jericho was in fact a design of three walls. First the mound, or “tell”, was surrounded by a great earthen embankment, with a stone retaining wall at its base. That wall was 12-15 feet high. On top of the retaining wall was a mudbrick wall six feet thick and 20-26 feet high. Then from the crest of the embankment was a similar mudbrick wall also six feet thick that started at 46 feet above the ground level (outside the retaining wall) and also arose an additional 20-26 feet into the air.1 So from ground level these walls projected approx. 70 feet into the air. At a timeframe of roughly 1450 BC, that would have been viewed like we would look at The Empire State Building today – “reaching to the sky”. The builders of the city of Jericho had taken great care and great pride in building a virtually impregnable fortress.