The sun stood still, and the moon stopped

12 Then Joshua spoke to the Lord on the day when the Lord turned the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel,

“Sun, stand still at Gibeon,
And moon, at the Valley of Aijalon!”
13 So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped,
Until the nation avenged themselves of their enemies.

Is it not written in the Book of Jashar? And the sun stopped in the middle of the sky and did not hurry to go down for about a whole day. 14 There was no day like that before it or after it, when the Lord listened to the voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel.

Joshua 10:12-14

Wow! This is one of those less than talked about (or even known) miracles of the Old Testament. Before we begin, try to avoid getting all scientific about the practicalities or global ramifications of such an event unfolding.

Our universe is in the palm of His hands. God can do whatever He pleases. But, unfortunately, the cunning whispers of the enemy have led many to doubt the incredible power of God.

Now, be that as it may, the book of Joshua shows us how faithful God was to fulfil His covenant with Israel by giving them the land of Canaan. We see in this passage that when the men of Gibeon pled for Israel’s assistance against the five kings of the Amorites, God told Joshua,

 The Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you.

Joshua 10:8
Valley of Ajalon “connecting the coastal plain and the Judea Mountains where Joshua made the sun stand still.”

The pass of Beth-horon stated in verse ten, leads westward towards the valley of Ajalon (or Aijalon). Here, Joshua desired to engage and conquer the five kings of the Amorites.

While leading Israel’s fight against God’s enemies, the battle was fierce, and the sun was declining. Joshua knew he needed more daylight to achieve total victory against the five Amorite kings; the first night-vision devices wouldn’t be available until the late 1930s A.D.

Joshua’s faithfulness was rewarded, the sun and moon stopped for a day, granting Joshua, the Israelites and the Gibeonites a comprehensive victory. The book of Jasher, also mentioned in 2 Samuel 1:18, presents David’s eulogy, or lament, for Saul and Jonathan. It was written sometime before the book of Joshua, but as it wasn’t canonical in nature, it wasn’t preserved by the Jews with the same care or respect.

Joshua 10:11-14 encapsulates how it was God’s victory, not Israel’s. Israel would’ve been soundly defeated if God hadn’t stepped into the scene and fought.

After God caused confusion and greatly unnerved the Amorites, they fled from Israel towards Bethhoron (this was also a place of conflict between the Jews and the Romans during the First Jewish Revolt of 66 A.D).

As the Amorites tried to get away, God threw large hailstones down upon them. Unlike homing missiles, only the Amorites were hit; the hailstones and lightning bolts followed wherever they turned. We read in Book 5:17 of Flavius Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews:

Where he also understood that God assisted him: which he declared by thunder and thunderbolts, as also by the falling of hail larger than usual. Moreover, it happened that the day was lengthened; that the night might not come on too  soon, and be an obstruction to the zeal of the Hebrews in pursuing their enemies. Insomuch that Joshua took the Kings, which were hidden in a certain cave at Makkedah, and put them to death. Now that the day was lengthened at this time, and was longer than ordinary, is expressed in the Books laid up in the temple.

Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews — Book V:17
Joshua captured the five Amorite kings who’d hidden in a cave at Makkedah (Joshua 10:16)

…they were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword.

Joshua 10:11

We’re told that before this occasion, God had never heeded the instruction of a man. Notice that

 On the day the Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel:

“Sun, stand still over Gibeon,
    and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.”

Joshua 10:12

In front of many witnesses (in the presence of Israel), Joshua instructed God to still the sun and moon. Of course, God had already assured Joshua that if he trusted Him, Israel would win the battle, and it was only after receiving such assurance that Joshua marched out against the Amorites.

The miracles of this battle are also noted by Habakkuk:  

 Sun and moon stood still in the heavens

    at the glint of your flying arrows,

    at the lightning of your flashing spear.

Habakkuk 3:11

To all those who feel compelled to click their tongue, shake their head and call this passage a piece of fanciful nonsense, you only need to consider one thing: the One God, El Shaddai, El Yonna Adonai, is the God Almighty, the Creator and sustainer of the heavens and earth. Therefore, God has absolute and unabating authority over this whole kit and caboodle.

Let’s have a look at some examples of God’s unconditional command and authority over everything in His Creation:

  • First, God spoke every atom of the universe into existence (Genesis 1:3).
  • Next, he made man from the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7) and woman out of the man’s rib (Genesis 2:21).
  • When we read through Adam’s genealogy, we read that each generation of his descendants died at grand old ages (except for Enoch, who didn’t die, “God took him away”). (Genesis 5:24).
  • When His Creation fell into darkness, God flooded the world, destroying all except Noah, his family and the animal pairs stowed aboard the Ark (Genesis 6:6-22).
  • God sent ten plagues upon Egypt, leading to the freedom of the His chosen people, the Israelites (Exodus 7:14-12:36).
  • He parted the Red Sea to allow these Israelites to escape the pursuing Egyptians.
  • God enabled a donkey to speak to Balaam (Numbers 22:21-31), who then complained about getting whipped so often.
  • We see in Matthew 14:13-21 that Jesus, God in the flesh (see John 10:30), was able to feed five thousand men, not including the women and children with them, with five loaves of bread and two fish. The disciples were left with a dozen baskets full of leftovers.
  • John 11 tells us that Jesus was able to raise Lazarus from the dead. But, moreover, this wasn’t your everyday kind of resuscitation. Instead, we’re told that Lazarus’ flesh was rotting; he’d been dead for four days.
  • As believers we have each been promised with new life through the garce of Jesus Christ. “3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…”(1 Peter 1:3)    

Before you go, please spend four minutes and seven seconds listening to this lovely song by Amy Grant.

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