The Sun Stands Still, the North and South Conquered

Joshua 10:1-15 – The Long Day of Joshua
Joshua 10:16-43 – The Southern Cities Conquered
Joshua 11 – The Campaign in the North

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One Reply to “The Sun Stands Still, the North and South Conquered”

  1. The theme of chapter 10 is this: Joshua, with God’s blessing and support, defeated the uprise against Gibeon and conquered the Southern Cities (Makkedah, Libnah, Lachish, Eglon, Hebron and Debir). “So Joshua subdued the whole region…left no survivors. He totally destroyed all who breathed, just as the Lord, the God of Israel, had commanded” (Joshua 10:40)

    Chapter 11 continues the conquest to the North, “as the Lord commanded his servant Moses, so Moses commanded Joshua, and Joshua did it; he left nothing undone of all the the Lord commanded Moses” (11:15).

    In just a few verses we read the synopsis of the Israelites conquering the Promised Land. This is the miracle. This could only happen with the help of a mighty hand, the God’s provision.

    Yet we will be taunted to focus on Joshua 10:12-14. Non-believers will make this their cornerstone to refute the Scriptures. I suggest “taunted” because there are portions of the Bible that simply cause problems when singularly focused on, as if these passages were the central theme.

    Did God extend the day geophysically or not?

    Notes from the Blue Letter Bible don’t actually answer the question, but provide several alternatives:

    1. The passage is poetical and not to be understood literally.
    2. The sun “standing still” refers to an eclipse of the sun.
    3. The earth actually stopped its rotation around the sun for almost twenty-four hours per Joshua’s request.
    4. The earth’s rotation was slowed down, not stopped. This lengthened the day by almost twenty-four hours.
    5. The sun and moon appeared to be out of their regular place by a supernaturally given mirage.
    6. The sun stopped shining during the latter half of the day.
    7. Rather than the day being prolonged, God prolonged the previous night.

    An interesting article from Apologetics Press (Montgomery, AL) concludes: “Whether the miracle was local or universal is not specifically stated in the text. Either way, “there has been no day like that, before it or after it” (Joshua 10:14)!”

    Authenticity matters little, though: our willingness to accept legends depends far more upon their expression of concepts we want to believe than upon their plausibility. If the sun once really did stand still for a day, the best evidence we’d have for proving it would be the accounts of people who saw it happen. That is what the Bible is said to offer. Some people accept that as sufficient proof, and others don’t. (Snopes)

    Given the extended discussion below and the endless debate, my conclusion is rather simple: I really don’t know what happened in those days, but I do know that God provided Joshua with the ability to conquer the territory as promised. Therefore, I would lean on the side of poetry rather than physical science and continue reading the history of the Israelites.

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