Trouble with Joshua and the Sun


#1

Alright so I have been reading a lot about people having issues with Joshua and his prayer that made the sun stand still for about a day.

The passage is found in Joshua 10:12-13

it says:

*Then Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, “O sun, stand still at Gibeon, And O moon in the valley of Aijalon.”

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 hasten to go down for about a whole day.*

How are we supposed to interpret this passage?

Are we supposed to really believe that the ACTUAL sun stood still in the middle of the sky for an extra 12-24 hours?

I’ll admit this is a little hard to understand, and I want to know what I should know about this passage.


#2

Update:

Something didn’t quite seem right to me about this whole thing.

It’s not that I don’t believe that God could in fact cause these things to happen where the physical sun would stand still, it’s just that in the context of the passage being a battle story I seem to stray towards it being an exaggeration of what really happened. A glorification of the battle.

So as I researched and read more about it, I started to find out more about this “Book of Jashar”. Apparently, this book of Jashar(er) was a book which contained nationalistic poems and songs detailing historic jewish events, such as the battle. Apparently Joshua 10:12-14 is taking directly from this long lost book of poems and songs in describing the events of the battle.

The whole Joshua causing the sun and moon to stand still is poetic in nature. I do believe that the battle really happened, and I do believe that given that there was a reference to a terrible hail storm, some weather stuff happened, and perhaps once the skies cleared up and they saw the sun and moon they rejoiced in this omen.

That’s just my take on it, but it seems obvious that the sun standing still, and moon standing still are poetic in nature. Such as when one says “I would move mountains to be with you”.


#3

And of course, there’s the classic question. Was the Sun standing still because it stopped its revolution around the Earth? Or was the Earth standing still? Or is that heresy?
I would say there has been quite a bit of trouble with Joshua and the Sun. LOL


#4

We can’t really know.

After all, no other nation has an account of a long day, or night, corresponding to this event.

ITASM, the important thing to take from this is God could do this if He chose to, and that He can move even physical barriers to meet the needs of those who trust in Him.

A much bigger meaning than an abstruse astronomical explanation for an event that may not even have occurred as described.

ICXC NIKA.


#5

Agreed. Do we not say…

The sun **rises **in the East and **sets **in the West. The sun comes up; the sun goes down.


#6

The 1869 Haydock Scripture Commentary has quite a lot to say about this–too much to reproduce here-- but you can see it here;

Haydock Commentary on Joshua, Chapter 10


#7

There are some who do insist that it is in fact poetry

Here is one commentary


#8

If we say that this episode of the sun and moon was something other than a miracle, then what are we to say of Moses when there was a battle and the sun also stopped in the sky?

And I know that some don’t believe in private apparitions, but those that do, what happened at Fatima when the sun spun around and did a dance?

I don’t know if any of these events really did happen. But if they didn’t then something else seems to have happened to make it seem like these events really happened. Like making men’s minds see this without it actually happening.

In any case, unless there is some concrete evidence contray to these events happening, is there any other course but just accept them as they stand?

It just seems that too many times these events are explained away in a more unbelievable way than the miracle itself.


#9

One thing that I come to accept is that God has done miracles. I have also learned that giving Scripture the benefit of the doubt is a case where you cannot go wrong, but on the flip side being doubtful and assuming that the Bible is full of myths, errors, and contradictions is harmful because in my opinion it weakens faith in the authenticity of Christianity. If the Bible records something historical and it does not match up exactly with what historians have chronicled, then I am going to assume that the historians are the ones who are in error, whether its Josephus or some arrogant college history professor. History is always being revised and developed, and it usually comes full circle and eventually shows that the Bible was right all along after the Bible has been laughed at and criticized. As for the idea that other cultures did not write about certain events that are mentioned in Scripture such as the sun standing still, that is not strong evidence against it because that was SO long ago that first of all, journaling events was not something everyone did, and the fact that it happened many thousands of years ago, only a fraction of a percent of what was ever journaled has stood the test of time. If someone did write it down, the chances that it was preserved is highly unlikely, locations and their climates eliminates most of what has ever been written, along with wars, erosion, or being lost forever.


#10

Are you referring to the battle in exodus where Moses stands on the top of the hill and lifts his hand up? In that particular situation it doesn’t say that the sun stopped, it says that Moses kept his hand steady until the sun went went down, as in all day.

I’ve also concluded that if indeed in Joshua it is indicating that the sun stood still, then it would have to be something akin to the miracle of Fatima. Fatima has been described as a locution.

However there are strong reasons to assert that the sun stopping episode in Joshua is being misunderstood. It would conflict with other parts of the bible, such as the part which I believe is in Genesis which explains that day and night shall never cease as a sign of Gods covenant. Also it would conflict with the understanding that no one had ever performed a miracle greater than Moses.

Aside from that the text NEVER gives a reason why the sun stood still. It never gives a reason. All the reasons we assume Joshua would have needed extra sunlight for have no basis in direct biblical reference.

However the notion that it was a quote from a poem is directly supported since the author specifically side tracks to say “Is it now written in the book of Jasher?”, which is a known book of poetry.

Now we might assume that we only want to accept this interpretation simply because a miracle if that magnitude is very hard to believe in our modern time. However even Maimonides a Jewish philosopher/scholar who wrote about this passage way before the scientific revolution, and way before even Copernicus was born, interpreted the reference as being misunderstood.

He insisted that the passage was merely saying that the sun stayed in the sky for the longest possible time period, but it was a single day. He supports this by explaining that the Hebrew word Tamim means perfect, and that the sun did not hurry to go down, as in a perfect day.


#11

Actually, I have trouble with the Book of Joshua in general….

From Chapter 11.

14
The Israelites took all the spoil and livestock of these cities as their booty; but the people they put to the sword, until they had exterminated the last of them, leaving none alive.

20
For it was the design of the LORD to encourage them to wage war against Israel, that they might be doomed to destruction and thus receive no mercy, but be exterminated, as the LORD had commanded Moses.

vatican.va/archive/ENG0839/__P5P.HTM

I argue that the God of the Old Testament is not the same God of the New Testament.…Or, better still, Satan and God played out there roles in the Old Testament. After all, Satan is the Master of Deceit. So, a miracle of the Sun standing still was not an act of the true Heaven above god.

Israel of the Old Testament is bloody and savage. And in the Book of Joshua (as well as others), their god was “Yahweh”. And not the true Heaven above god. The Father of Jesus Christ.

“Yahweh reveals himself to Moses as a savior, and the epic story of deliverance is told in Exodus. This book also tells of the Sinai covenant, which is rightfully regarded as the key to the Old Testament. Through the covenant Israel becomes Yahweh’s people, and Yahweh becomes Israel’s God.”
vatican.va/archive/ENG0839/__P2.HTM


#12

I don’t have much interest in battles won or lost thousands of years ago.
I read scripture because it helps us understand and develop a deeper relationship with God.
These words describe what took place during times of war. A miracle occurs making clear to His people then and now that God is on our side. He wants what is best for us. He wants us to conquer our enemy, sin. He will go so far as to influence our circumstances in very important and extraordinary ways, to help us eradicate evil.
Personally speaking, what actually happened so long ago with so little collateral support about anything that occurred, is not important. It happened something like what is described, obviously remarkable and having significant meaning throughout the ages.


#13

Careful
Marcionites
Heretical sect founded in A.D. 144 at Rome by Marcion and continuing in the West for 300 years, but in the East some centuries longer, especially outside the Byzantine Empire. They rejected the writings of the Old Testament and taught that Christ was not the Son of the God of the Jews, but the Son of the good God, who was different from the God of the Ancient Covenant. They anticipated the more consistent dualism of Manichaeism and were finally absorbed by it. As they arose in the very infancy of Christianity and adopted from the beginning a strong ecclesiastical organization, parallel to that of the Catholic Church, they were perhaps the most dangerous foe Christianity has ever known.1


  1. Arendzen, J. (1910). Marcionites. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. From New Advent: newadvent.org/cathen/09645c.htm

#14

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