Read the full passage here.
Joshua 10 begins with news of the wondrous works of God spreading through the city-states around them (vv.1-5). An alliance is made and plans are formed because those around feared greatly the military ability of Israel and the supernatural empowering they possessed. Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem sends out letters to four other kings, the like of which can be seen in the collection known as the Armana Letters ¹.
The target of the alliance, the Gibeonites, reach out to Joshua for help and he responds by sending his best (v.7). As with previous victories, the surety comes from the promise of God that He had given them into your hands. So often in Scripture we see a command of God (Do not fear them) followed by a promise of God (for I have given them into your hand) and then an opportunity to participate in the work of God (Joshua…marched up all night from Gilgal).
We see that Joshua and his mighty men of valour do that they can do (v.10b) and God does what only He can (v.11, 13). Perhaps the most interesting point in this passage is found in vv.12-14:
“The day the LORD delivered the Amorites over to the Israelites, Joshua prayed to the LORD before Israel:
“O sun, stand still over Gibeon;
O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon!”
The sun stood still and the moon stood motionless while the nation took vengeance on its enemies. The event is recorded in the Scroll of the Upright One. The sun stood motionless in the middle of the sky and did not set for about a full day. There has not been a day like it before or since. The LORD listened to a human being, for the LORD fought for Israel!”
The sun stood still?
The moon stood motionless?
There are many, many explanations for this. Here a few:
- A comet passed so close to earth as to kill the enemies of Israel but also knock earth of its axis, therefore giving the impression that the day was longer and the sun stood still.
- Earth’s rotation was slowed for the day.
- Light was reflected off something, given the impression of a longer day.
However this is explained the source is the same.
However people choose to interpret this text and however people choose to explain this miraculous account (which is buttressed by ancient texts claiming an extraordinary long night during the same time period) the source is the same.
However this happened, it allowed God’s people to complete their victory and thereby glorify God and prove His Word true (v.8).
God intervened, supernaturally and miraculously, into the regular rhythms and routines of His creation to protect His people and to prove Himself true and trustworthy.
Another instance of this comes to mind, and would be a great thing to dwell on today.
Another time that God intervened so powerfully and miraculously into the natural world to save His people (cf. Luke 23.44-45, Matthew 27.51-52, 28.2).