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The Sun Stands Still


When King Adoni-zedek of Jerusalem heard how Joshua had taken Ai, and had utterly destroyed it, doing to Ai and its king as he had done to Jericho and its king, and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were among them, 2he became greatly frightened, because Gibeon was a large city, like one of the royal cities, and was larger than Ai, and all its men were warriors. 3So King Adoni-zedek of Jerusalem sent a message to King Hoham of Hebron, to King Piram of Jarmuth, to King Japhia of Lachish, and to King Debir of Eglon, saying, 4“Come up and help me, and let us attack Gibeon; for it has made peace with Joshua and with the Israelites.” 5Then the five kings of the Amorites—the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon—gathered their forces, and went up with all their armies and camped against Gibeon, and made war against it.

6 And the Gibeonites sent to Joshua at the camp in Gilgal, saying, “Do not abandon your servants; come up to us quickly, and save us, and help us; for all the kings of the Amorites who live in the hill country are gathered against us.” 7So Joshua went up from Gilgal, he and all the fighting force with him, all the mighty warriors. 8The L ord said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have handed them over to you; not one of them shall stand before you.” 9So Joshua came upon them suddenly, having marched up all night from Gilgal. 10And the L ord threw them into a panic before Israel, who inflicted a great slaughter on them at Gibeon, chased them by the way of the ascent of Beth-horon, and struck them down as far as Azekah and Makkedah. 11As they fled before Israel, while they were going down the slope of Beth-horon, the L ord threw down huge stones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died; there were more who died because of the hailstones than the Israelites killed with the sword.

12 On the day when the L ord gave the Amorites over to the Israelites, Joshua spoke to the L ord; and he said in the sight of Israel,

“Sun, stand still at Gibeon,

and Moon, in the valley of Aijalon.”


And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped,

until the nation took vengeance on their enemies.

Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stopped in midheaven, and did not hurry to set for about a whole day. 14There has been no day like it before or since, when the L ord heeded a human voice; for the L ord fought for Israel.

15 Then Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp at Gilgal.

Five Kings Defeated

16 Meanwhile, these five kings fled and hid themselves in the cave at Makkedah. 17And it was told Joshua, “The five kings have been found, hidden in the cave at Makkedah.” 18Joshua said, “Roll large stones against the mouth of the cave, and set men by it to guard them; 19but do not stay there yourselves; pursue your enemies, and attack them from the rear. Do not let them enter their towns, for the L ord your God has given them into your hand.” 20When Joshua and the Israelites had finished inflicting a very great slaughter on them, until they were wiped out, and when the survivors had entered into the fortified towns, 21all the people returned safe to Joshua in the camp at Makkedah; no one dared to speak against any of the Israelites.

22 Then Joshua said, “Open the mouth of the cave, and bring those five kings out to me from the cave.” 23They did so, and brought the five kings out to him from the cave, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon. 24When they brought the kings out to Joshua, Joshua summoned all the Israelites, and said to the chiefs of the warriors who had gone with him, “Come near, put your feet on the necks of these kings.” Then they came near and put their feet on their necks. 25And Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid or dismayed; be strong and courageous; for thus the L ord will do to all the enemies against whom you fight.” 26Afterward Joshua struck them down and put them to death, and he hung them on five trees. And they hung on the trees until evening. 27At sunset Joshua commanded, and they took them down from the trees and threw them into the cave where they had hidden themselves; they set large stones against the mouth of the cave, which remain to this very day.

28 Joshua took Makkedah on that day, and struck it and its king with the edge of the sword; he utterly destroyed every person in it; he left no one remaining. And he did to the king of Makkedah as he had done to the king of Jericho.

29 Then Joshua passed on from Makkedah, and all Israel with him, to Libnah, and fought against Libnah. 30The L ord gave it also and its king into the hand of Israel; and he struck it with the edge of the sword, and every person in it; he left no one remaining in it; and he did to its king as he had done to the king of Jericho.

31 Next Joshua passed on from Libnah, and all Israel with him, to Lachish, and laid siege to it, and assaulted it. 32The L ord gave Lachish into the hand of Israel, and he took it on the second day, and struck it with the edge of the sword, and every person in it, as he had done to Libnah.

33 Then King Horam of Gezer came up to help Lachish; and Joshua struck him and his people, leaving him no survivors.

34 From Lachish Joshua passed on with all Israel to Eglon; and they laid siege to it, and assaulted it; 35and they took it that day, and struck it with the edge of the sword; and every person in it he utterly destroyed that day, as he had done to Lachish.

36 Then Joshua went up with all Israel from Eglon to Hebron; they assaulted it, 37and took it, and struck it with the edge of the sword, and its king and its towns, and every person in it; he left no one remaining, just as he had done to Eglon, and utterly destroyed it with every person in it.

38 Then Joshua, with all Israel, turned back to Debir and assaulted it, 39and he took it with its king and all its towns; they struck them with the edge of the sword, and utterly destroyed every person in it; he left no one remaining; just as he had done to Hebron, and, as he had done to Libnah and its king, so he did to Debir and its king.

40 So Joshua defeated the whole land, the hill country and the Negeb and the lowland and the slopes, and all their kings; he left no one remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the L ord God of Israel commanded. 41And Joshua defeated them from Kadesh-barnea to Gaza, and all the country of Goshen, as far as Gibeon. 42Joshua took all these kings and their land at one time, because the L ord God of Israel fought for Israel. 43Then Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp at Gilgal.

13. And the sun stood still, etc The question how the sun stood in Gibeon, is no less unseasonably raised by some than unskillfully explained by others. 9595     The rebuke here administered to those who attempt to explain the miracle applies with double force to those who attempt to explain it away. It is rather strange that among this number are some of the most distinguished Jewish rabbis as Levi-ben-Gerson and Maimonides, both of whom maintain that there was no miracle, but only something very like one. Their chief inducement to adopt this very extraordinary view, is zeal for the honor of Moses, which they think would be seriously impugned by admitting that a miracle which he never performed was performed by the instrumentality of his successor Joshua. — Ed. For Joshua did not subtlety place the sun in any particular point, making it necessary to feign that the battle was fought at the summer solstice, but as it was turning towards the district of Ajalon as far as the eye could discern, Joshua bids it stay and rest there, in other words, remain above what is called the horizon. In short, the sun, which was already declining to the west, is kept from setting. 9696     French “En somme, le soleil remonte estant ja commence a se coucher;” “In a word, the sun remounts after he had begun to set.” — Ed.

I do not give myself any great anxiety as to the number of the hours; because it is enough for me that the day was continued through the whole night. Were histories of that period extant, they would doubtless celebrate this great miracle; lest its credibility, however, should be questioned, the writer of this book mentions that an account of it was given elsewhere, though the work which he quotes has been lost, and expounders are not well agreed as to the term Jazar. Those who think Moses is meant, insist on referring the example which is here given to general predictions. As Moses applies this name to the chosen people, it is more congruous to hold that commentaries on the events in their history are meant. I, for my part, understand by it either God or Israel, rather than the author of a history. 9797     French, “Quant a moy, pour dire la verite, je le prends comme s’il estoit parle de Dieu ou du peuple d’Israel, plutost que de celuy qui a escrit Phistoire;” “For my part, to tell the truth, I understand it as it were spoken of God, or of the people of Israel, rather than of him who wrote the history.” The view here adopted as to the meaning of Jasher has the sanction of many expositors of eminence, both ancient and modern, who consider it to have been some record in which an account of the leading events in the history of the chosen people was regularly inserted, and which might thus come to be commonly spoken of as the Book of the Just, very much in the same way as we are accustomed to speak of the Book of Worthies, the Book of Martyrs, etc. The only other allusion to the Book of Jasher is in 2 Samuel 1:18, where it is referred to as containing, or at least in connection with David’s lament over Saul and Jonathan. Founding on this reference, De Wette and other rationalists argue that the Book of Joshua is not of the early date usually ascribed to it, and must have been written after the time of David. This argument assumes that Jasher is the name of an author living in the time, or subsequently to the time, of David, and, but for this assumption, for which no good grounds are shown, is utterly destitute of plausibility. — Ed.

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