When Israel battled the Amorites, Joshua prayed to God to prolong the daylight and God answered his prayer. This amazing story is about the power of God in the day the sun stood still.
God Answers Joshua’s Prayer
Joshua 10:12-14 “At that time Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, 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.”
Here is an amazing story and testimony to the power of God Who as Creator can easily suspend the natural laws of the universe. Because He is the One Who had the power to cause these laws to come into being, does He not also have the power to suspend these laws? Obviously He does have the power and since He has all authority, He can do whatsoever He pleases to accomplish His will. Joshua and Israel’s victory over the Amorites was a miracle indeed but is anything too hard for God (Jer 32:27; Gen 18:14)? Because Joshua was a faithful man and fully given over to being obedient to God, God listened to Joshua’s prayer and literally caused the sun to stand still until the Amorites were destroyed. What is interesting is that many of these pagan nations, including the Amorites, worshiped the sun and the moon, yet their sun god was powerless against the One, True God…the Creator God Who alone is God.
Poetry, Allegory, or Fact?
There have been many attempts to make this account in the Bible only a poetic type of story that teaches us to rely on God to overcome our enemies. Others see this as an allegory to the power of God and how anything can be accomplished through prayer. Still others believe that it may have been an eclipse of the sun and that the sun’s light was refracted onto the earth’s surface but the problem is that eclipses last only a few minutes, not hours. The issues that I have with these theories are that they can’t hold water. The biblical account is either true or it isn’t and since we know the Bible to be true, we can say with certainly that this is an actual, literal, historical event that took place in read space and time. There isn’t even a hint that this is a story that is supposed to just be an object lesson or to simply teach us a principle. What it says is that God, as Creator, has the power to do anything that He wants to do that is according to His purpose and this fulfilled God’s desire to destroy a pagan, idol-worshiping nation whose false religion was detestable to God and allowing this nation to survive would have endangered their corrupting, infiltrating, and influencing the nation of Israel. It was not that the earth stopped but apparently the sun and the moon stood still so this meant that no time would have been gained or lost.
Joshua’s Long Day and Long Night
If the day was protracted or extended in Joshua’s battle with the Amorites, surely other nations would have recorded such extended periods of daylight while others on the other side of the globe would have similar historical accounts of an extended period of darkness. Such accounts do exist from Africa and parts of Europe and even into North and South America. A retired Yale Professor of Military Science, Dr. Charles Adiel Lewis Totten, published a study of Joshua’s long day and one of his sources, the Greek Historian Herodotus wrote about some ancient Egyptian priests that showed him records about a day that lasted twice as long as normal and that fit into the timeframe in which Joshua’s battle with the Amorites took place.1 One Indian tribe in North American (the Ojibways) recounted “a long night without any light.”2 The Wyandotte Indians recalled an event, as told to the missionary Paul Le Jeune, that a previous generation had experienced a “long night”3 as well as the Indian tribes of the Omahas,4 the Dogrib,5 the Bungee tribes in Canada6 and multiple other North American and South American tribes.
The Best Explanation
I believe that the other scientific theories are just that…theories and they cannot ever be proven. The best explanation is that God caused it and we must take this account as an actual, historical event at face value. We must believe God in His written Word, the Bible. We must take it literally and not figuratively because there is no room to do so in the way that it is written. What other explanation is there besides the fact that it happened as recorded? God is able to do what we cannot and does what we cannot sometimes explain and that is why He is God and we are not. He is infinite and we are finite. The finite can never explain the infinite; otherwise it would not be infinite. If I could explain God then He would no longer be God.
For those of us who believe this account we have faith that God can do whatever He wills to do because He has the power to bring it about. There is nothing impossible for God to do except lie. God desires to save those who are presently separated from Him by their sin. If you will repent today, if you haven’t done so already, and put your trust in Christ, then you too will be saved and you can ask God Himself someday how He was able to make the sun and the moon stand still.
Another Reading on Patheos to Check Out: What Did Jesus Really Look Like: A Look at the Bible Facts
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Blind Chance or Intelligent Design available on Amazon
1. Totten, C. A. L., 1891. Joshua’s Long Day and the Dial of Ahaz, A Scientific Vindication and A Midnight Cry, 3rd Edition, (New Haven: Our Race Publ. Co.) Reprinted in 1968 by Destiny Publishers, Merrimac, Mass.
2. Olcott, W. T., 1914. Sun Lore of all Ages: A Collection of Myths and Legends Concerning the Sun and its Worship, (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons).
3 Ibid., p. 215.
4 Ibid., p. 216.
5 Ibid., p. 217.
6 Ibid., p. 218.