Day of the Stand-Still Sun

Joshua and all Israel defeat the five kings.

Joshua 10 (2)

So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valor. And the L
ORD said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have delivered them into your hand; not a man of them shall stand before you.” Joshua therefore came upon them suddenly, having marched all night from Gilgal. So the LORD routed them before Israel, killed them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, chased them along the road that goes to Beth Horon, and struck them down as far as Azekah and Makkedah. And it happened, as they fled before Israel and were on the descent of Beth Horon, that the LORD cast down large hailstones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died. There were more who died from the hailstones than the children of Israel killed with the sword. Then Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel:
“Sun, stand still over Gibeon;
And Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.”
So the sun stood still,
And the moon stopped,
Till the people had revenge
Upon their enemies.
Is this not written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go downfor about a whole day. And there has been no day like that, before it or after it, that the LORD heeded the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel. Then Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp at Gilgal. Joshua 10.7-15

Reflect.
1.  How many different ways does the writer confirm that God was with Israel in this battle?

2.  How can you see that Joshua was in communion with the Lord concerning this effort?

Think about it.
Joshua’s response to the Gibeonite plea is immediate. Encouraged by the Lord (v. 8), Joshua led Israel on an overnight march from Gilgal to Gibeon and routed the five kings and their armies in a surprise attack. The writer makes it clear that God is the victor in this battle, employing even the forces of creation to accomplish His wrath against His enemies (cf. vv. 11, 12, 14).

There was more work to do than one day’s light could accommodate, so Joshua asked for an extension. He was so certain of God’s will and so determined to carry it out that he was emboldened to ask for something no one had ever seen before: the sun standing still, time augmented and increased “Till the people had revenge upon their enemies.” Have you ever prayed so boldly?

As if to reinforce the fact of this event, the writer cites another account of it, perhaps in a now-lost pagan book, as documentation for his report. The Gibeonites relieved, Joshua “and all Israel with him” return to their camp at Gilgal. The battle was won, but there was more to do yet in finalizing Israel’s victory.

This battle in some ways foreshadows events as they will unfold at the return of the Lord. Time will come to an end, the enemies of the Lord will be completely destroyed, and their leaders – the devil and his ilk – will be utterly destroyed forever.

Meditate and discuss.
1.  Why do you suppose the writer went to such lengths to show that God was clearly in agreement with this battle plan?

2.  What does the stopping of the sun suggest about God’s relationship to time? What is time? Where does it come from and what is it for (Eph. 5.15-17)? 

3.  If we commit our time to the Lord (Ps. 90.12, 16, 17), can we expect Him to help us make the best use of it (Eph. 5.15-17)? What does that involve?

“Let no one tell me, therefore, that the motions of the heavenly bodies constitute time. For when the sun stood still at the prayer of a certain man in order that he might gain his victory in battle, the sun stood still but time went on. For in as long a span of time as was sufficient the battle was fought and ended. I see, then, that time is a certain kind of extension.” Augustine(354-430 AD)

Teach me to number my days and to make the most of my time, O Lord, so that I…

Pray Psalm 90.12-17.

Commit your time and all your work to the Lord. Pray specifically that He might “establish” your work and glorify Himself in it.

Psalm 90.12-17 (Landas: My Faith Has Found a Resting Place)
Lord, teach us all our days to note that wisdom may be ours.
Return, O Lord, have pity on those servants who are Yours.
Each morning let Your love appear that we for joy may sing.
And make us glad for every day You us affliction bring.

Now let Your work to us appear; our children show Your might.
And let Your favor rest on us; show mercy in Your sight.
The work that You have given us, confirm, and to us show,
That we Your chosen path may walk and in Your precepts go.

T. M. Moore

Where does the book of Joshua fit in the ongoing story of God’s covenant? Our workbook, God’s Covenant, can help you discover the place in God’s work of redemption not only of Joshua but of all the books of the Bible. God’s Covenant is a valuable resource to guide you in all your studies in God’s Word. To order your copy, click hereAnd when you order, we’ll send you a free copy of Bricks and Rungs: Poems on Calling.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from 
The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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