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Joshua's Long Day
DAY, JOSHUA’s LONG, an event mentioned in a poetic passage in Joshua 10:12, 13. When Joshua and the Israelites began to conquer the hill country of Judah from the Canaanite tribes the town of Gibeon made peace with the invaders. A coalition of petty kings, Adonizedek of Jerusalem, Hoham of Hebron, Piram of Jarmuth, Japhia of Lachish, and Debir of Eglon together with five chieftains of the Amorites met Joshua in battle at Gibeon (10:1-10). There the Lord rained down hailstones and killed many of the enemy. Then Joshua, before Israel, prays to God with a short poem. “Sun, stand thou still at Gibeon, and thou Moon in the valley of Aijalon.” So the sun stood still and the moon remained (10:12, 13). It seems as though the parallelism and the sense of Scripture connects the movement of sun and moon. The next statement, v. 14, states that “There has been no day like it before or since.” There is no doubt that the Scripture narrative means to be understood in the sense of a supernatural, miraculous event. However, the long day is not mentioned anywhere else in Scripture. Needless to add, this passage has been of great interest throughout the ages of Biblical study. It is so simple and straightforward that it admits to little emendation. On the other hand, it is clear that the victory thus won by Israel was the direct result of the sovereign work of God. The short poem is a hymn of praise for God’s providential provision. The mechanics of that action are not told, but only its result in a victory for the children of Israel.
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