Joshua 10

Chapter ten tells of the ramifications of the peace treaty Joshua made with Gibeon in chapter nine. After hearing of the overwhelming victories at Jericho and Ai and learning that Gibeon, a huge city with many warriors, had joined Israel, the king of Jerusalem created a coalition with four other regional Amorite kings to stop Israel once and for all (Joshua 10:1-5). They decided that their best attack would be on Gibeon, because Israel would be forced to fight the whole coalition, rather than one king at a time. Under attack, Gibeon called on Israel for their promised support, which Joshua provided (Joshua 10:6-11). He must have been naturally worried about the enormous battle he was about to enter, but God told him that he would fight for Israel and that Israel would indeed win. Joshua noted that more Amorite warriors were killed by God’s large hailstones than by Israelite warriors.

That was not the best part, though. At one point, Joshua prayed for the day to physically be extended, so night did not overtake them before the battle was over (Joshua 10:12-14). In a very specific prayer, he commanded both the sun and the moon to stop at their locations, probably because dusk was quickly approaching. In an unprecedented act of gracious provision, “the LORD listened to the voice of a man” (NASB).

We should note that many believers and unbelievers alike do not accept this to have literally taken place. They give all kinds of reasons as to why it is not physically and scientifically possible for the Earth to stop rotating around the sun. Others use this as proof that the Bible cannot be taken literally in matters of science because the sun cannot “stop” since it does not move around the Earth. No matter the arguments, they all come back to one premise: the Bible, as written, is not completely trustworthy. Once a person takes this stance, their interpretation will necessarily be flawed. However, the God who created the sun, moon, and Earth and put the laws of nature into motion can certainly suspend them when he deems necessary, including stopping the Earth’s rotation while showering a valley with large hailstones. “Is anything impossible for the LORD?” (Genesis 18:14)

When Joshua heard that the five kings were all hiding together in a cave, he ordered them to be locked in until the battle was over (Joshua 10:16-27). Once everyone but a few stragglers were defeated, Joshua brought out the five kings and had them hanged. Their bodies were thrown back into the cave, and it was closed up. “That day” Joshua began a campaign against all of the cities of those kings and those around them (Joshua 10:28-39). Over the course of the next week, Joshua moved from one fortified city to the next, destroying them as they stood against Jehovah. The refrain is repeated that each one fell like the one before it. Thus, “Joshua defeated the whole [southern part of the] land…in one campaign,” then they went back home to rest (Joshua 10:40-43).

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Daniel Goepfrich

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