Joshua 10:13: Sun and Moon Stand Still, Part 2

Verse 13:[1] And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. (2 Sam. 1:18) Is not this written in the book of Jasher (or, the upright[2])? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.

[And the sun and moon stood still] Question: Did they actually stand still? Response 1: Some deny that anything changed in heaven, but therefore something appeared to have changed, because on earth Joshua conducted so great matters with such swiftness that it rather appeared that the day was prolonged, and that the Sun stood still, than that he conducted those things so swiftly (certain interpreters in Serarius). They maintain that this was the prayer of Joshua, that, before the Sun and Moon set, he might be able to punish his enemies. And that this was miraculous, because at the prayers of man he wrought so great a slaughter in so small a space of time (Rabbi Levi ben Gershon and Maimonides in Masius). The Sun and Moon appeared to have stood still, that is, on account of the brevity of the time in which the Israelites subdued their enemies; which was certainly the work of many days: that is to say, Grant it, Lord, that in so short an interval we might avenge ourselves on our enemies as the Sun will stand over Gibeon, and the Moon this night over Ajalon (Vatablus). They maintain that the expression is poetic, as if the Sun had waited until the slaughter of their enemies was completed; although rather the Israelites did not cease to pursue their enemies as long as either the Sun or the Moon were supplying light. The Writer to the Hebrews, relating the remarkable rewards of faith, in Hebrews 11:30 made mention of the overthrow of Jericho; he did not make mention of a change in the course of the heavens, which would have been much greater. And it now follows that God hearkened to the voice of a man, not indeed by stopping the Sun, but by fighting, that is, by furnishing strength to those fighting and an invincible spirit against hardships, by sending in addition stones for hail (Grotius). But Moses in no place exercised power over the motion of the heavenly spheres, who nevertheless excelled all others in the glory of miracles (Rabbi Levi ben Gershon in Masius). But in this Moses was greater than Joshua, because the former wrought more and longer lasting miracles than the latter (Masius out of Maimonides). Others maintain that the Sun progressed only more slowly: For those words, it did not hasten to go down, take away haste, not motion (Rabbi Levi ben Gershon in Serarius and in Masius). Others maintain that God a body of a new sort in heaven, which represented the Sun, after the Sun had set. Thus a Hebrew by the name of שֶׁם טוֹב, Shem Tov[3] (Masius). Thus Radak [that is, Rabbi David Kimchi] and his father, Rabbi Joseph Kimchi[4] (Serarius). It is not impossible for God by reflection to show after the setting of the Sun an appearance of it in a cloud standing above the horizon (Grotius). But all these things are against the altogether clear light of the history, and against the opinion of all interpreters. These, while they turn from the miracle that Scripture clearly relates, forge new miracles. But those that refer this to the swiftness of Joshua, either are mentally impaired, or altogether impudent. For who, whether Orator or Poet, sacred or profane, ever described swiftness in this way? On the contrary, while matters are toilsome, days seem longer: Plautus’ Amphitryon 1; Horace’s Epistles 1 (Serarius). And the prophet Habakkuk, among other miracles of God, recounts that the Sun and Moon stood still, Habakkuk 3:11; thus Ecclesiasticus 46:4, 5[5] (Masius). Response 2: Therefore, all others affirm that the Sun and Moon actually stood still. Neither is it the case that anyone marvels that so great a matter was not handed down to posterity in the books of the Gentiles; for in those nothing is related of those things that happened before the Trojan War, than which the matter conducted by Joshua were older by almost a thousand years (Masius). Nevertheless, I do not doubt that hence, or from the retrogression of the Sun in the time of Hezekiah,[6] it was taken, what the Poets contrived, with the form somewhat inverted, concerning the night double by Jove, so that he might enjoy Alcmene for a longer time.[7] For it was necessary that as long as the rising of the Sun in the other hemisphere was put off, just so long the Sun stood still and stayed in that one. Thus in Plautus’ Amphitryon: Sosia: By Pollux, I certainly know, if anything that I believe is otherwise…[8] (Maresius’[9] In Refutation of the Fable of the Preadamites[10] 7:18-19:245). Moreover, since both luminaries together began to stand still and stopped, that delay does not hinder Astronomical calculation; just as in harmonious singing in Music the harmony remains intact, and the sounds are not discordant, if the voices in a sign of agreement rest together, and afterwards proceed to complete the song according to the notes of all and each (Ussher’s[11] Annals 1:39).

[Until the nation avenged itself on its enemies[12] (thus Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus, similarly Junius and Tremellius, Bochart’s Sacred Catalogue of Animals)] גּוֹי/nation/people is used for the Israelites, as elsewhere (Masius); and אֹיְבָיו, its enemies, is used in the place of מֵאֺיְבָיו, from its enemies, an ellipsis of the preposition מ/from, than which nothing is more frequent (Bochart’s Sacred Catalogue of Animals 1:2:50:590). Montanus translates it without the ellipsis, until the nation punish its enemies. This is very satisfying; for it is יִקֹּם, it punishes, not יִנָּקֵם, it is avenged; then nothing is to be understood (Drusius). But others, because they are unwilling to apply גּוֹי/nation, which is wont to signify profane nations, to the Israelites, maintain that it is accusative, and take it concerning their enemies: until God punish their enemies (Septuagint, similarly the Arabic); until He (that is, God) had punished the people, their enemies (Symmachus in Masius).

[Is not this written] Understanding, song, or miracle (Vatablus).

[In the book of Just Men, עַל־סֵ֣פֶר הַיָּשָׁ֑ר] Upon the book, or, in the book, of the Righteous? (Montanus, Junius and Tremellius, Arabic, Septuagint, Munster), or, the Just? (Tigurinus). To others it is a proper name (Malvenda). In the book of Jasher? (Pagnine). The name of the author, who is thus called; that is to say, the righteous (Malvenda). In the book of uprightness? (Masius), or, right living? that is, a Directory (certain interpreters in Malvenda). In the book of law? (other interpreters in Malvenda). Question: What is this book? Responses: 1. Writings preserved in the Temple, Josephus’ Antiquities 5. 2. Annals of the people of the Jews (Masius). That was a book of court-records, or of public acts, which has perished, like many other court-records of which Scripture made mention (Junius). It is called the book of the Righteous, either, because with the utmost trustworthiness it touched upon matters conducted; or, because it contained the deeds of Israel, which is called יְשֻׁרוּן/Jeshurun, the Upright, Deuteronomy 32:15 (Masius). But annals are not wont to be written in metrical verse, in which this was nevertheless written, as Masius acknowledges (Bonfrerius). This book was, as it were, a Catalog of Saints, written concerning the deeds of Heroes and Saints (Lapide, Bonfrerius), in metrical verse (Bonfrerius). It appears that there was a book in which rites were contained to direct practice in various functions and actions of the republic; perhaps begun by Moses, then at various times, as it is done in books of this sort, with various additions added. It is not strange that this does not survive. It is certain evident that those, which are the Sacred books even now in our hands, are abundantly sufficient for discerning the will of God and finding the path of eternal life, if only we be teachable. But you will say, Joshua ineptly made use of the testimony of his equivalent. Responses: 1. It is not at all absurd, if he confirmed the matters conducted by himself by the testimony of the public records. 2. But I do not think that Joshua was the author of this Register (Masius).

[And so the sun stood still] There is no mention of the Moon here. Evidently, the Sun did not set until the battle was over. And therefore, as I said, the opinion of the Jews is refuted, who think that the Moon as a substitute luminary succeeded the Sun (Masius).

[In the midst of heaven[13]] Question: How is this to be taken? Responses: 1. In the heaven itself (Drusius, Lapide, Menochius). The midst of heaven, in the place of that part of heaven, not altogether the last, in which the Sun illumines the earth with a light not faint (Masius). The midst signifies any part between the extremes: just as in Joshua 7:13, there is an accursed thing in the midst of thee;[14] and in Isaiah 6:5, in the midst of a people, etc.[15] (Tostatus and Magalianus in Bonfrerius). But Serarius rightly notes here that it is not בְּקֶרֶב or בּתוֹךְ, in the midst of, but בַּחֲצִי, which everywhere signifies the center and equal parts (Bonfrerius). 2. By the midst of heaven, therefore, others with greater likelihood understand the meridian zone, by which the upper hemisphere is divided into two equal parts (Bonfrerius, thus Kimchi and Lyra and Serarius in Bonfrerius). Nevertheless, the midst is here to be taken morally, not mathematically (Serarius). In the midst of heaven; on that Northern line, that is, in the midst of East and West, that is, at Midday (Vatablus). In that part of the upper hemisphere by which that is divided into two equal parts: namely, near the apex in its proper sphere (Piscator). The Sun stood still at noon (Munster, Kimchi and others, Masius). And I would not wish to rebut that; for the sequence of events does not at all appear to disagree with that time. At first light he attacked them; and, while some fight, and others are cut down, several hours had passed before all fled, and escaped unto that plain (Ajalon) (Masius). But these things hinder understanding by the midst of heaven the meridian zone. 1. If the Sun had stood still at noon, men would have melted with excessive heat; especially since it was the Summer Solstice at that time. 2. The Sun is not able to appear to us in the meridian in any city, or to bear down from above, unless that city is in the same meridian zone with us. But Joshua was not now under the same meridian with Gibeon, because he had already withdrawn from Gibeon a great distance, and that toward the West, as it is evident from Josephus’ Jewish War 2:23, and from almost all Geographers. And so the Sun was not able to appear to Joshua in Gibeon, if it was noon (Bonfrerius). Therefore, others maintain that the Sun was now nearly set (thus Masius, our Mayer, Lapide). That anxious prayer was not offered before he noticed that the day was waning unto evening, but that the greater part of the victory was yet ahead, and feared lest approaching night should bring a safe flight for his enemies (Masius). This does not satisfy: Joshua would not have been able at that time to see the Sun bearing down from above upon a city which was eastward (as was proven), if the Sun was waning toward its setting. Therefore, others maintain that this time in which the Sun stood still was early and before noon. Otherwise the Sun was not able to be seen in a city further east, or to hang over it. But the Moon at that time seems to be close to setting (Bonfrerius). It is able to be objected, 1. that the word is חֲצִי, which signifies the center. Response: It does indeed signify the center, not of the entire hemisphere, but of the quadrant from the horizon to the apex. Objection 2: Why would he command the Sun to stand still, when the greater part of the day was left? Response: Either he commanded the Sun to stand still before the day grew hot, etc.; or, he wished to finish the battle on that day. Objection: Joshua was not able to complete so many things between Dawn and that hour of the day. Response: He was altogether able. For, from Dawn, about which time he made an assault upon the enemy, verse 9, that is, one hour before the rising of the Sun, there were able to be five whole hours, in which the Israelites partly smote the enemy, partly pursued them unto Beth-horon (which was perhaps three or four leagues[16] from Gibeon) (Bonfrerius).

[And it hasted not to fall[17]] [Similarly all interpreters; or, to its setting] or, to go in (Jonathan).

[The space of one day, כְּי֥וֹם תָּמִֽים׃] As in a complete day (Grotius, Montanus, Jonathan); in the space (or, close to the space [Munster]) of an entire day (Arabic, Munster); an entire day, as it were (Junius and Tremellius, similarly Tigurinus, Pagnine, Masius, Vatablus). By a complete day they understand the longest day, or a summer day, which sort was at that time in those places (Grotius, Hebrews in Vatablus).

Stood still; Hebrew, was silent,[18] that is, still, as this phrase is commonly used, as 1 Samuel 14:9;[19] Psalm 4:4;[20] Jonah 1:12;[21] the cessation of the tongue’s motion being put synecdochically for the cessation of any other motion or action. Until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies, that is, till they had utterly destroyed them, as is mentioned in the following chapter. The book of Jasher; either of a man so called, or of the righteous or upright, wherein possibly the memorable actions of worthy men were recorded, and this amongst the rest. And this book was written and published before Joshua wrote his, and so is fitly alleged here. But this, as well as some few other historical books, is lost, not being a canonical book, and therefore not preserved by the Jews with the same care as they were. So the sun stood still: here is no mention of the moon, because the sun’s standing was the only thing which Joshua desired and needed; and the moon’s standing he desired only by accident, to prevent irregularity in the motions of those celestial lights. Some take this to be but a poetical phrase and relation of the victory, that Joshua did so many and such great things in that day, as if the sun and moon had stood still and given him longer time for it. But the frequent repetition and magnificent declaration of this wonder manifestly confutes that fancy. That the sun and moon did really stand still, is affirmed, Habakkuk 3:11; Ecclesiasticus 46:4, 5. And if it seem strange to any one that so wonderful a work, observed by the whole world that then was, should not be mentioned in any heathen writers; he must needs be satisfied, if he, considers, that it is confessed by the generality of writers, heathens and others, that there is no certain history or monument in heathen authors of any thing done before the Trojan wars, which was a thousand years after Joshua’s time; and that all time before that is called by the learnedest heathens the uncertain, unknown, or obscure time. In the midst of heaven; not mathematically, in the very meridian or middle part of that hemisphere; but morally, and with some latitude, when it had begun a little to decline, the consideration whereof seems to have given Joshua occasion for his desire. About a whole day, that is, for the space of a whole day. Understand an artificial day, between sunrising and sun-setting; for that was the day which Joshua needed and desired, a day to give him light for his work.

[1] Hebrew: וַיִּדֹּ֙ם הַשֶּׁ֜מֶשׁ וְיָרֵ֣חַ עָמָ֗ד עַד־יִקֹּ֥ם גּוֹי֙ אֹֽיְבָ֔יו הֲלֹא־הִ֥יא כְתוּבָ֖ה עַל־סֵ֣פֶר הַיָּשָׁ֑ר וַיַּעֲמֹ֤ד הַשֶּׁ֙מֶשׁ֙ בַּחֲצִ֣י הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם וְלֹא־אָ֥ץ לָב֖וֹא כְּי֥וֹם תָּמִֽים׃

[2] Hebrew: הַיָּשָׁר.

[3] Shem Tov ibn Shem Tov (c. 1390-c. 1440) was a Spanish Rabbi and Kabbalist.  He opposed attempts to wed Judaism with rationalistic philosophy.  In his Sefer ha-Emunot, he discusses Joshua’s words concerning the sun standing still as one of the points of contention between rationalistic philosophy and historic Jewish belief.

[4] Rabbi Joseph Kimchi (1105-1170) was a Spanish Rabbi.  Although only fragments survive, Joseph Kimchi is said to have written commentaries on all of the books of the Hebrew Bible, emphasizing the literal meaning of the text, as over against the Christological allegorizing.

[5] Ecclesiasticus 46:4, 5:  “Did not the sun go back by his means? and was not one day as long as two?  He called upon the most high Lord, when the enemies pressed upon him on every side; and the great Lord heard him.”

[6] 2 Kings 20:9-11; Isaiah 38:7, 8.

[7] In Greek mythology, Alcmene is said to have been tall, dignified, and incredibly beautiful.  She was betrothed to Amphitryon, but Zeus, appearing as Amphitryon, lay with her, extending the night so that he might continue with her.  She conceived Hercules.

[8] Amphitryon 269.  Sosia, Amphitryon’s slave, marvels over the extension of the night.

[9] Maresius, or Samuel Desmarets (1599-1673), was a French Huguenot minister and polemist.  He held various ministerial posts, and served as Professor of Theology at Sedan (1625-1636), and at Groningen (1643-1673).

[10] In Refutatione Fabulæ Præadamiticæ.

[11] James Ussher (1580-1655) was an Irish churchman and scholar of the first rank, who eventually rose to the office of Archbishop of Ireland.  He is most remembered for his Annals of the World.

[12] Hebrew: עַד־יִקֹּ֥ם גּוֹי֙ אֹֽיְבָ֔יו.

[13] Hebrew: בַּחֲצִ֣י הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם.

[14] Joshua 7:13b:  “…Sanctify yourselves against to morrow:  for thus saith the Lord God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee (בְּקִרְבְּךָ), O Israel…”

[15] Isaiah 6:5b:  “…Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and in the midst of a people of unclean lips (וּבְתוֹךְ֙ עַם־טְמֵ֣א שְׂפָתַ֔יִם) I dwell…”

[16] A league was roughly three-miles, about the distance one could walk in an hour.

[17] Hebrew: וְלֹא־אָ֥ץ לָב֖וֹא.

[18] Hebrew: וַיִּדֹּם.

[19] 1 Samuel 14:9:  “If they say thus unto us, Tarry until we come to you (דֹּ֕מּוּ עַד־הַגִּיעֵ֖נוּ); then we will stand still in our place, and will not go up unto them.”

[20] Psalm 4:4:  “Stand in awe, and sin not:  commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still (וְדֹמּוּ).  Selah.”

[21] Jonah 1:12, 15:  “And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be silent unto you (וְיִשְׁתֹּ֥ק הַיָּ֖ם מֵֽעֲלֵיכֶ֑ם):  for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you….  So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging (וַיַּעֲמֹ֥ד הַיָּ֖ם מִזַּעְפּֽוֹ׃).”

1 thought on “Joshua 10:13: Sun and Moon Stand Still, Part 2

  1. Matthew Henry: “The great faith of Joshua, and the power of God crowning it with the miraculous arrest of the sun, that the day of Israel’s victories might be prolonged, and so the enemy totally defeated. The hailstones had their rise no higher than the clouds, but, to show that Israel’s help came from above the clouds, the sun itself, who by his constant motion serves the whole earth, by halting when there was occasion served the Israelites, and did them a kindness. The sun and moon stood still in their habitation, at the light of thy arrows which gave the signal, Habakkuk 3:11.

    (1.) Here is the prayer of Joshua that the sun might stand still. I call it his prayer, because it is said (Joshua 10:12) he spoke to the Lord; as Elijah, though we read (1 Kings 17:1) only of his prophesying of the drought, yet is said (James 5:17) to pray for it. Observe, [1.] An instance of Joshua’s unwearied activity in the service of God and Israel, that though he had marched all night and fought all day, and, one might expect, would be inclined to repose himself and get a little sleep, and give his army some time to rest—that, like the hireling, he would earnestly desire the shadow, and bid the night welcome, when he had done such a good day’s work—yet, instead of this, he wishes for nothing so much as the prolonging of the day. Note, Those that wait on the Lord and work for him shall renew their strength, shall run and not be weary, shall walk and not faint, Isaiah 40:31. [2.] An instance of his great faith in the almighty power of God, as above the power of nature, and able to control and alter the usual course of it. No doubt Joshua had an extraordinary impulse or impression upon his spirit, which he knew to be of divine origin, prompting him to desire that this miracle might be wrought upon this occasion, else it would have been presumption in him to desire or expect; the prayer would not have been granted by the divine power, if it had not been dictated by the divine grace. God wrought this faith in him, and then said, ‘According to thy faith, and thy prayer of faith, be it unto thee.’ It cannot be imagined, however, that such a thing as this should have entered into his mind if God had not put it there; a man would have had a thousand projects in his head for the completing of the victory before he would have thought of desiring the sun to stand still; but even in the Old Testament saints the Spirit made intercession according to the will of God. What God will give he inclines the hearts of his praying people to ask, and for what he will do he will be enquired of, Ezekiel 36:37. Now, First, It looked great for Joshua to say, Sun, stand thou still. His ancestor Joseph had indeed dreamed that the sun and moon did homage to him; but who would have thought that, after it had been fulfilled in the figure, it should be again fulfilled in the letter to one of his posterity? The prayer is thus expressed with authority, because it was not an ordinary prayer, such as is directed and supported only by God’s common providence or promise, but the prayer of a prophet at this time divinely inspired for this purpose; and yet it intimates to us the prevalency of prayer in general, so far as it is regulated by the word of God, and may remind us of that honour put upon prayer (Isaiah 45:11), Concerning the work of my hands command you me. He bids the sun stand still upon Gibeon, the place of action and the seat of war, intimating that what he designed in this request was the advantage of Israel against their enemies; it is probable that the sun was now declining, and that he did not call for the lengthening out of the day until he observed it hastening towards it period. He does likewise, in the name of the King of kings, arrest the moon, perhaps because it was requisite for the preserving of the harmony and good order of the spheres that the course of the rest of the heavenly bodies should be stayed likewise, otherwise, while the sun shone, he needed not the moon; and here he mentions the valley of Ajalon, which was near to Gibeon, because there he was at that time. Secondly, It was bold indeed to say so before Israel, and argues a very strong assurance of faith. If the event had not answered the demand, nothing could have been a greater slur upon him; the Israelites would have concluded he was certainly going mad, or he would never have talked so extravagantly. But he knew very well God would own and answer a petition which he himself directed to be drawn up and presented, and therefore was not afraid to say before all Israel, calling them to observe this work of wonder, Sun, stand thou still, for he was confident in him whom he had trusted. He believed the almighty power of God, else he could not have expected that the sun, going on in its strength, driving in a full career, and rejoicing as a strong man to run a race, should be stopped in an instant. He believed the sovereignty of God in the kingdom of nature, else he could not have expected that the established law and course of nature should be changed and interrupted, the ordinances of heaven, and the constant usage according to these ordinances, broken in upon. And he believed God’s particular favour to Israel above all people under the sun, else he could not have expected that, to favour them upon an emergency with a double day, he should (which must follow of course) amaze and terrify so great a part of the terrestrial globe with a double night at the same time. It is true, he causeth the sun to shine upon the just and the unjust; but for this once the unjust shall wait for it beyond the usual time, while, in favour to righteous Israel, it stands still.

    (2.) The wonderful answer to this prayer. No sooner said than done (Joshua 10:13): The sun stood still, and the moon staid. Notwithstanding the vast distance between the earth and the sun, at the word of Joshua the sun stopped immediately; for the same God that rules in heaven above rules at the same time on this earth, and, when he pleases, even the heavens shall hear the earth, as here. Concerning this great miracle it is here said, [1.] That it continued a whole day, that is, the sun continued as long again above the horizon as otherwise it would have done. It is commonly supposed to have been about the middle of summer that this happened, when, in that country, it was about fourteen hours between sun and sun, so that this day was about twenty-eight hours long; yet, if we suppose it to have been at that time of the year when the days are at the shortest, it will be the more probable that Joshua should desire and pray for the prolonging of the day. [2.] That hereby the people had full time to avenge themselves of their enemies, and to give them a total defeat. We often read in history of battles which the night put an end to, the shadows of which favoured the retreat of the conquered; to prevent this advantage to the enemy in their flight, the day was doubled, that the hand of Israel might find out all their enemies; but the eye and hand of God can find them out without the help of the sun’s light, for to him the night shineth as the day, Psalm 139:12. Note, Sometimes God completes a great salvation in a little time, and makes but one day’s work of it. Perhaps this miracle is alluded to Zechariah 14:6-7, where the day of God’s fighting against the nations is said to be one day, and that at evening time it shall be light, as here. And, [3.] That there was never any day like it, before or since, in which God put such an honour upon faith and prayer, and upon Israel’s cause; never did he so wonderfully comply with the request of a man, nor so wonderfully fight for his people. [4.] This is said to be written in the book of Jasher, a collection of state-poems, in which the poem made upon this occasion was preserved among the rest; probably the same with that book of the wars of the Lord (Numbers 21:14), which afterwards was continued and carried on by one Jasher. Those words, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon, and thou moon in the valley of Ajalon, sounding metrical, are supposed to be taken from the narrative of this event as it was found in the book of Jasher. Not that the divine testimony of the book of Joshua needed confirmation from the book of Jasher, a human composition; but to those who had that book in their hands it would be of use to compare this history with it, which warrants the appeals the learned make to profane history for corroborating the proofs of the truth of sacred history. [5.] But surely this stupendous miracle of the standing still of the sun was intended for something more than merely to give Israel so much the more time to find out and kill their enemies, which, without this, might have been done the next day. First, God would hereby magnify Joshua (Joshua 3:7), as a particular favourite, and one whom he did delight to honour, being a type of him who has all power both in heaven and in earth and whom the winds and the seas obey. Secondly, He would hereby notify to all the world what he was doing for his people Israel here in Canaan; the sun, the eye of the world, must be fixed for some hours upon Gibeon and the valley of Ajalon, as if to contemplate the great works of God there for Israel, and so to engage the children of men to look that way, and to enquire of this wonder done in the land, 2 Chronicles 32:31. Proclamation was hereby made to all the neighbouring nations. Come, behold the works of the Lord (Psalm 46:8), and say, What nation is there so great as Israel is, who has God so nigh unto them? One would have supposed that this would bring such real ambassadors as the Gibeonites pretended to be from a very far country, to court the friendship of Israel because of the name of the Lord their God. Thirdly, He would hereby convince and confound those idolaters that worshipped the sun and moon and gave divine honours to them, by demonstrating that they were subject to the command of the God of Israel, and that, as high as they were, he was above them; and thus he would fortify his people against temptations to this idolatry, which he foresaw they would be addicted to (Deuteronomy 4:19), and which, notwithstanding this, they afterwards corrupted themselves with. Fourthly, This miracle signified (it is the learned bishop Pierson’s notion) that in the latter days, when the light of the world was tending towards a light of darkness, the Sun of righteousness, even our Joshua, should arise (Malachi 4:2), give check to the approaching night, and be the true light. To which let me add that when Christ conquered our spiritual enemies upon the cross the miracle wrought on the sun was the reverse of this; it was then darkened as if it had gone down at noon, for Christ needed not the light of the sun to carry on his victories: he then made darkness his pavilion. And, Lastly, The arresting of the sun and moon in this day of battle prefigured the turning of the sun into darkness, and the moon into blood, in the last great and terrible day of the Lord.”

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