“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 Ayalon. 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 hastened to go down for about a whole day. And there has been no day like that, before it or after it, that the Lord heeded a voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel.” Joshua 10:12-14
When Joshua called on God to help the Israelites win a battle against five armies, God answered supernaturally by making the sun stand still and stopping the moon.
For many centuries, various theories have attempted to explain what actually happened, if indeed anything at all.
But at the beginning of the year, Israeli scientists revealed proof that the battle of Gibeon and the astronomical activity described in the Bible are true – and coincided perfectly with a solar eclipse.
The sixth book of the Bible is named for Egyptian-born Joshua, the famed leader-come hero who went from one of the 12 spies relaying information about Canaan, to becoming Moses’ successor as leader of the Israelites for 28 years. Born Hoshea, Moses adapted the spy’s name to Yehoshua which became the English, Joshua. With accounts that read like modern-day espionage and drama, Joshua’s book is full of battles, conquests, victories, miracles, intrigue and mystery.
To get into the promised land of Canaan, the Israelites had to cross the Jordan River. On that day, the water conveniently stopped flowing in time for the entire nation and all their livestock and belongings to stay dry as they traversed the river bed. The water then miraculously resumed its normal flow. Not long after that, the Israelites experienced a victorious and miraculous win at the well-known battle of Jericho.
Scientists have determined that both the phenomenon at the river and the collapse of the doomed city coincided with an earthquake of epic proportions and accompanying aftershocks.
The next battle at Ai was a disastrous defeat that needed no scientific validation, but it did cause Joshua to doubt God and His promises. Facing yet another battle against thousands of enemies, Joshua prayed for divine intervention. In response, God caused the sun to stand still and the moon to stop. After decades of theories with no substantiated proof, Israeli scientists last week have said they can explain what actually happened.
Making use of the newest technology and data available from NASA, as well as their in-depth knowledge of Hebrew and the Hebrew scriptures, three research scientists from the Ben Gurion University in Beersheba were able to determine that the Bible’s description of the event was in fact describing an eclipse. From this they were then able to date the battle of Gibeon to the very date it occurred, which on the Gregorian calendar is Oct. 30, 1207 BC. Their paper on the subject has been published in the most recent edition of Beit Mikra: Journal for the Study of the Bible and Its World.
In the paper, the scientists explained that the mention of the moon’s behavior was a huge clue. The word dom, which is translated as “stand still” is found one other time in the Hebrew scriptures. Psalms 37:7 interprets the word correctly as “become dark.” With this in mind, the researchers concluded that what happened in Gibeon was indeed a solar eclipse where the moon comes between the earth and the sun and the light from the sun is blocked.
According to available data, one total solar eclipse took place in the area which also lines up with the dates that the Exodus occurred and the Israelites first established themselves in Canaan. The technology is so advanced, the researchers could even pinpoint the time of the battle: It was 4:28 p.m.
In addition, the scientists pinpointed the exact location of the battle from tracing the nighttime route Joshua and his men might have taken from their camp at Gilgal to Gibeon nearly 20 miles away, east of Jericho and north of Jerusalem.
The spokesman for the group of scientists said that it is not popular to use physics to prove biblical accounts because it could be interpreted as rationalizing one’s faith. He added that they don’t claim everything written in the Bible is truth or even occurred but in this case there is historical truth with accompanying archaeological evidence to back it up.
“The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.”