Science in Christian Perspective
JOSHUA'S LONG DAY (Joshua, Chapter X)
E. Walter Maunder, F.R.A.S.
Late Superintendent of the Solar Department
Royal Observatory, Greenwich
The tenth chapter
the Book of Joshua Purports to be history.. wd it is
from this history that the skeptic has drawn what he
considers to be bin most
effective weapon against the truth of the Scripture narratives and the actuality
Scripture miracles, It is therefore worth while to read the chapter with care
and attentions and to "certain what it tells us and what inferences we may naturally and legitimately deduce from it.
Originally published in The Transactions of the Victoria Institute. Used by permission.
The forty years' probation--the wandering In the wilderness-was over. As it
began., so it ended. On the tenth day of the first month., the lamb had been
chosen for the
Supper in Egypt; now,
forty years later.. on the tenth day
of the first month, Israel had passed over Jordan dryshod and the lamb was chosen
for the first Passover in the Promised Land.
So they "gathered themselves together and went up, they and
all their hosts, and encamped before Gibeon and made war against
it. And the man of
The forty years had gone; they had passed like a watch In the night, and the Psalmist sings of the deliverance which had opened those forty years, and of the deliverance which closed them--sings of them an if both had occurred on the selfsame day: --
As you all know, the calendar given by Moses to Israel had a double relation. It was based upon the natural month, and regulated by direct 'observation of the day of the reappearance of the new moon. It was based upon the natural year and regulated by the direct observation of the ripening of the fruits of the earth. The heavens therefore gave the indication of the beginning of each month; the earth gave the Indication as to which month was the first mouth of the year.
"What ailed thee 0 thou sea, that thou fleddest?
Thou Jordan, that thou vast driven back?"
The Israelites had crossed the Red Sea and the Jordan,, and they were encamped In the Promised Land, They had crossed the Jordan at its fullest,, for "Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest" (Josh. iii 15). "And the people came out of Jordan on the tenth day of the first month and encamped in Gilgal in the east border of Jericho" (Josh. iv,, 19),
The first stage of the entrance of Israel an Its promised possession was devoted$ not to military measures,, but to spiritual. For Israel was the Chosen People of God: the nation that knew God; and through all its varied history., all who were beat and truest in It recognized continually the presence of God in their midst. On the fourteenth day of the first month, therefore, the people kept the Passover., and during the week that followed they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread.. not with broad made with manna, from heaven, which now ceased for ever,, but with the old corn of the land.
In our Inquiry this evening, we are not concerned with the spiritual aspect of the Passover of Joshua, or of the events which followed in the next few weeks. But they axe important to us as giving a measure of the flight of time.
The Passover was held on the fourteenth day of the first month of the Mosaic calendar.. and the Feast of Unleavened Broad was held an the fifteenth., and six following4ays; then came the siege of Jericho, which -was straitly shut up for a full week or more,, and,, after its destruction., the purely military operations of the conquest began. These two weeks--the week of Unleavened Bread and the week of the siege of Jericho--bring us to the end of the first month,, that is of the month Abib, It Is not likely that Joshua would be slack in taking up his own specially appointed duty~ that of acting--under the Lord his God--as Captain General of the Host of Israel. His army was encamped on the plain at the bottom of that great Rift--the valley of the Jordan. For the time being, he was there well supplied with food and fairly secured from attack. But the climate was enervating and he would have no wish for the nation to make that their settled residence. Further,, he had an Important duty to fulfill: the charge had been laid upon him to proceed into the heart of the land,, and to bring the people to a solemn reading of the Law upon the mountains of Ebal and Gerizim, This involved that he had to undertake a military duty: he must force his way up the heights that rose some 3500 feet above him., and win a foothold upon the Great Ridge. We may take it, therefore, that Joshua, after the destruction of Jericho, lost no time in sending out scouts to reconnoiter the road by which he should gain the central plateau.
It must have been, therefore, quite early in the second month that Joshua's scouts returned to him with the report that the fortress which commanded the upper and of the valley of Achor--the ravine which offered the best route for the highlands--was a small town named At., and they suggested that quite a small force would be sufficient for its conquest. Obviously this advice would appear to be sound from the military point of view; the ascent up the ravine was very difficult and the Israelites would have a very poor chance of forcing their way upwards In the face of a resolute resistance unless they could surprise the enemy that held the heights. At was only a small city., so that a large army seemed unnecessary, and to be inch more likely to be detected In its approach. But the result of the expedition was a disheartening defeat. The 3000 man despatched to seize the pass were detected before they gained the heights., and fell back in confusion and dismay after they had suffered a small loss.
We must not condemn the Israelites as being too fainthearted. What happened
was probably this: they were climbing up as quickly as they could in companies
or hair-companies ("hundreds" or1rifties") and the first "fifty" or half4company
was assailed by stones slung or boulders rolled down upon them from above and
was practically wiped out In a n . The Israelites could see that each succeeding fifty mist share the same fate without being able to retaliate. Now, Orientals in such an extremity are very apt to give up the contest and the Israelites at At followed the ordinary rule.
To Joshua this meant far more than a military defeat: it meant that the Lord had shown that He was wroth with Israel.. and had withdrawn His help and guidance from the nation. In deep distress., Joshua prostrated himself before the Lord, Who revealed to him that a trespass had been committed in Israel against His express command respecting the spoil of Jericho. The criminal was detected, tried and executed, and when the people had been purged from the trespass,, another attack was planned against At. On this occasion quite different tactics were adopted. A pretended attack was prepared, in which the greater part of the whole available force was employed; but first a large army was dispatched by a circuitous route to take up a position on the further side of Al. or., as the narrative expressly tells us,, "to lie in ambush between Bethel and At on the vest side of At." Later Joshua himself,, with the elders. of Israel and the main army, approached Ai from the north. From this point, however., they could not easily approach the city for there was a valley between them and Ai. Joshua now sent a second expedition of about 5000 men to establish a connection with his first detachment and when this operation had been successfully carried out, Joshua led the main army under cover of night into the middle of the ravine on the north side of Ai.
With the return of daylight the King of At perceived that an attack was threatened., and at once he offered battle. Joshua.. on his party ordered his men to retreat hurriedly in the direction of the wilderness. The men of Ai, believing that the Israelites were again panic-stricken and that the victory was already gained, pursued the Israelites eagerly, and the whole population, not of Ai alone, but also of Bethel, a town distant from At some 1.5 miles, took part in the pursuit. Then Joshua stretched out the spear which he had in his hand. The 5000 connecting troops passed on Us intelligence end the Israelites in ambush rushed upon the empty city and set it on fire. The main army of the Israelites turned on their pursuers. caught them in the open and overwhelmed them while the am bushes, emerging from the burning town, took them in the rear. Joshua's enveloping tactics were completely successful, even as Allenby's were in the late war.
And now the military operations were again suspended for a time. The nation had to be solemnly dedicated to God., and to take the oath of fidelity to the Law upon the mountains of Ebal and Gerizim. The march thither must have occupied several days and the date on which that supreme dedication was to take place was without doubt the anniversary of the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai, that is to say, was the Day of Pentecost, seven weeks from the morrow after the Sabbath of the week of Unleavened Bread.
This solemn ceremony ended, the nation of Israel returned to the camp of Gilgal, their way thither being opened, because Ai, the fortress which had commanded the pass,, had been taken and destroyed. But when they had returned to their headquarters, an unexpected event took place: a number of strangers purporting to be ambassadors from a very distant country,, presented themselves and besought a treaty of peace.
During the interval between the-destruction of Ai and the return of Joshua to his headquarters at Gilgal, there had been important political movements amongst the inhabitants of the land. A great terror, due no doubt to the direct interposition of God, had seized the Amorites., and the other tribes in the country. and had kept them quiet during the religious ceremonies of the Passover and the journey to and from Ebal and Gerizim. But now the Amorites felt that their time was at hand.
"And it came to pass, when all the kings which were beyond Jordan,, in the hill country, and in the lowland., and an all the shore of the great sea in front of Lebanon, the Hittitep and the Amorite., the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Rivite and the Jebusite heard thereof; that they gathered themselves together, to fight with Joshua and with Israel, with one accord.
"But when the Inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai. they also did work willingly and went and made as if they had been ambassadors., and took old sacks upon their asses, and wineskins, old and rent and bound up; and old shoes and clouted upon their feet, are old garments upon them; wd all the bread of their provision was dry and was become mouldy. And they vent to Joshua at the camp at Gilgal., and said unto him,, and to the men of Israel,, We are come from a far country: now therefore make ye a covenant with us. And the men of*Israel said unto the Hiviteso Peradventure ye dwell among us; and how shall we make covenant with YOU." (Chapter ix,, 1-7., R. V.)
You will note that the inhabitants of Gibson are called Hivites in the seventh verse, whereas just before they have been called "inhabitants of Gibeon." Yet,, as we read In the first verse, the Rivites were at first members of the great confederacy of the native tribes; they are included amongst the nations that had gathered themselves together to fight "with Joshua and with Israel with one accord."
What had made the change? I think we may find the answer in the fact that one of the smaller cities of the Rivite republic--Beeroth--was only four miles from Ai.. and beyond a doubt the inhabitants of Beeroth had seen the smoke of Ai ascending up to heaven when Ai was burned. That was a kind of argument which even the most stupid of races can understand., and the conduct of the Gibeonites shoved that they were not stupid. "They did work wilily and went and made as if they had been ambassadors."
The fraud succeeded: the Israelites knew well that they were forbidden to make any treaty with the inhabitants of the land of Canaan; that they had been all devoted by the word of God to utter destruction. So when--"at the end of three days after they had made a league with them,, that they board that they were their neighbors, and that they dwelt among them; and the children of Israel Journeyed., and came unto their cities on the third day"--it is not remarkable that we read in the next verse, "all the congregation murmured against the princes." But the covenant had been made,, and though the Glbeonites were made bondmen, yet their lives were saved.
The effect of this treaty was instantaneous. Let it be remembered that Gibson and Jerusalem,, the two chief cities of the Hivites and the Amorites respectively., exist at this present day.. and are only six miles apart; that is to say., just about the distance between the Victoria Institute and Greenwich observatory. It could not have taken lorg for the news of the treaty to reach Jerusalem, and its significance was understood there at once. Joshua and the Israelites, having secured the Hivites as their allies, had not merely got a foot hold in the highlands, but the command of the whole breadth of the Ridge; the Amorites of southern Palestine were completely cut off from their allies in the north. Adonizedek,, King of Jerusalem and bead of the Amorite oonfederacy, saw at once that only one chance remained to him; namely, to "rush" Gibeon before Joshua could occupy it with his troops. He sent, therefore, to those of his allies who were closest at hand to beg for their Immediate help; namely, to the kings of Hebron, Zarmuth., Lachish and Eglon., that is, the kings of the southern part of the Ridge.
So they "gathered themselves together and went up, they and all their hosts, and encamped before Gibeon and made war against it. And the man of
Joshua responded instantly to the appeal. He and his men set out at night - fall; they went up from Gilgal all the n1ght and were at the gate of Gibeon the following day:
"And the Lord discomfited them before Israelp and slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and chased them along the way that goeth up to Beth-horon., and emote them to Azekah and unto Makkedah. And it came to pass, as they fled from before Israel and were In the 1ping down to Beth-horon., that the Lord cast down great stones upon tbom, unto Azekah., and they died; they were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword."
The victory was gained at Gibson; what followed vas the "discomfiture" of
the Amorites--that is to say., their
in headlong rout; they ceased to
be an ordered army.
This brings us to a very significant feature of the geographical problem. The Amorites fled by the way of the two Beth-horons. A glance at the map shove what this Implies. We should have expected the Amorites, upon their defeat, to have retreated upon Jerusalem.. which was their base; or If this line were closed, to have attempted to move north and seek shelter with the Canaanites in the country afterwards given to Ephraim. Instead., they fled by a difficult and precipitous route which led them way from either, and the language used about their flight is most expressive; they were "chased" along the way going up to Beth-horon the Upper; then-"they fled-from before Israel" In the precipitous descent to Bethhoron the Lower, and while in the going down a tremendous hailstorm burst upon, them--a storm so violent that "they were more who died from the hailstones then they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword." The flight oE tbo Amorites was continued yet further, first to Azekah, at which point the hailstorm appears to have ceased. Here the remnant of the Amorites seem to have turned to the south-west as if they were hoping to reach Lachish and Eglon, the cities whence many of then had come. On their way hither they reached Makkedah, where the battle ended, for sunset fell while the Israelites were there. Joshua's troop rushed the city and destroyed it, and Joshua had the five kings of the Amorites who had been captured a little earlier, banged upon a tree in the neighborhood. At the going down of the sun, Joshua commanded that the corpses should be taken down from the tree and buried in a cave.
All these events--the night march of the Israelites from Gilgal, the climb up the mountains,3400 feet in height, and the march across the Ridge to Gibeonj, the battle at Gibeon., the pursuit of the Amorites from Gibeon through the Bethhorons to Azekah and to Makkedah, not far short of 30 miles in length., the storming of Makkedah, the execution and burial of the kings--all took place between one sunset and next, a period of twenty-four hours.
Where was Joshua standing) and what was the hour of the day in that great moment when he said in the eight of Israel:
"Sun., stand thou still upon Gibeon;
"And thou., Moon,, in the valley of Aijalon"?
The expression attributed in the text to Joshua is a striking one. The sun is associated with Gibeon, the moon with the valley of Aijalon; two places on the earth are thus severally connected with the two great lights of heaven. What could there have been in the surrounding circumstances to lead Joshua to associate the sun at that particular moment with Gibeon and the moon with the valley of Aijalon? Why did he so pair then off together?
Usually we see the sun and mom as placed above us in the heavens too high for us to connect them in our thought with any fixed object on our earth. But if they are quite low down in the sky--that is to say if either of them has just risen or in just about to set so that they are almost hidden behind some earthly object--such as a hilltop, a grove of trees, or some tower--then we cannot fail to associate them with the terrestrial object to which they appear to be so close. If Joshua, looking toward Glbeon, saw the setting sun about to sink behind its battlements, then it would be natural, all but inevitable, for him to speak of the sun as being "upon Maori." Similarly if the moon was sailing just above some dip in the distant horizon which he knew indicated the valley of Aijalonp it would be equally natural for him to think and speak of the Moom as being "in the valley of Aijalon."
Now, to an astronomer, the interest of this fact lies here. Such a sentence as that ascribed to Joshua contains two simple astronomical observations; it is, in technical astronomical language, a record of the altitude and azimuth of the sun and moon at the moment of utterance. To make the observations complete we need two further facts to be supplied to us:--"Where was Joshua standing at the moment?" and "What was the time?"
We are assuming, then for the moment that the sun and moon were both low down in the sky; the sun had either just risen or was just about to set--that is it was either early in the morning or late in the evening. But the mom also had either just risen or was just about to set. But they can never be seen together when both are rising or both setting, for in that case the illuminated portion of the moon is only the thinnest possible thread of light and is completely drowned by the intense brilliance of the sun close at hand. It follows, therefore, that If the sun was rising, the noon must have been settings or if the sun was setting the moon must have been rising; in astronomical phraseology the two lights met be nearly in opposition to each other, and the moon must have been almost full.
The view most frequently taken by commentators is that the sun was near its setting., and that Joshua wished the day to be prolonged. But In that case, Mean and the sun must have appeared to him an on his western horizon; but as the valley of Aijalon is further to the went than Is Gibson, the moon must likewise have been setting, in which case, as we have already seems it must have been invisible.
We must therefore try the other alternative--that the sun must have just risen, and Joshua must have had Gibson on his east horizon. If he was between Gibeon and the valley of Aijalons the moon would have been setting over Aijalon. The relative positions of the two places have riot changed during the ages, and to Joshua placed between the two, the am must have been roughly 170 south of the east point of the horizon, and the moons nearly at the falls 17 0 north of the vest point. But this would Imply that the time or the year was between the end of October of our present calendar and the middle of February. But the mouth of February was already long past, since the Israelites had kept both Passover and Pentecost. October cannot have come, for since Beeroth, Gibeon and Jerusalem are so close together, it is certain that the events between the return of the Israeliteo to Gilgal and the battle of Beth-horon cannot have been spread over several months, but must have occupied at most only a few weeks. It is therefore impossible that Joshua, when he spoke, saw the am rising over Gibeons or the moon setting over Aijalon.
Have we therefore proved that the narrative is In error? No. We have simply stopped short in reading it. If Instead of ending our quotation with the twelfth verse of the chapter, we had gone on to the thirteenth, we should have found that the position of the sun was stated in definite astronomical language: "So the sun. ceased in the midst of heaven" (A. V. "stood still"). "The midst of heaven" signifies the halving, the bi-section of the heavens., and means that the sun was on the meridian. It was noon. The two positions of the sun and moon that we have already tested and rejected are the only two In which the two "great lights" can appear In Engand as being closely connected with terrestrial objects. But there 'is a position which the sun can occupy in tropical countries--not in Engand--in which It is in the fullest and most literal sense "in the midst of heaven.11 That is, when it is right overhead, In the zenith, when a man's foot will cover his entire shadow. This could not take place exactly in Palestine but at Gibson,, within six weeks of midsummer the sun at noon will never be more than 140 from the to zenith, and anyone on whom its rays were beating down could only describe it as overhead" and as "upon" the place where he himself stood. Therefores when Joshua spoke,, he van at Gibeon; it was summer times and high noon.
Knowing this, we can make Important use of the Information given us about the mom. With Joshua at Gibson and the time of day noon,, and the moon low down over the valley of Aijalon., i.e.., some 170 north of vest, the moon mustt have bean almost-exactly in her "third quarter.," l,e.,, "half full" and the date must have been the twenty-first day of the fourth month of the year in the Jewish reckoning. But the moon cannot be so far as 170 north of vest in the latitude of Gibeon (31 51' N.) on the twenty-first day of the month earlier than the fourth month in the Jewish year, or later then the seventh month. Now the twenty-first day of the fourth month Is some six and a half weeks after the Day of Pentecost, when the reading of the Law took place, while the twenty-first day of the fifth month would be eleven weeks after. rembering how close Gilgal, 01beon and Jeruseilem were to each other, and how vital to all the three parties concerned to Gibeonite Amorite and Israelite,was the need for promptitude, it can scarcely be disputed that eleven weeks is an inadmissible length of time to interpose between the reading of the Law and the battle, and that seven weeks is the utmost than can be allowed,
Adopting., then, the place of the occurrence as Gibeon, noon as the hour of the day, and the date as about the twenty-first day of .the first month of the Jewish calendar--corresponding that year to July 22nd of our present calendar with an uncertainty of one or two days an either side--the sun's declination would be approximately 210 north,, and at noonday It would be within 110 of the zenith. The sun would have risen almost exactly at 5 a.m.., and would set almost exactly at 7 P.M., the day being 14 hours long. The moon would have been in about her third quarter, and in north latitude about 50* it would have risen about 11 o'clock the previous night and have lighted the Israelites during the most difficult part of their night march; it was now at an altitude of 70,. and within half an hour of setting. The conditions are not sufficient to fix the year, since from the nature of the lunar-solar cycle, .there will always be me or two years in each cycle of nineteen years that will satisfy the conditions of the case. The date of the Hebrew invasion of Palestine is not known with sufficient certainty to limit the inquiry to any particular cycle.
At the moment when Joshua spoke, it was, therefore., midday in the fullest heat of summer, and Joshua was at the gates of Gibeon on the summit of the Ridge of the highland of Palestine. The country was then, and is now, one of the hottest countries of the world at that season. The Israelites had already been seventeen hours on the march and in the battle, and had been engaged in severe fighting. The Amorites had no doubt been taken by surprise, and so, at a disadvantage, but, at least they had been in action only for seven hours - not for seventeen, and therefore should have been much less exhausted than the Israelites. What could Joshua have meant when he issued his command to the sun and moon "to stand still," or, to translate his word literally, "to be silent," "to be dumb"?
No man who has ever experienced the intensity of sub-tropical beat can have any doubt as to the true answer, The very last thing that Joshua could have, .wished for was that the sun that was scorching his already exhausted troops should be fixed overhead in the zenith and continue to pour down its pitiless ray's directly on their heads for many hours still to come. There were seven hours of the afternoon yet before him; the day was far from drawing to a close, If he commanded the sun "to be silent" in what was that silence to consist? In refraining from moving, or in refraining from oppressing?
The answer is given unmistakably by the narrative itself. The sun refrained from oppressing. For the Lord sent a mighty hailstorm, evidently coming, as summer hailstorms always come in Palestine., from the Mediterranean Sea. The dense storm clouds sweep across the low country of the coast and are forced upward as they meet the slopes of the Ridge. As they ascend the air becomes more rarified end the temperature falls rapidly. Thus the moisture with which they are laden to not only condensed but frozen and hailstorms of a violence approaching that described in the narrative are not unknown. The dazzling glare and fierce heat were replaced by a grateful shade and a bracing coolness.
How was It that the hailstorm does not seem to have injured the Israelites?
It seem to me that we my make a plausible conjecture from noting the strategy which Joshua is recorded to have adopted In his second attack upon Ai. His problem now was similar but on a larger scale. The most obvious line of
march for him to take was up the valley of Achor, past the ruins of Ai, and so to the little city at Beeroth, now become his ally, and thence to move southward to the relief of Gibeon. But an advance by that route would have left to the Amorites, if defeated, an easy line of retreat to their base at Jerusalem. Could he again adopt enveloping tactics? We are not told whether he did or not but I would suggest that he may have sent a considerable detachment to Beeroth under his lieutenant, with orders to drive the enemy as far from Gibson as he could, until Joshua should signal to him that the main army was successfully established upon the Ridge between Jerusalem and Gibson. As in the battle of At. the important point was that neither of the Israelite forces should be taken at a disadvantage while forcing their way up the ravines,. and before they could emerge from them and deploy upon the tableland. He was operating in the very region where somewhat later the eleven tribes suffered most terrible losses at the hands of the
hands of the Benjamites In the first inter-tribal war, the forces holding the higher ground being able to overwhelm their opponents with impunity.
If this was Joshua's plan of canpaign, his strategy was completely successful up to a certain point. Probably the Amorites expected him to move upon Gibson by way or Beerotho and moved out to threaten Beeroth early In the day., leaving of course a contingent to mask Gibson. Directly Joshua learned from his lieutenant that the AmWites were In strong force before Beeroth he would order his main army to move upon Gibson., and,, as the narrative tells us, he destroyed the Amorito troops, who no doubt were left there to continue the siege. These, when attacked., would send hasty messages to the five kings who were with the main body before Beeroth, to tell them that the real attack was being made at Gibson.. and that their forces there were being destroyed. At this news the Amorite kings were seized with a panic., as the Lord had promised to Joshua should be the case, "Year them not: for I have delivered then Into thine hand; there shall not a man of them stand before thee." The Israelite army from Beeroth cut off any retreat to the north; Joshua at Gibson barred the way to the south and vest; one narrow and difficult road alone remained--the road through the two Beth-horone,, and along this road they rushed in headlong flight. Then it was that Joshua,seeting that his army were exhausted by their long efforts and by the heat of the days and that the Amorites had a start of some miles along the Beth-horon road, issued his commands to the heavenly bodies:--
"Sun, cease thou (i.e., from shining ) over Gibeon
"And the sun ceased (from shining)., and the moon desisted, until the nation had avenged themselves on their enemies. Is not this written In the book of Jasher? So the sun ceased in the midst of heaven,, and heated not to go down about a whole day."
The explanation of this last statement is found in verse 10, In vhich it is
stated that the Lord "chased the Amoritee by the way that goeth up to Beth-hozon
and smote them to Azekah and unto Makkedah." The Israelites had of course no
timekeepers, no clocks or watches and the only
measuring time available
to them van the number of miles they marched. Nov from Gibson to Makkedah by the
indicated is some thirty miles., a full day's march
for an army.
It is possible that at the end of the campaign,, the Israelites., on their return$ found-the
march from Makkedah to Gibson heavy work for an entire day. Measured by the only
mans available to them,, that afternoon had seemed to be double the ordinary
length. "The sun had basted not to go down about a whole day."
Was this a miracle? It was certainly a wonderful feat of human strength and endurance. But the Israelites must have been mightily refreshed by the sudden veiling of the sun's glare and the assuaging of his heat; still more by their Captain's word of confident command and the manifold signs of the Divine presence with them, Men can do great things when they know that God is Indeed helping them.
This great occurrence appears to be referred to in one other passage In Scripture--the Prayer of Habakkuk. Here again the rendering of the English version is unfortunate, and the passage should stand:--
"The sun and moon ceased to shine In their habitation:
At the light of Thine arrows they vanished,
And at the shining of Thy glittering spear.
Thou didst march through the land in Indignation,,
Thou didst thresh the nations in anger."
(Heb. iii 11-12)
There is one passage In the chapter to which I have made no reference as
yet. It Is verse 14:
"And there was no day like that before it or after It, that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the Lord fought for Israel,"
What does that mean . When you go home, take your concordances and look
the words "hearken.."
"hearkened.," "hearkening" and the like, and you will find in the majority of cases that
hearken unto the voice of a man" is
to obey that man's
That is what is meant. Joshua did not prey to God that God would order the sun and mom to obey him. He vas there as God's lieutenant, 'general., and he himself Issued orders to the sun and moon., and the Creator of sun end moon, Who guides them In their paths In the heavens,, by Whom alone they shine, and by Whom alone they are darkened,, obeyed the voice of a man and "fought for Israel."
There was no day like It before. Nor was there any day like it after It., until there came another Joshua, Who did not call a storm from the sea, but Who commanded the storm and it became a great calm. And His disciples said:--
"What manner of Man is this,, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?"
Rev. J.J. B. Coles, after remarking how glad they always were to see Mr. Maunder's name on the list of Lecturers, pointed out that this view he had put before them as to the restricted and local range of the miracle of Joshuas Long Day was shared by many Christian students including the late Canon A. R. Foussett,
Bearing In mind the inconceivable vastness of the solar system and still more of the stellar universe, with Its light years as measuring units, the explanation of a local range of the miracle or Joshua X is pezhaps more generally acceptable, but, on the other hand,, the going back of the sun on the sundial of Ahaz (Isa. xxxvilip 8)., and the words In Heb. iii, 111, "the son and the moon stood still in their habitation," and the allusion to "the wonder that was vrought in the land," in 2 Chron. xxxii, 31, and also the Lord's words as to the signs In the heavens which will coincide with His action as the true Joshua in the future crisis or Israel and the nations, seem to support the view held by many others, that a stupendous miracle was wrought, end more in accordance with the actual words of Holy Scripture than the explanation suggested by the Lecturer.
Mr. SINN COLLETT said he was sure that those who attended these meetings were always interested at anything which fell from Mr. Maunder's lips, especially on the subject of astronomy.
On this occasion., however,, he was quite unable to follow the Lecturer in his conclusion that what the narrative taught was, not that the day was lengthened in response to Joshua's prayer., but that the sun's heat was tempered by the IntervenIng clouds or a hailstorm.
Now this theory--for I submit it is only a theory--seems to me impossible for the following reasons:--
(1) If this incident had siriply consisted in the Lord sending a storm in answer to Joshua's prayer., it would not be true to say "Mere was no day like that before It or after it" (verse 14); for a similar thing did happen in answer to Elijah's prayer,. when "the Heaven became black with clouds and wind,, and there "a a great rain" (1 Kings xv1II,, 45).. and in James vs 16-18, we are enjoined to expect similar answers to our prayers. Indeed.. many of us can testify to the fact that God has often heard and answered believing prayer in regard to the weatber.
(2) But the principal fact that makes Mr. Maunder's theory impossible to that the great stones from heaven which the Lord cast upon the Amorites (Josh. x, 11). and which Mr. Maunder interprets as "a great hailstorm with thick clouds" took place before Joshua called upon the sun or moon to stand still, or be silent (Josh. x 12), and therefore could not possibly have any direct connection whatever with Joshua's prayer to the sun except that., according to the Scripture record, the Lord helped Joshua first by casting great stones from heaven upon the Amorites; and "then" afterwards (as an entirely separate and subsequent Divine Intervention) made the am and moon stand still (or be silent) in answer to Joshua's prayer.(3) Howevers as the late Dr. A. T. Pierson once salds vhen various interpretations are put upon a difficult passage of Scripture, the simplest and most obvious is generally the correct one. So here when we read that the sun stood still (or "was silent") in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day (verse 13)s we are.. I submit.. driven to the conclusion that the words mean thats In spite of astronomical difficulties (which are not difficulties to the Almighty Creator's that day was in fact lengthened (see also Hab. iii 11)., making the statement in verse 14 literally true that "There was no day like that before or after it ""
It is also a well-known fact that the three great record-keeping countries
the world are Greek., Egypt and China., and these., with India have all an ancient
record of a long day.
The Chinese record, which is the most remarkable occurs In the essays of the famous Chinese Taoists philosopher and alchemist, Huainan Tzus thus:--
"Duke Yang of Lu (1058;1053 B. C.), being engaged in a bloody battle with the army of the Ran States and fearing lost evening should close in and interfere with his victory., he raised his spear and shook It at the declining sun., which straightway went backward in the sky to the extent of three zodiacal signs!" (six hours).
While the Indian account, which is equally striking, is preserved in Hamilton's Key to the Chronology of the Hindoos vol. ii, p. 224s as follows:--
"It is recorded in the life of Chrishnu (the black shepherd prophet of the Hindoos), that in the Cali year 1651 (which corresponds with our 1451 B. C , the very year in which Joshua entered Canaan), the sun delayed settings to hear the pious ejaculations of Akroons who descanted on the virtues of Chrishnus as he journeyed to Bindroben; and that on his arrival in safety that planet vent down making a difference of about twelve hours."
Now, it is not difficult to trace in all these strange stories the corrupted record of an event of which the true account, is found In the Bible, each country., however., substituting the now of some national hero in the place of Joshua, while the stories themselves are naturally coloured with the necessary local conditions whch the particular country required.
Mr. W. HOSTE ventured to criticize the Interpretation of the reader of the paper., in spite of Its originality and Interesting character. "Sun, stand still would mean nothing more than *,Cease piercing us with thy vertical rays" and the answer Of the Lord would be nothing more than the veiling of the son which so refreshed the Israelites that they could do in seven hours the work of a whole day. Certainly this would be in itself a miraculous result from so inadequate a cause; but we must note that the moon also was commanded to "stand still." We have heard of people being "Moonstrucks" but otherwise the rays of the moon hardly need to be moderated. However the Hebrew, of course, does mean "be silent,
or perhaps "cease doing vhat you are doing." But sun end moon were not only shining, they were on the move, so "ceasing to move" is equally admissible as am interpretation. Of courses when we say the heavenly bodies ceased to move.. we
refer to results gradually experienced., not immediately detected. In verse 13
23 reads "The sun stood still (same word) and the moon stayed" ordinary word for standing). But at the close of the verse it is recorded,, "So the sun stood still (this time the word is too) In the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a dhole day." Thli would certainly be rather a clumsy
way of agWing that owing to the refre,111-11111 from the cloud the children of Israe,
,L were able to do a day's work in a third of the tlmj at my rate, the expression need not Imply anything awe than that the appormt wtion of the sun seened to slow dovn. The vord translated "Stand still" In verse 12 Is the word translate "Beat In the Lord" in Pa. zzxvii., and In 1 Sam. x1vj. 9. Jonathan uses it vhen speaking of the Philistines to*hIs armour-bearer: "If they say thus unto us, Tarry bb-1) until we come to you-. then we will stand still (-jt)V ) In our place and will not go up unto them.," so that the words seem by their usage to be closely allied) if not practicaly synmynous. "Stop what you are doing and stand still~ or "Halt.. stand easy0" so that even if we accept the Ingenious idea or the veling of the sun by a stormeloud., the other though of an actual lengthening or the dayo an arrest of the usual progress of nature by Divine powero is nct ruled out.
If a mere meteorological bhangs, were intended in ansiter to prayer., it would Been unpardonable hyperbole to add., as in verse 14,9 "There was no day like that before it or after it, that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man.," As a matter of fact, nothing is said of the sky being cloudless during the battleP nor of the consequent fatigue of the Israelites,, nor of the atom-cloud,, nor of the extraordinary refreshment resulting. All these have to be introduced to build up an Interpretation. The expression,"So the sun stood still and the mom stayed,, until the people bad avenged themselves.," conveys a clear impression of a prolor~gation of the dayj quite apart from and independent of the experience of the Israelites. Joshua ex bZpgaesi vould see that more time would be required to complete the victory than the seven hours of daylight remaining cculd possibly afford.. ard would frame his demand accordingly.
Mr. Hoste suggested that the hailstorm came from the northwest., acting as a barrage to prevent the Amorites.escakIng to the north and shepherding them back south,, to be dealt with easily by Israel. Otherwise it would hardly seem likely thats even though their cities were In the south., the Amorites would have fled down as for as Asekah and Makkedah--cities belonging eventually to JUdah--at the risk of meting an encircling force of their enemies.
Lieut.-Col. 0. MACMNUY said: The very pleasant duty falls to as to pro
pose a hearty vote of tha to Mr. Maunder for his mcat interesting and helpful
Paper. The Victoria Institute owes a deep debt of~gratltude to him for wbat he
has done In the past. The numbers present this afternoon testify to our hidl ap
preciation of him now., and we earnestly hope that he will continue his invaluable
aid in the future. We tender him our heartfelt thanks. (Applause.)
Mr. 2HWDOEM HCBMS., in moving a vote of thanks to the Chairmen, pointed out that there was a third explanation of Joshua's Long Day which had not been mentimed by the Lecturer or any of those vho had taken part in the discussio% namelyp that given by 1. A. Harper., the late Secretary of the Palestine Exploration ftud,, that the continuance of the sunlight was due to refraction. Fm himself,, he was satisfied with the Lecturer's explanation,, which-was confirmed by Pg. cxxip 6., "The sun shall not smite thee by day nor the moon by night,"
An I was not able to take any notes of what I said in reply to the discussion summarized above, I have been obliged to substitute for them an answer prepared later.
In reply to the Rev. J. J. B. Colesp I am-verY anxious to make it clear that I do not seek either to explain, or to explain away, the miraculous in Scripture history. But It is necessary to distinguish between that 'Which is miraculous and that which is natural. In the present Instance there Is a dispute as to the interpretation of certain words In the narrative vhich makes It doubtful wherein the miracle consisted. Mr. Coles has referred to the going back cfthe shadow in Nazekiah's reign as being parallel to our present subject; I would venture to urge that there was in that case an unmistakable mark of a miracle in the fullest 9(.nee of the word. In God's government of the material universe we find that if the antecedents be the sames the consequent to the same likewise. Any apparent deviation from this law we ascribe to the direct action of the Almighty. Now the Lurd Himself offered a choice to Hezekiah., which of two contrasted events should be given to him as a sign. Rezekiah chose the "hard thing," i.e. the result contrary to the natural order,, and the Lord fulfilled that choice to him. The fact of the event conforming to Hezekiah's choice warrants us, I think., in saying that this was no natural consequent of the antecedents.
In the case now before us, our only authorit concerning the miracle is contained in the chapter Itself. The prophet Habakkuk (Hab. ili~ 11) indeed alludes to the events recorded in the chapter., but It. Is no mwe than an allusion. In the book called Beelealasticus, or "The Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirech" (xlvl., 14) those events are fully described., but nothing is added to our knowledge thereby; indeed " one Important statement to contrary to the Scripture,, and I believe that in general members of the Victoria Institute approve the TIth Article of the Church of lnglaaA, which expressly confines the name and authority or "Holy Scripture" to the books of the Canon,, from which loclesiastious., and the other books which we usually denominate "the Apocrypha,," are excluded. Much more., then, can no authoritative evidence regarding a Scripture miracle be derived from any heathen source. I was very sorry,, therefore, to find that a number of "old wives, fables,p" which I had hoped had long ago passed Into deserved cbllvlon~ were again brought forward. They bear on their face the signs of being mere "lying wonders."
Thus we have the alleged stopping of the sun in Mexico,, ihich cannot have corresponded to "Joshua's Long Day,"'because Mexico is more than nine hours distant in timie from Palestine., so that it was only two or three hourse past midnielt In Mexico at the moment when Joshua at Gibson gave his command at noon, The suns therefore., had not risen in Mexico., and no observation of it could have been madej either of its moving or of its ceasing to move.
The Chinese record is clearer still,, for it states that the sun went backwards in the sky to the extent of three zodiacal signs. That is to say., the sun seemed to go back with respect to the stare., which Implies, nct that the diurnal rotation of the earth was reversed for six hours, but that the annual revolution of the earth round the eun was reversed fcr three months; In other words,, that the year was put back by a full season. When we have swallowed this camel,, there is still a gnat to be strained at,, viz.--tbat the constellations of the zodiac are not visible while the sun is up.
The quotation from Herodotus is even less satsifactory., because It Is evidence an very indirect hearsaW. removed a thousand years from the occurrence. The statement of Herodotus further would imply not a single stoppage of the sun on one unique occasion, but of four distinct reversals of the direction of the earth's rotation, PiN*ably Herodotus misunderstood some mystical statement of the Egyptian priests,, and gave a literal meaning to what they were expressing figarativelyi
The quotation from Alexander Hamilton is correctly given,, but evidently Mr. Collett, who brings it forward,* has not studied Hamilton's booko vhich was written to show that Indian chronology was not chronology at all In our sense of the word; It was symbolical., and Hamilton's belief was that he had found a clue to the symbolism. The chronology is certainly unrealo but Hamilton was not aware that that particular phase of Indian astronomy was not anclautt but belonged to the dark ages between the sixth and eleventh centuries A. D.
Our only authority,, then, for this narrative is the chapter itself, but there are three verbs in the chapter the interpretation of which is in dispute. The first Is damam, "to be dumb," that is.. "to cease from speaking"; the second, amady is used as a parallel wor," to damam; and the third is uts, "to urge oneBe 2" "to hasten."**
Of these three verbs damam. is the dominant., seeing that Joshua uses it in his actual word of command; azra4 is the parallel verb,, and implies that Joshua's command., whatever it was., was obeyed.
But "Be thou dumb" cannotp in the literal sense, be applied to the sun., for speech is not one of its properties.. and we Bust seek some one or otber of the activities which do characterize it as affording us the clue to the meaning intended in this passage.,
The first property ascribed to the sun in Holy Scripture to that of giving light. In Gen. Is 14-18,, we are told that "God made two great ligbts .. . . and set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth." This is the primary function of both sun end moon. The sun has also other properties which are intimately conn-acted with Its giving light. It gives heat., it brings
forth the fruits of the earth., it has power to "suite." Another property of the sun (and of the moon also), is t*.,zt both appear to move in the sky (Pa. xix, 6); but whereas their shining is real, their movement Is only apparentj, and belongs in reality to the earth.
To bid anyone "to be dumb" is to bid him to cease from speaking~ for the very word Itself is derived from the action of closing one's lips upon one to speech. Where the person or thing addressed is by ziature incapable of speech, then "Be dumb" must mean to cease from some action then gping on, that can be likened to speech. Nov,, as we have seen, the sun has two characteristic activities; It gives light and appears to move. Thus the verb damam. is sometimes used In Scripture., as Mr. Hoste suggests., In this sense of "Cease doing what you are doing." See Lem. ii, ~8., quoted by Gesenius in this vezy connection: "Let not the apple of thine eye cease," that is.. "Let not the apple of thine eye cease from weeping." Amad Is used more frequently in a corresponding sense of "to cease" or"to leave-off." Thus in Gen. xxixo 35o and xxx, 9, it is translated "left off"; Leah ceased to bear children. This meaning of "cease" or"leave off" may, if the cbject is in motion,, carry the particular sense of ceasing to MDve, and both words are occasionally used in that spec4al sense; but both are also used with the wider meaning of "leave off vhat you are doing," whatever that might be.
Whatever the action from -which the sun was ordered to "cease," that order was Ivan.. and It took effect at noon., as we learn by collating verses 12 and 13: ttsun! be thou dumb upon Gibeon. . . So the sun ceased (to speak) in the midst of
n., and hasted not to go down about a whole day." In other words, when Joshua spoke, the sun was overhead both to him and to Gibson., and the time was noon.*** As the length of the summer day in the latitude of Gibson is flourteen hours, and as the Israelites had started from Gilgal the previous evMingp for they "went up from Gilgal all night.," when Joshua spoke they had been on foot for seventeen houxe--mexching., climbing the mountains., ax?d fighting--and there were still seven hours of daylight before'the sun was due to set. Pbr seven hours., from its risIng., the sun had been climbing up the sky to its culmination; for seven hours it would have to go down to its setting. If the command to the sun,, '!Be dumb.," meant that it was to cease its apparent notion, and "to stand still" in the skyp that " standing still" must have been in the zenith, not on the western horizon; it must have taken place at noon.. and not just as the sun was about to set.
Some commentators have treated the expression "haeted not to go down" as If it meant "stood absolutely still and did not go down at all." Such a paraphrase is unwarrantable; the sun's ordinary movement across the sky is the outcome of the smoothest and most regular motion that we know--the rotation of the earth on its axis. Any change in that motion Is contrary to our experience. To hasten in that motion would be to go more quickly then Is usual; "to haste not" does not mean to stand still., but to go more slowly than usual. "To go down" means movement in either case: quick., If the sun "hasted"; slow.. if the mm "hasted not."
The question or interpretation comes., then,, to a very narrow point. The sun was ordered to cease from one of two activities--from moving or from shining. Which was It? The moving does not belong to the sun,. It belongs to the earth,. to which no command was addressed. The shining does belong to the sun and is its great function.
But if it is asserted that the aun ceased from moving., not from shining, than those who assert this should face and answer the following questions--
Further., the natural result of the stopping of the sun when overhead for "about a whole dayo" would be to increase the temperature of the air beyond anything that mankind has evern experienced. How did the Israelites escape the comequences of Joshua's strange desire?
(5) What did he hope to gain by it.. and why was it granted to him?
Apart from the question of the correctness of the trOnslatiml two definite Objections have been made.
Met., why is the moon mentioned,, seeing that its light and heat are negligible? My questioners forget that the difficulty--if difficult it be--is one which attaches to the narrative itself whatever translation we adopt. But I would suggest that JoWwa was looking in the direction in which the Amorites were fleeing, in which case he would also have been looking in the direction of the mom., and could hardly have failed to see it,
Next., it has been objected that I bave brought the hailstorm out of its proper chronological order. It is not I who have done sol it in done In the chapter itself. Verse 10 brings the Israelites to Makkedah., where they were at the going down of the sun., while verse 13,, which chronicles Joshua's coomandp. shows that he was then at Gibeon,, at noon; that In., it records the earlier event after the later, This preference for a logical,, rather than a chrmological,, order is characteristic of many Hebrew narratives.NNNN. Further., we are expressly told that these verses,, 12 and 13, are extracted from another authority.. the Book of Jasher; and it is clear that the extract has been inserted in the most appropriate place.
It should be noted thatj, whether we think that the am stood still or whether that it was veiled by cloudo it still remains that the Israelites were at Gibeon at noon,, and reached the end of their narch at Makkedah at sundown.
It still remains also that the narrative itself given a clear explanation in verse 11., of the statement in verse 14: "The Lord fbught for Israel." It was literally true that "the Lord fought for Israel" when "it oam -b We that as" the Amorites "fled from before Israel., and were in the going down to Bethhoron, that the Lord cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekehp and they died; they were more which died with hailstones then they whom the children of Israel slow with the sword."
And now we reach the sentence to which the whole narrative leads up: "There was no day like tbat, before it or after it" (verse 14). It was unique. What made it so? Some have supposed that it was the length of the day, or the greatness of the miracle. That is not what the Scripture says. After all,. how can we mortals judge whether a miracle is great or small? Is anytUng too hard for the Lord Whose power is Infinite?
That day was like none other because of this fact., "that the Lord heartened unto the voice of a man." That Is what the chapter says; there Is no hint that It was because the sun stood still., or that the day was longj, or that It was a mighty miracle. Ivory reader of Holy Scripture knave that for one person "to hearken to the voice" of another means one of two things--that he who hearkens either grants a petition made by the other person,, or he obeys his comwm4, Ur Collett has pointed out, what is obviously true,, that God has always heard and prayer; therefore this expression,, "that the Lord heartened unto the
voice of a man" has in this case nothing to do with any mower to prayer. And
Joshua did not offer any prayer; he issued an orLer: Sun.. be thou dunb upon
Gibeon and thou th am dumb nd the
moon ceased." The order was obeyed.
Joshua knew as wall as we do that neither sun nor moon could hear himj, and that even if they heard, they had no power either to obey or.diedbey; there are, neither jpds nor men; their acts or movements are the acts and movements of the Lord Himselfj, Who alone is their Ruler, God heard His servant's order amd He fulfilled It; He hearkened unto the command of His servant and performed It, No event like this Is recorded In the whole of the Old Testament; that day stands unique.
Joshua was a real man, with his passions and weaknesses like other men., like ourselves. Forty years long he bad been the servant, the lieutenant.. of the greatest man who ever lived before Christ cam. Many are the advantages of such a position, but it Is seldom that a man so brought up develops much self-reliance. So when the crushing burden that Moses had borne was transferred to Joshua., It is no wonder that he faltered. The Lord Himself know His servant's weakness., andi. as we read in Josh. I,, the Lord repeatedly exhorted him to '%a strong and of a good courage,," and those over whom he had been appointed to rule gave him the same exhortation, These words were nort said to him because be was strong) but because he needed to be. Soon the day came that a mobt important duty was laid upon him; namely,, to ensure that none of the spoil from Jericho,, vhich had been laid under the curse., should be touched by any of his soldiers. In this, his first great responsibility., Joshua failed; the failure was not personal., as though he himself had hankered after the spoil.. but clearly he had not so dominated his officers and men that they felt compelled to obey him. And so the sin of Achan followed and the defeat of Ai.
But Joshua made confession of his sinj and carried out faithfully the stern duty which then devolved upon him, and the Lord renewed to him his commission as Captain of the Lord's host. Then in that great battle which decided the fate ce the whole of the south and centre of Canaanj Joshua felt that not only were the Israelites his to co==4 but the greatest and most exalted objects of nature were so as well, "Sun, be thou dumb upon Gibeon, and thou., moon., In the valley of Aijalon." And the Lord was well pleased with the faith and courage of His servant, and fulfilled his command. "There was no day like that before it or after it., that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man: for,the Lord fought for Israel."
* I am obliged here to point out that Mr, Collett's book,, The Scripture of Truth., however excellent for the most parto has one short section in the eighth edition.. pp. 284-268,v entitled "Joshua's Long Day.," Which I would beg him to delete in 'gtoto from every future edition. This whole section Is either wrong in its Beertions.. or misleading in the way in which they are applied.
** Gesenius,, in his Lexicon., translated by S. P. Tregelles', 1881 Edition gives the following information.-
(1) 9 p. 203. (1) To be silent, to be still, (2) TO BE ASTORISHEDp CONFaMED. (3) TO BE QUIRTp TO CZASE9 TO LEAVE OFF. In a note it is addeds
This root is onomatopoetio, and one which is widely spread in other families of languages., . . . it is an imitation of the sound of the shut mouth (kS., dm). Its proper meaning.. therefore., is TO BE LUNB, which is applied both to silence and quietness."
Followed by Proposltions--(a) TO STAND BZKRZ a king) 1.e, TO SEM OR MINISTIR
to him; (b) TO BIC SRT OVERI To CCN # TO STAND BY anyone. (2) TO STAND for,
TO STAND FIRM.9 TO RRULINo TO ZMM.. TO PXRSISTp TO FERSEVEn,, hence TO RMOLIN
in the Sam Place Or state - (3) TO STAND STIMI. TO STOP., as opposed to go on
one's way,, to proceed.
HASM. MTO*Bl NAMM, STRAIT.
*** See Dean Stanley's Simi and Palestine pp. 207., 214.
**** Col. Mackinlay has shown us in his book., Be--ertt Discoveries In St. Luke's WritLzgsp how much additional liiftt to thrown VpcWWc_r~lpture by tR; -read'inese with which the sacred writers abandon the strict sequence of events when a special emphasis has to be brought out.
N=--It lies aside from the main subject of the above paper, but it may give an unsuspected illustration of the definiteness of the relative apparent moverente of the heavenly bodies to note that Joshua's description of the positions of the a= and moon carries with It the implication that in the year of the eventa under our consideration. Tamuz., the fourth month of the Jewish calendar., coincided, almost exactly,, with July of our present calendar. (See P. 132., lines 8 and 9.)
As the Mosaic calendar had a double relationo being based partly upon the natural year, It followed--as twelve such mmthe were eleven days short of a complete year--that it was necessary to intercalate a thirteenth month occasionally; such intercalation being Introduced In seven years out of every nineteen. Thus the months of the Jewish year vibrate to and fro with respect to the months of our calendar,, which is based on the solar tropical year,
But If Joshua's great victory had been gained at mideumerj, on the day of the solstice, then since the moon was just about to set when the sun was on the meridian, "in the midst of heaven.," the former must have been close to the point in the heavens of the spring equinox., and could not have set over the valley of Aijalon.. but met have set duewest, If we assume any date for the battle befcre the solstice, then the moon would have set south of vest; only if the battle took place atter the solstice could the moon have set north of vest., and not until the solstice was past by a full month could the moon have set over the valley of Aijalon, The battle must have taken place., therefore,, about the 22nd or 23rd of July as well as about the 21st or 22nd of Tammaz.