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Bible Commentaries
Joshua 10

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-43

Chapter 10

In verse six of chapter ten,

The men of Gibeon sent an urgent message to Joshua that they were being attacked. They said, "Now we have this mutual defense pact with you, so come to our aid." And Joshua honoring the pact that he had made, took his men of war, in a forced march all night long, and they came to the area of Gibeon where the Gibeonites were being attacked by these kings with all their chariots, and horses and all. The Lord spoke unto Joshua before going into battle, and promised Joshua that He would be with him.

Verse eight, chapter ten.

And the Lord said unto Joshua, Fear them not: for I have delivered them into your hand; there shall not a man of them stand before thee. And Joshua came upon them suddenly, and he went up from Gilgal all night long. [This forced march] The Lord discomfited them before Israel, He slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, chased them along the way to Bethhoron, and to Azekah, and to Makkedah. And it came to pass, as they fled from before Israel, they were in the going down to Bethhoron, that the Lord cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they died: and there were more that died with the hailstones than those whom the children of Israel slew with the sword. And then spake Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said, Sun, stand still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is this not written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. There was no day like that before it or after it that the Lord hearkened to the voice of a man: for the Lord fought for Israel ( Joshua 10:8-14 ).

Now a very unusual event indeed, and whenever you get to miraculous events in the Bible, that's all it takes to trigger some people. Especially those who do not believe in God or those who have an anthropomorphic concept of God, think of God in terms of a man, and limited as a man. The miracles always create doubts and problems in the minds of people, and of course they then begin to exaggerate the problems that they see.

For instance, one of the things that they make fun of with this particular passage, and find it quite incredible, that if the earth should suddenly stand still, and here you are standing on the earth and it is rotating at almost a thousand miles an hour, that if it would suddenly stand still, your body would still be going a thousand miles an hour. So all the people would just be sort of wiped out. You'd all go flying off the earth if it was suddenly standing still. So they envisioned the impracticability of the earth standing still.

In other words, He said, "Sun stand still", but we know that the earth is actually rotating on its axis, which makes the sun appear to rise and set, and so forth. So obviously it was, they say, the earth stopping on its axis. But then they saw all of these men flying off the earth because of it stopping so rapidly. However, there is nothing that indicated that it was a sudden stop, like hitting a brick wall.

Now if it, say, it took six hours for it to stop, that would be equivalent to stopping your car going sixty miles an hour, and stopping your car to zero in twenty minutes, as far as the force that would be exerted against you. Now I would like to suggest if you were going sixty miles an hour in your car and you brought it to a twenty minute stop, that you would hardly notice any inertia against your body at all.

Now if it should stop in eight minutes, it would be equivalent to stopping your car at sixty miles an hour in thirty seconds. You wouldn't even need your seat belts for that. So there's nothing that indicated that it came to a sudden, jerky halt. God could've just put on the brakes, and brought it to a stop in say eight or ten minutes. Again, the only way that you feel motion is by the jerks. You really don't discern motion except for the jerks in motion. You, on a train, a lot of times you don't even know the train is moving until you look out the window, and then you see the station gradually going by. Or on the airplane so many times, you don't know that the airplane has actually started moving until you look out and you see the motion outside. But you don't feel motion unless there are jerks. So God could've brought the earth to a halt in an eight to ten minute period, and no one would've gone flying out in space, and no one would've really noticed a sudden, jerky stop at all.

A few years ago there were some articles in various magazines, there were some tracks written that some NASA scientists with a computer were trying to predict the trajectory of a particular rocket. And in going back in time in the computer the computer came to a place where it found a missing day. That is not factual. That didn't happen. It's one of those stories that got wide spread publicity but there's no truth to it.

However, if there was a long day, Joshua saw that it was, you know, they needed more time to wipe out the enemy. And so he said, "Sun stand still." That would be sort of a-quite a thing to say in the sight of all the people. I mean, you're gonna look like a fool, or a real powerful guy, one of the two. And in the sight of all the people he said, "Sun stand still." Now whether or not he was expecting it to do it or not, nevertheless it did for about the space of a day, giving them time to totally obliterate the enemy. Now notice that along with this, there was a tremendous hailstorm, that more people were killed by the hailstones than they were killed with the sword.

There's a very interesting book entitled, "Worlds in Collision", by Immanuel Velikovsky. Now his theory is that the planet Venus entered into our solar system during the period of man's history upon the earth. That planet Venus has actually come within our solar system within the last six thousand years. That it actually made two-or it made two orbits. And on the second orbit it got fixed in its own orbit and in alignment as the planets are around the sun, it got locked into an orbit around the sun. The first time it orbited in, and now, according to his theory, it was about the time that the children of Israel were coming out of Egypt. He ties many of the plagues in Egypt to a close pass of the planet Venus to the earth. The second close pass he times at this long day of Joshua. In fact, he accounts for the long day of Joshua as to have resulted from this near miss of the planet Venus to the earth. He believes that the earth used to rotate the opposite direction on its axis until this near pass.

Now he theorized that if there was a long day there at Joshua's time, that other periods, or other places in the world, there would be recorded a long night. For instance, here in America the Indians would've recorded a long night. If there was a long day there, there would have to be a long night here. That in different places in the world it would be recorded as either a long afternoon, or long morning or whatever, as it related to the time there in Joshua.

So he carefully traced through the history of the Inca Indians. Sure enough he found in their records the story of a long night over here when the sun didn't come up for the space of a whole night. Also of cataclysmic things that took place at that time, earthquakes, tremendous storms, violent storms, and tidal waves and all, because of course the earth's stopping would create tremendous tidal waves by the movement of the water, would keep rolling faster than the earth and would create tremendous tidal waves. He has gone through this approximate period of history, and followed in the records of people around the world the stories of either long mornings, long afternoons, long nights or whatever, and the cataclysmic things that took place at the same time.

Now Immanuel Velikovsky, he is not a Christian, neither is he necessarily a believer in God. He is a scientist who has a theory that the planet Venus came into our solar system during the time of recorded history, and he uses the Bible as one of the proofs, this particular long day of Joshua as one of the proofs. But in order to use the Bible as a proof, he also follows it and proves historically that that event took place, showing it in the records, ancient records of peoples around the world.

So I like his book, not that I necessarily agree with the theory of the introduction of the planet Venus into our solar system at that particular time, yet I'm sure open and I found it very fascinating to think about. But the thing that I really enjoyed is his laying out such conclusive proof for the skeptics who scoff at the idea of the sun standing still, or the earth stopping on its rotation. That those who scoff at that idea as totally impossible at all, and how he proves that it was an actual historic event. Otherwise, it wouldn't have been recorded around the world in the ancient records of history such as it was. He does a very masterful job in proving that such an event did take place, in case you happen to be skeptical and need proof.

But if you have a right concept of God, you don't need any proof; you can just believe it because God's Word declared it. But some people have a problem believing just because God's Word declares something and they need some kind of proof. Especially when you get into stories which seem to be a little incredible, at least on the surface. If the guy could say, "Sun stand still", and it would stand still in the heavens for a whole day.

So such a thing is recorded in history outside of the Bible. It is interesting that it did happen at that psychic moment when they were chasing these kings, and Joshua felt he needed more daylight in order to wipe them out utterly, and so he commanded, and the sun stood still in the heavens. So this story of Joshua which has brought a lot of skepticism and criticism against the Bible as all of the miracles do, has pretty well been scientifically proven as much as you can prove anything with science and historic records. So you might find that book "Worlds in Collision" very fascinating. I did, I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Now there was no day like that before it or after it, that the Lord hearkened to the voice of man: for the Lord fought for Israel ( Joshua 10:14 ).

It is of course his theory also that at this time the earth became tilted on its axis. There was a shift of the polar axis. Now to our twenty-three and a third degree kind of an angle that the polar axis had in its relationship to the sun, which gives us actually now the ice caps in the north and in the south, he has quite a bit to say about that too.

So Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp of Gilgal. But the five kings hid themselves in a cave. And so they came and told Joshua these five kings were hiding in the caves. So Joshua said, Throw a bunch of stones over the cave, seal it up, and stand outside and guard the thing ( Joshua 10:15-18 ).

And so they went ahead then, and inasmuch as these men had come out of all of the cities to fight, so the cities were left pretty well defenseless at this point. So Joshua and the children of Israel started going around and they took all of the cities, and the areas where these people had come from in this big battle against Gibeon. They went and they took all of these cities, with the exception of Jerusalem, a city that they did not take. But it lists the cities that they took, Lachish and Hebron and so forth.

So then he ordered them to bring the-to take the rocks down and bring these kings out. Then he tells some of these guys,

Put your feet on the necks of these kings... God is gonna let you put your foot down on the necks of your enemies to defeat them ( Joshua 10:24-25 ).

They then-Joshua killed these kings, and threw their bodies back into the cave. Hung them actually on five trees, until evening, and then they threw their carcasses into the caves and they threw the rocks over the caves, which remained there until the day that this particular book was written. So he went ahead and took all of these cities that had sent their armies out against them.

Verse forty-two of chapter ten,

And all these kings and their land did Joshua take at one time, because the Lord God of Israel fought for Israel ( Joshua 10:42 ).

Now in verse fourteen, and verse forty-two a declaration is that "the Lord God of Israel fought for Israel."

And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, unto the camp of Gilgal ( Joshua 10:43 ).

Now there is a song later in the book of Judges that speaks of God using the stars and so forth in fighting for His people.

There are those who call themselves theistic evolutionists. They acknowledge God in the origins, God in an ambiguous kind of a terminology. "A force of power", there was something that started the whole thing going. But once God started the whole process, once He created the universe, then He more or less stepped back. He may have created the first cell, but He stepped back and let all things sort of develop and evolve, as far as life forms and all. It's known as theistic evolution. It was an attempt to harmonize evolutionary thought with the Bible, though it surely doesn't bring any harmony with the Bible. It creates more problems than it answers.

Those who teach theistic evolution are more or less those who believe in the uniformitarianism concept of our universe and of the planet earth. Their theory is pretty well described by Peter who said, "In the last days, scoffers would arise saying, Where is the promise of His coming, for since our fathers have fallen asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning"( 2 Peter 3:3-4 ). The doctrine or the idea of Unitarianism is pretty well expressed in "all things continue as they were from the beginning". In other words, there aren't any real changes, no real catastrophic kind of changes. You can explain everything in the geological column and everything as far as life processes are concerned, by observable phenomena today. So the idea of uniformitarianism really is in direct contrast to the Bible. You cannot be a true believer in the Bible and be a Uniformitarian. They are sort of mutually exclusive.

Now this same fellow Immanuel Velikovsky has in the last few years written another book, "Earth's in Upheaval", in which he totally, thoroughly destroys the idea of uniformitarianism, absolutely wipes it out with incontrovertible evidence. He has twice now set the scientists on their ears. His first book "Worlds in Collision" created quite a furor in the scientific community, because of course it also challenged the idea of uniformitarianism. But his second book he attacks it directly, and does a devastating job in piling up evidence that shows that things cannot be explained by a uniform pattern. That there had to be cataclysmic changes on the earth's surface, and so forth, catastrophic changes that you cannot really explain all of the phenomena by the idea of uniformitarianism.

In the book "Earth's in Upheaval", he gives some very solid evidence for the universal flood of Noah. Though he isn't really trying to prove the flood, he talks about the deposits of the bones of various animals that have been found in the caves in England. The bones severely fractured, all of them seemed to be deposited at the same time by some violent thrust. But sabertooth tigers along with rabbits and all kinds of animals that are really antagonistic towards each other, and yet all heaved in there and crushed and broken at the same time, and planted there. He gives some powerful evidence of violent upheavals, which of course the scriptures do testify have taken place upon the earth in various periods of history, but God intervening.

Now you see we are prone to subconsciously think of God as far off and unrelated to the affairs of our lives. We so often think of God in a remote sense, not of One Who is actively interested in me at this moment in what I am doing. I think of God as just being out there remote of me, sort of governing over the whole universe, but certainly He has no interest in me or in my daily problems.

Now one of the most important things that all of us need to develop is that consciousness of God's presence with us at all times, in all places, and the realization that God is vitally interested even with those just piddling little things about your life. God is concerned with you. He's concerned with those things that are worrying you. The Bible speaks about God's ear being open to the righteous. When you call unto the Lord, and God talks about not oppressing the poor, "because when they cry unto Me", the Lord said, "I will hear, and I will surely avenge their cause."

Because when you're needing money, and you're there saying, "Oh God, I don't know what I can do about these bills. This guy's really pressing me Lord. I don't know what to do. He's really pushing me to the wall." The Lord hears your cries, though you don't think that He does. Yet the Lord is vitally concerned in your life.

Here's a guy just like you and me who is fighting a battle. They've got the enemy on the run but it's getting towards evening, "Oh if the sun goes down, we won't be able to finish wiping them out. Sun stand still." Suddenly the sun stands still in the heavens and stays in that spot all day long. Now you may believe that God can heal your sore toe, or an earache, but we don't think of God as really intervening in a dramatic, powerful way within our lives.

When I was starting a church out in Corona, in order to meet the needs of the family, I was building a hotel up in Idlywild. I had a daily radio program on KREL, fifteen-minute Bible study every morning. I used to like to listen to my program when I would drive up to Idlywild, because it would just help pass the time of day, and I could also critique myself. The driving oh, hundreds of miles each week, commuting back and forth to Idlywild, because I had several Bible studies going at night. I'd have to drive down at night, have my Bible studies, drive back up to Idlywild the next morning, my car was really getting some real wear and tear.

The front speaker had gone out in my radio, and I could only play the thing on the rear speaker. I was headed up to Idlywild, and I went to turn on my radio broadcast so I could listen and pass the time and critique it. I was out about the area of March Field, going out towards San Jacinto from 395, and there was so much static on that radio that I couldn't hear my program.

So I sort of started complaining to the Lord. I said, "Lord, I came down last night so I could teach the Bible study. I'm running the wheels off of my car, and off of me trying to serve You. I need to feed the family. That's why I'm building the motel up in Idlywild. Lord, I don't like this drive, it gets monotonous and the radio really does help, Lord. I really wish I could hear my program and listen to the radio, because it just helps the drive not be so long. I don't want to complain Lord, but it sure would be nice to have my radio." I was really just talking to the Lord like that as I was driving along, about the area where they were building the dam for Perris Lake.

While I was sort of just laying this trip on the Lord, I had a vision in my mind. I saw the rear speaker, and I saw a little two-pronged connection going into wires that came out of the rear speaker, and I saw that connection loose and jiggling. I saw this vividly in my mind, so vividly that just as you're going up the hill and making that turn around where you, you come down into the valley towards San Jacinto. I pulled off the side of the road right there. I popped my trunk lid open and I climbed underneath to see what kind of connection they had to that rear speaker on my radio. Sure enough, just as I saw in my mind a loose connection dangling and jiggling, so this connection was loose. I pushed the thing in tight, closed the lid, ran around quickly and turned on the radio, clear as a bell. I said, "Wow, Lord that's unreal. You mean You're interested in me and my listening to my radio? That's all right, Lord. I love it." To realize that God is so close and desires to be deeply involved in your life. You just don't give Him the chance. You say, "Well God's never spoken to me." Have you ever asked Him to? Have you ever asked Him a direct question and then waited to get a direct answer?

Now I have to admit, I wasn't really expecting an answer. I was just sort of complaining. But then I began to discover that if I would ask God direct questions, I would often get direct answers and I realized that so many times, that I just had not, because I had asked not. God was there, God is interested, God wants to work. He's not remote off somewhere in the universe.

That's what Elijah was taunting those priests of Baal concerning their god. "Maybe he's off someplace on a vacation. Maybe he's playing golf. Cry a little louder." But God is not remote and far off. He is vitally interested in you and in your life. Even in those little things that are troubling you. You're His child. He doesn't like to see you distressed. He doesn't like to see you worried or fretting. He wants to reach out and help you. Don't think of God as way off, untouchable, unreachable, unapproachable. As Paul said to the Athenian philosophers, the Epicureans, "For in Him we live, we move, we have our being." God is interested in us. God want's to demonstrate His presence, His love, His love to you. "You have not because you ask not"( James 4:2 ). Become aware of the presence of God. Begin to realize, "Hey God is here, God is with me."

So God demonstrated here in a very powerful way, His interest, His presence, to Joshua and to the people.

Now having conquered these kings, they really at this point conquered the major enemies within the land. The major conquests were made all at this one shot when these kings came out against them. So from there on, it was almost like going out and mopping up. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Joshua 10". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/joshua-10.html. 2014.
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