Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 10:13

So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, Until the nation avenged themselves of their enemies. Is it not written in the book of Jashar? And the sun stopped in the middle of the sky and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Adoni-Zedek;   Amorites;   Armies;   Astronomy;   Debir;   Gibeon;   Hebron;   Meteorology and Celestial Phenomena;   Miracles;   Sun;   War;   Thompson Chain Reference - Astronomy;   Jasher;   Moon;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Amorites, the;   Books;   Jerusalem;   Miracles Wrought through Servants of God;   Moon, the;   Sun, the;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Adonizedek;   Jasher;   Makkedah;   Miracle;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Canon;   Gibeon;   Joshua the son of nun;   Joshua, book of;   Miracles;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Bible, Canon of the;   God;   Heaven, Heavens, Heavenlies;   Miracle;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Prayer;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Adoni-Zedec;   Book;   Jasher;   Joshua, the Book of;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Jasher;   Jeshua;   Samuel, the Books of;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Amorites;   Book(s);   Harmony of the Gospels;   Japhia;   Joshua, the Book of;   Poetry;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Adoni-Bezek;   Adoni-Zedek;   Beth-Horon;   Canon of the Old Testament;   Israel;   Jashar, Book of;   Miracles;   Moon;   Sun;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Adonizedec ;   Book;   Eglon ;   Gibeon ;   Gilgal;   Jasher, Book of;   Jebusites ;   Lachish ;   Makkedah ;   Miracles;   Sun;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Adonizedek;   Book;   Gibeon;   Journeyings of israel from egypt to canaan;   Lachish;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Adonize'dek;   Ja'sher;   Makke'dah;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Aijalon;   Canon;   Prophets;   Silence;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Adoni-Zedek;   Gentiles;   Hoham;   Jashar, Book of;   Joshua, Book of;   Poetry, Hebrew;   Time;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Adonizedek;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Anonymous Works;   Enemy, Treatment of an;   Jasher, Book of;   Jebusites;   Miracle;   Moon;   Shirah, Pereḳ;   Sun;  

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed,.... The sun that came out of his chamber like a bridegroom, and rejoiced as a strong man to run his course, stopped his course at once; and the moon that walks in her brightness proceeded not on, but both stood still, motionless, and continued in this position:

until the people had avenged themselves on their enemies: until the nation and people of Israel had taken vengeance on and destroyed the live kings and their forces: how this is to be reconciled to the Copernican system, or that with this, I shall not inquire. It was a most wonderful and surprising phenomenon, to see both luminaries standing still in the midst of heaven; it is pretended by some historiansF6See Bayle's Dictionary, vol. 4. p. 268. , that a like miracle was wrought at the battle of Mulberg, won by the Emperor Charles the Fifth, on April 24, 1547. In the Chinese historyF7Martin. Sinie. Histor. l. 1. p. 25. it is reported, that in the time of their seventh, emperor, Yao, the sun did not set for ten days, and that men were afraid the world would be burnt, and there were great fires at that time; and though the time of the sun's standing still is enlarged beyond the bounds of truth, yet it seems to refer to this fact, and was manifestly about the same time; for this miracle was wrought in the year of the world 2554, which fell in the seventy fifth, or, as some say, the sixty seventh year of that emperor's reign, who reigned ninety years:

is not this written in the book of Jasher? about which the Jews are divided; some say it is the book of Genesis, others the book of Deuteronomy, others the book of JudgesF8T. Bab. Avoda Zara, fol. 35. 1. ; the Targum interprets it of the book of the law, and so Jarchi and Kimchi; and Ben Melech interprets it of the book of the law of Moses, where they suppose this miracle was predicted. The former thinks, in the words of Jacob to Joseph, "his seed shall fill the nations", Genesis 48:19; which he supposes was fulfilled in Joshua of the tribe of Ephraim, when the whole world was filled with the fame of him on account of this miracle; and the latter in the words, "before all thy people I will do miracles", Exodus 34:10; one was in making the face of Moses to shine, the other the standing still of the sun for Joshua, as he interprets it. Bolducius, a commentator on the book of JobF9Bolduc. in Job. ix. 7. , fancies that that book is designed, and that this miracle is foretold in it, particularly in Job 9:7; "which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not"; it is most likely that this book of Jasher, in which this miracle was recorded, was a public register, or annals, in which memorable events were written, as they happened in different ages by different persons; and Masius thinks JosephusF11Antiqu. l. 5. c. 1. sect. 17. means this by the archives laid up in the temple, to which he appeals for the truth of this miracle:

so the sun stood still in the midst of heaven; somewhere above the horizon, very probably this was about noon, when the sun was in its meridian. GussetiusF12Comment. Ebr. p. 281. thinks about ten or eleven o'clock; it may be supposed that early in the morning Joshua came up with his troops, and engaged the kings, and it might be noon before the battle was over, and the victory obtained, at least before Joshua had proceeded in his pursuit of them, so far as he had done, when the miracle was wrought; and the rather, as it would be the more conspicuous in the several parts of the world; for had it been near sun setting, it could not have been seen in some places, and particularly by the Chinese, as it seems to have been by what has been observed:

and hasted not to go down about a whole day; which was either artificial or natural; if an artificial day, then it stood still but twelve hours; if a natural day, twenty four hours; and accordingly the length of the day must be judged of; if it was at noon when it stood still, and continued so a natural day, or twenty four hours, then as it had gone six hours to noon, and, after it returned to its motion, had six more to go to its setting, this day must be thirty six hours long; and so the Jews commonly sayF13Targum in Cant. i. 1. T. Bab. Avoda Zara, fol. 25. 1. Kimchi in loc. So Justin Martyr. Dialog. cum Tryph. p. 361. ; but if an artificial day, or twelve hours, then it was but a day of twenty four hours; but if this was, as the Jews sayF14Seder Olam Rabba, c. 11. p. 31. Kimchi in loc. , on the third of Tammuz, which answers to part of June, and was in the summer solstice, on the longest day in the year, when their days consisted of fourteen hours, this will make this long day four hours longer. According to the author of Ecclesiasticus, in the Apocrypha:"Did not the sun go back by his means? and was not one day as long as two?' (Sirach 46:4)it was a double day, or, as he expresses it, one day became two, or was as long as two. (In the late 1960's, someone circulated a story that NASA had discovered there was a missing day in the solar system. Using this passage they accounted for about twenty one missing hours and the account in Isaiah 38:8 to account for the rest of the missing time. This story is a complete fable and has absolutely no basis in fact. Editor.)

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Joshua 10:13". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-10.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. [Is] not this written in the book of e Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.

(e) Some read, the book of the righteous, meaning Moses: the Chaldea text reads, in the book of the Law, but it is likely that it was a book thus named, which is now lost.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Joshua 10:13". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/joshua-10.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this 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.

Avenged them on their enemies — That is, till they bad utterly destroyed them.

Book of Jasher — This book was written and published before Joshua wrote his, and so is fitly alluded here. But this, as well as some other historical books, is lost, not being a canonical book, and therefore not preserved by the Jews with the same care as they were.

The sun stood — 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. And if it seem strange to any one, that so wonderful a work should not be mentioned in any Heathen writers; he must consider, 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 war, which was a thousand years after Joshua's time; and that all time before that, is called by the most learned Heathens, the uncertain, unknown, or obscure time.

A whole day — That is, for the space of a whole day. Understand an artificial day between sun-rising and sun-setting; for that was the day which Joshua needed and desired, a day to give him light for his work.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Joshua 10:13". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-10.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 10:13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. [Is] not this 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.

Ver. 13. And the sun stood still.] Heb., Was silent. The whole body of the movable heaven stopped its course, and made a halt. Neither need it offend us that there is no record of this miracle in heathen histories; for Diodorus Siculus confesseth, that all heathen antiquities before the Theban and Trojan wars are either fabulous narrations, or little better.

Is not this written in the book of Jasher?] Which Jerome (a) will have to be Genesis: but it seemeth rather to have been some civil history or continued chronicle, such as are amongst us the Chronicles of England, which is now lost, as are also some other books, [1 Chronicles 29:29; 2 Chronicles 12:15; 2 Chronicles 9:29] and was therefore, we may be sure, no part of the holy canon: God, by his providence, taking care and course that no one hair of that sacred head should fall to the ground. This book of Jasher, or the upright, together with Solomon’s Physics, [1 Kings 4:32-33] the book of his Acts, [1 Kings 11:41] the books of Nathan and Gad, [1 Chronicles 29:29] of Shemaiah, [2 Chronicles 12:15] of Jehu, [2 Chronicles 20:34] the books of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel and Judah, &c., were not testamentary or canonical: and are now taken away, not because they contained matter either above human capacity, or else corrupt and unsound, as Origen (b) determineth: but rather, as Augustine (c) hath it, we are to know, that although they were both pious and profitable, yet were they written out of a historical diligence for more plentiful knowledge; not by divine inspiration, for the authority of religion.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 10:13". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-10.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Stood still, Heb. was silent, i.e. still, as this phrase is commonly used, as 1 Samuel 14:9 Psalms 4:4 Jonah 1:12; 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, i.e. 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; /APC Sirach 46:5,6. 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, i.e. for the space of a whole day. Understand an artificial day, between sun-rising and sun-setting; for that was the day which Joshua needed and desired, a day to give him light for his work.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 10:13". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/joshua-10.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

13.The book of Jasher — This was a poetical book in praise of the heroes of the theocracy — a collection of national songs. Both its name and extant fragments seem to show that it was composed to celebrate upright men in Israel, like Joshua and Jonathan. Jasher signifies the upright. It was probably written in the reign of David, or soon after. It may have been compiled gradually through a long course of years, one national song after another being added to the collection, but it certainly was not completed till David’s time, for it contained his elegy on Saul and Jonathan. See 2 Samuel 1:18. Furst is of the opinion that Jasher is a collective term for Israelites, and that it should be translated the book of the Israelites, that is, the national book. We are ignorant of its author or compiler. If it had been divinely inspired, Providence would doubtless have preserved it for the benefit of mankind. The modern works bearing its title are later and spurious.

About a whole day — The exposition of Bush, who translates this passage as at the perfect day, signifying only that the sun did not go down at its usual time at the close of the day, but pretty soon after, is rather far-fetched. The Vulgate version, “Nor was there before nor afterward so long a day,” contains the true explanation of this expression, namely, that the day was greatly extended, perhaps nearly doubled in length. A study of the whole chapter, and a consideration of the many acts performed by Joshua and his army, would seem to require about two days for their accomplishment.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 10:13". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-10.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Joshua 10:13. And the sun stood still — God heard Joshua’s request, and gave him the thing he asked for, a prolongation of the day to near twice the length of any other day. This is the fact here attested, and this we are bound to believe on the divine testimony. But as to the manner in which this wonderful miracle was accomplished, God has not informed us; and to make inquiries concerning it would be a mere waste of time, being beyond our discovery and comprehension. Until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies — That is, till they had utterly destroyed them. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? — This book was written and made public before Joshua wrote his history, and is therefore properly alluded to here. It was probably a collection of records, or of poems, concerning the principal events of these wars, and no doubt gave a further account of this miracle. But this and some other books of these ages have long been lost, not being canonical, and therefore not preserved by the Jews with the same care wherewith they guarded their inspired writings. If it seem strange to any one that so wonderful an event as is here recorded should not be mentioned by any heathen writers, it may be answered, 1st, That many learned men have shown that there is a great appearance of its being alluded to in many of the fables of the heathen poets, and mythologists of Greece and Rome, and in the histories of the Chinese. But whether or not, it must be observed, 2d, That it is confessed by the generality of writers, heathen and others, that there is no certain history or monument in heathen authors of any thing done before the Trojan war, which happened a thousand years after Joshua’s time, and that all the ages preceding that war are termed, by the most learned heathen, the uncertain, unknown, or obscure time.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 10:13". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/joshua-10.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

The book of the just. In Hebrew Sepher hayashar; an ancient book long since lost. (Challoner) --- It was probably of the same nature with that of the wars of the Lord, (Numbers xxi. 4,) containing an account of the most memorable occurrences which concerned the people of Israel, the just, or Ischuron, Deuteronomy xxxiii. 5. Josephus ([Antiquities?] v. 2,) says, such "records were kept in the archives of the temple." They were drawn up by people of character. The quotations inserted are in a poetical style, as the book might contain various canticles, though the rest was written in prose. See 2 Kings i. 18. It might appear unnecessary for Josue to appeal to this work, as the fact in question was known to all. (Calmet) --- But too great precaution could not be taken to prevent the danger of people calling in question the reality of the miracle. If the book of the just was a more detailed history of facts, out of which this work of Josue has been compiled, as Theodoret supposes, the author might very well remit the more inquisitive reader to that authentic source. (Haydock) --- Midst. It was then almost noon. (Calmet) --- Josue was nevertheless afraid lest the day should not allow them time to destroy their fleeing enemies completely. (Haydock) --- If the evening had been at hand, he would have said, return sun towards Gabaon, as it would have been on the west of his army. The battle had begun early in the morning, and the pursuit had lasted perhaps four or five hours. (Calmet) --- Day. Hebrew, "about a whole day." Many think that a day here comprises 24 hours; and as the sun had been above the horizon six hours, and continued other six, it must have been visible for the space of 36 hours, as the Jews believe, and as it is specified in St. Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho. The author of Ecclesiasticus xlvi. 5, says, Was not the sun stopped in his anger, and one day made as two? that is, 24 hour long, allowing 12 unequal ones to form a day, according to the reckoning of those times. Others suppose that the day of Josue might consist of 18 (Calmet) or of 48 hours. But how would the soldiers be able to support such a fatigue? They had been marching all the preceding night from Galgal. (Haydock) --- If they had stopped to take refreshment, their enemies would have escaped. Hence some of the Fathers imagine, that God enabled his people to pursue them without taking any food. (St. Jerome, contra Jov. ii.) They might, however, take some along with them, as it was then customary; and eat as they pursued, whenever they could find an opportunity. Josue had given no prohibition; and Jonathan observed that his father, Saul, had troubled Israel, by following a different plan, 1 Kings xiv. 24. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 10:13". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-10.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

stood still = waited silently.

the book of Jasher. Why may not this be "the book of the Upright", another name for Israel, like Jeshurun? See note on Deuteronomy 32:15. Is. It is so in Arabic and Syriac. It is mentioned in 2 Samuel 1:18. In the Targum it is "the book of the Law". Josephus appeals to it as a book in the temple, which probably perished with it. Two spurious books so called, A.D. 1394 and 1625.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 10:13". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/joshua-10.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this 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.

The sun stood still, [ bach

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 10:13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/joshua-10.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(13) And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed.—Literally, the sun was silent, and the moon stopped.

The sun stood still (i.e., stopped) in the midst of heaven.—Literally, in the half of the heavens—i.e., either “in the midst of heaven,” or “in the same hemisphere” (in the one-half of the heavens).

And hasted not to go down (or to go in) about a whole day.—The word cannot mean to rise, or ascend, and thus these words absolutely exclude the view that what Joshua desired was to prevent the sun from rising, in order to complete a night attack upon the Amorites.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Joshua 10:13". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/joshua-10.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this 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.
until
Numbers 31:2; Judges 5:2; 16:28; Esther 8:13; Luke 18:7; Revelation 6:10
Jasher
or, the upright.
Numbers 21:14; 2 Samuel 1:18
So the sun
11,14; Psalms 19:4; 74:16,17; 136:7-9; 148:3; Isaiah 24:23; 38:8; Joel 2:10,31; 3:15; Matthew 5:45; 24:29; Acts 2:20; Revelation 6:12; 8:12; 16:8,9; Revelation 21:23
Reciprocal: Exodus 34:10 - I will do marvels;  Deuteronomy 4:19 - which the Lord;  Joshua 10:12 - Sun;  Psalm 111:6 - showed;  Psalm 119:91 - all are;  Ecclesiastes 1:5 - hasteth;  Habakkuk 3:11 - sun

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 10:13". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-10.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

13.And the sun stood still, etc The question how the sun stood in Gibeon, is no less unseasonably raised by some than unskillfully explained by others. (95) For Joshua did not subtlety place the sun in any particular point, making it necessary to feign that the battle was fought at the summer solstice, but as it was turning towards the district of Ajalon as far as the eye could discern, Joshua bids it stay and rest there, in other words, remain above what is called the horizon. In short, the sun, which was already declining to the west, is kept from setting. (96)

I do not give myself any great anxiety as to the number of the hours; because it is enough for me that the day was continued through the whole night. Were histories of that period extant, they would doubtless celebrate this great miracle; lest its credibility, however, should be questioned, the writer of this book mentions that an account of it was given elsewhere, though the work which he quotes has been lost, and expounders are not well agreed as to the term Jazar. Those who think Moses is meant, insist on referring the example which is here given to general predictions. As Moses applies this name to the chosen people, it is more congruous to hold that commentaries on the events in their history are meant. I, for my part, understand by it either God or Israel, rather than the author of a history. (97)

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Joshua 10:13". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/joshua-10.html. 1840-57.