The holy Bible’s narrative about Joshua’s “stopping the sun” is one of the most favorite places for attacks and arguments on the part of the godless. However, the latest research and scientific discoveries, as well as archaeological excavations being conducted in Mesopotamia, confirm without any doubt the historical veracity of all biblical events.
The well-known English scientist and archaeologist Arthur Hook (died in 1952) says in regard to the issue of Joshua’s miracle: “We must understand first of all that the question is not whether God could perform such a miracle, but whether He did perform it… If someone tells me that such miracles are impossible, he wants me to accept the theory that the One Who created the universe does not have the power to subsequently adapt part of His creation for His own purposes; in other words – that the One Who created the whole cannot alter part of it.
But that is totally absurd!
If we meticulously examine the text, we discover that it contains several important ideas which can be used as data from the astronomical point of view. The matter is as follows. At the time when a man who stood on the road leading to Mount Beth-horon could see the sun over Gibeon and the moon over the valley of Ajalon, a hail of “great stones” fell from heaven between the Beth-horon road and Azekah, and the 24-hour day was extended for almost another 24 hours.
Now let us note the words Joshua uses in his prayer; in it we find that his request was literally as follows: “Sun, stand thou still (quiet, calm) upon Gibeon.” Here is used the Hebrew word “damam,” which means “to be still, to be inactive.” It is precisely this word which is used in the Jewish original in all the three instances mentioned in the Book of Joshua, where we read: “stand,” “stopped,” and “stood.”
Science has proven that light has a vocal attribute; in other words, the quick fluctuation or vibration of airwaves, which represents light, causes a special sound, although our ears are not sensitive enough to hear it. Many scientists believe that the action of the sun upon Earth makes the latter revolve around its axis.
In order for the day to be extended upon Joshua’s command, Earth’s revolution around its axis – if this theory is accepted as being correct – should have been delayed to some degree. Moreover, this manifestation could have taken place as a result of a neutralization of, a decrease in, or, to some extent, a counteraction to the process of the sun’s influence on Earth.
From this it is evident that Joshua’s words are in exact accord with the discoveries of modern science: “Sun, stand thou still, or inactive.” If, therefore, the influence of the sun was temporarily decreased, Earth should have revolved much more slowly and the day should have been longer.
The great astronomer Newton proved how easily Earth’s revolution could have been slowed down totally unnoticed by its inhabitants.”
Arthur Hook then reports that an experienced scientist in Copenhagen told him that he had a supposition concerning the “great stones” falling from heaven that threw the Amorites into confusion. For the stones he posited the tail or part of a large comet, which had reached an appropriate proximity to Earth. This scientist expressed his certainty that if a search were made at the indicated spot, stones of meteoric origin would be discovered.
We have here, apparently, the explanation for the miraculous event.
It is known that heavenly bodies exhibit the attribute of mutual magnetic gravity, and it would not be unfounded to suppose that the arrival of a large comet within the sphere of Earth’s influence could be a significant impediment to the sun’s influence on Earth. Could anti-gravity have taken place here? – I think, – says Arthur Hook, – not a single scientist could tell us that. But, in any case, it is extraordinary that this shower of meteoric stones, – which could very well have been the tail of a comet, – coincided with a disturbance in the process of Earth’s revolution around its axis.
The scientist Immanuel Velikovsky also asserts with due cause that the comet which passed near Earth became the planet Venus. He confirms that ancient Hindu documents and Egyptian writings from the 4th millennium B.C., which knew about the existence of planets, do not mention Venus. On the other hand, Babylonian records from the year 1,000 B.C. speak of the appearance of a new planet, “a bright star which joined the other stars.” From that time on, the planet Venus begins to be mentioned in astronomical works.
Nevertheless, for such events as are described in the Book of Joshua, astronomy demands facts, and history confirms that these facts truly took place.
Professor Totten in America researched this subject very meticulously from the astronomical point of view and published the results in terms of mathematical calculations. It turns out that only once were the sun, the moon, and the earth in the positions described in the Book of Joshua. In working over his calculations, which encompass the time from our days all the way back to Joshua’s time, the professor finds that it is impossible not to conclude that a whole 24 hours were added to world history.
E. Mander, a scientist at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, – this wonderful center of astronomical science and research, – also published a work on this subject. He determined the day on which this miraculous event took place and discovered the exact spot on which Joshua should have been standing at that time.
But that is not all! One should note the content of the biblical text: “So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hastened not to go down about a whole day.” Professor Totten’s calculations establish that, although exactly twenty-four hours had somehow been added to world history, Joshua’s times, however, account for only twenty-three hours and twenty minutes, just as it is written in the Scriptures – “about a whole day.”
Consequently, the twenty-four hours demanded by astronomical calculations lack another 40 minutes. Here we can once again observe the exact precision of the Bible. In the second Book of Kings, 20:8-11, we read of how at the request of King Hezekiah the Lord gave a sign through the prophet Isaiah – the shadow on the sundial returned backward ten degrees. “Ten degrees” equal precisely 40 minutes. These forty minutes fill to a minute the twenty-four hours mentioned by Professor Totten that have mysteriously accrued in the history of our planet.
Let us see what history tells us of Joshua’s extended hours, – says the scientist Arthur Hook.
There are three ancient peoples who have retained their historical data: the Greeks, the Egyptians, and the Chinese. All of them have legends about a single extraordinarily prolonged day. The Greek Herodotus, who is called “the father of history,” told in 480 B.C. of how several Egyptian priests showed him records of the extension of a certain day beyond twenty-four hours. In ancient Chinese records it is asserted that this event occurred in the reign of Emperor Io, while Chinese genealogical tables indicate that this emperor reigned in China in Joshua’s times.
Lord Kingsborough, who embarked upon a special exploration of primitive Indians in America, determined that the Mexicans, who had reached a high degree of civilization way before America was discovered by the Europeans, had a legend of how the sun “stood still” for a whole day, and this was in the year which they call “the seven hares.” The “year of the seven hares” corresponds exactly to the time when Joshua and the Israelis were conquering Palestine. Thus we have independent corroborations of the veracity of the biblical narrative that cannot be doubted – from the Greeks, the Egyptians, the Chinese, and the Mexicans. The same is confirmed by Finnish, Japanese, Peruvian, and other legends – says scientist Immanuel Velikovsky.
“Once, – reports Arthur Hook, – a certain individual said to me, after I had given a lecture on this subject: ‘In regard to the phenomenon I must submit to the verdict of science, but I just cannot allow that all of this happened only because of the prayer of one person’.
This could confuse others too, perhaps. I therefore make use of this opportunity to note that this miracle sheds amazing light on the mystery of active prayer.
God knew from the very beginning, of course, that this event would occur, but He also knew that Joshua would pray. Joshua, being in communion with God, was stimulated to pray in such a way that his plans turned out to be in agreement with God’s pre-determination. Prayer was the link between Joshua and the majestic event which God was about to unfurl. If Joshua had not been in communion with God, he would possibly have prepared his troops for a night attack, and in this case the prolonged day would have been disastrous for him.
God’s work is taking place all around us, and He can always adapt even a single one of his countless resources to our any need. God does it not by altering His wise plans, but by inciting us to adapt our egos and change our plans in accordance with the Creator’s pre-determined and divinely perfect objectives. In such a case we receive answers to our prayers. Experience has shown that people who give themselves over to God most fully and who eagerly reject their own plans for the sake of God’s plans, – always receive answers to their prayers, and these answers border on the miraculous.” Thus speaks the great scientist and archaeologist, Professor Arthur Hook.
(From Protopriest Seraphim Slobodskoy’s book “The Law of God”)