Joshua Arresting the Sun and Moon

Joshua 10:12  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Next, as regards the miracle of the sun and moon being arrested in Joshua 10, Mr. N. says, "It has long been felt as too violent a derangement of the whole globe, to be used by the Most High as a means of discomfiting an army."1 Long felt by whom? It is a very, stale objection of infidels, like most, for they generally copy one another, so that, in the sense of its repetition usque ad nauseam, it has been long felt. But the object was not simply a means of discomfiting the army; it was a public testimony before the world that God interfered for His people, and would answer and put honor upon Joshua. And the sacred writer speaks of it in this way; "The like was never known," he says, "that the Lord hearkened to the voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel." The miracle is as plainly stated as physically true. But Mr. Ν., who always shuts God out of everything, forgets that it was as easy for Him who created the world to stop it as to make it go- to hold it in equipoise for a moment in its place, as to create the laws which kept it in its course. Joshua thought much more of God and His power; Mr. Ν. (as if there were neither) much more of the earth and its ordinary course, because it went naturally on. It seems to me that Joshua's was a higher, truer, nobler thought than that of Mr. Ν. The thought that counted on God's goodness to His people and 1-us almighty power was nobler and truer than that which excludes Him out of His own creation, and forgets that, if God did make these admirable general laws, He must sustain their power every moment, and can never abrogate His own rights for a mass of earth. The earth was stopped turning round, and the sun and moon are spoken of just as we do, and as Joshua must have done. We know well it is the earth which turns round, and yet we say, the sun rises, sets, &c.
As to Jasher's being a poet,2 it is a mere copying anther's notions without any proof. There is not the remotest semblance of proof that Jasher was a person at all. All this is taken for granted by Mr. Ν.; yet his whole argument depends upon it. There is no proof of Jasher's being a poet, nor of the word meaning a person. Mr. N.'s prosaic commentator speaks of the moon3 as well as the supposed poet. If one stopped, the other must too. But in afterward stating the effect, the historian speaks of the sun, because it was of course the sun which gave its continuous light for the task which Israel had to accomplish. It is Joshua, not Jasher, which gives the order to the sun and moon to stop; and it is the plain prosaic fact recorded by the commentator, as Mr. N. calls him, which is said to be found in the book of Jasher. It is not said of the elevated poetical appeal. In every particular, what Mr. N. says is totally unfounded. Moreover, it can hardly be doubted, that Joshua was ignorant of the rotation of the earth; and it is remarkable that he should have claimed not the stopping of the sun, but of sun and moon, the necessary effect of that which 'was wholly unknown to him, and yet he asks for that which, unless indeed God had disturbed the whole creation by unnecessary miracle, must have been the effect of the intervention of His power. Untaught by God, Joshua would have said, Sun, stand still. Taught of God, he asks for sun and moon to do so, which is just what God's power acting in the simplest way would do. He could not have answered precisely as to a man fully taught of God, if Joshua had asked for the sun to stop and not the moon, without a very extraordinary derangement of the celestial system. To make the moon go on in its just apparent course, when the earth was stopped, would have put the moon really out of its place. To have stopped the moon, unasked, as well as the sun, would not have been the same testimony to Joshua, though a wonder. But Joshua is taught to ask both. The rotation of the earth is arrested, and all is done at his word, though Joshua never knew the earth turned round, and that sun and moon would thus stop together.