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Ben Masada

And the Sun Stood Still

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AND THE SUN STOOD STILL

It is amazing to see how religious Scholars from almost all quarters of religious life struggle so hard to prove that a day is missing in the history of the universe which can be explained only by the "miracle" that the sun stood still so that the Israelites could win a decisive battle at the conquest of Ganaan, so they assert. Vanity of vanities! When will vanity fade? The answer is in the same chapter of Joshua for how and why the "sun stood still."

According to Moses Maimonides in his Book "Guide for the Perplexed" most references to the sun, moon and stars, falling or standing, moving or standing still, are references to the powers that be. When Joshua entered the Land of Canaan with a power unmatched by any other power in the world of then, five Canaanite kings got into a strong coalition composed by the city states of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon in order to be able to stop Joshua. That's when the epic myth that the sun stood still came about and here is how, according to Joshua 10:13-27.

As the Israelites were faring better in the battle and pursuing the enemies, the above coalition of kings got into the cave of Makkedah and stood still in the hope to keep the secret of their hiding place. Somehow, Joshua was told that they were hiding in that cave and he ordered that a stone wall be built at the entrance to the cave, set some soldiers to watch outside and ordered the Israelites to keep on fighting and pursuing the enemy armies while the kings stood still and until the battle was over. It was a long day so-to-speak as the powers that be stood still until Joshua had achieved complete victory. Then he ordered the cave to be open and the kings to be brought out and over to be punished with death.

That's when the sun stood still until the war was over. That's all. No mystery about a natural miracle. Just a strategy of Joshua to make sure the enemy kings (sun and moon) stook still until the war was over.

Ben

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Those were the days that they thought the world was flat...right?

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its likely that "most" thought the world was flat back then. i don't think this is relevant in either interpretation though.

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Those were the days that they thought the world was flat...right?

And the earth was the center of the universe too.

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And the earth was the center of the universe too.

Yes, kind of what I was implying, and it is relevant, it sort of went over some peoples heads. :yes:

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Those were the days that they thought the world was flat...right?

Probably. But... you know; that's not the point. In fact, in allegories, parables, dreams and visions, the world might as well be flat, as long as the message goes through.

Ben

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Posted (edited)

Probably. But... you know; that's not the point. In fact, in allegories, parables, dreams and visions, the world might as well be flat, as long as the message goes through.

Ben

But the message is completely inaccurate. But if it helps people to deal with their lives better, then thats fine.

personally i could not follow inaccurate."messages", but do like some of these old stories the same way I like the Greek myths.

Edited by freetoroam

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But the message is completely inaccurate. But if it helps people to deal with their lives better, then thats fine.

personally i could not follow inaccurate."messages", but do like some of these old stories the same way I like the Greek myths.

A message is inaccurate according to preconceived notions. What helps some could not be the same help for others. Those who enjoy a world of illusions prefer to stay with the myth that the sun and the moon did remain still for a whole day. Those who enjoy the exercise of reason are glad that now they can see how detrimental was to live with the shadows within the cave.

Ben

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AND THE SUN STOOD STILL

It is amazing to see how religious Scholars from almost all quarters of religious life struggle so hard to prove that a day is missing in the history of the universe which can be explained only by the "miracle" that the sun stood still so that the Israelites could win a decisive battle at the conquest of Ganaan, so they assert. Vanity of vanities! When will vanity fade? The answer is in the same chapter of Joshua for how and why the "sun stood still."

According to Moses Maimonides in his Book "Guide for the Perplexed" most references to the sun, moon and stars, falling or standing, moving or standing still, are references to the powers that be. When Joshua entered the Land of Canaan with a power unmatched by any other power in the world of then, five Canaanite kings got into a strong coalition composed by the city states of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon in order to be able to stop Joshua. That's when the epic myth that the sun stood still came about and here is how, according to Joshua 10:13-27.

As the Israelites were faring better in the battle and pursuing the enemies, the above coalition of kings got into the cave of Makkedah and stood still in the hope to keep the secret of their hiding place. Somehow, Joshua was told that they were hiding in that cave and he ordered that a stone wall be built at the entrance to the cave, set some soldiers to watch outside and ordered the Israelites to keep on fighting and pursuing the enemy armies while the kings stood still and until the battle was over. It was a long day so-to-speak as the powers that be stood still until Joshua had achieved complete victory. Then he ordered the cave to be open and the kings to be brought out and over to be punished with death.

That's when the sun stood still until the war was over. That's all. No mystery about a natural miracle. Just a strategy of Joshua to make sure the enemy kings (sun and moon) stook still until the war was over.

Ben

Interesting... I am a fan of Immanuel Velikovsky's work on catastraphism and he has some interesting speculations on the matter as well, personally I would choose his position on the basis that at least it doesn't try to to downgrade the unexplainable to a metaphor. But as I said, that is merely my position.

http://www.beforearmageddon.com/posts/the-day-the-sun-stood-still-remembering-velikovsky

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Interesting... I am a fan of Immanuel Velikovsky's work on catastraphism and he has some interesting speculations on the matter as well, personally I would choose his position on the basis that at least it doesn't try to to downgrade the unexplainable to a metaphor. But as I said, that is merely my position.

http://www.beforearm...ring-velikovsky

Yes, but it happens though that there is no downgrading of the unexplainable here. To a metaphor yes, but rather the word would be upgrading and not downgrading. Then the case was not unexplainable but set down to be explained by someone with some training in metaphorical language for his personal enjoyment and enlightenment of the members of the literal interpretation club. But as you said, it is merely your position.

Ben

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Posted (edited)

Yes, but it happens though that there is no downgrading of the unexplainable here. To a metaphor yes, but rather the word would be upgrading and not downgrading. Then the case was not unexplainable but set down to be explained by someone with some training in metaphorical language for his personal enjoyment and enlightenment of the members of the literal interpretation club. But as you said, it is merely your position.

Ben

The explanation you put forward... do you actually believe that to be the case or is it simply an explanation much like any other that anyone can come up with? Where is the historical evidence that these 5 kings hid in a cave (which is the last place anyone would choose from a tactical perspecitive)? What sources for this story exist? Are they uniquely from Maimonides or did he get them from somewhere else? How would one go about proving this?

Rejecting the biblical narrative in support of a more logical and down to earth explanation is all well and good, but you had better provide more than just the say so of another man.

Edited by Jor-el

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I would add that the bible is actually quoting the book of Jashar 88:63-65 when describing the events of that day.

12 On the day the Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel:

“Sun, stand still over Gibeon,

and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.”

13 So the sun stood still,

and the moon stopped,

till the nation avenged itself on its enemies,

as it is written in the Book of Jashar.

63 And when they were smiting, the day was declining toward evening, and Joshua said in the sight of all the people, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon, and thou moon in the valley of Ajalon, until the nation shall have revenged itself upon its enemies.

64 And the Lord hearkened to the voice of Joshua, and the sun stood still in the midst of the heavens, and it stood still six and thirty moments, and the moon also stood still and hastened not to go down a whole day.

65 And 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.

http://www.ccel.org/a/anonymous/jasher/88.htm

What is even more important here but usually ignored is that giant hailstones killed most of the Amorite army, not the Israelites themselves, I wonder where these hailstones came from because there wasn't a cloud in the sky apparently,

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The explanation you put forward... do you actually believe that to be the case or is it simply an explanation much like any other that anyone can come up with? Where is the historical evidence that these 5 kings hid in a cave (which is the last place anyone would choose from a tactical perspecitive)? What sources for this story exist? Are they uniquely from Maimonides or did he get them from somewhere else? How would one go about proving this?

Rejecting the biblical narrative in support of a more logical and down to earth explanation is all well and good, but you had better provide more than just the say so of another man.

Well Jorel, if you believe the Scriptures the text is in Joshua 10:13-27. I believe that the Scriptural testimony overides any other opinion. It says in there what Joshua did to keep the five kings still while the Israelites fought the battle against their five armies. You know, confusion reigned as the armies saw themselves without a leader and became an easy target. Then later, many years later, perhaps by Ezra was the text put into writing as chronicles of the heroes of Israel. Embellishment is the word.

In another 50 or 100 years, I believe the same could happen to the epic achievement of the Israelis in the Six-Day War in 1967 when the Egyptians thought they had it all to push the Jews into the sea and woke up to see the Israelis tanks over the other side of the Swez Canal heading toward Cairo. They had crossed the Canal on the dry over suspended bridges in the dark of the night. Such an achievement will be told as no less than a miracle of God.

Ben

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I would add that the bible is actually quoting the book of Jashar 88:63-65 when describing the events of that day.

12 On the day the Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel:

“Sun, stand still over Gibeon,

and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.”

13 So the sun stood still,

and the moon stopped,

till the nation avenged itself on its enemies,

as it is written in the Book of Jashar.

63 And when they were smiting, the day was declining toward evening, and Joshua said in the sight of all the people, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon, and thou moon in the valley of Ajalon, until the nation shall have revenged itself upon its enemies.

64 And the Lord hearkened to the voice of Joshua, and the sun stood still in the midst of the heavens, and it stood still six and thirty moments, and the moon also stood still and hastened not to go down a whole day.

65 And 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.

http://www.ccel.org/...s/jasher/88.htm

What is even more important here but usually ignored is that giant hailstones killed most of the Amorite army, not the Israelites themselves, I wonder where these hailstones came from because there wasn't a cloud in the sky apparently,

Hey Jorel, if literally God fought for Israel that day, would He need to disturb the natural sequence of the Cosmos to stop the earth? Please!!! He could have done the whole thing withtout a cosmological catastrophe. The text was simply embellished many years later into the chronicles of the heroes of Israel. It is from this kind of literal interpretation that atheists laugh at the naivite of theists.

Ben

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Posted (edited)

Well Jorel, if you believe the Scriptures the text is in Joshua 10:13-27. I believe that the Scriptural testimony overides any other opinion. It says in there what Joshua did to keep the five kings still while the Israelites fought the battle against their five armies. You know, confusion reigned as the armies saw themselves without a leader and became an easy target. Then later, many years later, perhaps by Ezra was the text put into writing as chronicles of the heroes of Israel. Embellishment is the word.

In another 50 or 100 years, I believe the same could happen to the epic achievement of the Israelis in the Six-Day War in 1967 when the Egyptians thought they had it all to push the Jews into the sea and woke up to see the Israelis tanks over the other side of the Swez Canal heading toward Cairo. They had crossed the Canal on the dry over suspended bridges in the dark of the night. Such an achievement will be told as no less than a miracle of God.

Ben

But the text does NOT state in any manner whatsoever that the 5 kings are being referred to in any way when it states the sun stood still. Is that not an embelishment on the part of Maimonides in his explanation?

Edited by Jor-el

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Hey Jorel, if literally God fought for Israel that day, would He need to disturb the natural sequence of the Cosmos to stop the earth? Please!!! He could have done the whole thing withtout a cosmological catastrophe. The text was simply embellished many years later into the chronicles of the heroes of Israel. It is from this kind of literal interpretation that atheists laugh at the naivite of theists.

Ben

But he did disturb the natural sequence of events, he killed the majority of the Amorite army with giant hailstones on a clear and cloudless day that lasted 24 hours.

Now did he really need to stop anything but the rotation of the earth to provide the extra day or is this merely indicative that something very strange and unnatural happened on that particular day?

Maybe what we have here is exactly what Veliokovsky described, a comet breaking up over the atmosphere, not only lighting up the day and the night but showering its remnants over an army after it burst in the sky overhead.

I'm reminded of the Tanguska event but in a more moderate scale, the effects howver would be quite similar to what was described in Joshua 10.

Suddenly in the north sky… the sky was split in two, and high above the forest the whole northern part of the sky appeared covered with fire… At that moment there was a bang in the sky and a mighty crash… The crash was followed by a noise like stones falling from the sky, or of guns firing. The earth trembled

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2008/30jun_tunguska/

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But the text does NOT state in any manner whatsoever that the 5 kings are being referred to in any way when it states the sun stood still. Is that not an embelishment on the part of Maimonides in his explanation?

The text was given in a parable/allegory. The explanation is never given by the writer. It is supposed to be found in the mind of the enlightened reader by dissecting the context. For example, when Jesus spoke his parable about the Richman and Lazarus, he didn't have to explain that he meant to convey the importance of the Law in the life of man. That the torment in hell suffered by the Richman was only one of the imaginary steps in the ladder of the understanding of what he meant to covey. (Luke 16:29-31)

Ben

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The text was given in a parable/allegory. The explanation is never given by the writer. It is supposed to be found in the mind of the enlightened reader by dissecting the context. For example, when Jesus spoke his parable about the Richman and Lazarus, he didn't have to explain that he meant to convey the importance of the Law in the life of man. That the torment in hell suffered by the Richman was only one of the imaginary steps in the ladder of the understanding of what he meant to covey. (Luke 16:29-31)

Ben

Where does it state that this is a parable or an allegory?

I looked, I didn't find any indication in the text of any such thing. Linguistically it is given as a historical fact.

Luke 16 contains a number of parables and words of wisdom, none of them can be taken as historical or real even though they could be popular stories of the time. Jesus could have used actual occurences or even invented them to share a moral or theological point, which was clearly his intent. The intent of the text shapes it that way, just as the intent of Joshua 9 and 10 shapes the text that is written down, it is clear from the text itself that we are dealing with historical fact rather than merely a story or a parable. That is expressed in the way the author wrote the text and the content he used to fill it.

Whether one chooses to believe it or not is beside the question here.

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Where does it state that this is a parable or an allegory?

I looked, I didn't find any indication in the text of any such thing. Linguistically it is given as a historical fact.

Luke 16 contains a number of parables and words of wisdom, none of them can be taken as historical or real even though they could be popular stories of the time. Jesus could have used actual occurences or even invented them to share a moral or theological point, which was clearly his intent. The intent of the text shapes it that way, just as the intent of Joshua 9 and 10 shapes the text that is written down, it is clear from the text itself that we are dealing with historical fact rather than merely a story or a parable. That is expressed in the way the author wrote the text and the content he used to fill it.

Whether one chooses to believe it or not is beside the question here.

Jorel... are you sure you mean to believe that the "parable" of the Richman and Lazarus was a historical event? I am startled! At first, I thought to take you to be joking. But wait, let me give you the benefit of the doubt and hear your answer to the following question: How would you explain that those from the side of Abraham in Heaven would want or wish to pass from there to the hell of the Richman? That's in Luke 16:26. How could that be historical? The whole thing is a parable with the intent to show the Theology or moral point that the Law must be obeyed to prevent one from metaphorically ending up in hell. Or literally from suffering the effects of his transgression.

Ben

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While I'm not a fan of all of this guy's vids... I though I'd offer this vid as an addition... Physics is a b****...

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Jorel... are you sure you mean to believe that the "parable" of the Richman and Lazarus was a historical event? I am startled! At first, I thought to take you to be joking. But wait, let me give you the benefit of the doubt and hear your answer to the following question: How would you explain that those from the side of Abraham in Heaven would want or wish to pass from there to the hell of the Richman? That's in Luke 16:26. How could that be historical? The whole thing is a parable with the intent to show the Theology or moral point that the Law must be obeyed to prevent one from metaphorically ending up in hell. Or literally from suffering the effects of his transgression.

Ben

Hmmm, a slight confusion on your part there, I think. I never stated that Luke16 was anything but a parable, read back please.

I stated categorically though that Joshua was NOT a parable. It was written and understood to be historical fact by the way the author wrote it and the wording that was used. In no way can Joshua 10 be construed as a parable. I thought what I wrote was clear, sorry if I led you into confusion.

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While I'm not a fan of all of this guy's vids... I though I'd offer this vid as an addition... Physics is a b****...

[media=]

[/media]

This is my reply to the video. IMHO, this video must have been recorded by atheists with the intent to fight the believe in the existence of God as we have famous atheists in the panel of discussions. The problem with them is that they must have no idea of metaphorical language or even of History. What happened during the conquest of Canaan by Joshua was what was happening to many other migration groups in search of a place to settle themselves in and stop wandering. So, they would destroy all adults who could fight and children who could become fighters in the future or procreate potential enemies to the forces in power. Then, as it was normal at the time, those migratory groups were religious people who would naturally attribute to their gods the success of their achievements. That's a pious attitude which has nothing to do with God Who is not like a man to fight or to take sides in the wars of men. The same is reported in the Iliad of Homer. Zeus and other gods would do the same.

Now for the dramatic part to explore the sensibilities of the human in every man by blaming God with questions of how could God act that way by murdering children asking to for the chance to live, I see in this nothing but an atheistic appeal to quit believing in God. How about Nazi atheists who gassed and burned still alive a million and a half children during the Holocaust? The case of Joshua was thousands of years ago. The Holocaust happened only 60+ years ago. It means that God has nothing to do with evil among men but men themselves.

Ben

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Hmmm, a slight confusion on your part there, I think. I never stated that Luke16 was anything but a parable, read back please.

I stated categorically though that Joshua was NOT a parable. It was written and understood to be historical fact by the way the author wrote it and the wording that was used. In no way can Joshua 10 be construed as a parable. I thought what I wrote was clear, sorry if I led you into confusion.

It does not have to be said: Behold, this is a parable; or, I am going to tell you a parable. The chronicler who many years later wrote about the achievements of Joshua did it in a poetical manner as to enhance his success with the supernatural. Did you see the video above? It could have never been a historical event that the sun would stand still. If it at least said that the earth stood still, it would be more probable. But the whole thing is poetic and there is nothing literal about poetry.

Okay I reread the post about the parable of the Richman and Lazarus. I was the one who took it as a parable, not you, because that's how I see it. Anyway, Jesus was Jewish and Jews do not believe in hell-fire. Therefore, it could not be less than a parable.

Ben

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Posted (edited)

It does not have to be said: Behold, this is a parable; or, I am going to tell you a parable. The chronicler who many years later wrote about the achievements of Joshua did it in a poetical manner as to enhance his success with the supernatural. Did you see the video above? It could have never been a historical event that the sun would stand still. If it at least said that the earth stood still, it would be more probable. But the whole thing is poetic and there is nothing literal about poetry.

Okay I reread the post about the parable of the Richman and Lazarus. I was the one who took it as a parable, not you, because that's how I see it. Anyway, Jesus was Jewish and Jews do not believe in hell-fire. Therefore, it could not be less than a parable.

Ben

Let me put it to you just one small thing you forget, God, as far as I know continues to be God, the maker of this universe, the maker of the laws which govern this universe. If he wants to suspend the rotation of the earth for a day, he can certainly do so, or are you somehow going to argue against that?

From the outlook of the witness, the sun stood still, not the earth, even though it would have been the earth itself that ceased to rotate. The moon would also have stopped in its orbit around the earth. In effect the entire earth moon system would have been affected without touching the rest of the universe. A time dilation bubble around the earth/moon system would explain everything within the text.

And while this would sound like science fiction, it is not impossible even within the rules of our universe.

That being said, I personally believe that this was all caused by a meteor as I proposed earlier and what we have here is a garbled version of an eyewitness account to the event which helped the Israelites conquer the promised land. In either position, God intervened in a way only he could accomplish and we can only praise him for his majesty and greatness.

PS - in regard to Luke being a parable, it is that, there is no denying it, but it is also a parable that as you say teaches us about the spiritual world. The truth of it is no less unsettling, what you plant today, you will reap in the beyond, whether you believe in hell or not is something I'll leave to you.

Edited by Jor-el

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Posted (edited)

Let me put it to you just one small thing you forget, God, as far as I know continues to be God, the maker of this universe, the maker of the laws which govern this universe. If he wants to suspend the rotation of the earth for a day, he can certainly do so, or are you somehow going to argue against that?

From the outlook of the witness, the sun stood still, not the earth, even though it would have been the earth itself that ceased to rotate. The moon would also have stopped in its orbit around the earth. In effect the entire earth moon system would have been affected without touching the rest of the universe. A time dilation bubble around the earth/moon system would explain everything within the text.

And while this would sound like science fiction, it is not impossible even within the rules of our universe.

That being said, I personally believe that this was all caused by a meteor as I proposed earlier and what we have here is a garbled version of an eyewitness account to the event which helped the Israelites conquer the promised land. In either position, God intervened in a way only he could accomplish and we can only praise him for his majesty and greatness.

A Time Dilation Bubble is an interesting idea, though in a traditional sci-fi show, the bubble is usually directed inwards, meaning that time for those on our planet would seemingly travel at exactly the same speed we normally expect, but for anyone outside the bubble time would travel at a different rate. In order for the sun to appear to stand still for a day, the bubble would have to be confined to earth only, thus allowing time for us to travel slower, while the sun outside appears to stand still. If it was centred around our whole solar system, the sun would appear to travel at the exact same speed it always did.

I like the idea anyway.

PS - in regard to Luke being a parable, it is that, there is no denying it, but it is also a parable that as you say teaches us about the spiritual world. The truth of it is no less unsettling, what you plant today, you will reap in the beyond, whether you believe in hell or not is something I'll leave to you.

Not necessarily. First, I agree with you 100% that the story here in Luke is definitely a parable. However, as parables go, they are said/written with the purpose of conveying a key theological truth. Just one truth per parable. This is how it always works. The point of this parable is not the burning inside the fire, but rather the comment that is made with the phrase "no one will believe the truth, even if someone comes back from the dead to tell it" (paraphrased, I'm not going to look up the exact wording). In this case, the focus of the parable is not on what the state of death was like, but actually a reference to Jesus' future death, and how people are going to reject him even when he rises from the dead. We can't begin to say from this parable that the afterlife is going to be filled with burning and pain and parched thirst that is never quenched.... Edited by Paranoid Android

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