Joshua 10:12-14

“It’s Been a Long Day’s Night”: Joshua Commands the Sun and Moon

The so-called “long day” recorded in Joshua 10:12-14 has generated much discussion among Bible scholars. Before Copernicus’ heliocentric solar system gained acceptance, interpreters argued that the sun’s and moon’s orbits were halted. Martin Luther, for example, reportedly denounced Copernicus and declared, “I believe the Holy Scriptures, for Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, not the earth.”1 But with the advent of modern astronomy and science, serious objections have been raised against this interpretation. Students of Scripture have been forced to re-examine this miracle and have sought to re-interpret it in a way consistent with the biblical text, the theology of Scripture, and the findings of modern science. What follows is a survey and assessment of the primary interpretive approaches to Joshua’s long day.

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