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The Day the Sun Stood Still

10 At this time Adoni Zedek was the king of Jerusalem. He heard that Joshua had defeated Ai and completely destroyed it. The king learned that Joshua had done the same thing to Jericho and its king. He also learned that the Gibeonites had made a peace agreement with Israel and that they lived very near Jerusalem. So Adoni Zedek and his people were very frightened. Gibeon was not a small town like Ai. It was a very big city—as big as any royal city.[a] And all the men in that city were good fighters, so the king was afraid. King Adoni Zedek of Jerusalem talked with King Hoham of Hebron. He also talked with King Piram of Jarmuth, King Japhia of Lachish, and King Debir of Eglon. The king of Jerusalem begged these men, “Come with me and help me attack Gibeon. Gibeon has made a peace agreement with Joshua and the Israelites.”

So these five Amorite kings joined their armies together. (The five kings were the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon.) Their armies went to Gibeon, surrounded the city, and began fighting against it.

The people in the city of Gibeon sent a message to Joshua at his camp at Gilgal: “We are your servants! Don’t leave us alone. Come and help us! Hurry! Save us! All the Amorite kings from the hill country have brought their armies together to fight against us.”

So Joshua marched out of Gilgal with his whole army. His best fighting men were with him. The Lord said to Joshua, “Don’t be afraid of those armies. I will allow you to defeat them. None of them will be able to defeat you.”

Joshua and his army marched all night to Gibeon, so it was a complete surprise when he attacked them.

10 The Lord caused those armies to be very confused when Israel attacked. So Israel defeated them and won a great victory. Israel chased the enemy from Gibeon along the road going up to Beth Horon. The army of Israel killed men all the way to Azekah and Makkedah. 11 Then they chased the enemy down the road from Beth Horon to Azekah. While they were chasing the enemy, the Lord caused large hailstones to fall from the sky. Many of the enemy were killed by these large hailstones. More men were killed by the hailstones than by the swords of the soldiers of Israel.

12 On that day the Lord gave Israel the victory against the Amorites. Joshua stood before all the Israelites and said to the Lord:

“Sun, stop over Gibeon.
    Moon, stand still over the Valley of Aijalon.”

13 So the sun did not move, and the moon stopped until the people defeated their enemies. This story is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky. It did not move for a full day. 14 That had never happened before, and it has never happened again. That was the day the Lord obeyed a man. The Lord really was fighting for Israel!

15 After this, Joshua and his army went back to the camp at Gilgal. 16 But during the fight, the five kings ran away. They hid in a cave near Makkedah, 17 but someone found them hiding in that cave. Joshua learned about this. 18 He said, “Cover the entrance to the cave with large rocks. Put some men there to guard the cave. 19 But don’t stay there yourselves. Continue chasing the enemy and attacking them from behind. Don’t let the enemy get back to their cities. The Lord your God has given you the victory over them.”

20 So Joshua and the Israelites killed the enemy. But some of them were able to go to their cities that had tall walls around them and hide. These men were not killed. 21 After the fighting, Joshua’s men came back to him at Makkedah. Not one of the people in that country was brave enough to say anything against the Israelites.

22 Joshua said, “Move the rocks that are covering the entrance to the cave. Bring the five kings to me.”

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Footnotes

  1. Joshua 10:2 royal city A strong, well-protected city that controlled smaller towns nearby.

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