Summary: Even the 1960 movie "Inherit The Wind" mocked this miracle. Skeptics have long maintained that the world would be torn apart if the earth stopped rotating and the Sun stood still. Find out why those skeptics were wrong.
The U.S. Civil War was the most devastating in American history. From 1861 to 1865 – the War dragged on for four long years. Part of the reason it lasted so long was that Union Generals would delay and postpone and stall, saying that they were so outnumbered they needed more time to prepare.
Someone once asked Lincoln how large the Confederate army was and he replied: “They must have over a million soldiers.” The questioner was shocked. That seemed way too high an estimate of the enemy soldiers. So the questioner asked how Lincoln had arrived at that number. "Well," he replied, "we have about ½ million soldiers. And every time I ask my Generals to fight they tell me they’re outnumbered 2 to 1. So the Confederates must have at least a 1 million soldiers.”
Too often, his generals just wouldn’t fight - that is until General Ulysses S. Grant took command. Grant would fight! In April of 1865 Lincoln sent Grant a telegraph that read: “General Sheridan says, ‘If the thing is pressed, I think that Lee will surrender.’ Let the thing be pressed.” Grant pressed the thing… and 2 days later – at Appomattox - Robert E. Lee surrendered. (Carl Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln, the War Years).
In our story today, we read about the battle of the 5 kings. Up until now, Joshua has fought his enemies one on one – first Jericho and then Ai. Observing this, the Canaanite city of Gibeon saw the hand-writing on the wall and realized they needed to do something drastic or they would be destroyed as well. So they tricked Joshua into making a treaty with them.
When the king of Jerusalem heard of Gibeon's surrender, he was so furious that he formed an alliance with 4 other kings and set out to punish Gibeon… and then to turn and attack Joshua.
Apparently, this had intimidated Joshua because: “… the LORD said to Joshua, "Do NOT fear them, for I have given them into your hands. Not a man of them shall stand before you.” Joshua 10:8
Why shouldn’t Joshua have been afraid? Because God would be there to fight FOR Israel. First “the LORD threw them into a panic before Israel...” (Joshua 10:10). Then “the LORD threw down large stones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died. There were more who died because of the hailstones than the sons of Israel killed with the sword. (Joshua 10:11)
And lastly, in response to Joshua’s prayer “…the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day. There has been no day like it before or since, when the LORD heeded the voice of a man, for the LORD fought for Israel.” Joshua 10:13-14
With God’s help… Joshua pressed the thing… and 5 kings were destroyed.
Now, as you might imagine, skeptics have serious problems with this. They can imagine the 5 kings panicking… that happens all the time in war. And they might even grant that hailstones could have fallen at the just right time… and that these hailstone could kill men on the battlefield. (There have been documented cases of huge hailstones destroying homes, cars, and even killing people. https://www.neverthirsty.org/bible-qa/qa-archives/question/how-did-the-sun-stand-still-in-joshua-10-12-14/)
But when you get to the issue of the Sun standing still in the sky for 24 hours… well, now you begin to push people’s buttons. Why? The surface of the earth - at the equator - moves at a speed of roughly 1,000 mph. And the Earth orbits the Sun at an average speed of 67,000 mph. For the sun to stand still in the sky… the earth would have to stop revolving, or at least slow down dramatically. Gravity would be suspended, and (in theory) the world would collapse. Just to get a small idea of how that would work, imagine going down the road at 80 mph with your car loaded with all kind of boxes and loose materials. Suddenly you have to stop to avoid a deer in the road. If you can visualize the chaos of items flying all over inside your car as it stops at that speed… well, you can have a vague idea of what would happen if the earth stopped and stood still in the heavens.
ILLUS: The scorn that many skeptics feel for this Bible miracle was reflected in a 1960 movie “Inherit the Wind” where the script had a lawyer mocking a man on the stand who had said he believed that the sun stood still for Joshua. The lawyer dramatically destroyed this witness with these words: “Now, if what you say actually happened – if Joshua stopped the sun in the sky – the earth stopped spinning on its axis, continents toppled over one another, mountains flew into space, and the earth, shriveled to a cinder, crashed into the sun. Now, how come they missed that little tidbit of news?”