Using NASA data and etymology Israeli scientists discover a solar eclipse occurred during the Battle in Gibeon

In the Book of Joshua in the Bible, chapter 10 recounts a story of Joshua and the Israelites waging war on five armies and winning because the sun stopped in its tracks in the sky. This gave the Israelites a decisive advantage that they used to win. Using data from NASA, three scientists from Ben Gurion University in Beersheba claim to have a scientific reason for why the sun ‘stopped’.

Joshua 10:12 states, “Then Joshua spoke to the Lord on the day when the Lord delivered the Amorites before the children of Israel; and he said in the sight of Israel: ‘Sun, stand still [dom] upon Gibeon; and you, Moon, in the valley of Ayalon.” The events in the Book of Joshua take place soon after the Israelites had made it to the Promised Land. They had made a promise to protect the Gibeonites, so when the Gibeonites were attacked Joshua raised an army to keep his word.

Joshua 10:13 reads, “And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the nation had avenged themselves of their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jashar? And the sun stayed in the midst of Heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.” The researchers solved the riddle of the sun stopping in its tracks by focusing on astronomical data from NASA and by closely studying Hebrew etymology.

Data from NASA indicates there was a solar eclipse that took place on October 30, 1207 B.C. The data also allowed the researchers to date the battle using the eclipse at 4:28 p.m. This is the time the Israelites are believed to have waged war against the five armies attacking the Gibeonites. The team also discovered there had only been one total eclipse in the region between 1500-1000 BCE. During a solar eclipse, the sun disappears from view, which does not concur with the Biblical story of the sun stopping in its tracks in the sky.

The researchers then turned to Hebrew etymology to help explain the contradiction between the biblical account and the solar eclipse. They then interpreted the word ‘dom’ to mean ‘become dark’ instead of ‘stand still’ as it has been traditionally used. ‘Dom’ is only used once more in the Bible in Psalms 37:7.

Dr. Hezi Yitzhak, who was leading the team of researchers, commented, “Not everyone likes the idea of using physics to prove things from the Bible, and I know that it may be interpreted as if you are rationalizing your faith. We do not claim that everything written in the Bible is true or took place…but there is also a grain of historical truth that has archaeological evidence behind it.”

The paper that the Yitzhak led team published explaining their theory does not address the issue of hailstones, which killed many people in the battle according to biblical record.

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