Why the Sun 'Stood Still' In Joshua's Ancient Biblical Battle: Researchers Find Scientific Basis

The painting titled "Joshua Commanding the Sun to Stand Still upon Gibeon," by John Martin, 1816.(Wikipedia)

How could the sun "stand still" in the midst of a battle?

Chapter 10 of the Bible's Book of Joshua states that soon after Joshua and the Israelites entered the Promised Land in 1207 B.C., they waged battle against five armies which laid siege to the Gibeonites.

Since he had promised to protect the Gibeonites, Joshua he led an army and defeated the five kings. He was able to achieve this after praying to God to help the Israelites in their battle by stopping the sun, The Times of Israel reported.

Joshua 10:13 in the Bible 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."

Researchers have now found a scientific explanation for this biblical episode, according to Breaking Israel News.

Using astronomical data from NASA, the Israeli researchers from Ben Gurion University said the miracle of God making the sun "stand still" could be due to a solar eclipse that also took place on Oct. 30, 1207, B.C. It was during that time when the Israelites are believed to have entered Israel and defeated their foes.

But since the sun temporarily disappears from view during a solar eclipse, how could it linger in the sky as described in the Bible?

To resolve this contradiction, the researchers took to Hebrew etymology, according to the Times of Israel.

The researchers said the Hebrew word "dom," translated as "stand still" in the passage, actually means to "become dark," which would describe an eclipse.

In coming up with this finding, they said they do not necessarily seek to prove that everything in the Bible has scientific basis.

"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 rationalising your faith," Hezi Yitzchak, one of the researchers, told Haaretz.

"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," he added.