Joshua – Chapter 10

Hail, Hail, The Gang's All Here! or Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Adoni-Tzedek, king of Jerusalem got wind that the Gibeonites made a pact with Joshua and he was very displeased. He contacted other local kings to join him in an attack on Gibeon. When five kings attacked, the Gibeonites sent messengers to Joshua asking for help. Joshua obliged and was victorious. G-d Himself joined the battle, raining giant hailstones on the enemy, causing even more damage than the battle itself. (The Talmud says that these hailstones were those suspended in mid-air when Moses called for an end to the plague of hail.)

Then, Joshua commanded the sun and the moon to stand still in their paths. (It was Friday afternoon and the Jews would have stopped their pursuit of the enemy upon sunset.) This miracle was unprecedented in that “Hashem listened to the voice of a person.” Joshua didn’t pray to G-d to stop the sun, he simply commanded the sun and G-d agreed. This was a sign that G-d was fighting for Israel. (See verse 10:14.)

The five kings who instigated the battle were found holed up in a cave. Joshua commanded that the cave be sealed and guards posted until the battles were over. After that, they opened the cave, removed the kings and executed them. The Navi ends the chapter with a description of various cities Joshua, including those of the five attacking kings.

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