Legands of the Jews > Volume 4 >
THE SUN OBEYS JOSHUA
The task of protecting the Gibeonites involved in the offensive and
defensive alliance made with them, Joshua fulfilled scrupulously.
He had hesitated for a moment whether to aid the Gibeonites in
their distress, but the words of God sufficed to recall him to his
duty. God said to him: "If thou dost not bring near them that are far
off, thou wilt remove them that are near by." (37) God granted
Joshua peculiar favor in his conflict with the assailants of the
Gibeonites. The hot hailstones which, at Moses' intercession, had
remained suspended in the air when they were about to fall upon
the Egyptians, were now cast down upon the Canaanites. (38)
Then happened the great wonder of the sun's standing still, the
sixth (39) of the great wonders since the creation of the world.
The battle took place on a Friday. Joshua knew it would pain the
people deeply to be compelled to desecrate the holy Sabbath day.
Besides, he noticed that the heathen were using sorcery to make
the heavenly hosts intercede for them in the fight against the
Israelites. He, therefore, pronounced the Name of the Lord, and the
sun, moon and stars stood still. (40) The sun at first refused to
obey Joshua's behest, seeing that he was older than man by two
days. Joshua replied that there was no reason why a free-born
youth should refrain from enjoining silence upon an old slave
whom he owns, and had not God given heaven and earth to our
father Abraham? (41) Nay, more than this, had not the sun himself
bowed down like a slave before Joseph? "But," said the sun, "who
will praise God if I am silent?" (42) Whereupon Joshua: "Be thou
silent, and I will intone a song of praise." (43) And he sang thus:
Thou hast done mighty things, O Lord, Thou has performed
great deeds. Who is like unto Thee? My lips shall sing unto Thy
My goodness and my fortress, my refuge, I will sing a new song
unto Thee, with thanksgiving I will sing unto Thee, Thou art the
strength of my salvation.
All the kings of the earth shall praise Thee, the princes of the
world shall sing unto Thee, the children of Israel shall rejoice in
Thy salvation, they shall sing and praise Thy power.
In Thee, O God, did we trust; we said, Thou art our God, for
Thou wast our shelter and our strong tower against our enemies.
To Thee we cried, and we were not ashamed; in Thee we
trusted, and we were delivered; when we cried unto Thee, Thou
didst hear our voice, Thou didst deliver our souls from the sword.
Thou hast shown unto us Thy mercy, Thou didst give unto us
Thy salvation, Thou didst rejoice our hearts with Thy strength.
Thou wentest forth for our salvation; with the strength of Thy
arm Thou didst redeem Thy people; Thou did console us from the
heavens of Thy holiness, Thou didst save us from tens of
Sun and moon stood still in heaven, and Thou didst stand in Thy
wrath against our oppressors, and Thou didst execute Thy
judgements upon them.
All the princes of the earth stood up, the kings of the nations had
gathered themselves together, they were not moved at Thy
presence, they desired Thy battles.
Thou didst rise against them in Thine anger, and Thou didst
bring down Thy wrath upon them, Thou didst destroy them in Thy
fury, and Thou didst ruin them in Thy rage.
Nations raged from fear of Thee, kingdoms tottered because of
Thy wrath, Thou didst wound kings in the day of Thine anger.
Thou didst pour out Thy fury upon them, Thy wrathful anger
took hold of them, Thou didst turn their iniquity upon them, and
Thou didst cut them off in their wickedness.
They spread a trap, they fell therein, in the net they hid their
foot was caught.
Thine hand found all Thine enemies, who said, through their
sword they possessed the land, through their arm thy dwelt in the
Thou didst fill their faces with shame, Thou didst bring their
horns down to the ground.
Thou didst terrify them in Thy wrath, and thou didst destroy
them from before Thee.
The earth quaked and trembled from the noise of Thy thunder
against them; Thou didst not withhold their souls from earth, and
Thou didst bring down their lives to the grave.
Thou didst pursue them in Thy storm, Thou didst consume
them in the whirlwind, Thou didst turn their rain into hail, they fell
in floods, so that they could not rise.
Their carcasses were like rubbish cast out in the middle of the
They were consumed, and they perished before Thee, Thou
hast delivered Thy people in Thy might.
Therefore our hearts rejoice in Thee, our souls exult in Thy
Our tongues shall relate Thy might, we will sing and praise
Thy wondrous works.
For Thou didst save us from our enemies, Thou didst deliver us
from those who rose up against us, Thou didst destroy them from
before us, and depress them beneath our feet.
Thus shall all Thine enemies perish, O Lord, and the wicked
shall be like chaff driven by the wind, and Thy beloved shall be
like trees planted by the waters. (44)