Stones from Heaven- Battle of Beth Horon
Excerpt from book Ancient Mysteries,1999, pg. 140-142
Authors: Peter James and Nick Thorpe
- "Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Aijalon." And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies....So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasten not to go down about a whole day. And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man...
- Joshua 10:11-14
Is there anything that could possibly provide the energy necessary to alter the Earth's rotation without actually destroying it? A force much nearer than the Sun would do the job, but there seems to be only one way of providing it - a body almost as large as Earth itself must pass close enough to affect it with its gravitational pull. In astronomical terms such an event would be extraordinary, to say the very least. Yet a detail of the incident at Beth Horon does suggest that the Book of Joshua was describing an extraordinary astronomical event.
The omen and eclipse interpretations of Joshua's long day (provided by Holladay and Sawyer) completely overlooked what was said to have happened just before the Sun "stood still". A rain of stones was supposed to have fallen on the Amorites and decimated them before Joshua's army chased them through the Beth Horon pass to finish them off. What kind of stones were they? In some modern translations of the Old Testament, such as the often far from literal New English Bible, the impression is given that hailstones--the familiar blobs of ice that are frozen from rain as it falls - were involved. However, the Hebrew text describes the deadly rain as "great stones," or "stones of barad". "Barad" were also said to have fallen as one of the Ten Plagues of Egypt, which forced the Pharoah to release the Isrealites from bondage. Rabbinical tradition is clear in noting that "barad" were not mere hailstones. At the time of the Exodus, "barad" fell mingled with fire, and the stones themselves were said to be hot, which would rule out ice and leave only one possibility - meteorites. (Volcanic ejecta are unlikely -- there are no volcanoes near enough to have actually rained rocks on Palestine.)
These apparent meteorites are the most tangible part of the "long day story," and they may provide the clue to understanding the rest. The most realistic explanation of the biblical story would be one that accounts for both the extraordinary phenomena at the battle of Beth Horon: a devastating rain of stones, followed by the Sun's standing still in an extended day. Can a reasonable explanation be found to connect the two?