Chapter 9- All the kings in the land are planning to join forces to defeat the Israelites. Instead of joining the other kings, the people of Gibeon decide to try to make peace with the Israelites. They disguise themselves as downtrodden travelers from a far away land who recognize how awesome the Hebrew god is, and ask to be the Israelites servants. The Israelites accept the deal, but when they find out the people deceived them and are actually neighbors from within the promised land, they force them to become slaves.
I’m not entirely sure what message we’re supposed to take away from this chapter. Maybe that God’s people keep their promises? What I actually took away from it was that if you find yourself in a group God plans to murder, you should lie your ass off. Deceit is how you survive the loving embrace of God’s people.
Chapter 10- The group of kings decide to attack Gibeon because they fear an alliance between Gibeon and Israel. God kills a bunch of the “bad” guys with hail, and the Israelites kill the rest with swords/hangings. The sun and moon stand still for a day while they fight. Then the sun goes down again. The Israelites kill a bunch of other people.
Here we have a prime example of scientific inaccuracies in the Bible. It would be absolutely impossible for the Earth to stop rotating for a day without destroying the planet and killing everyone- and so it seems that the author of Joshua had no idea that the Earth moves in space.
The Earth spins on its axis at 1,000+ miles per hour. If it were to suddenly stop spinning, everything not very securely nailed down would still have 1,000+ mph inertia and would go flying off. That would include 1,000+ mph winds and tsunamis because the air and oceans would keep moving. People and animals would slam into walls, trees, etc; buildings would be ripped apart. If the crust stopped moving without the inner molten layers of the Earth stopping (because how would the liquid layers possibly be able to instantly stop flowing?), then whole planet would probably rip apart.
And if the moon were to stop moving around the Earth, it would lose orbit. That would mean it would either float off into space, and we would no longer have tides, or it would crash into Earth.
Nothing good could possibly happen if the sun and moon stopped their daily travels across the sky. I guess Israel’s enemies would indeed snuff it, but the Israelites wouldn’t be around to enjoy the victory.
Verse 13 refers to the “Book of Jasher” as a reference to the fact that the sun and moon stood still. What is this Book of Jasher? Turns out it’s an apocryphal book that didn’t make it in to the Bible. How come it was good enough to get quoted as a reference, but not good enough to get included?
Also, I’m rather put off by the glorification of slaughter in the chapter. The Israelites/God absolutely revel in the killing of the native people. “So the Lord routed them before Israel, killed them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, chased them along the road that goes to Beth Horon, and struck them down as far as Azekah and Makkedah.” (10) “There were more who died from the hailstones than the children of Israel killed with the sword.” (11) “Come near, put your feet on the necks of these kings.” (24) “And afterward Joshua struck them and killed them, and hanged them on five trees; and they were hanging on the tress until evening.” (26) “They struck them with the edge of the sword and utterly destroyed all the people who were in it” (about 5 different verses)
Chapter 11- More kings rise up against Israel. More slaughter.
Verse 6, “But the Lord said to Joshua, ‘Do not be afraid because of them, for tomorrow about this time I will deliver all of them slain before Israel. You shall hamstring their horses, and burn their chariots with fire.” Not cool, God. Not cool. Animals have no say whether or not they go into battle, and to slash their legs and make them suffer is just cruel.
About all the kings and people that rise up against Israel, “For it was of the Lord to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that He might utterly destroy them, and that they might receive no mercy, but that He might destroy them, as the Lord had commanded Moses.” (20) So, God makes the people do bad things so He can punish them for doing bad things? Yay, freewill!