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The Long Moon Of Ajalon

The Hebrew place name, pronounced aw-yaw-lone, means deer field or place of deer. It is rendered into English as either Ajalon or Aijalon, or sometimes both (the King James Version uses both to translate the same single original word, as shown in the Scripture quotes in this study.

Ajalon in Dan, located about 15 miles northwest from Jerusalem, was the name used for both a town and the surrounding valley (see map below), although there was at least one other place by the same name in the land of Israel, in Zebulun. After The Division Of Israel, Ajalon / Aijalon was near the border between The Northern Kingdom of Israel and The Southern Kingdom of Judah.

"Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon"

One of the most famous events of Bible History was "Joshua's long day" in which The Lord miraculously stopped time (while time continued on the battlefield) so that the sun and moon both stood visibly still in the sky. The moon phase that day could not have been full (the full moon always rises at sunset and sets at sunrise), so the moon phase that the Israelites saw would have been something between last quarter (rises at midnight, sets at noon) and first quarter (rises at noon, sets at midnight). Although the new moon rises at sunrise and sets at sunset, it is never visible (also, eclipses of the sun can only occur at new moon, when the moon is between the earth and the sun, while eclipses of the moon can only occur at full moon when the earth is between the sun and the moon).

Phases Of The Moon Note also that at the time of the battle, Jerusalem was an enemy city to the Israelites. It only became Israelite when King David took it (see Who, What or Where Is Zion?).

"10:1 Now it came to pass, when Adonizedek king of Jerusalem had heard how Joshua had taken Ai [see notes for Joshua 8], and had utterly destroyed it; as he had done to Jericho [see notes for Joshua 6] and her king, so he had done to Ai and her king; and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel, and were among them; 10:2 That they feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, as one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all the men thereof were mighty. 10:3 Wherefore Adonizedek king of Jerusalem sent unto Hoham king of Hebron, and unto Piram king of Jarmuth, and unto Japhia king of Lachish, and unto Debir king of Eglon, saying, 10:4 Come up unto me, and help me, that we may smite Gibeon: for it hath made peace with Joshua and with the children of Israel.

10:5 Therefore the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, the king of Eglon, gathered themselves together, and went up, they and all their hosts, and encamped before Gibeon, and made war against it.

10:6 And the men of Gibeon sent unto Joshua to the camp to Gilgal, saying, Slack not thy hand from thy servants; come up to us quickly, and save us, and help us: for all the kings of the Amorites that dwell in the mountains are gathered together against us.

10:7 So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he, and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valour. 10:8 And the LORD said unto Joshua, Fear them not: for I have delivered them into thine hand; there shall not a man of them stand before thee.

10:9 Joshua therefore came unto them suddenly, and went up from Gilgal all night. 10:10 And the LORD discomfited them before Israel, and slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and chased them along the way that goeth up to Bethhoron, and smote them to Azekah, and unto Makkedah. 10:11 And it came to pass, as they fled from before Israel, and were in the going down to Bethhoron, that the LORD cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they died: they were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword [not the first time that The Lord helped His people in such a way; see Hail].

10:12 Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon.

10:13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher?

So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. 10:14 And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel." (Joshua 10:1-14 KJV)

Ajalon was later included in the southern tribal territory of Dan (after they decided that their allotment wasn't enough, they took additional land in the far north at Leshem as well; see map below).

"19:40 And the seventh lot came out for the tribe of the children of Dan according to their families. 19:41 And the coast of their inheritance was Zorah, and Eshtaol, and Irshemesh, 19:42 And Shaalabbin, and Ajalon, and Jethlah, 19:43 And Elon, and Thimnathah, and Ekron, 19:44 And Eltekeh, and Gibbethon, and Baalath, 19:45 And Jehud, and Beneberak, and Gathrimmon, 19:46 And Mejarkon, and Rakkon, with the border before Japho.

19:47 And the coast of the children of Dan went out too little for them: therefore the children of Dan went up to fight against Leshem, and took it, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and possessed it, and dwelt therein, and called Leshem, Dan, after the name of Dan their father.

19:48 This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Dan according to their families, these cities with their villages." (Joshua 19:40-48 KJV)

The Levites were given no territory of their own because they were assigned the priesthood. They were however given their own towns throughout the lands of the other tribes. Four towns in Dan were designated as for the Levites, one of which was Aijalon.

Tribal Lands of Israel

"21:1 Then came near the heads of the fathers of the Levites unto Eleazar the priest, and unto Joshua the son of Nun, and unto the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel; 21:2 And they spake unto them at Shiloh in the land of Canaan, saying, The LORD commanded by the hand of Moses [see The Education Of Moses and The Trysting Tent] to give us cities to dwell in, with the suburbs thereof for our cattle. 21:3 And the children of Israel gave unto the Levites out of their inheritance, at the commandment of the LORD, these cities and their suburbs." (Joshua 21:1-3 KJV)

"21:23 And out of the tribe of Dan, Eltekeh with her suburbs, Gibbethon with her suburbs, 21:24 Aijalon with her Suburbs, Gathrimmon with her suburbs; four cities." (Joshua 21:23-24 KJV)

Although the Israelites took overall control, they failed to remove the enemies within, entirely - "the Amorites would dwell in mount Heres in Aijalon."

"1:28 And it came to pass, when Israel was strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute, and did not utterly drive them out. 1:29 Neither did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer; but the Canaanites dwelt in Gezer among them. 1:30 Neither did Zebulun drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, nor the inhabitants of Nahalol; but the Canaanites dwelt among them, and became tributaries. 1:31 Neither did Asher drive out the inhabitants of Accho, nor the inhabitants of Zidon, nor of Ahlab, nor of Achzib, nor of Helbah, nor of Aphik, nor of Rehob: 1:32 But the Asherites dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land: for they did not drive them out. 1:33 Neither did Naphtali drive out the inhabitants of Bethshemesh, nor the inhabitants of Bethanath; but he dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land: nevertheless the inhabitants of Bethshemesh and of Bethanath became tributaries unto them. 1:34 And the Amorites forced the children of Dan into the mountain: for they would not suffer them to come down to the valley: 1:35 But the Amorites would dwell in mount Heres in Aijalon, and in Shaalbim: yet the hand of the house of Joseph prevailed, so that they became tributaries." (Judges 1:28-35 KJV)

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