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Tuesday, July 2 2019
A Bible Journey, 197: What Was The Phase Of The Moon On The Longest Day Of All Time?
"Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon ... 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"
One of the most controversial historical events that are recorded in the Holy Scriptures was "Joshua's long day" in which the LORD (Who was and is Jesus Christ; see The Real Jesus: The Word Of The LORD God and A Bible Journey, 56: The Sacred Name) miraculously time-stretched a visual day in a very specific place, for a very specific people ("Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon") while time continued overall without effect, there, and everywhere else.
The sun always appears full because the Earth orbits the sun, but the moon, that shines by reflected light from the sun, appears in a precise, predictable cycle of phases through the "month" (see the Fact Finder question below) because it orbits the Earth.
So, what was the phase of the moon that was visible when the sun was also visible on the "long day"?
The moon phase that day could not have been full (the full moon always rises at sunset and sets at sunrise), so what the Israelites saw would have been a waxing or waning crescent 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, the astronomical new moon 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 (see When Do Eclipses Happen On The Christian Holy Days? and The Passover Moon At Midnight; also What Is Unique About Earth's Sun And Moon?).
The miraculous visual event occurred near Ajalon, from the Hebrew place name, pronounced aw-yaw-lone, which means deer field or place of deer. It is rendered into the English language 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, located about 24 kilometers / 15 miles northwest of Jerusalem, was the name used for both a town and the surrounding valley. After the division of Israel (see Biblical Eras: The Kingdoms Of North and South - Israel and Judah), Ajalon / Aijalon was near the border between the northern Kingdom of Israel and the southern Kingdom of Judah.
Some have suggested that Joshua's "long day" affected the original week (see the Fact Finder question below), but the calendar commanded to be used by the LORD reckons days from sunset to sunset, not on a mechanical or digital clock from midnight to midnight. Although it was a long day, it was just one day. And, as explained, it did not affect time overall, there, or anywhere else.
"10:1 Now it came to pass, when Adonizedek king of Jerusalem [see also A History Of Jerusalem: Jebus Of Canaan] had heard how Joshua had taken Ai, and had utterly destroyed it; as he had done to Jericho 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.
"10:16 But these five kings fled, and hid themselves in a cave at Makkedah. 10:17 And it was told Joshua, saying, The five kings are found hid in a cave at Makkedah. 10:18 And Joshua said, Roll great stones upon the mouth of the cave, and set men by it for to keep them: 10:19 And stay ye not, but pursue after your enemies, and smite the hindmost of them; suffer them not to enter into their cities: for the LORD your God hath delivered them into your hand.
The Israelite onslaught then continued through Libnah, Lachish, Eglon and Debir. "So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded."
"10:29 Then Joshua passed from Makkedah, and all Israel with him, unto Libnah, and fought against Libnah: 10:30 And the LORD delivered it also, and the king thereof, into the hand of Israel; and he smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein; he let none remain in it; but did unto the king thereof as he did unto the king of Jericho [see Joshua 6: The Fall Of Jericho].
Fact Finder: (a) What is a genuine "month"? (b) How did the "week" originate?
This Day In History, July 2
437: Emperor Valentinian III, began his reign over the Western Roman Empire (see also The Roman Border Walls Paradox; also The Founding Of Rome: The Curious Tale Of Romulus and Remus).
626: Li Shimin, the succeeding Emperor Taizong of Tang, Emperor of China, killed his rival brothers in an ambush at the Xuanwu Gate (see also The First Chinese American War).
1298: An army under Albert of Austria defeated and killed Adolf of Nassua near Vorms (often rendered in English as "Worms"), Germany (see also The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation).
1494: The Treaty of Tordesillas was ratified by Spain. It divided the "New World" outside of Europe between Portugal and Spain.
1555: The Ottoman Admiral Turgut Reis sacked Paola, Italy.
The Ottoman Empire was one of the most geographically-extensive (see the map below) empires in history. Included within it, over the course of its expansion and contraction, were Turkey, large areas of Arabia (see Paul's Geography Lesson), Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Greece, Jordan, Bulgaria, Hungary, Macedonia, Romania - and "Palestine." It was also one of the longest-lasting empires in human history. Centered on a ruling dynasty in Turkey, it existed from the late thirteen century to the early twentieth century (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Balfour Declaration).
1625: The Spanish army took Breda, Spain, after nearly a year of siege.
1644: The Battle of Marston Moor near York brought the first major Royalist defeat in the English Civil War.
1747: Marshall Saxe led French forces to victory over an Anglo-Dutch force under the Duke of Cumberland at the Battle of Lauffeld.
1777: Vermont becomes the first U.S. territory to abolish slavery.
1853: The Russian army crossed the Pruth River, invading Turkey and beginning the Crimean War.
1871: Rome officially became capital of a united Italy; after 1,500 years, Rome again the capital of Italy (see The Founding Of Rome: The Curious Tale Of Romulus and Remus and The Roman Republic and The Roman Empire).
1881: U.S. President James Garfield, who was sworn-in only 3 months earlier, was shot by Charles Guiteau. He died from the injury on September 19.
1897: Guglielmo Marconi, a scientist from Italy, obtained a patent for his "radio" in London.
1900: Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin flew his first airship, over Lake Constance near Friedrichshafen, Germany (see also Who Was The First To Fly?).
1937: Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan disappeared over the Pacific Ocean while trying to fly around the world.
1940: The liner Arandora Star was torpedoed by a German submarine while transporting German and Italian prisoners to Canada; over 750 prisoners and crew died.
1962: The first Wal-Mart store opened, in Rogers, Arkansas.
1964: U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act and the Public Accommodations Bill that guaranteed equality to black people. Despite the new laws, a month later 3 civil rights workers were found murdered in Mississippi; police were implicated.
1966: France detonated a nuclear bomb at a test site in the Pacific (see also Who Would Throw A Nuclear Boomerang?).
1976: Following Vietnam War (which was actually a civil war between the Vietnamese people whose nation had been divided into two by western imperial powers in 1954), North and South Vietnam were reunited as one country with Hanoi as the capital.
2000: Vicente Fox Quesada was elected President of Mexico, the first from an opposition party, after over 70 years of the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (see also The Mexican Border Wall).