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Q&A

What is the origin of the explanation that Joshua's long day was actually an extension of the previous night?

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Recently when studying Joshua 10 and the "long day," I encountered an explanation of the event that posits that in the morning Joshua actually asked that the darkness be extended so that his soldiers could do battle without the heat of the sun. As a result, God sent a storm that darkened the sky with clouds, but the day/night was not literally extended (as by the earth's rotation slowing down, etc.).

I found this argument first in Hard Sayings of the Bible, and here's a briefer rendition from New Bible Commentary (1970), page 244, by Hugh J. Blair:

It has usually been assumed that Joshua prayed for the day to be prolonged. But is it not possible that what Joshua needed even more, since, as is expressly stated in v.9, he came upon the camp of the enemy by night, was that the darkness continue and the night be prolonged for a surprise attack? That it was early morning when he made his request is evident from the position of the moon in the valley of Aijalon (to the west) and the position of the sun over Gibeon (to the east) (v.12). The answer came in a hailstorm which had the effect of prolonging the darkness.

This interpretation seems to rest primarily on textual considerations, not scientific ones, so it seems plausible that it could have been proposed a long time ago. What is the origin of this explanation of Joshua's long day of Joshua 10? Who first came up with it?

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