Hezi Yizhaq, Daniel Vainstub, Uzi Avner , "Sun, stand still over Gibeon; and Moon, in the valley of Aijalon"- Annular solar eclipse on October 30, 1207 BCE ?, Beit Mikra vol. 61 (2016), No. 2, The Bialik Institute
|The Bialik Institute|
One of the explanations was the rare event of a total solar eclipse, which is one of the most impressive events in nature, and it is likely that it left a strong impression on its observers. On average, the chance to see a total solar eclipse somewhere on a certain point on the planet Earth is once in 370 years. The dating of ancient eclipses is problematic and the older the eclipse the greater is the uncertainty in its dating. However, advanced mathematical formulas and a list of past eclipses prepared by NASA, allow reconstructing the timing and the route of eclipses in the past at any point on the planet with greater accuracy. Through a careful and innovative analysis of the biblical texts and its commentaries, we show that the story of the miracle in Gibeon can be interpreted as describing a rare event of an annular solar eclipse in the eyes of observers in antiquity.
In the period between 1500-1000 BCE which is the relevant time for the biblical story, there were only three eclipses seen from Jerusalem, one total eclipse and two annular eclipses. We show that the most appropriate one is the annular solar eclipse that occurred on October 30 in 1207 BCE at sunset, an appropriate date for the time of conquest and the early settlement period, at time of Marneptah’ rule in Egypt.