Teaching Joshua 10

I am meant to teach on Joshua 10:1-15 in Sunday School in a month’s time. Can anybody help with recommendations for reading this passage in its ANE context?

Thanks so much!

Honestly. As part of Jesus’ culture. What age are the kids? There is no Christian justification for it whatsoever otherwise. And it’s going to be a very hard sell making any Christian point from it. Even among educated adults.

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I don’t have a choice as to what I teach!

Kids are primary school age – 4 to 11.

With infinite sadness and sympathy. Oh yes you do.

I’d teach it straight. It’s part of the texts we hold as Scripture. Some things I think I would include in the lesson, if I had to teach this text and what surrounds it:

The culture of war in these texts that reflected the culture/survival skills of the time as well as how people understood that their god was The God - through victory in battle. Of course, your more inquisitive kids are going to wonder and maybe ask, how we know that now. You may want to point to Jesus’ resurrection as proof to Christians.
The Back story of the Gibeonites is (to me) particularly omportant here. Israel did not get an Oops Pass from God for ignorantly making a foolish treaty with their enemies. God expected them to keep this treaty as any other and treat these people according to the agreement. This battle is the continuation of that story.

As far as the miracles go, I wouldn’t shy away from them or over emphasize them. I don’t know what materials you have to work with or what freedom you have in emphasis though. Miracles are all over the Bible. If a kid wants clarification,it”s ok to say you aren’t sure precisely what happened or how, but the author was emphasizing God’s faithfulness to and care for Israel.

My buggaboo, which I think should be everyone else’s as well, is tying the Gospel to literal acceptance of miraculous or poetic texts. These kids will not be harmed by a thoughtful but straight forward explication of the test. Bolstered by good worship songs and a few fun games - is there a fun way to help them learn some of the geography of the time, or some basic ancient history (meanwhile in other ancient civilizations from the time…)? And snacks.


That is awful. I just don’t know what to say about someone thinking that is appropriate for kids, but at least you are doing it and can mitigate the impact. I would empathize how God helps us and is in control of things with the hail, the sun and moon standing still, and leaving out the gory details.
For games, you could play hangman with older kids using the kings names that they hung- not really, just joking.
Kendel has a great approach. Minimal story, lots of snacks, crafts and games.

And it could be worse, you could have drawn Ezekiel 23.


Sorry I can’t give more detail now, however, I imagine there is a way to major on the miracle and minor on the conflict.

  • Here’s something amazing God did for Israel
  • can you tell me any other amazing things God did for his people?
  • let’s think about the most amazing thing of all → link to the gospel.

I admit it doesn’t answer your questions about ANE context, but might make it easier to teach. Perhaps.


But He didn’t Liam. It’s not true twice. Love does not behave like that. At all. Ever. Does It.

I would be suspicious that this is some kind of test. In which case the minimal approach would be safest. Philosophy? Let the kids be their own interpreters of the meaning of the story… something that is likely to change many times in their life.

Here’s an article from a few years back from the main BL site that discusses some of the ancient near eastern context:

As you can see the article is mostly focused on the end of the passage with the sun stopping verses and the Amorites demoralization through the omen in the sky. Maybe you could turn this into a don’t be like the Amorites who let the circumstances of life demoralize us into defeat but rather be like Joshua who sought the Lord in difficult circumstances and emerged victorious over life’s challenges?


Interesting article. It also points out the moon was stopped also, which I had never really caught, as the sun gets all the attention.

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The credibility of the Bible fails not because of anachronistic interpretation, but because of perfectly best case, intellectually honest, open, disinterested OR faithful, state of the art, leading edge interpretation.

The fail being in the 3is. Inspiration, inerrancy and infallibility.

Love had nothing to do with Jewish myths of military prowess written nearly a thousand years after their setting.

MItchell, I don’t think it’s some kind of test. It’s typical Bible-story material that would be taught regularly in the churches I know.
At the same time, these stories – at least in ancient times when I was in munchkin Sunday school myself – were taught pretty much as presented in the Bible. We may have praised God for the miraculous way He protected Israel, and talked about the value God places on promise-keeping, but that would have been it. My very fundi teachers never glorified the violence or anything like that. The focus was on the hero Joshua and God’s work, well and any moral lesson that could be pulled out.

Thanks, Matthew! This is really what I was looking for.

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Or Genesis 34.

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