- Barnes on the fourth day:
- Since the word “day” is a key to the explanation of the first day‘s work, so is the word “year” to the interpretation of that of the fourth. Since the cause of the distinction of day and night is the diurnal rotation of the earth on its axis in conjunction with a fixed source of light, which streamed in on the scene of creation as soon as the natural hinderance was removed, so the vicissitudes of the year are owing, along with these two conditions, to the annual revolution of the earth in its orbit round the sun, together with the obliquity of the ecliptic. To the phenomena so occasioned are to be added incidental variations arising from the revolution of the moon round the earth, and the small modifications caused by the various other bodies of the solar system. All these celestial phenomena come out from the artless simplicity of the sacred narrative as observable facts on the fourth day of that new creation. From the beginning of the solar system the earth must, from the nature of things, have revolved around the sun. But whether the rate of velocity was ever changed, or the obliquity of the ecliptic was now commenced or altered, we do not learn from this record.
- Barnes on tohu wa bohu:
- After the undefined lapse of time from the first grand act of creation, the present verse describes the state of things on the land immediately antecedent to the creation of a new system of vegetable and animal life, and, in particular, of man, the intelligent inhabitant, for whom this fair scene was now to be prepared and replenished.
Here “the earth” is put first in the order of words, and therefore, according to the genius of the Hebrew language, set forth prominently as the subject of the sentence; whence we conclude that the subsequent narrative refers to the land - the skies from this time forward coming in only incidentally, as they bear upon its history. The disorder and desolation, we are to remember, are limited in their range to the land, and do not extend to the skies; and the scene of the creation now remaining to be described is confined to the land, and its superincumbent matter in point of space, and to its present geological condition in point of time.
We have further to bear in mind that the land among the antediluvians, and down far below the time of Moses, meant so much of the surface of our globe as was known by observation, along with an unknown and undetermined region beyond; and observation was not then so extensive as to enable people to ascertain its spherical form or even the curvature of its surface. To their eye it presented merely an irregular surface bounded by the horizon. Hence, it appears that, so far as the current significance of this leading term is concerned, the scene of the six days‘ creation cannot be affirmed on scriptural authority alone to have extended beyond the surface known to man. Nothing can be inferred from the mere words of Scripture concerning America, Australia, the islands of the Pacific, or even the remote parts of Asia, Africa, or Europe, that were yet unexplored by the race of man. We are going beyond the warrant of the sacred narrative, on a flight of imagination, whenever we advance a single step beyond the sober limits of the usage of the day in which it was written.
Along with the sky and its conspicuous objects the land then known to the primeval man formed the sum total of the observable universe. It was as competent to him with his limited information, as it is to us with our more extensive but still limited knowledge, to express the all by a periphrasis consisting of two terms that have not even yet arrived at their full complement of meaning: and it was not the object or the effect of divine revelation to anticipate science on these points.
Passing now from the subject to the verb in this sentence, we observe it is in the perfect state, and therefore denotes that the condition of confusion and emptiness was not in progress, but had run its course and become a settled thing, at least at the time of the next recorded event. If the verb had been absent in Hebrew, the sentence would have been still complete, and the meaning as follows: “And the land was waste and void.” With the verb present, therefore, it must denote something more. The verb היה hāyâh “be” has here, we conceive, the meaning “become;” and the import of the sentence is this: “And the land had become waste and void.” This affords the presumption that the part at least of the surface of our globe which fell within the cognizance of primeval man, and first received the name of land, may not have been always a scene of desolation or a sea of turbid waters, but may have met with some catastrophe by which its order and fruitfulness had been marred or prevented.
This sentence, therefore, does not necessarily describe the state of the land when first created, but merely intimates a change that may have taken place since it was called into existence. What its previous condition was, or what interval of time elapsed, between the absolute creation and the present state of things, is not revealed. How many transformations it may have undergone, and what purpose it may have heretofore served, are questions that did not essentially concern the moral well-being of man, and are therefore to be asked of some other interpreter of nature than the written word.
- My comment:
- OK, do I see any reference to gap theory here, inconsistent with Marc 10:6 as well as with no death before Adam?
- Barnes on Joshua 10:
- Verses 12-15
- These four verses seem to be a fragment or extract taken from some other and independent source and inserted into the thread of the narrative after it had been completed, and inserted most probably by another hand than that of the author of the Book of Joshua.
It is probable that Joshua 10:12 and the first half of Joshua 10:13 alone belong to the Book of Jasher and are poetical, and that the rest of this passage is prose.
The writer of this fragment seems to have understood the words of the ancient song literally, and believed that an astronomical miracle really took place, by which the motion of the heavenly bodies was for some hours suspended. (Compare also Judges 5:20 and Psalm 18:9-15 are passages which no one construes as describing actual occurrences: they set forth only internal, although most sincere and, in a spiritual sense, real and true convictions. This explanation is now adopted by theologians whose orthodoxy upon the plenary inspiration and authority of holy Scripture is well known and undoubted.
- Joshua 10:13
- Book of Jasher - i. e. as margin, “of the upright” or “righteous,” a poetical appellation of the covenant-people (compare “Jeshurun” in Deuteronomy 32:15, and note; and compare Numbers 23:10, Numbers 23:21; Psalm 111:1). This book was probably a collection of national odes celebrating the heroes of the theocracy and their achievements, and is referred to again (marginal reference) as containing the dirge composed by David over Saul and Jonathan.
About a whole day - i. e. about twelve hours; the average space between sunrise and sunset.
- Joshua 10:15
- Joshua‘s return (compare Joshua 10:43) to Gilgal was not until after he had, by the storm and capture of the principal cities of south Canaan, completed the conquest of which the victory at Gibeon was only the beginning.
This verse is evidently the close of the extract from an older work, which connected the rescue of Gibeon immediately with the return to Gilgal, and omitted the encampment at Makkedah Joshua 10:21, and also the details given in Joshua 10:28-42.
- Verse 16
- The thread of the narrative, broken by the four intermediate verses, Joshua 10:12-15, is now resumed from Joshua 10:11.
- My comment
- OK ... was anyone saying that a Literalist might very well accept Heliocentrism because Barnes did so?
Well, I would say a Literalist had better go to St Thomas Aquinas or St Robert Bellarmine than to Barnes. I e, he had better be a Papist than a "lukewarm Calvinist".
If you can swallow this but not accept that Genesis 1 "is poetry", then you are sifting midge and swallowing camels. And he does not believe in a global Flood either:
- Genesis 7:19
- Upon the land. - The land is to be understood of the portion of the earth‘s surface known to man. This, with an unknown margin beyond it, was covered with the waters. But this is all that Scripture warrants us to assert. Concerning the distant parts of Europe, the continents of Africa, America, or Australia, we can say nothing. “All the high hills were covered.” Not a hill was above water within the horizon of the spectator or of man. There were ten generations from Adam to Noah inclusive. We cannot tell what the rate of increase was. But, supposing each couple to have ten children, and therefore the common ratio to be five, the whole number of births would be about five million, and the population in the time of Noah less than four million. It is probable that they did not scatter further than the necessities and conveniences of life demanded. In a fertile region, an area equal to that of the British Isles would be amply sufficient for four million men, women, and children.
Let us suppose, then, a circle of five hundred miles in diameter inhabited by man. Let this occupy the central region of a concentric circle of eight hundred miles in diameter. With a center a little southwest of Mosul, this larger circle would reach fifty miles into the Mediterranean, the Euxine, and the Caspian, and would probably have touched the Persian Gulf at the time of the deluge. If this region were covered with water, it is obvious that no land or mountain would be visible to a spectator within the inner circle of five hundred miles in diameter. “Fifteen cubits upward.” This was half the depth of the ark. It may have taken this draught of water to float it. If so, its grounding on a hill under water would indicate the depth of water on its summit. The gradual rise of the waters was accomplished by the depression of the land, aided, possibly, by a simultaneous elevation of the bed of the ocean. The water, by the mere necessity of finding its level, overflowed the former dry land. The extent of this oscillation of the solid crust of the earth is paralleled by the changes of level which geology indicates, the last of which took place at the time of the six days‘ creation. It is possible that most of the land that was then raised was now again temporarily submerged in the returning waters; while distant continents may have all along existed, which never came within the ken of antediluvian man. The sobriety and historical veracity of the narrative are strikingly exhibited in the moderate height to which the waters are said to have risen above the ancient hills.
If you want a Bible commentary in English without these tares, I counsel you to take, not Barnes, but Haydock. And Kent Hovind has been known to agree with commentators cited in Haydock.
Now, Haydock is not exactly the only commentator in his Bible comment, but in the passage about Joshua he is the only one who even puts in a doubt in between Heliocentric or Geocentric interpretation of the passage in Joshua. And he does not dream of denying Globality of Flood or literal miracle of Joshua.
Now, when Jonathan Sarfati comments on Psalm 93, he is using Barnes notes, unless he just happens to agree. I think we can see why he is not using Barnes notes on Joshua. He is in fact not giving a close reading of Joshua at all. Here he cites the Psalm but not Joshua, as Russell Grigg here, while another essay on Galileo, by Schirrmacher puts it down to Galileo's Asperger case or something (well, at least extreme social clumsiness). Joshua's Long Day by Russell Grigg (again) does not mention the Galileo trial and only very summarily its relevance for Geocentrism:
Joshua’s command to the sun to stand still does not support geocentrism, i.e. the idea that the sun moves around the Earth. The Bible uses the language of appearance and observation. [footnoting to] In this connection, Henry Morris writes, ‘All motion is relative motion, and the sun is no more “fixed” in space than the Earth is. … The scientifically correct way to specify motions, therefore, is to select an arbitrary point of assumed zero velocities and then to measure all velocities relative to that point. The proper point to use is the one which is most convenient to the observer for the purposes of his particular calculations. In the case of movements of the heavenly bodies, normally the most suitable point is the Earth ‘s surface at the latitude and longitude of the observer, and this therefore is the most “scientific” point to use. David [Psalm 19:6] and Joshua are more scientific than their critics in adopting such a convention for their narratives.’—Henry Morris with Henry Morris III, Many Infallible Proofs: Practical and Useful Evidences for the Christian Faith, Master Books, Arizona, 1996, p. 253.
In other words, the CMI never mentions Joshua's long day when it comes to Geocentric actual historical controversy, and never mentions that actual controversy with its Bible reference to Joshua's long day.
Let us go to Haydock comment for the corresponding passages:
- Haydock commenters on Fourth Day
- Ver. 14. For signs. Not to countenance the delusive observations of astrologers, but to give notice of rain, of the proper seasons for sowing, &c. (Menochius)
If the sun was made on the first day, as some assert, there is nothing new created on this fourth day. By specifying the use and creation of these heavenly bodies, Moses shows the folly of the Gentiles, who adored them as gods, and the impiety of those who pretend that human affairs are under the fatal influence of the planets. See St. Augustine, Confessions iv. 3. The Hebrew term mohadim, which is here rendered seasons, may signify either months, or the times for assembling to worship God; (Calmet) a practice, no doubt, established from the beginning every week, and probably also the first day of the new moon, a day which the Jews afterwards religiously observed. Plato calls the sun and planets the organs of time, of which, independently of their stated revolutions, man could have formed no conception. The day is completed in twenty-four hours, during which space the earth moves round its axis, and express successively different parts of its surface to the sun. It goes at a rate of fifty-eight thousand miles an hour, and completes its orbit in the course of a year. (Haydock)
Ver. 16. Two great lights. God created on the first day light, which being moved from east to west, by its rising and setting made morning and evening. But on the fourth day he ordered and distributed this light, and made the sun, moon, and stars. The moon, though much less than the stars, is here called a great light, from its giving a far greater light to earth than any of them. (Challoner)
To rule and adorn, for nothing appears so glorious as the sun and moon. (Menochius)
Many have represented the stars, as well as the sun and moon, to be animated. Ecclesiastes xvi[i. 6?], speaking of the sun says, the spirit goeth forward surveying all places: and in Esdras[2 Esdras?] ix. 6, the Levites address God, Thou hast made heaven and all the host thereof; and thou givest life to all these things, and the host of heaven adoreth thee. St. Augustine Ench. and others, consider this question as not pertaining to faith. See Spencer in Origen, contra Cels. v. (Calmet)
Whether the stars be the suns of other worlds, and whether the moon, &c. be inhabited, philosophers dispute, without being able to come to any certain conclusion: for God has delivered the world to their consideration for dispute, so that man cannot find out the work which God hath made from the beginning to the end, Ecclesiastes iii. 11. If we must frequently confess our ignorance concerning the things which surround us, how shall we pretend to dive into the designs of God, or subject the mysteries of faith to our feeble reason? If we think the Scriptures really contradict the systems of philosophers, ought we to pay greater deference to the latter, than to the unerring word of God? But we must remember, that the sacred writings were given to instruct us in the way to heaven, and not to unfold to us the systems of natural history; and hence God generally addresses us in a manner best suited to our conceptions, and speaks of nature as it appears to the generality of mankind. At the same time, we may confidently assert, that the Scriptures never assert what is false. If we judge, with the vulgar, that the sun, moon, and stars are no larger than they appear to our naked eye, we shall still have sufficient reason to admire the works of God; but, if we are enabled to discover that the sun's diameter, for example, is 763 thousand miles, and its distance from our earth about 95 million miles, and the fixed stars (as they are called, though probably all in motion) much more remote, what astonishment must fill our breast! Our understanding is bewildered in the unfathomable abyss, in the unbounded expanse, even of the visible creation.
Sirius, the nearest to us of all the fixed stars, is supposed to be 400,000 times the distance from the sun that our earth is, or 38 millions of millions of miles. Light, passing at the rate of twelve millions of miles every minute, would be nearly 3,000 years in coming to us from the remotest star in our stratum, beyond which are others immensely distant, which it would require about 40,000 years to reach, even with the same velocity. Who shall not then admire thy works and fear thee, O King of ages! (Walker.)
Geog. justly remarks, "we are lost in wonder when we attempt to comprehend either the vastness or minuteness of creation. Philosophers think it possible for the universe to be reduced to the smallest size, to an atom, merely by filling up the pores;" and the reason they allege is, "because we know not the real structure of bodies." Shall any one then pretend to wisdom, and still call in question the mysteries of faith, transubstantiation, &c., when the most learned confess they cannot fully comprehend the nature even of a grain of sand? While on the one hand some assert, that all the world may be reduced to this compass; others say, a grain of sand may be divided in infinitum! (Haydock)
- While the comment on verse 14 indeed is Heliocentric at one point, it is so by the latest commenter only, i e Haydock. The earlier ones he cites - for this verse 14 Menochius and Calmet - said no such thing.
- Haydock commenters on tohu wa bohu
- Ver. 1. Beginning. As St. Matthew begins his Gospel with the same title as this work, the Book of the Generation, or Genesis, so St. John adopts the first words of Moses, in the beginning; but he considers a much higher order of things, even the consubstantial Son of God, the same with God from all eternity, forming the universe, in the beginning of time, in conjunction with the other two Divine Persons, by the word of his power; for all things were made by Him, the Undivided Deity. (Haydock)
Elohim, the Judges or Gods, denoting plurality, is joined with a verb singular, he created, whence many, after Peter Lombard, have inferred, that in this first verse of Genesis the adorable mystery of the Blessed Trinity is insinuated, as they also gather from various other passages of the Old Testament, though it was not clearly revealed till our Saviour came himself to be the finisher of our faith. (Calmet)
The Jews being a carnal people and prone to idolatry, might have been in danger of misapplying this great mystery, and therefore an explicit belief of it was not required of them in general. See Collet. &c. (Haydock)
The word bara, created, is here determined by tradition and by reason to mean a production out of nothing, though it be used also to signify the forming of a thing out of pre-existing matter. (ver. 21, 27.) (Calmet)
The first cause of all things must be God, who, in a moment, spoke, and heaven and earth were made, heaven with all the Angels; and the whole mass of the elements, in a state of confusion, and blended together, out of which the beautiful order, which was afterwards so admirable, arose in the space of six days: thus God was pleased to manifest his free choice in opposition to those Pagans who attributed all to blind chance or fate. Heaven is here placed first, and is not declared empty and dark like the earth; that we may learn to raise our minds and hearts above this land of trial, to that our true country, where we may enjoy God for ever. (Haydock)
Ver. 2. Spirit of God, giving life, vigour, and motion to things, and preparing the waters for the sacred office of baptism, in which, by the institution of Jesus Christ, we must be born again; and, like spiritual fishes, swim amid the tempestuous billows of this world. (v. Tert.[See Tertullian?], &c.) (Worthington) (Haydock)
This Spirit is what the Pagan philosophers styled the Soul of the World. (Calmet)
If we compare their writings with the books of Moses and the prophets, we shall find that they agree in many points. See Grotius. (Haydock)
- Heaven is declared as created before the earth and despite not yet containing sun moon and stars it is not tohu wa bohu, and in verse 2 earth does not become so after unknown ages, but only this is describing its original state.
- Haydock Commenters on Joshua's long day
- Ver. 12. Them. This may be considered as a canticle of victory, containing a fervent prayer, which was presently followed with the desired effect.
Aialon. Hebrew, "Sun, in Gabaon, be silent; (move not) and thou, moon, in the valley of Aialon," or "of the wood," which was probably not far from Gabaon. Josue had pursued the enemy at mid-day, to the west of that city, when turning round, he addressed this wonderful command to the sun. It is supposed that the moon appeared at the same time. But the meaning may only be, that the sun and the course of the stars should be interrupted for a time. (Calmet)
The sun and the moon stood still in their habitation, Hebrews iii. 11. (Menochius)
Many have called in question this miracle, with Maimonides, or have devised various means to explain it away, by having recourse to a parhelion or reflection of the sun by a cloud, or to a light which was reverberated by the mountains, after the sun was set, &c. (Prœdam iv. 6.; Spinosa; Grotius; Le Clerc)
But if these authors believe the Scriptures, they may spare themselves the trouble of devising such improbable explanations, as this fact is constantly represented as a most striking miracle. If St. Paul (Hebrews xi. 30,) make no mention of it, he did not engage to specify every miracle that had occurred. He does not so much as mention Josue, nor the passage of the Jordan, &c., so that it is a matter of surprise that Grotius should adduce this negative argument, to disprove the reality of the miracle. (Calmet)
The pretended impossibility of it, or the inconvenience arising to the fatigued soldiers from the long continuance of the day, will make but small impression upon those who consider, that God was the chief agent; and that he who made all out of nothing, might easily stop the whole machinery of the world for a time, and afterwards put it in motion again, without causing any derangement in the different parts. (Calmet)
It is not material whether the sun turn round the earth, or the contrary. (Haydock)
The Hebrews generally supposed that the earth was immovable; and on this idea Josue addresses the sun. Philosophers have devised various intricate systems: but the Scripture is expressed in words suitable to the conceptions of the people. The exterior effect would be the same, whether the sun or the earth stood still. Pagan authors have not mentioned this miracle, because none of the works of that age have come down to us. We find, however, that they acknowledged a power in magic capable of effecting such a change.
Cessavere vices rerum dilataque longâ,
Hæsit nocte dies: legi non paruit æther,
Torpuit & præceps audito carmine mundus. (Lucan, Phars. vi.)
See Homer, Odyssey xii. 382., and xxiii. 242.
This miracle would not render Josue superior to Moses, as some have argued. For all miracles are equally impossible to man, and equally easy to God: the greatness of a miracle is not a proof of greater sanctity. (Calmet)
Aialon lay to the south-west of Gabaon. (Haydock)
Josue ordered the moon to stop, as a necessary consequence of the sun's standing still. God condescended to grant his request. (Worthington)
Ver. 13. The book of the just. In Hebrew Sepher hayashar; an ancient book long since lost. (Challoner)
It was probably of the same nature with that of the wars of the Lord, (Numbers xxi. 4,) containing an account of the most memorable occurrences which concerned the people of Israel, the just, or Ischuron, Deuteronomy xxxiii. 5. Josephus ([Antiquities?] v. 2,) says, such "records were kept in the archives of the temple." They were drawn up by people of character. The quotations inserted are in a poetical style, as the book might contain various canticles, though the rest was written in prose. See 2 Kings i. 18. It might appear unnecessary for Josue to appeal to this work, as the fact in question was known to all. (Calmet)
But too great precaution could not be taken to prevent the danger of people calling in question the reality of the miracle. If the book of the just was a more detailed history of facts, out of which this work of Josue has been compiled, as Theodoret supposes, the author might very well remit the more inquisitive reader to that authentic source. (Haydock)
Midst. It was then almost noon. (Calmet)
Josue was nevertheless afraid lest the day should not allow them time to destroy their fleeing enemies completely. (Haydock)
If the evening had been at hand, he would have said, return sun towards Gabaon, as it would have been on the west of his army. The battle had begun early in the morning, and the pursuit had lasted perhaps four or five hours. (Calmet)
Day. Hebrew, "about a whole day." Many think that a day here comprises 24 hours; and as the sun had been above the horizon six hours, and continued other six, it must have been visible for the space of 36 hours, as the Jews believe, and as it is specified in St. Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho. The author of Ecclesiasticus xlvi. 5, says, Was not the sun stopped in his anger, and one day made as two? that is, 24 hour long, allowing 12 unequal ones to form a day, according to the reckoning of those times. Others suppose that the day of Josue might consist of 18 (Calmet) or of 48 hours. But how would the soldiers be able to support such a fatigue? They had been marching all the preceding night from Galgal. (Haydock)
If they had stopped to take refreshment, their enemies would have escaped. Hence some of the Fathers imagine, that God enabled his people to pursue them without taking any food. (St. Jerome, contra Jov. ii.) They might, however, take some along with them, as it was then customary; and eat as they pursued, whenever they could find an opportunity. Josue had given no prohibition; and Jonathan observed that his father, Saul, had troubled Israel, by following a different plan, 1 Kings xiv. 24. (Calmet)
Ver. 14. Long. This word is not found in Hebrew, "and there was no day like that, before it, or after it, that the Lord hearkened unto," &c. But God had often wrought miracles before, at the prayer of his servants. The difference between this day and all others, must be therefore in the length, or in the stopping of the heavenly bodies. (Haydock)
The long day which the prayer of Ezechias procured, (4 Kings xx., and Isaias xxxviii.) consisted of 32 hours; or, supposing that the retrograde motion of the sun was instantaneous on the dial, it might only be 22 hours in length. (Calmet)
But if the day of Ezechias had been even longer, the words of this text may be verified, that neither in times past, nor while the author lived, had any such day been known. See Amama, p. 383. (Haydock)
Obeying. God is ready to grant the requests of his servants, Isaias lviii. 9. "We remark something still stronger, in the power which he has given to priests, to consecrate the body and blood of Jesus Christ in the sacrament of the eucharist." (Calmet)
Ver. 15. Galgal. Masius supposes, that here the quotation from the book of the just terminates. The Roman and Alexandrian Septuagint place this verse at the end of the chapter. (Calmet)
Grabe has it in both places with a star, to shew that it is taken from Theodotion. (Haydock)
In effect, Josue did not return to his camp till he had completed the business of the day, by destroying the five kings. After which, he proceeded to conquer that part of the country. He might have designed to return, (Calmet) and even have begun his march, (Du Hamel) when he was diverted from proceeding, by the news that the kings had been discovered. So we often say, that a person does what he is on the point of doing. See Genesis xxxvii. 21., and Numbers xxxiv. 25.
- The parallel to Hebrews where Sun and Moon stood still "in their habitations" (not earth in its or they in earth's!) seems to give Scriptural evidence against any Heliocentric interpretation of this miracle. As was mentioned by St Robert Bellarmine in the Galileo trial and as was repeated by Sungenis and Salza talking about this. Haydock comments does not so conclude but at least gives the parallel.
Though Heliocentric explanation (with moon stopping as part of earth's rotation stopping, perhaps) is alluded to as possible, it is not given an absolute priority.
It is not material whether the sun turn round the earth, or the contrary. (Haydock).
The Hebrews generally supposed that the earth was immovable; and on this idea Josue addresses the sun. Philosophers have devised various intricate systems: but the Scripture is expressed in words suitable to the conceptions of the people. The exterior effect would be the same, whether the sun or the earth stood still. Pagan authors have not mentioned this miracle, because none of the works of that age have come down to us. We find, however, that they acknowledged a power in magic capable of effecting such a change. [Comment continuing past the quote to the signature attributing it to Calmet? Or comment ended before quotation by Haydock unsigned?]
And Worthington is cited as stating the opposite: "Josue ordered the moon to stop, as a necessary consequence of the sun's standing still. God condescended to grant his request." - Specifically Geocentric. As to necessary consequence, it would be so only in respect of saving lunar month from disrupted faces of the Moon, and only if the addition was shorter than 24 hours, however Joshua may not have known to begin with how much was to be added. Noone is suggesting any author is using any compilation of old hymns (though Joshua's words may have been a victory hymn) and on top of that mistaking the words of a hymn for a factual account.
By the way, Calmet is wrong in saying no Pagan account has come down to us, since in the comment to the other OT Sun Miracle a reference to Egyptian astronomical tables is given
- On Flood, and first was it miraculous and global:
- The systems of those pretended philosophers, who would represent this flood as only partial, affecting the countries which were then inhabited, are all refuted by the plain narration of Moses. What part of the world could have been secure, when the waters prevailed fifteen cubits above the highest mountains? To give a natural cause only for this miraculous effect, would be nugatory: but as waters covered the earth at first, so they surely might again, by the power of God. (Haydock) ... Fountains and flood-gates. These are the two natural causes which Moses assigns for the deluge, the waters below, and those above in the sky or firmament. Heaven is said to be shut when it does not rain, (Luke iv. 25.) so it is here opened, and flood-gates, or torrents of rain, pour down incessantly. But God attributes not the deluge to these causes alone; he sufficiently intimates that it would be miraculous, (ver. 4, I will rain,) and still more emphatically, chap. vi. 17, Behold I. Hebrew, "I, even I myself, do bring on a flood of waters."
- Full comment for chapter 7:
- Ver. 2. Of all clean. The distinction of clean and unclean beasts, appears to have been made before the law of Moses, which was not promulgated till the year of the world 2514. (Challoner).
Clean: not according to the law of Moses, which was not yet given, but such as tradition had described --- fit for sacrifice; (Menochius) though they might be of the same species as were deemed clean in the law, which ratified the ancient institution. --- And seven: (Hebrew) simply seven, three couple and an odd male, for sacrifice after the deluge: one couple was to breed, the other two perhaps for food. (Haydock)
Some imagine, that there were fourteen unclean and four clean animals, of every species, in the ark, because the Samaritan, Septuagint, and Vulgate read, "seven and seven." (Origen, &c.)
But our Saviour, sending the Disciples to preach two and two, did not appoint a company of four to go together, but only of two, as is generally allowed, Mark vi. 7. (Calmet)
Ver. 11. Seventeenth day. On the tenth, God had given the last warning to the wretched and obstinate sinners, to whom Noe had been preaching, both by word and by building the ark, for 120 years; all in vain. This second month is, by some, supposed to be the month of May; by others, that of November. Usher makes Noe enter the ark on the 18th December [in the year of the world] 1656. The waters decreased May 17, mountains appear July 31, he sends out the raven September 8, and leaves the ark December 29, after having remained in it a year and ten days, according to the antediluvian computation, or a full year of 365 days. The systems of those pretended philosophers, who would represent this flood as only partial, affecting the countries which were then inhabited, are all refuted by the plain narration of Moses. What part of the world could have been secure, when the waters prevailed fifteen cubits above the highest mountains? To give a natural cause only for this miraculous effect, would be nugatory: but as waters covered the earth at first, so they surely might again, by the power of God. (Haydock)
Fountains and flood-gates. These are the two natural causes which Moses assigns for the deluge, the waters below, and those above in the sky or firmament. Heaven is said to be shut when it does not rain, (Luke iv. 25.) so it is here opened, and flood-gates, or torrents of rain, pour down incessantly. But God attributes not the deluge to these causes alone; he sufficiently intimates that it would be miraculous, (ver. 4, I will rain,) and still more emphatically, chap. vi. 17, Behold I. Hebrew, "I, even I myself, do bring on a flood of waters." The idea which Moses give of the flood, corresponds with that which he before gave of chaos, when earth and water were undistinguished in one confused mass, chap. i. 6. The Hebrews look upon it as a continual miracle, that the earth is not always deluged, being founded, as they represent it, on the waters, Jeremias v. 22. Calmet and others have proved, both from Scripture and from philosophical arguments, the universality of the deluge, against Isaac Vossius, &c. (Haydock)
Ver. 16. The Lord shut him in, by an angel besmearing the door with pitch, to prevent the waters from penetrating, while Noe did the like in the inside. (Calmet)
Thus God supplies our wants when we are not able to provide for ourselves, and though he could do all by himself, yet he requires us to co-operate with him, and often makes use of secondary causes. (Worthington)
Ver. 24. Days: counting from the end of the forty days, when the deluge was at its height. (Calmet)
In all the histories of past ages, there is nothing so terrible as this event. What became of all those myriads of human beings who perished on this occasion? We know not. Some have charitably supposed, that, although the far greater part perished everlastingly, a few who had been incredulous while Noe preached, opened their eyes at last, when it was too late to save their bodies, and by sincere repentance rescued their souls from the flames, and were consigned to do penance, for a time, in the other world. These heard the preaching of Jesus Christ, or believed in his redemption, while they were yet living, and so deserved to partake of his mercies, and joyfully beheld his sacred person when he came to visit them in their prison of purgatory. 1 Peter iii. 19, He came and preached to those spirits that were in prison: which had been sometime incredulous, when they waited for the patience of God in the days of Noe, when the ark was a building: wherein a few, that is eight souls, were saved from drowning by water. Whereunto baptism, being of the like form, now saves you also, &c. See F. S. Bellarmine, &c. In these last words of St. Peter, we may also notice, that the ark was a figure of baptism, which is so necessary, that without its reception, or desire of it at least, no man can be saved. It is also a figure of the cross, and of the one true Church, as the Fathers remark, with St. Augustine, City of God xv. i; Menochius &c.; St. Gregory, hom. 12 in Ezech. &c.
This is so striking that it deserves to be seriously considered. It was only one, though God could have ordered many smaller vessels to be made ready, perhaps with less inconvenience to Noe, that we might reflect, out of the Church the obstinate will surely perish. St. Jerome, ep. ad Dam.: In this ark all that were truly holy, and some imperfect, like Cham, were contained, clean beasts and unclean dwelt together, that we need not wonder if some Catholics be a disgrace to their name. The ark had different partitions, to remind us of the various orders of Clergy and Laity in the Church, with one chief governor, the Pope, like Noe in the ark. It was strong, visible, &c., and pitched all over with the durable cement, bitumen, and riding triumphant amid the storms, the envy of all who were out of it, till at last it settled upon a rock. So the Church is built on a rock, against which the gates of hell shall not prevail: she is not less obvious to the sincere seeker, than a city built on the top of the highest mountain, &c. We might here take a retrospective view of the chief occurrences and personages of the former world; we should observe the same order of the things from the beginning, --- the conflict of virtue and vice, the preservation of the true faith and worship of God among a few chosen souls, who preferred to be persecuted by worldlings, rather than to offend God. They contended earnestly for the faith once delivered to the Saints, to Adam and Eve, once innocent, and afterwards penitent. We behold original sin, and the promised remedy for mankind; while the rebel angels are abandoned, without redress. There was kept up a communion of saints: sacrifice to the one God was performed generally by the heads of families, who were priests in the law of nature. Even Cain, though a bad man, through hypocrisy, chose to offer sacrifice before he had quite broken off from the society of the faithful, and resolved to become the father of all excommunicated persons, and of all seceders. (Chap. iv. 16.) He was admonished by God that he had free will, and might merit a reward by a different conduct. His sentence, as well as that pronounced upon Adam, and upon all mankind, before the flood, reminds us of the particular and general judgment; as the translation of Henoch sets before us the happy state of the blessed, and the immortality, of which it was an earnest. See Douay Bible, where the chief mysteries of faith are pointed out as the creed of the Antediluvians. Even the Blessed Trinity was insinuated, or shewn to them, at a distance, in various texts: the unity and indissolubility of marriage were clearly expressed; the true Church continued in Noe, while the chain of schismatics and heretics was broken, and Cain's progeny destroyed. In this period of time, we may discover what the ancients so often describe respecting the four ages: --- the golden age is most perfectly found in Paradise; but only for a few days, or perhaps only a few hours, during which our first parents preserved their innocence. The silver age may have lasted rather longer, till the murder of Abel, or 128 years, when Cain began to disturb the peace of the world. From that time, till the giants make their appearance, we may reckon the age of brass. But that of iron had continued for many years before the flood. The like deterioration of morals we may discover after the deluge, and again after the renovation of the world, by the preaching of the gospel. For some time after these two great events, things bore a pleasing aspect; Noe was busy in offering sacrifice to God, Christians were all one heart and one soul, enjoying all things in common, and God gave a blessing to the earth, and confirmed his covenant with men. Then Cham, Nemrod, and Babel appear, heresies in the new law break forth, and disturb the lovely harmony of mankind: but still a sufficient number preserve their integrity, till about the days of Abraham and Arius, in their respective periods, and may be said to have lived in the silver age, when compared with the brazen insolence of the great majority of those who came after. The iron age of these two periods, may be dated from the persecution of Epiphanes against the Jews, when so many apostatized from the faith, and from that much more terrible persecution which will be raised against Christians by Antichrist, the man of sin, (of which the former was a type) when the charity of many shall grow cold, and Christ will hardly find faith upon the earth. To that age may justly be applied, those strong expressions of disapprobation which God made use of before the flood, chap. vi. 3, 6, 12. He will punish the crimes of that age with a deluge of fire, and say, The end of all flesh is come before me, &c., ver. 13. Time shall be no longer, Apocalypse x. 6. (Haydock)
- On second solar miracle
- IV Kings 20:8 And Ezechias had said to Isaias: What shall be the sign that the Lord will heal me, and that I shall go up to the temple of the Lord the third day?
9 And Isaias said to him: This shall be the sign from the Lord, that the Lord will do the word which he hath spoken: Wilt thou that the shadow go forward ten lines, or that it go back so many degrees?
10 And Ezechias said: It is an easy matter for the shadow to go forward ten lines: and I do not desire that this be done, but let it return back ten degrees.
11 And Isaias, the prophet called upon the Lord, and he brought the shadow ten degrees backwards by the lines, by which it had already gone down on the dial of Achaz.
Ver. 8. Sign. He is not incredulous, but gives the prophet an occasion of declaring by what authority he spoke thus. (Haydock)
Ver. 10. Lines, according to the usual course of the sun. An instantaneous motion of this kind would, in reality, be as difficult, as the retrogradation. But it might not strike the people so much. (Haydock)
Some take the lines to designate hours. But the sun is never up twenty hours in that country; and it must have been at such a height, as that it might appear visibly to recede, or to go forward, ten lines. We may therefore suppose, that they consisted only of half hours, (Tirinus) or less. (Calmet)
If the retrograde motion were instantaneous, as Cajetan believes, the day would only be five hours longer than usual; (Menochius) but if otherwise, it would be ten; as the sun would occupy five hours in going back, and as many to regain its former station. (Tirinus)
Usher supposes that the night was as much shortened, that so astronomical observations may still be verified without any confusion. But that would introduce a fresh miracle. Some assert that only the shadow went back, without any derangement in the heavenly bodies. Spinosa laughs at the ignorance of those people, who mistook the effects of a parhelion for a miracle. This author may boast of his superior knowledge. But how came the sages of Babylon (ver. 12.) to be unacquainted with such a natural cause? How came it so opportunely (Calmet) at the time appointed by the prophet? What improbable explanations are not those forced to admit, who deny to the Almighty the power of changing his own works! (Haydock)
The silence of profane historians respecting this miracle, is of little consequence. Herodotus (ii. 142.) seems to hint at it, as well as at that under Josue; (x.) being informed "by the Egyptians, that during 10340 years, the sun had risen four times in an extraordinary manner. It had risen twice where it ought naturally to set, and had set as often where it should rise." He might have said more simply, that the sun had twice gone back. See Solin, 45. (Calmet)
St. Dion. Areop. ep. 7. ad Polycarp. --- This last author thinks that this day was twenty hours longer than usual, supposing that the lines designate so many hours, and that the sun kept going back for ten hours. (Worthington)
Ver. 11. Dial. Hebrew also, "steps." St. Jerome confesses that he followed Symmachus in Isaias xxxviii. 7. Whether this dial resembled one of ours, (Grotius) or was made in the form of steps, (St. Cyril, hom. 3, in Isaias, &c.) or rather of a half globe, (Calmet) after the Babylonian fashion, (Vitruvius ix. 9.) is not clear. Some have asserted that hours were not known to the Hebrews, before the captivity. (Usher, the year of the world 3291.)
But Toby[Tobias], (xii. 22.) who wrote at Nineve, under the reign of Manasses, clearly speaks of them. The Egyptians pretend that they invented water hour-glasses. But the invention of dials is attributed to the Chaldeans, from whom Anaximander introduced them among the Greeks, under the reign of Cyrus. He died in the year of the world 3457.
Achaz had much to do with Theglathphalasar; (chap. xvii. 8.) and probably obtained this curiosity from the same country. In more ancient times, people measured time by the length of their shadow, and were invited to a feast at such a foot, in the same manner as we should invite for such an hour. (Palladius, Rustic. xii.) (Calmet)
Till the year of Rome 595, when Nasica dedicated the first water hour-glass, the Romans knew not how the time passed on cloudy days. (Pliny, [Natural History?] vii. 60.) (Vitruvius ix. 9.)
Grotius supposes that the dial of Achaz was a concave semicircular gnomon, in which a globe was placed, the shadow of which fell on twenty-eight lines. (Du Hamel)
- Reference to Pagan record highlighted:
- The silence of profane historians respecting this miracle, is of little consequence. Herodotus (ii. 142.) seems to hint at it, as well as at that under Josue; (x.) being informed "by the Egyptians, that during 10340 years, the sun had risen four times in an extraordinary manner. It had risen twice where it ought naturally to set, and had set as often where it should rise." He might have said more simply, that the sun had twice gone back. See Solin, 45. (Calmet)
- For the earlier miracle, I could add Iliad:
- Φιλολoγικά/Philologica : Where did Agamemnon Come Up with That?
I will allow myself to through out a suggestion that the Solar Miracles of Joshua and Ezechias might be one cause why Pagan historians earlier than the latter are lacking in continuity and why chronologies of old history have to be pieced together. Precisely as Solar Miracle of Calvary may be one major cause why Pagan records directly from year 33 are non-existent.
somewhere else : 1st C Historians, Wikipedia Category
But what does Barnes say about Ezechias' Solar Miracle?
II Kings 20:Verse 8
And Hezekiah said - Previous to the actual recovery, Hezekiah, who at first may have felt himself no better, asked for a “sign” that he would indeed be restored to health.
Asking for a sign is a pious or a wicked act according to the spirit in which it is done. No blame is attached to the requests of Gideon Judges 6:17, Judges 6:37, Judges 6:39, or to this of Hezekiah, because they were real wishes of the heart expressed humbly. The “evil generation” that “sought for a sign” in our Lord‘s days did not really want one, but made the demand captiously, neither expecting nor wishing that it should be granted.
Ten degrees - literally, “ten steps.” It is not, perhaps, altogether certain whether the “dial of Ahaz” 2 Kings 20:11 was really a dial with a gnomon in the center, and “degrees” marked round it, or a construction fur marking time by means of “steps.” Sundials proper had been invented by the Babylonians before the time of Herodotus; but the instrument here was probably an instrument consisting of a set of steps, or stairs, with an obelisk at the top, the shadow of which descended or ascended the steps according as the sun rose higher in the heavens or declined.
The question as to the mode whereby the return of the shadow was produced is one on which many opinions have been held. Recently, it has been urged that the true cause of the phenomenon was a solar eclipse, in which the moon obscured the entire upper limb of the sun; and it has been clearly shown that if such an occurrence took place a little before mid-day, it would have had the effect described as having taken place - i. e., during the obscuration of the sun‘s upper limb shadows would be sensibly lengthened, and that of the obelisk would descend the stairs; as the obscuration passed off the reverse would take place, shadows would shorten, and that of the obelisk would once more retire up the steps. If this be the true account, the miracle would consist in Isaiah‘s supernatural foreknowledge of an event which the astronomy of the age was quite incapable of predicting, and in the providential guidance of Hezekiah‘s will, so that he chose the “sign” which in the natural course of things was about to be manifested.
It is a light thing - It seemed to Hezekiah comparatively easy that the shadow, which had already begun to lengthen, should merely make a sudden jump in the same direction; but, wholly contrary to all experience that it should change its direction, advancing up the steps again when it had once begun to descend them.
Oh, a Solar Eclipse? And God guiding Hezekiah's will so that no real miracle was needed?
Weeeellll ... no thank you, Barney!
Haydock rejects it too.
sister of St Bennett