link to Home Page

Jewish Exodus

From: Benny J Peiser <>
To: <>
Date: 25. marec 1998 11:29
Subject: Re: CC DEBATE 25/03/98

Stone from the Sky: Meterorites or Hail
From: Simon Mansfield <> wrote:

Rob McNaught <RMN@AAOCBN3.AAO.GOV.AU> wrote:
"And it came to pass, as they fled from before Israel, and were going down to Beth-horon, that the Lord cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they died. More died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword."

I have no idea what the conventional explanation for this is, but there is presumably the explanation that the cause WAS hailstones. Death by hail is common worldwide and every few decades some hundreds die in large hailstorms. There are many more stock deaths, often thousands at a time. Hail up to grapefruit size is not uncommon.

I would recommend John Lewis' book "Rain of Iron and Ice" pp. 176-182 for an excellant list of "Property Damage, Injuries and Deaths caused by meteorite falls." It is a detailed list that would make a good discussion point for this conference. I would be interested in any confirmation or further input on Lewis' list.

Regards, Simon

First Stones, then Hailstones
From: Ed Grondine" <>

Rob -

I am certainly aware of the dangers of hail. Once when I was driving across the northen plains I was caught in a hailstorm; by a stroke of incredibly good luck one the only overpass for miles around appeared ahead; I pulled under it, and thus my car escaped major damage. So after I first read others' suggestions that the Joshua event was an impact event, I briefly considered both that the stones mentioned were indeed hailstones; and I also considered whether the hailstones were an addition by a later scribe trying to explain the first sentence in the passage. In the end it seems more likely that what happened is that the disintegration of a large meteoroid of the Sikhote Alin class released a large amount of kinetic energy into the atmosphere ("stones") ; this heated air came into contact with particles at the super cold temperature of space, producing hail ("hailstones").

Also, while Joshua does not contain "fire from the sky" it does contain atmospheric dust from an event of the Sikhote Alin / Tunguska class. Joshua 10:13: "And the sun stood still (the dust obscured sunlight), and the moon stayed (the dust reflected sunlight), until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies." Besides the explicit detail in Joshua, you must remember that the Achaeans, the source for the Tantalus myth, were contemporaneous with the events. If it had been hail, most likely Tantalus's hell would have involved hail instead of a stone.

But this is only interpretation, and as you rightly point out because of language difficulties even the location of more records might not be able to resolve the problem. In the end, the only thing hope for a definite solution is a search for meteorites in the Beth Horon area.

E.P. Grondine