New Defender's Study Bible Notes
20:11 ten degrees backward. The word for “degrees” actually means “stairs.” The unique “dial” of Ahaz evidently indicated the time of day by the particular step which the shadow had reached on a flight of stairs. The method of producing this remarkable miracle is enigmatic. If the reference to “the wonder that was done in the land (II Chronicles 32:31) was meant to apply to this miracle rather than to the destruction of Sennacherib’s army, it would suggest a local, rather than worldwide, phenomenon. There is no reference to atmospheric disturbances, which would probably be severe if the earth had reversed its rotation for a time (note the storm associated with Joshua’s long day, as reported in Joshua 10:11-14), nor is there any corresponding account found in the ancient astronomical records of other nations, as in the case of Joshua’s long day. The dynamics of this miracle—causing the sun’s shadow somehow to reverse itself in this particular location—must remain unknown, but the Creator who made the sun and its radiations and the media through which they must pass in reaching the earth is fully able to control them to accomplish the desired result.