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Claims for Muhammad in the Old Testament, true or false? you be the judge

Reader comment on item: Pope Benedict XVI and the Koran
in response to reader comment: Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in the Old Testament

Submitted by Lactantius Jr (United Kingdom), Jun 1, 2009 at 18:34

To Mohammad Waqas Raja

I greet you in the precious, life-giving, life-saving Name of Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, Son of God, the sinners all-sufficient Saviour, the Prince of Peace, and I wish for you His peace.

I continue to examine your claims that Muhammad is prophesied in the Bible, examining your claims that Isaiah 29:12 and the Song of Solomon 5:16 are prophecies of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam.

The Qur'an claims at Surah's 7:157 and 61:6 that Muhammad is prophesied in the Bible, and for 1,400 years, Muslims have searched the "Law and the Gospel" (the Tawrat and the Injil, the Old and New Testaments respectively) for proof that these do indeed contain prophecies of the coming of Muhammad, it being suggested by the Qur'an that these prophecies would be found in them without much difficulty, and in saying that "The Qur'an mentions in Surah Al-Araf chapter 7 verse 157:

'Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, whom they find mentioned in their own (scriptures) in the law and the Gospel.'"

you claim this is a prediction of Muhammad, by conflating it with his first experience in the cave on mount Hira, where Gabriel supposedly pressured him to read, with Muhammad replying he could not.

Quoting Isaiah 29:12 as you do, claiming it is a prediction of Muhammad, is a typical example of Islamic eisegesis, rather then exegesis, eisegesis being the forcing of one's own ideas into the text, exegesis being the taking out of the text what is really there.

So, let's take a closer look at Isaiah 29, what is it about, is it really a prediction of Muhammad "the unlettered prophet?" At Isaiah 29:12 we find, "Or if you give the scroll to someone who cannot read, and say, 'Read this, please,' he will answer, 'I don't know how to read.'" Looking into the context of this verse, makes it clear that your claim is a complete misinterpretation. There is no prediction of a future prophet in this passage. On the contrary, Isaiah 29 is a chapter announcing punishment on Israel.

Woe to you, Ariel, Ariel, the city where David settled! Add year to year and let your cycle of festivals go on.

Isaiah 29:1

Yet I will besiege Ariel; she will mourn and lament, she will be to me like an altar hearth.

Isaiah 29:2

I will encamp against you all around; I will encircle you with towers and set up my siege works against you. Isaiah 29:3 Brought low, you will speak from the ground; your speech will mumble out of the dust. Your voice will come ghostlike from the earth; out of the dust your speech will whisper. Isaiah 29:4

But your many enemies will become like fine dust, the ruthless hordes like blown chaff. Suddenly, in an instant,

Isaiah 29:5

the LORD Almighty will come with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with windstorm and tempest and flames of a devouring fire.

Isaiah 29:6

Then the hordes of all the nations that fight against Ariel that attack her and her fortress and besiege her, will be as it is with a dream, with a vision in the night-

Isaiah 29:7

as when a hungry man dreams that he is eating, but he awakens, and his hunger remains; as when a thirsty man dreams that he is drinking, but he awakens faint, with his thirst unquenched. So will it be with the hordes of all the nations that fight against Mount Zion. Isaiah 29:8

and as part of the punishment, we read that the Triune God will also take away the ability to read (understand) the holy word, because they have disobeyed it for so long. In particular, verse 10 clearly states that the prophets and seers themselves will be put to sleep, and no longer receive revelation from the LORD.

Be stunned and amazed, blind yourselves and be sightless; be drunk, but not from wine, stagger, but not from beer. Isaiah 29:9 The LORD has brought over you a deep sleep: He has sealed your eyes (the prophets) He has covered your heads (the seers). Isaiah 29:10 For you this whole vision is nothing but words sealed in a scroll. And if you give the scroll to someone who can read, and say to him, "Read this, please," he will answer, "I can't; it is sealed." Isaiah 29:11 Or if you give the scroll to someone who cannot read, and say, "Read this, please," he will answer, "I don't know how to read." Isaiah 29:12 The Lord says: "These people come near to Me with their mouth and honour Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. Their worship of Me is made up only of rules taught by men. Isaiah 29:13

Do you still really want to say that this refers to Muhammad? The heart far from God, with worship that is not according to God's will, but according to what men have invented, and that his inability to read is part of God's punishment? It is a sign of God putting a deep sleep on the people regarding spiritual matters, so that regardless how knowledgeable they are, they would nevertheless be unable to read (comprehend) what the word of God means.

Be careful what passages you claim for him! Because this does indeed describe Muhammad's standing with the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Song of Solomon 5:16

Like Psalms, Proverbs, and Lamentations, with which the Song of Songs is grouped in the Old Testament, the book is entirely poetical in form, the primary message of the book being that human love, marriage, and sexual love, are a gift from the Triune God, it is a poetic love story between the beloved and her lover. It is a piece that explores the beauty of a marriage relationship between a king and his wife.

The Song of Solomon is neither part of the Torah nor the Gospel, so that this verse wouldn't help at all to satisfy this demand of the Qur'an even if it were to speak about Muhammad, which I will go on to conclusively demonstrate that it doesn't, drawing on work prepared by Jay Smith, and posted at,

http://debate.org.uk/topics/trtracts/t05.htm#4

Here is what Song of Solomon 5:16 says,

"His mouth is sweetness itself; he is altogether lovely. This is my lover, this my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem."

In this passage Muslims such as yourself, claim that the Hebrew word machmad ("altogether lovely") can be translated "praise" or "Ahmad," but in claiming this, the adjectival clause "altogether lovely" is changed to a proper noun, "Muhammad," and in doing this, when translated into English, the text then reads,

"His mouth is sweetness itself; he is Muhammad. This is my lover, this my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem."

This rendering, however, raises a number of difficult questions according to the context of the entire book.

  1. Who are the daughters of Jerusalem? Did Muhammad ever court one of his many wives in Jerusalem?
  2. If this is Muhammad, which of his wives is speaking? Was Muhammad ever married to a dark woman he wooed from Lebanon?
  3. Did Muhammad ever claim kingship?

What, then, is this prophecy saying? The stressed words in the text above are the English renderings of the Hebrew word, machmad. Strong's concordance defines machmad as: desire, desirable thing, a pleasant thing.

So, can machmad signify Muhammad? When one verse is in doubt, it is justified to explain one passage of the Bible by another, that is to "let Scripture explain/interpret Scripture." The word machmad appears another twelve times in the Old Testament. Since Muslims are so intent on finding the Arabic name of Muhammad in the Hebrew word machmad, it is important that they remain consistent. Therefore, three of the twelve verses where machmad is used are quoted below, and it is left to the reader to decide whether translating it as "Muhammad" fits.

1 Kings 20:6
"Yet I will send my servants to thee tomorrow about this time, and they shall search thy house, and the houses of thy servants; and it shall be, [that] whatever is Muhammad in thy eyes, they shall take [it] in their hand, and carry [it] away."

Lamentations 1:11
"All her people sigh, they seek bread; they have given their Muhammad things for food to relieve the soul: see, O LORD, and consider; for I am become vile."

Ezekiel 24:21
"Speak to the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will profane my sanctuary, the excellence of your strength, the Muhammad of your eyes, and that which your soul pitieth; and your sons and your daughters whom ye have left shall fall by the sword."

If this mutilation of Scripture seems ridiculous to you, it is meant to be, as it shows the absurdity of your claim to "find" Muhammad mentioned at Song of Solomon 5:16 . But don't just take my word for it. Look up the other nine references which employ machmad and see for yourself whether Muhammad would fit. They are:

2 Chronicles 36:19, Isaiah 64:11, Lamentations 1:10, Lamentations 2:4, Ezekiel 24:16, Ezekiel 24:25, Hosea 9:6, Hosea 9:16 and Joel 3:5.

and these can be referred to using the online Bible at, http://www.biblegateway.com/

Translating an adjectival clause as a proper noun makes a mockery of Hebrew grammar. Machmad already has a proper noun counterpart, 'Chemdan' (or 'Hemdan', the eldest son of Dishon of Anah the Horite). If machmad should have been written as a proper noun the author would have written Chemdan.

I conclude by commenting on the incongruity that whilst Muslims such as Osama Abdallah are "outraged" that something like the Song of Solomon could be part of the Word of God, the Bible, describing it as "X-rated Pornography in the Bible"

http://www.answering-christianity.com/x_rated.htm

whilst Muslims such as yourself, determined to "find" Muhammad mentioned in the Bible, "find" his name in the middle of this very same love poem, expressing the woman's sexual desire for her lover.

With kind regards and best wishes

Lactantius Jr

Submitting....

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