Selection of Saul as Commander
Surah ‘Al-Baqarah (The Cow) – Chapter – 2)
Stage – 1, Verses – 248 & 249a of 286, Section – 33 of 40 (Part - 2)
In the name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful
248. And their Prophet said unto them: Lo! The token of his kingdom is that there shall come unto you the ark wherein is peace of reassurance from your Lord, and remnant of that which the house of Moses and the house of Aaron left behind, the angels bearing it. Lo! Herein shall be a token for you if (in truth) ye are believers.
248. Wa qaala lahum Nabiyyu-hum ‘inna ‘aayata- Mulkihiii ‘any-ya’-tiyakumut- Taa-buutu fiihi sakiinatum-mir-Rab-bikum wa baqiyyatum-mimmaa taraka ‘Aalu-Muusaa wa ‘Aalu- Haaruuna tahmilu-hul-malaaa- ‘ikah. ‘Inna fii zaalika la- ‘aayatal-lakum ‘in- kuntum- Mu’-miniin.
‘At- Taa-buutu – (Ark), Chest containing the tablets of the law of Prophet Moses (peace be upon him), original Scripture of Torah and sacred relics of the Prophets from the children of Israel . The name of this box is also Taa-buuti Sakiinah. It was the greatest national inheritance for the children of Israel. They used to keep it with them every time even during journey and war. They used to consider it as very auspicious and place it in front specially during war so that Allah SubhaanaHuu wa Ta-‘aala bestow them victory with its blessings.
Prophet Samuel (peace be upon him) appointed Prophet Saul (peace be upon him) as King of the children of Israel by the Command of Allah Almighty. In that case He (peace be upon him) told them also for their satisfaction that apparent token of his kingdom is such blessed Ark which was snatched by Goliath from you. You will get back that Ark during the rule of Saul (peace be upon him).
It has been known from the history that from the time, when the Palestinians had snatched this Ark from the children of Israel, they could never live with comfort. Wherever (in any place or city) they used to keep it, either any contagious disease used to burst or any calamity used to come there. At last, they decided; being frustrated that they should get rid of this Ark. So they loaded this Ark in a bullock cart and drove it without any Cart man. The Angels (peace be upon them) of God Almighty brought it at the Saul’s door (peace be upon him). After looking this token, the children of Israel believed in the kingdom of Saul (peace be upon him).
It has also been declared from the history that this Ark remained in possession of the children of Israel till the reign of Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him) (220 BC). He (peace be upon him) kept it in the Haikal of Solomon of the Temple of Jerusalem after its erection. After that, it did not appear. The children of Israel think that until now, it is burial in the bottom of the foundation of the Haikal of Solomon (peace be upon Him).
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249a. And when Saul set out with the army, he said: Lo! Allah will try you by (the ordeal of) a river. Whosoever therefore drinketh thereof he is not of me, and whosoever tasteth it not he is of me, save him who taketh (thereof) in the hollow of his hand. But they drank thereof, all save a few of them.
249a. Fa-lammaa fasala Taa-luutu bil-junuudi, qaala ‘innAllaaha mubtaliikum-bi-nahar. Faman-shariba minhu falaysa minnii. Wa mal-lam yat-‘amhu fa-‘innahuu miniii ‘illaa manig-tarafa gurfatam- bi-yadih. Fa-sharibuu minhu ‘illaa qaliilam-minhum.
Nahar – (canal), a river from which the Army had to pass through. The name of this river is stated as Jordan River. Name of Hashmiite Government of the Eastern Jordan is also related to this river. It flows north to south and drops down in to the Dead Sea.
man-shariba minhu – (whosoever drinks out of it), it means that the individual who will drink water from this river bellyful, he will be disobedient and he will be expelled from my group.
gurfatam- bi-yadih – (in the hollow of his hand), that is to say; there will be permission only to drink the water quantity of which should not be more than a hollow of the hand for wetting the dry lips and quenching the thirst.
When the Saul (peace be upon him) set out with the Jews’ Army to fight against Goliath, Allah Almighty fixed for them a test, which was that; nobody would drink the water bellyful of Jordan River in the way.
No command and order from God Almighty is without advisability and wisdom. Surely, any use and advantage is hidden for human being in every command and restriction. So, it was not only a test but there were many advantages in this restriction in respect of their health and character, which they could not understand at that time. However they knew it very soon.