156 The CORÂN

with their Scriptures, but simply) for not complying with the request of Mahomet and his followers to produce the passages from their Scriptures supposed to favour the claims of Mahomet, or the principles of Islâm. The refusal to answer such demands is reprehended as "concealment of the clear demonstration and direction given to them by God." They are cursed for thus withholding the publication of the truth. This is the utmost limit of the charge. There is no breath of suspicion against the scrupulous and reverential treatment by the Jews of their rolls, or copies of the Old Testament.

Note the testimony borne to the Scripture then in the hands of the Jews; it is styled, وما أنزلنا من البينات والهدى —"the clear Demonstration and Direction which God hath sent down."

LXXXVI.—SURA II., v. 176[174-176].

سورة البقرة

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَكْتُمُونَ مَا أَنزَلَ اللّهُ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَيَشْتَرُونَ بِهِ ثَمَنًا قَلِيلاً أُولَـئِكَ مَا يَأْكُلُونَ فِي بُطُونِهِمْ إِلاَّ النَّارَ وَلاَ يُكَلِّمُهُمُ اللّهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَلاَ يُزَكِّيهِمْ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ
أُولَـئِكَ الَّذِينَ اشْتَرَوُاْ الضَّلاَلَةَ بِالْهُدَى وَالْعَذَابَ بِالْمَغْفِرَةِ فَمَآ أَصْبَرَهُمْ عَلَى النَّارِ
ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّ اللّهَ نَزَّلَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ وَإِنَّ الَّذِينَ اخْتَلَفُواْ فِي الْكِتَابِ لَفِي شِقَاقٍ بَعِيدٍ


Verily they that conceal the Scripture which God hath revealed, and sell it for a small price; these shall eat nought but the fire in their bellies, and God shall not speak unto them on the day of judgment, neither shall He purify them; they shall have bitter torment. 
These are they that have bought error at the price of direction, and punishment at the price of pardon:—how shall they endure the fire!—
this because God hath sent down the Book in truth; and they that dispute regarding the Book are in a grievous error.

A repetition of the idea expressed in the previous passage. The Jews are accused of refusing, because of a temporal advantage (i.e., to avoid the displeasure of their own people, loss of national prestige, &c.), to publish the supposed testimonies in favour of Mahomet and Islâm contained in their Scripture.

The second mention of "the Book" in the text, may refer either to the Corân or to the Bible. If to the latter, the disputes may mean that the Jews held a variety of opinion as to the true sense of the passages held back; those who embraced Islâm maintaining that they referred to Mahomet,—those who remained Jews refusing to acknowledge that they had any reference of the kind;—such refusal being, indeed, the gist of Mahomet's charge.

LXXXVI.—SURA II., v. 213.

سورة البقرة

كَانَ النَّاسُ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً فَبَعَثَ اللّهُ النَّبِيِّينَ مُبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنذِرِينَ وَأَنزَلَ مَعَهُمُ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ لِيَحْكُمَ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ فِيمَا اخْتَلَفُواْ فِيهِ وَمَا اخْتَلَفَ فِيهِ إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوهُ مِن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءتْهُمُ الْبَيِّنَاتُ بَغْيًا بَيْنَهُمْ فَهَدَى اللّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ لِمَا اخْتَلَفُواْ فِيهِ مِنَ الْحَقِّ بِإِذْنِهِ وَاللّهُ يَهْدِي مَن يَشَاء إِلَى صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ