196 The CORÂN

And when God took a covenant from those to whom the book was given,—that they should unfold the same to mankind, and that they should not conceal it, and they threw it (the covenant) behind their backs, and sold it for a small price, and woeful is that which they have sold it for; 
think not that they who rejoice in that which they have done, and desire to be praised for that which they have not done, shall escape from punishment. To them shall be a grievous punishment.

The text contains the gist of the quarrel between Mahomet and the Jews. They refused to acknowledge him, or to admit that there was any. prophecy in their Scriptures which, rightly interpreted, referred to him. They could not be induced to "unfold" it. This is the charge of concealment of the truth; and the sale of it for a small advantage, a charge which we find here, as elsewhere in the Corân urged against the Jews.

CXXI.—SURA III., v. 199.

سورة آل عمران

وَإِنَّ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ لَمَن يُؤْمِنُ بِاللّهِ وَمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكُمْ وَمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيْهِمْ خَاشِعِينَ لِلّهِ لاَ يَشْتَرُونَ بِآيَاتِ اللّهِ ثَمَنًا قَلِيلاً أُوْلَـئِكَ لَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ إِنَّ اللّهَ سَرِيعُ الْحِسَابِ


And verily of the People of the Book there are those who believe in God, and in that which hath been revealed to you, and in that which hath been revealed to them, submissive unto God; they sell not the signs of God for a small price. These are they who have their reward with their Lord; for God is swift m taking account.

"That which hath been revealed to them, namely, of the two Books";— ما أنزل اليهم من الكتابين Baidhâwi; "viz. the Tourât and the Gospel,"— أي التوراة والأنجيل Jelalooddeen. The same commentator adds : "They sell not the signs of God, those, namely, which they have by them, in the Tourât and the Gospel, containing the description of the prophet (Mahomet). For a small price, that is of worldly advantage in order to conceal it (i.e. the aforesaid contents of their books), out of apprehension of losing their supremacy, as did others of their number from amongst the Jews";—

لا يشترون بأيات الله التي هي عندهم في التوراة والأنجيل من نعت النبي ثمناً قليلً من الدنيا بأن يكتمونها خوفاً على الرياسة كفعل غيرهم من اليهود
 The good Jews and Christians here referred to continued to believe in, and hold fast by, the Old and New Testaments, as well as the Corân. They did not misinterpret them, or pervert their meaning. They, at any rate, must surely have taken every precaution to see that their previous Scriptures, as well as the Corân, were handed down, pure and unadulterated, to their posterity.