which Muslims quote do not refer to Muhammad, it will not be allowable for Muslims to
say, "Well, the Bible did once contain such prophecies, but you People of the Book
have expunged them."
The appeal to the Bible in this matter implies that those who refer to it and adduce
from it passages which they think to refer to Muhammad thereby admit that it is (1)
Divinely inspired, and (2) uncorrupt: otherwise of what use would it be to refer to such a
book as authoritative? If our Muslim brothers admit these two points, then an inquiry into
the alleged Biblical prophecies regarding Muhammad maybe very interesting and instructive.
But if they do not admit these points, it is difficult to see what use it is for them to
refer to the Bible at all in proof of the Mission of their prophet. Of course many learned
Muslimsall, in fact, who have carefully studied the matterdo admit these two facts.
We may hope too that our honoured readers will grant that what has been said in Parts I
and II of this Treatise is in accordance with the teaching of Holy Scripture.
It will be granted that we are justified in explaining one passage of the Bible by
another. Wise men will admit that this is the correct method of proceeding in case of
doubt, difficulty, or dispute about the meaning of any verse or passage not only in the
Bible but in any other Book. Obscure passages can often be cleared up by plainer verses
and by the context. If a later passage explains an earlier prophecy, for instance, it is
unworthy of an unprejudiced man of learning to refuse to accept the explanation thus given
by an inspired writer, and to expect us to receive instead some comment which does not
suit the context and which is in contradiction to many other passages in the book.
We now proceed to examine the chief passages1 of
the Old Testament in the first place in which our Muslim brethren claim to find
predictions regarding Muhammad.
1. Gen. xlix. 10. This is asserted to refer to Muhammad, especially as
"Judah" in ver. 8 comes from a verb meaning "to praise", as does the
name "Muhammad". But the context shows that Shiloh was to be born among the
descendants of Judah. Muhammad was of the Arabian tribe of the Quraish. He was not a Jew.
The passage cannot therefore refer to him. Moreover, the sceptre had departed from Judah
more than 550 years before Muhammad was born. The verb "to praise" in ver. 8
has no possible connexion with the Arabic verb hamada
(حَمَدَ). The Jewish commentaries
explain that Shiloh is a title of the Messiah, and the Samaritan Targum implies this also.
Jesus was born of the tribe of Judah, and the Gentiles have already in large measure
become obedient unto Him.
2. Deut. xviii. 15, 18. It is urged that the promised prophet was not to rise among the
Israelites ("from the midst of thee" in ver. 15 does not occur in the
Septuagint or the Samaritan Pentateuch, nor in Acts iii. 22) but among their "brethren" the Ishmaelites (compare Gen. xxv. 9, 18) : that no such prophet did rise
among the Israelites (Deut. xxxiv. 10): that Muhammad was like Moses in many points,
e.g., both were brought up in their enemies' houses, appeared among idolaters, were at
first rejected by their own people and afterwards accepted by them, each gave a law, fled
from their enemies (Moses to Midian, Muhammad to Medinah, a name of a similar meaning),
marched to battle against their enemies, wrought miracles, and enabled their followers
after their own decease to conquer Palestine. In reply it may be said that Deut. xxxiv. 10
refers only to the time at which it was written, and the word "since" may be
said to imply the expectation that such a prophet would arise " in Israel", not
outside. The words "from the midst