2: 249. When Talut set forth with the armies, he said: "Allah will test you at the stream;
C284. A Commander is hampered by a large force if it is not in perfect discipline and does not whole-heartedly believe in its Commander. He must get rid of all the doubtful ones, as did Gideon before Saul, and Henry V. in Shakespeare's story long afterwards.
Saul used the same test as Gideon; he gave a certain order when crossing a stream; the greater part disobeyed, and were sent back.
When they crossed the river, he and the faithful ones with him, they said: "This day we cannot cope with Goliath and his forces."
C285. Even in the small band that remained faithful, there were some who were appalled by the number of the enemy when they met him face to face, and saw the size and strength of the enemy Commander, the giant Goliath (Jalut).
But there was a very small band who were determined to face all odds because they had perfect confidence in God and in the cause for which they were fighting. They were for making a firm stand and seeking Allah's help. Of that number was David;
2: 251. By Allah's will they routed them: and David slew Goliath;
C286. Note how the whole story is compressed into a few words as regards narration, but its spiritual lessons are dwelt upon from many points of view.
The Old Testament is mainly interested in the narrative, which is full of detail, but says little about the universal truths of which every true story is a parable.
The Quran assumes the story, but tells the parable.
David was a raw youth, with no arms or armour. He was not known even in the Israelite camp, and the giant Goliath mocked him.
Even David’s own elder brother chide him for deserting the sheep, for he was a poor shepherded lad to outward appearance, but his faith had made him more than a match for the Philistine hosts. When Saul offered his own armour and arms to David, the young hero declined, as he had not tried them, while his shepherd's sling and staff were his well-tried implements. He picked up five smooth pebbles on the spot from the stream, and used his sling to such effect that he knocked down Goliath. He then used Goliath’s own sword to slay him. There was consternation in the Philistine army: they broke and fled, and were pursued and cut to pieces.
Apart from the main lesson that if we would preserve our national existence and our faith it is our duty to fight with courage and firmness, there are other lessons in David’ story:
1. Numbers do not count, but faith, determination and the blessing of Allah;
2. size and strength are of no avail against truth, courage, and careful planning;
3. the hero tries his own weapons, and rhose that are available to him at the time and place, even though people may laugh at him;
4. if Allah is with us, the enemy’s weapon may become an instrument of his own destruction;
2: 252. These are the signs of Allah; We rehearse them to thee in truth:
... وَإِنَّكَ لَمِنَ الْمُرْسَلِينَ ﴿٢٥٢﴾
verily thou art one of the apostles.
Asad And when Saul set out with his forces, he said: “Behold, God will now try you by a river: he who shall drink of it will not belong to me, whereas he who shall refrain from tasting it – he indeed will belong to me; but forgiven shall be he [ note 241] who shall scoop up but a single handful.” However, save for a few of them, they all drank (their fill) of it. And as soon as he and those who had kept faith with him had crossed the river, the others said: “No strength have we today (to stand up) against Goliath and his forces!” [Yet] those who knew with certainty that they were destined to meet God, replied: “How often has a small host overcome a great host by God’s leave! For God is witht hose who are patient in adversity.”
Pickthall 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. And after he had crossed (the river), he and those who believed with him, they said: We have no power this day against Goliath and his hosts. But those who knew that they would meet their Lord exclaimed: How many a little company hath overcome a mighty host by Allah's leave! Allah is with the steadfast.
Transliteration Fa lamma_ fasala ta_lu_tu bil junu_di qa_la innalla_ha mubtalikum bi nahar(in), faman syariba minhu fa laisa minni, famal lam yat'amhu fa innahu_ minni illa_ manigtarafa gurfatam biyadih(i), fa syaribu_ minhu illa_ qalilam minhum, fa lamma_ ja_wazahu_ huwa wallazina a_manu_ ma'ah(u_), qa_lu_ la_ ta_qata lanal yaumabi ja_lu_ta wa junu_dih(i), Qa_lal lazina yazunnu_na annahum mula_qulla_h(i), kam min fi'atin qalilatin galabat fi'atan kasiratam bi iznilla_h(i), walla_hu ma'as sa_birin(a
[Asad’s note 241 - Lit., “excepting him”. The symbolic implication is that faith – and, thus, belief in the justice of one’s cause – has no value unless it is accompanied by heightened self-discipline and disregard of one’s material interests. ]
[Ali’s note - Ali’s notes - 284 A Commander is hampered by a large force if it is not in perfect discipline and does not whole-heartedly believe in its Commander. He must get rid of all the doubtful ones, as did Gideon before Saul, and Henry V. in Shakespeare's story long afterwards. Saul used the same test as Gideon; he gave a certain order when crossing a stream; the greater part disobeyed, and were sent back. Gideon's story will be found in Judges, vii. 2-7. (2.249)
285 Even in the small band that remained faithful, there were some who were appalled by the number of the enemy when they met him face to face, and saw the size and strength of the enemy Commander, the giant Goliath (Jalut). But there was a very small band who were determined to face all odds because they had perfect confidence in God and in the cause for which they were fighting. They were for making a firm stand and seeking God's help. Of that number was David; see next note. (2.249) ]
Asad And when they came face to face with Goliath and his forces, they prayed: “O our Sustainer! Shower us with patience in adversity, and make firm our steps, and succor us against the people who deny the truth!”
Pickthall And when they went into the field against Goliath and his hosts they said: Our Lord! Bestow on us endurance, make our foothold sure, and give us help against the disbelieving folk.
Transliteration Wa lamma_ barazu_ li ja_lu_ta wa junu_dihi qa_lu_ rabbana_ afrig 'alaina_ sabraw wa sabbit aqda_mana_ wansurna_ 'alal qaumil ka_firin(a).
Asad …..And if God had not enabled people to defend themselves against one another [note 243], corruption would surely overwhelm the earth: but God is limitless in His bounty unto all the worlds.
Pickthall So they routed them by Allah's leave and David slew Goliath; and Allah gave him the kingdom and wisdom, and taught him of that which He willeth. And if Allah had not repelled some men by others the earth would have been corrupted. But Allah is a Lord of Kindness to (His) creatures.
Transliteration Fa hazamu_hum bi iznilla_h(i), wa qatala da_wu_du jalu_ta wa a_ta_hulla_hul mulka wal hikmata wa 'allamahu_ mimma_ yasya_'(u), wa lau la_ daf'ulla_hin na_sa ba'dahum bi ba'dil lafasatil ardu wala_kinnalla_ha zu_ fadlin'alal 'a_lamin(a).
[ Asad’s note 242 – Lit., “were it not that God repels some people by means of others”: an elliptic reference to God’s enabling people to defend themselves against aggression or oppression. Exactly the same phrase occurs in 22: 40, which deals with fighting in self-defence. ]
[ ali’s notes - 286 Note how the whole story is compressed into a few words as regards narration, but its spiritual lessons are dwelt upon from many points of view. The Old Testament is mainly interested in the narrative, which is full of detail, but says little about the universal truths of which every true story is a parable. The Qur-an assumes the story, but tells the parable. (2.251)
287 David was not only a shepherd, a warrior, a king, a wise man, and a prophet, but was also endowed with the gifts of poetry and music. His Psalms (sabur) are still extant. (2.251)
288 Carried by angels: these words refer to the Tabut or Ark, the cherubims with outstretched wings on the lid may well be supposed to carry the security or peace which the Ark symbolized. (2.251) ]
Pickthall These are the portents of Allah which We recite unto thee (Muhammad) with truth, and Lo! thou art of the number of (Our) messengers;
Transliteration Tilka a_ya_tulla_hi natlu_ha_'alaika bil haqq(i), wa innaka laminal mursalin(a).