The Muslims, of course, hold that their Prophet gained the tale of Abraham's being cast into the fire neither from Jews nor Christians, but through Gabriel from on high; and as the Jews, being children of Abraham, so accepted it, the Qur'an, they say, must be right. But it could only have been the common folk among the Jews who believed it so; for those who had any knowledge of its origin must have known its puerility.

The origin of the whole story will be found in Genesis xv. 7: I am the Lord that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees. Now Ur in Babylonish means a "city", as in Ur-Shalim (Jerusalem), "the City of Peace." And the Chaldaean Ur1 was the residence of Abraham. This name Ur closely resembles in speech another word, Or, signifying light or fire. And so ages after, a Jewish Commentator,2 ignorant of Babylonish, when translating the Scripture into Chaldean, put the above verse from Genesis; as follows: I am the Lord that delivered thee out of the Chaldean fiery oven. The same ignorant writer has also the following comment on Genesis xi. 27: "Now this happened at the time when Nimrod cast Abraham into the oven of fire, because he would not worship the idols, that leave was withheld from the fire to hurt him," — a strange confusion of words, — Ur the city, for Or light and fire. It is as if a Persian seeing notice of the departure of the English post, should put in his diary that an Englishman had lost his skin, — not knowing that the same word for skin in Persian means the Post in English.

No wonder then that an ignorant Jew should have

1 Same as the present town, Mugheyr.
2 Jonathan ben Uzziel.

mistaken a word like this, and made it the foundation whereon to build the grand tale of Abraham's fiery Oven. But it is somewhat difficult to understand how a Prophet like Muhammad could have given credence to such a fable, and entered it in a revelation held to have come down from heaven. And yet the evidence of it all is complete, as quoted above from the Jewish writer. Apart from this we know from Genesis that Nimrod lived not in the days of Abraham but ages before his birth. The name indeed is not in the Qur'an, though freely given in the Muslim Commentaries arid Tradition. As if a historian should tell us that Alexander the Great cast Nadir Shah into the fire, not knowing the ages that elapsed between the two, or that Nadir never was so thrown.

Third. Visit of the Queen of Saba (Sheba) to Solomon. — The story of Balkis, Queen of Saba, as told at length in the Qur'an, corresponds so closely with what we find in the II. Targum of the Book of Esther, that it was evidently taken from it, as heard by Muhammad from some Jewish source. The following is from the Surah of the Ant (xxvii. 17 et seq):—

His armies were gathered together unto Solomon, consisting of Genii, men and birds, and they were kept back...Solomon smiled at the ant and said: O Lord! may I do that which is right and well pleasing unto thee, so that thou introduce me amongst thy servants the righteous. And he viewed the birds and said, Why is it that I see not the Hudhud (Lapwing)? Is she among the absent ones? Truly I will chastise her with a severe chastisement, or will put her to death unless she bring a just excuse. But she did not wait long, and said, I have viewed a country that thou hast not seen: and I come unto thee from Saba with certain news. I found a female ruling