Heb: Sha'uwl ()

The first king of Israel, called Talut in the Qur'an. Al-Baqarah 2:246-251 describes a story that exhorts the Israelites to fight in Allah's way. However, a few discrepancies with the Biblical account (1 Samuel 8) can be found:

In the first battle of Saul, the Qur'an said that he separated the people and picked only a few as they drank from the river. This was not mentioned in 1 Samuel 11-12. Instead the story is to be found in Judges 7, where Gideon lead the Israelites for battle. The first battle of Saul also did not involve Goliath and the Philistines. Instead they were against the Ammonites (1 Samuel 11:1). Goliath come on the scene later when the Israelites were taunted by the Philistines, and David volunteered to fight Goliath. The Qur'an implied that David was serving with Saul at his first battle!

It seemed that Muhammad knew the stories of the Old Testament, but somehow mixed up the different episodes. We see historical compression at work here.

Readings: 1, 2.

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