1 See Sura 1xviii. 1, p. 32.
2 The Cherubic beings of Scripture are said to be above the throne of God (Is. vi. 1), beneath it (Ezek. x.); and the mystical beasts in the Revelations are said to be in the midst of the throne and round about it.
3 Probably the union of life and death in the womb, and the subsequent life followed by death.
4 See Sura [lxxix.] xxviii. 76.
5 Thus Sura [lxxix.] xxviii 20, and Sura [lx.] xxxvi. 19, we have a similar character introduced into the narrative.
6 Comp. Acts v. 38, 39.
7 These tribes no doubt constantly formed temporary alliances. Muhammad implies that they were confederate against their prophets.
8 Haman, the favourite of Ahasuerus and the enemy of the Jews, is thus made the vizier of Pharaoh. The Rabbins make this vizier to have been Korah, Jethro, or Balaam. Midr. Jalkut on Ex. ch. 1, Sect. 162-168; and Tr. Solah, fol. 11. See Sura [lxxix.] xxviii. 5.
9 Thy remissness in propagating Islam. Beidh.
10 It is possible that Muhammad, conscious of his ignorance of Jewish history, intends in this verse to screen himself from the charge of passing over the histories of many of their prophets.
11 The wealth of Mecca, although it still numbered about 12,000 inhabitants (as well as of Arabia generally), had much declined at the time of Muhammad, owing mainly to the navigation of the Red Sea, under the Roman dominion over Egypt, which of course impoverished the tribes situated on the line of the old mercantile route southward. Mecca, however, was still to a certain extent prosperous. Comp. Sura [lxi.] xliii. 28.
SURA XXVIII.-THE STORY [LXXIX.]
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
Ta. Sin. Mim.1 These are the signs of the lucid Book.
We will recite to thee portions of the History of Moses and Pharaoh with truth, for the teaching of the faithful.
Now Pharaoh lifted himself up in the earth, and divided his people into parties: one portion of them he brought low-He slew their male children, and let their females only live; for he was one of those who wrought disorders.
And we were minded to shew favour to those who were brought low in the land, and to make them spiritual chiefs,2 and to make them Pharaoh’s heirs,
And to stablish them in the land;3 and to make Pharaoh and Haman and their hosts, the eye-witnesses of what they dreaded from them.
And we said by revelation to the mother of Moses, “Give him suck; and if thou fearest for him, launch him on the sea; and fear not, neither fret; for we will restore him to thee, and make him one of the apostles.”
And Pharaoh’s family took him up to be a foe and a sorrow to them, for sinners were Pharaoh and Haman and their hosts!