Chapter-XIV

 

The last words of this prophecy are:

כנות ירושלים

O daughters of Jerusalem

The word ‘daughters’ here obviously means ‘citizens or inhabitants; whether male or female’.

As regards the original Hebrew word for the next word ‘Jerusalem’, it is ‘yer-oo-shaw-lah-yim’ (ירושלים). Strong’s Dic. explains it as follows:

yer-oo-shaw-lah-yim A dual (in allusion to its two main hills); founded peaceful; Jerushalaim or Jerushalem, the capital city of Palestine, Jerusalem.[1]

HastingsDic. of Biblehas recorded a scholarly research on this word. It says:

Various translations of the name have been proposed, (...), but these discussions are superseded by the discovery of letters from an early ruler of Jerusalem. (Tel-el-Amerna collection), which show not only that the name existed before the Hebrew conquest of Palestine, but also that its meaning (as spelt U-ru-sa-lem and URU- sa-lim) is ‘city of Salim,’ or ‘city of peace’, which agrees with the rendering by Jesenius, ‘abode of peace’. (...), and the word Sa-lem is elsewhere found in the Tel-el-Amerna letters with the meaning of peace. (...) the monumental spelling favours the view that the city may have been first called Salem only; but it is not doubtful that it was called Jerusalem as early as the time of Joshua.[2]

It thus becomes clear that Jerusalem stands for ‘City of peace’ or ‘abode of peace’, which, in Arabic language is ‘al-Balad al-Amin’ or ‘Dar al-Salam’. But it should be noted here that the word used in the Bible at this place is not Jerusalem, i.e. in singular number; it is rather ‘ירושלים’ (yer-oo-shaw-lah-yim) in dual number, implying two Jerusalems, for which the Strong’s Dic. arbitrarily claims to be ‘in allusion to its two main hills’. It is as if to say that the phrase ‘two eggs’ means only one egg in allusion to its two parts: its yoke and its white (albumen). It can thus be appreciated that as the phrase ‘two eggs’ stands for two different eggs and not for two parts within one egg; in the same way the phrase ‘two Jerusalems’ would mean two different Jerusalems or two different cities with the name Jerusalem (city of Peace or ‘al-Balad al-Amin’); and not two hills in one Jerusalem. It thus signifies that King Solomon (pbAh) is telling the citizens of both the abodes or cities of Peace, bearing the same name of ‘Jerusalem’, that his beloved of the progeny of his uncle Ishma‘el (pbAh) belongs to his neighbouring country, Arabia, and he is none other than Muhammad (pbAh).

Let us now consider what the phrase ‘two Jerusalems’ actually signifies. The Israelites are well-acquainted with the Jerusalem (City of peace) of Canaan, which relates to them. But where is the second Jerusalem (City of peace, or in Arabic ‘al-Balad al-Amin’)? Its answer is unequivocally recorded in the N T of the Bible. It says:

Now this is an allegory: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.[3]

It means that, according to Paul, the ‘City of peace’ of the Israelites is Jerusalem; whereas the ‘City of peace’ of the Ishma‘elites is Makkah, which, in Arabic, is called ‘al-Balad al-Amin[4]

As far as the Jerusalem (City of peace, or in Arabic ‘al-Balad al-Amin’) of the Ishma‘elites (Makkah, which, in the Holy Qur’an, is named as ‘al-Balad al-Amin) is concerned, students of history know it well that it has always remained a ‘City of peace’. Even Abraha al-Ashram, the king of Yemen, who invaded the city with elephants to destroy the Ka‘bah, could not harm it.

As far as the Jerusalem (‘City of peace’) of the Israelites is concerned, a brief account of its destructions is afforded hereunder from the Illustrated Bible Dic:

As early as the 5th year of Solomon’s successor Rehoboam, the Temple and royal palace were plundered by Egyptian troops (1Ki. 14:25f.). Philistine and Arab Marauders again plundered the palace in Jehoram’s reign. In Amaziah’s reign a quarrel with the king of the N kingdom, Jehoash, resulted in part of the city walls being broken down, and fresh looting of Temple and palace. (...). Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon captured Jerusalem in 597 and in 587 BC, destroyed the city and Temple. At the end of that century the Jews, now under Persian rule, were allowed to return to their land and city, and they rebuilt the Temple, but the city walls remained in ruins until Nehemiah restored them in the middle of the 5th century BC. (...). In about 168 BC, Antiochus IV entered Jerusalem, destroying its walls and plundering and desecrating the Temple; (...). Roman Generals forced their way into the city in 63 and 54; a Parthian army plundered in 40 [BC]; and three years after that Herod the Great had to fight his way into it, to take control. He first had to repair the damage created by these various incursions; then he launched a big building programme, erecting some notable towers. (...). The Jewish revolt against the Romans in AD 66 could have but one conclusion; in AD 70 the Roman General Titus systematically forced his way into Jerusalem, and destroyed the fortifications and the Temple. (...). This is, of course, partly due to the periodical disasters and destructions, and to the layers upon the layers of rubble that have piled up over the centuries.[5]

So this Canaanite Jerusalem having been destroyed and plundered for more than ten times cannot be assigned the name ‘Jerusalem’ in true sense of the word.

The calamities of Jerusalem were not without reason. The Israelites had worked hard to deserve it. Some of the relevant excerpts are afforded hereunder which show that they ‘rebelled’ against the Lord; they had ‘forsaken’ Him, they had ‘provoked to anger the Holy One of Israel’, and they were sinful people. Isaiah says:

Hear O heavens, and give ear, O earth! For the Lord has spoken: ‘I have nourished and brought up children, and they rebelled against Me; The ox knows its owner And the donkey its master’s crib [manger]; but Israel does not know, my people do not consider.’ Alas, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a breed of evildoers, children who are corrupters! They have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked to anger the Holy One of Israel, they have turned away backward.[6]

Jeremiah foretold the destruction of Jerusalem as follows:

Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem; see now and know; and seek in her open places if you can find a man, if there is anyone who executes judgment, who seeks the truth, and I will pardon her. (...). Therefore a lion from the forest shall slay them, a wolf of the deserts shall destroy them; a leopard will watch over their cities. Everyone who goes out from there shall be torn in pieces, because their transgressions are many; their backslides have increased. ‘How shall I pardon you for this? Your children have forsaken Me and sworn by those that are not gods. When I had fed them to the full, then they committed adultery and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots’ houses. They were like well-fed lusty stallions; everyone neighed after his neighbor’s wife. Shall I not punish them for these things?’ says the Lord. ‘And shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this? Go up on her walls and destroy, (...). For the house of Israel and the house of Judah have dealt very treacherously with Me,’[7]

Micah predicted the destruction of Jerusalem as a result of their crimes in the following words:

Yet they lean on the Lord, and say, ‘Is not the Lord among us? No harm can come upon us.’ Therefore because of you Zion shall be plowed like a field, Jerusalem shall become heaps of ruins, and the mountain of the temple like the bare hills of the forest.[8]

The destruction was recorded by II-Kings as below:

Therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel: Behold, I am bringing such calamity upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whoever hears of it, both his ears will tingle[9]. And I will stretch over Jerusalem the measuring line of Samaria and the plummet of the house of Ahab; I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. So I will forsake the remnants of My inheritance and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become victims of plunder to all their enemies.[10]

Ezekiel Had warned about it in the following words:

This is Jerusalem; (...). She has rebelled against my judgments by doing wickedness more than the nations, and against my statutes more than the countries that are all around her.[11]

The sanctity and peace of Jerusalem had been destroyed so many times that the application of the word Jerusalem (City of peace) to it becomes a mockery. And they aptly deserved this destruction due to their wickedness, for which their prophets had been warning them. Solomon (pbAh) had well depicted their character in the initial verses of this very chapter of the ‘Songs’ which shows their carelessness:

I sleep, but my heart is awake; it is the voice of my beloved! He knocks, saying, ‘Open for me, (...).’ I have taken off my robe; how can I put it on again? I have washed my feet; how can I defile them? My beloved put his hand by the latch of the door, and my heart yearned for him. I arose to open for my beloved, and my hands dripped with myrrh, my fingers with liquid myrrh, on the handles of the lock. I opened for my beloved, but my beloved had turned away and was gone. My heart leaped up when he spoke. I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him but he gave me no answer. The watchmen who went about the city found me. They struck me, they wounded me; the keepers of the wall took my veil away from me. I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my beloved, that you tell him I am lovesick![12]

But it is useless to cry over spilt milk. No friends (the daughters of Jerusalem) can restore her beloved to her. Now one can only lament over her misbehaviour towards her beloved in the following words:

You did not care when he was calling you. You disappointed him with your cold response and indifferent attitude. Now you deserve all kinds of maltreatment at the hands of the watchmen. Now don’t blame anyone; but blame yourself. You yourself are responsible for all your miseries and destructions!

This is the fate of the security of the so-called ‘City of Peace’. Israel herself caused the desecration of the holy city. She could not guard the sanctity of her Jerusalem. But there is another Jerusalem of Arabia. It is Jerusalem (City of peace) in true sense of word. Nobody was allowed to capture it for destruction and plunder. It remained a ‘City of peace’ forever.

Solomon (pbAh)addresses the inhabitants of both these Jerusalems (the Israelites and the Ishma‘elites) to be cautious, conscious, and alert to welcome the apostle of Allah (pbAh)who is his Ishma‘elite cousin. There is a message in it for his Israelite brothers not to show callousness towards this apostle from the progeny of Ishma‘el (pbAh), for whom they had been anxiously waiting, as is evident from the questions they asked Jesus; and not to behave like the Israelite damsel who did not open to her beloved when he was calling her, but when he went away she repented.

The love, respect, and gratitude of King Solomon (pbAh)for his beloved Ishma‘elite cousin was not without reason. His Israelite brothers had attached a lot of blasphemy, religious and moral turpitude and had indulged in his character assassination. Here is an excerpt from W. Smith’s Dic. of Bible:

And the King soon fell from the loftiest height of his religious life to the lowest depth. Before long the priests and prophets had to grieve over rival temples to Molech, Chemash, Ashtroth, and forms of ritual not idolatrous only, but cruel, dark, impure. This evil came as the penalty of another. 1Kings 11:1-8. He gave himself to ‘strange women.’ He found himself involved in a fascination which led to the worship of strange gods. (...). With this there may have mingled political motives. He may have hoped, by a policy of toleration, to conciliate neighbouring princes, to attract a larger traffic. But probably also there was another influence less commonly taken into account. The widespread belief of the East in the magic arts of Solomon is not, it is believed, without its foundation of truth Disasters followed before long as the natural consequence of what was politically a blunder as well as religiously a sin.[13]

King Solomon (pbAh)has been depicted here as a very wicked man. He has been shown as committing idolatry and witchcraft and other sins. It was through the Holy Qur’an revealed to Prophet Muhammad (pbAh)that Allah Almighty exonerated him from all such accusations. Not to speak of ‘giving himself to “strange women” and a fascination which led to the worship of strange gods mingled with political motives’, we find him beautifully preaching ‘Monotheism’ even to Queen of Yemen, as a result of which she willingly embraced Islam, as stated in the Holy Qur’an.

 قَالَتْ رَبِّ إِنِّي ظَلَمْتُ نَفْسِي وَأَسْلَمْتُ مَعَ سُلَيْمَانَ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ[14]

She [the Queen of Yemen] said, ‘My Lord, surely I have wronged myself, and I submit with Solomon to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.’

As to King Solomon’s (pbAh) indulgence in magic and witchcraft, the Holy Qur’an explicitly announces,

وَمَا كَفَرَ سُلَيْمَانُ وَلَـكِنَّ الشَّيْاطِينَ كَفَرُواْ يُعَلِّمُونَ النَّاسَ السِّحْرَ[15]

Not that Sulayman disbelieved: it is the devils who disbelieved. They teach men witchcraft.’[16]

After fifteen centuries of desecration and character assassination of the holy King Solomon (pbAh), it was through the Prophet of Arabia (pbAh) that he was honourably acquitted by Allah Almighty of all false charges and his innocence was established. It was therefore a pleasant duty of King Solomon (pbAh) that he should pay homage to his real benefactor in advance in this way.

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