(dajol ma rabowbah)דגול מרבבה[1]

The original word in the Hebrew Bible for ‘the chiefest, choicest’ is ‘דגל’ (dagal). Strong’s Dic. explains:

A prim root; to flaunt, i.e. raise a flag; fig. to be conspicuous:- (set up with) banners, chiefest.[2]

The next important phrase is ‘ten thousand’, for which the Hebrew word is ‘רבבה’ (rebawbah/rebobah). It signifies:

Myriad, ten thousand.[3]

Matthew Henry has explained it in his commentary:

That he has that loveliness in him (...): He is the chiefest among ten thousand, a nonsuch[4] for beauty, (...) fairest of ten thousands in himself and the fittest of twenty thousands[5] for us.[6]

According to the worthy commentator this person is superior to all the sovereigns of the world. He asserts:

And has obtained a more excellent name than any of the principalities and the powers of upper or lower world[7], Phil ii:9; Heb I:4.[8]

He further asserts:

He is a standard bearer among ten thousand (so the word is), the tallest and comeliest of the company.[9]

It is an historical fact that these words cannot be applied to any man on earth except the Leader of the ‘Conquest of Makkah’, the Prophet of Islam, Muḥammad (pbAh).

It is advisable that the exact wording of the commentator be perused to ascertain the real object of the phrase:

He is the chief among ten thousand, a nonsuch for beauty, fairer than the children of men, than any of them, than all of them; there is none like him, nor any to be compared with him; everything else is to be accounted loss and dung in comparison of him, Phil. iii:8. He is higher than the kings of the earth (Ps lxxxix:27) and has obtained a more excellent name than any of the principalities and the powers of upper or lower world[10],

The observations of the worthy commentator continue:

Phil ii:9; Heb i:4. He is a standard bearer among ten thousand (so the word is), the tallest and comeliest of the company. He is himself lifted up as ensign (Isa. xi:10), to whom we must be gathered and must always have an eye. And there is all the reason in the world why he should have the innermost and uppermost place in our souls who is the fairest of ten thousands in himself and the fittest of twenty thousands for us.[11] --- [Quotation No.1]

The commentator has previously stated that Christ was not exceedingly beautiful or attractive: --- [Quotation No.2]

It was never said of the child Jesus, as of the child Moses, when he was born, that he was exceedingly fair [Acts vii.20]; nay, he had no form nor comeliness, Isa. liii.2);[12]

It can thus be appreciated that the person mentioned in the former of the above mentioned two quotations cannot be the same as that mentioned in the latter one. As such the application of the former quotation to the person of Jesus Christ is obviously wrong in the light of the latter quotation. In the first of these two self-contradictory quotations it has been asserted that Jesus was the ‘fairest of ten thousands in himself…’ wheras in the second quotation it has been stated that ‘he had no form nor comeliness.’ It is an historical fact that neither beauty and comeliness, excellence and fame nor the leadership of the army of ten thousand and kingdom of earth, can be applied to Jesus Christ. The reader is, therefore, bound to trace the qualities mentioned by the worthy commentator in someone else.

Let us explore the sentence ‘He is himself lifted up as ensign.’ Whether the words are truly and exactly applicable to the Prophet of Islam (pbAh) or Jesus Christ (pbAh), one is required to delve in the lives of both these persons.

What is the record of the annals of history regarding the Prophet of Islam (pbAh)? It is the day of the ‘Conquest of Makkah’. He is sitting on a camel. His head is bent before his Lord in His thanksgiving. Under his command is an army of literally and exactly ten thousand holy ones. This being the holy month of Ramadan, most of them are fasting. All of them are loyal and faithful to him from the core of their hearts. He is the chiefest of them commanding their full allegiance. They are heartily prepared to comply with all his orders.

On the other hand there is Jesus Christ (pbAh). He had never been the chief commander of any group of ten thousand persons. What the Bible tells us about him is that he has been convicted and sentenced to death. He is being taken to the place of crucifixion. A crown of thorns has been put on his head. God forbid, people are spitting on his face. He is being ridiculed and insulted. His disciples have betrayed and forsaken him. God forbid, they have assigned him a death of curse to pave the way for their salvation.[13] Only a person void of all literary taste can attribute him with the words ‘He is himself lifted up as ensign.’ How a man who has written ‘It was never said of child Jesus, (...), that he was exceedingly fair’ can claim about him as ‘Who is fairest of ten thousand in himself.’?

The Pulpit Commentary has also taken up the theme. It explains it in the following terms:

Therefore he is our standard-bearer (as the word rendered ‘chiefest’ seems to mean), our bannered One. He is the captain of our salvation. He goeth before us, bearing the banner of the cross. The thousands of his disciples follow. And he is the chiefest among ten thousand, marked out and distinguished (as the word may perhaps mean) from all others by his unapproachable holiness, by the infinite power and majesty of self-sacrificing love.[14]

As to the observation of the commentator ‘He goeth before us, bearing the banner of the cross. The thousands of his disciples follow’; the history is void of any such event in which Jesus had ever led any such campaign. On the contrary, the Christian authorities report that when he was taken to the place of crucifixion, even the twelve disciples did not dare to accompany him. They were rather trying to hide themselves to conceal their identity lest they should be identified as his supporters. As such the words ‘Infinite power and majesty’ can by no stretch of sense be applied to Jesus Christ. On the contrary they clearly indicate the sole person of the whole human history to which the words can unequivocally be applied, Prophet Muhammad (pbAh).

On the one hand the Christian scholars relate this prophecy to Jesus Christ (pbAh) with full force; but on the other hand their lack of confidence shows the weakness of their standpoint. Here is an excerpt from the Pulpit Commentary:

The description, which is complete in itself, is best regarded in its unbroken perfection. We must not expect to find a meaning for each separate part of it. (...) . Some of the details of description are differently rendered by different commentators.[15]

Matthew Henry asserts the same theme in a different manner:

Every thing in Christ is amiable. Ten instances she here gives of his beauty, which we not be nice[16] in the application of, (...) . The design, in general, is to show that he is every way qualified for his undertaking, and has all that in him which may recommend him to our esteem, love, and confidence.[17]

The essence of the above excerpt is that it is useless to trace all the relevant qualities in the above-mentioned person in exact form. He is, however, such a person that it would not be inappropriate if we accept him of our own the object of our love, reverence, and confidence. A comparatively new commentary has also exercised similar practice to evade the literal application of the prophecy. It asserts:

Certainly this does not apply to a physical characteristic. It rather implies an exceedingly striking, literally radiant personality.[18]

It is again obvious from the above excerpts that:

(i)   These Christian commentators of the Bible take these lines as a prophecy.

(ii)   They apply it to Jesus Christ.

(iii) They do not stick to its literal, natural, and obviously direct meanings. They rather interpret it in accordance with their predetermined and desired aims quite freely and arbitrarily.

(iv)  ‘The chiefest among ten thousand’ can by no means be applied to Jesus Christ (pbAh).

(v)   ‘The chiefest among ten thousand’ can only be applied to Prophet Muhammad (pbAh)by all means and with the annals of the history of all the times.