God’s Verbal Interaction with Man, Part Four
Moses and Water from the Rock
According to the Koran, Allah is said to not directly communicate verbally with mankind. In the Holy Bible, however, God is said to have verbally communicated with men several times. I would like to consider in this current series of articles, one man in particular, Moses with the Children of Israel at Massah and Meribah.
THE KORANIC ACCOUNT
It is beneath the dignity of Allah to condescend to speak to a mortal with the exception of disclosing information or from behind a covering hidden from view or by dispatching a messenger who reveals with His permission what He pleases; certainly He is Exalted and exercises good judgment (Surah 42:51).
Allah made direct contact with Moses when speaking to him (Surah 4:164).
There is no comprehension of Allah’s character among those who say that Allah has never revealed anything to any mortal human ( Surah 6:91).
When Moses inquired about water for his people, We said: Hit the rock with your staff. Thereupon, out of the rock flowed twelve streams of water, and each one of the tribes knew their proper drinking place (Surah 2:60).
COMMENTARY ON THE KORANIC ACCOUNT
According to the Koran Allah does not lower himself to speak directly to mortals. He may reveal something of new significance to someone, but not usually. He will hide himself behind a sheet or send a messenger to deliver the message he wants to send to people. Such as when Gabriel was sent to speak to Muhammad in order to reveal Allah’s word to him.
The Koran contradicts itself when it says that Allah does not speak openly to mortals. Contradicting itself, the Koran says that Allah spoke directly to Moses. Moses was a mortal to whom Allah spoke without something being between them.
Revelation can take on many forms. Verbal revelation is only one form of revelation from God. The implication that someone may say or think that God does not reveal anything to anyone shows a lack of clear understanding of God on the part of that Individual. God revealed Himself to Pharaoh through the ten plagues on Egypt and the destruction of the Egyptian army. This was not verbal communication from God to Pharaoh. Instead, God made an example of Pharaoh, and in so doing displayed His power for the entire world to see. This is an example of non-verbal communication between God and man.
When Moses came to a place in the desert where there was no water; Moses beseeched the Lord for water: Allah and Gabriel told Moses what to do, which was to hit the rock with his shepherd’s staff. Moses did do this and twelve streams of water flowed out of the rock, one stream for each of the twelve tribes.
All the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the Lord, and pitched (their tents) in Rephidim, and there was no water for the people to drink (Exodus 17:1).
Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, “Why do you chide with me? Wherefore do you tempt the Lord?” And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, “Wherefore is this that you have brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst (Exodus 17:2,3)?”
And Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, “What shall I do unto this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” And the Lord said unto Moses, “Go on before the people, and take with you of the elders of Israel; and your rod, wherewith you smotest the river, take in your hand, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there upon the rock in Horeb; and you shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink.” And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel (Exodus 17:4-6).
He called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they temped the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us, or not (Exodus 17:7)?”
COMMENTARY ON THE BIBLICAL ACCOUNT
Scripture states that there were 603,550 men twenty years old and older capable of going to war (Numbers 1:45, 46). The tribe of Levi is excluded from the count. If these 603,550 men were all married and had an average of three children per family, this would calculate to 3,017,750 people that were with Moses, excluding the population of the tribe of Levi. Have you ever taken your family on a camping trip? Remember the logistics involved? Imagine camping out with a family of over three million people. They follow their leader, who is God, to a place where there is no water. Instead of trusting God to provide; they complain that Moses has taken them out of Egypt into the desert to kill them all with thirst. Moses has the good sense to realize that it is not with him, that they are complaining, but with God. Moses explains the situation to God as being very desperate.
God speaks directly to Moses and tells him to go to a rock on which God Himself will stand, and to hit it with his shepherd’s staff. This he did, in front of the elders of Israel, and out of the rock gushed forth water.
Notice that in complaining about Moses and questioning that God was with them the children of Israel were actually tempting God.
COMPARING & CONTRASTING THE KORAN WITH SCRIPTURE
The Koran and Scripture disagree on who it was that spoke to Moses and told him to hit the rock with his staff. In the Koran it was “We,” that is, Allah and Gabriel. In Scripture it was the Lord, who spoke to Moses, no angel was involved.
The Koran and the Scripture agree that water came forth from the rock. Enough water was supplied to provide amply for the whole congregation of Israel . The disagreement between the two is on the number of streams flowing from the rock. Scripture says water came out of the rock, which is one stream. The Koran, on the other hand, claims that there were twelve streams, which came forth from the rock.
It is interesting that Allah would have twelve streams gushing out of a rock, one stream for each one of the twelve tribes. In Scripture we learn that the High Priest was to wear a breastplate with twelve different stones and the name of each of twelve tribes of Israel on his chest (Exodus 28:2).
Which God would you prefer to serve. the one who will not humble himself to meet with mortal man, or the One, who is humble enough Himself to meet with mortal man.
It is possible that the Koran was written on hearsay by Muhammad and not by revelation from an angel. Inaccuracies within the Koran make it appear flummoxed. If the Koran were divinely inspired, then it would have no inaccuracies. In this series I have pointed out several inaccuracies, and expect to find numerous others.
The Koran passages are a paraphrase of several English translations.
The Koran, translated by N.J. Dawood: A Penguin Classic
The Qur’an, translated by M.H. Shakir: Tahrike Tarsile Qur’an, Inc.
The Holy Qur’an, translated by Maulana Muhammad Ali: Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha’at Lahore Inc. U.S.A.
The Koran, translated by Marmaduke Pickthall: Everyman’s Library
The Holy Bible is paraphrased from the King James Version
The Liberty Annotated Study Bible: Liberty University & Thomas Nelson, Inc.