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2:247 The Children of Israel and Talut (Saul)

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Their Prophet said to them: “Allah hath appointed Talut as king over you.” They said: “How can he exercise authority over us when we are better fitted than he to exercise authority, and he is not even gifted, with wealth in abundance?” He said: “Allah hath Chosen him above you, and hath gifted him abundantly with knowledge and bodily prowess: Allah Granteth His authority to whom He pleaseth. Allah careth for all, and He knoweth all things.”

Saul’s low social status, which is here the source of the Israelites’
disdain for his kingship, is mentioned by Saul himself when Samuel first speaks
to him in 1 Samuel 9:21: “Saul answered, ‘I am only a Benjaminite, from the
least of the tribes of Israel, and my family is the humblest of all the families. . . .
Why then have you spoken to me in this way?’” And in 1 Samuel 10:27 the
Israelites express their disdain: “But some worthless fellows said, ‘How can this
man save us?’ They despised him and brought him no present.” The basis for
their aversion to Saul as king is similar to that for the aversion of the Quraysh
and the Jews to Muhammad at his election as a prophet, namely, his lack of
wealth and status among the Quraysh and his non-Jewish lineage among the
Jews; see also 3:26c. In the case of Saul, the commentators understand this
account to mean that Saul was from neither a kingly nor a priestly line, but
hailed from the tribe of Benjamin (R). Saul’s intelligence and physical prowess
were intrinsic qualities useful for a good leader; the status and wealth expected
by the people would be qualities extrinsic to any man, “accidental” to his nature
(R). Increased him amply in knowledge and body could also be rendered
“increased him in excellence of knowledge and body.” The granting of
sovereignty by God is also mentioned in 3:26; 4:54; 12:101.


Nasr, Hossein (2015). Study Quran.

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