What’s in the Bible
The premise of this short passage is in the Bible: the Israelites grumbled about water and they complained about food. Regarding the water, Moses did strike a rock with his staff. There is no talk of the division of tribes here in the Bible, but in the Quran the passage leads us to the point of saying that what was derived from this experience was the tribes learning their place and that they should spread no discord in the land because God will provide for them all. I like that.
Where This Passage Goes
At first, this passage is speaking of the Israelites’ complaints against God but very quickly it ends up speaking of God chastising them for wanting to exchange what is good with what is bad (?) and telling them to go to the city. This, I don’t understand. I’m not sure what the city refers to nor why them going there will get them what they want. In addition, the Israelites are then disgraced. I’m unsure why, other than them questioning God’s ability to provide what is right, the same theme of the previous verse. However, at the end, everything returns to a common biblical theme whereby the Israelites don’t listen to the word of God and treat the prophets unjustly. It was a quick move and link from the complaining in the desert to a characterization of the Israelites’ behavior for the next 700+ years.
Honestly, I’m not sure what to do with these two verses, as they start and end with familiar ideas (to me) but speak of things I don’t understand in the middle. Do you know what is being discussed here? Should this city, whether symbolic or actual, be obvious to me?
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The Cow 60-61
60. And remember, when Moses asked for water for his people, We told him to strike the rock with his staff, and behold, twelve springs of gushing water gushed forth so that each of the tribes came to know its place of drinking. Eat and drink, (enjoy) God’s gifts, and spread no discord in the land. 61. Remember, when you said: “O Moses, we are tired of eating the same food (day after day), ask your Lord to give us fruits of the earth, herbs and cucumbers, grains and lentils and onions;” he said: “Would you rather exchange what is good with what is bad? Go then to the city, you shall have what you ask.” So they were disgraced and became indigent, earning the anger of God, for they disbelieved the word of God and slayed the prophets unjustly, for they transgressed and rebelled.