(‘the cow’)

PROLOGUE (verses 1-27)

1 Blessed be the Name of the God of mercy, the Merciful One, God of deliverances.


2 This Writing contains a Way without quarrel for the predestined, 3 those who have faith in the obscurity, who fulfil the obligation of prayer, and who spend what We provided to them; 4 those who believe in what has been revealed to you, and was revealed [to others] before you, and who are filled with jealous zeal against idolatry. 5 It is these who walk on a Way that comes from their Master. It is these who are servants.

6 As for those who have apostatised, it is indifferent whether you warn them or not: they do not believe. 7 The God has put a seal on their heart and on their ears. And before their eyes, smoke. Abandoned are their bones.

8 For among the people there are some who say: “We believe in the God and in the Day to come,” even though they do not have the faith. 9 At the same time as the faithful, they believe they can deceive the God; they are only deceiving themselves without realising it. 10 They have rebellion in their bowels. May the God reduce their rebellion and may they be struck dumb for their lie.

11 And when they are told: “Cease doing evil in the Land!” they say: “We are only prospering.

12 Are they not themselves the ill-treated? But they do not realise it.

13 And when they are told: “Believe as the common people do!” they say: “Are we to believe like those who have been crushed?” Are they not themselves the crushed? But they are going to realise it. 14 For when they are inferior to those who believe, they say: “We believe.” But when they are at the mercy of their adversaries, they say: “We are with you. It was only in jest.” 15 The God will scoff at them and put an end to their prostitution. They are going to falter. 16 These are the ones who bought contempt at the price of the Way. Their benefit was not great, and they lost the Way.


17 Their parable is like the parable of the One who kindled a fire, and when he had warmed what is his, behold, the God goes away with their light and banishes them into darkness. They can no longer see. 18 Thirsty, in tears, forceless, they have no rest.

19 Or again like a tenebrous, thunderous and dazzling beauty descended from heaven. They turn away from the convocations, [putting] their fingers in their ears, [out of] fear of death. But the God is offended by those who refuse. 20 A lightning bolt will strike, he will blind them. Every time it burned for them, they walked in its light. And when the darkness was upon them, they stopped. But if the God wills, He no longer makes himself heard or seen by them. Yes, ‘the God, above all,’ obscure.


21 O you men, serve your Master who has fashioned you, you and those who have gone before you. Perhaps you will become upright. 22 He who stretched out the earth for you and built the heavens. He makes rain fall from the heavens, and brings forth palm trees, thanks to it, enough to sustain you. Do not dedicate horrors to the God in secret.

23 And if you have a quarrel with Our servant about what we have revealed, come with a canticle comparable to it and call your witnesses before the God’s judgement seat to justify yourselves.

24 If you do not ‘put into practice,’ and you will not do so, expect the fire destined for apostates, which men and even stones fuel.

25 But announce to those who are faithful and work for prosperity that they will have gardens where rivers will flow ‘from below.’ Every time they regain strength from the palm tree, they will say, “This is what once nourished us.” And they will come and sit near it. There they will have purified wives, there they will have their stable home.

26 No! The God does not make a revelation to deliver the lesson that a parable imparts. Those who have the faith conceal that it is the law that has come from their Master. While the apostates say: “What did God mean by this parable?” Thusly many are the object of his contempt, while to many others, He shows the Way. But only those who abandon are the object of his contempt. 27 Those who ruin the covenant of the God after having savoured it, those who truncate what the God has said therein for prayer, those who do evil in the Land, it is they who are the losers.

PART ONE : THE AGGADAH (verses 28-143)
I. THE COVENANT (verses 28-73)

This section is presently being translated.

1. The invocation to the name of God, traditionally called basmala which, according to our exegesis is a berākhāh, will be repeated regularly, no doubt as an invitation to recite the seven verses of the prayer of benediction before beginning the ritual reading, like in synagogal assemblies where benedictions precede and follow biblical readings. It thus divides the whole book into as many chapters, traditionally called sūrahs, themselves subdivided into verses, like the chapters of a book of the Bible. We will keep this material division as a reference system, remembering that, as in the Bible, it does not go back to the original drafting of the text. On the other hand, faithful to our method, we will ignore the traditional titles given subsequently to these sūrahs. They alone are proof of their inventors’ incapacity to grasp the general theme of the text they claim to summarise: for the seven verses of the Sūrah One, which we have entitled The Benediction, the commentators hesitated, inventing up to twenty-five titles, and finally choosing the most insignificant one, which is currently used: The Opening.

We will therefore continue to replace them with titles of our own composition, without hesitating to introduce subtitles within each sūrah, for a better understanding of the theme that our exegesis will reveal.

Similarly, we will neglect the many disputes between schools about the controversial inclusion of the basmala in the authentic text. The Cairo edition does not consider it to be the beginning of the second sūrah. The three letters that follow it would alone constitute the first verse. For us, it suffices to note that if, on the contrary, it is linked to these three letters, it gives them such a meaning that it seems normal to place it as the incipit of the text.

In fact, “God of deliverances” translates three mysterious letters: ALM. For thirteen centuries this abbreviation has frustrated the ingenuity of all exegetes, those from the East and from the West alike. Masson writes: “No interpretation has yet been given for the abbreviations found at the beginning of twenty-six sūrahs. Blachère states: “On the Muslim side, apart from a small number of scholars who, seeing therein a divine secret, have refused to violate it, treasures of ingenuity have been spent to unravel this mystery. Without hesitation, this set of initials is considered to be an abbreviation. The most prudent exegetes limit themselves to finding one or more letters forming a divine appellation (…). On the Orientalists’ side, it is also naturally thought that it is an abbreviation and several hypotheses are proposed,” but by dint of subtlety they mutually exclude each other and, what is more serious, they do not account for the entire set of initials. Who will solve the enigma? “All that seems plausible to affirm is that in these initials we have the abbreviation of a pious formula or an appellation used as a propitiatory incipit [...]. All the rest is useless jeu d’esprit, and the pious Muslims, who judged the attempts to pierce these secrets vain, were undoubtedly the only ones who were wise.” Those who put forward these various conjectures all share the suspicion that the letters appear to be abbreviations. The honour for having asked himself whether these abbreviations “might attest to an external, probably Jewish influence,” belongs to Loth. This is precisely what they are. In the system used in rabbinic literature, the three letters ALM form the abbreviation of an expression perfectly suited to the context of the başmala while expanding on the eulogy in such a way as to announce in advance the whole theme of the future developments: ʾel lemōshāʿōt, “God for the salvations” (The Book of Psalms 68:20). A stands for alif, the initial letter of the Hebrew ʾel, in Arab ʾilāh; L is the preposition, the initial M of mōshāʿōt, in the plural to emphasise the richness of the unique salvific plan of God throughout history.


2. “This Writing,” ʾal-kitāb, which Blachère translates as “Scripture,” “kītāb [...] is quite probably derived from the Aramaic ketâba, or from Low Hebrew ketâb.Dn 10:21 In any case, by capitalising the initial letter, Blachère gives the writing in question the rank of Holy Scripture. This was perhaps the intention of the author. Furthermore, by borrowing all the vocabulary of the seven verses of his prayer from Hebrew, the sacred language of the Mosaic revelation, he did not hesitate to play the role of an inspired writer, defying rather than being ignorant of the ban that long remained in effect in Judaism that prohibited committing prayer formulae to paper: “Whoever draws up in writing a prayer formula is comparable to someone who would burn the scroll of the Torah.”

In the Bible, the ketūbîm form the third part of the Old Testament, after the Law and the Prophets. Would the pretence of our author have been to add “this Writing” to them, like the innumerable apocrypha that the canon of the Hebrew bible did not retain, or even the authors of the New Testament, directly concerned by the rule quoted above?

“a Way,” hudan, a substantive that is taken from the Hebraic verb hâdâh, literally: “an outstretched hand” to indicate a direction. The common root with the Greek hodos (Gesenius) implies that it is directly borrowed from the language of the New Testament: “the Way” (Jn 14:5; Ac 9:2).

“without quarrel,” lā rayba. In Hebrew, rîb. This is perhaps an allusion either to the quarrel of the children of Israel (with Yahweh) at the place which, for this reason, is called merîbâh, Ex 17:7 or even to that of Moses himself, who stood by the community in this mysterious “quarrelling” (Nb 27:14; Nb 20:13, Nb 20:24), the object of the psalmists’ constant meditation (Ps 81:8; Ps 95:8; Ps 106:32). Or perhaps it is a more serious quarrel contemporaneous with the author, concerning the traditional religion itself, the true religion.

“the predestined,” ʾal-muttaqīn, literally: “the upright.” Late Hebrew, tâqan, “to be made straight” (Qo 1:15; Qo 7:13) that passed down into the Aramaic and Talmudic vocabulary. Yet, the past participle metûqqan also means “predestined” and implies perhaps the idea of a saving choice made by a religious group that is set apart from the others.

The traditional translation instinctively approximates the meaning of these words. Blachère writes “Direction” for “Way” and “Pious” for “predestined.” Yet, lacking knowledge of their origin, and therefore of their exact nuance, the function assigned to each of them remains uncertain, “elusive,” admits Blachère who hesitates between two constructions.

All becomes clear in the light of the Bible that the author imitates with regard to the form of this solemn exordium – “All this is no other than the book of the Covenant of God Most High” (Si 24:22; cf. Ba 4:1) –, as well as to the sapiential content evoking the road, the way, on which walk the good, the upright, who are predestined by a happy disposition (Ws 1:2-4; Ws 8:19-20) – or even better, by divine election Ba 4:4 –, walk in peace with God (Pr 1:32-33; Ws 9:18; Ba 3:13, passim).

3. “have faith,” yūʾminūn, which is the pure and simple transposition of the rich biblical verb ʾâman, “to be faithful, confident,” “to have faith.” Despite what Jeffery claims.

“in the obscurity,” bi l-ġaybi. In Aramaic: ʿeîbâʾ that designates “the obscurity” of the cloud in which Yahweh came to Moses on Mount Sinai, precisely “so that when the people hear Me speaking with you, they may always have faith yehémnûn in you also” (Targum: The Book of Exodus 19:9). The “cloud” is not mentioned here, but only “the obscurity” of the cloud. It signifies the divine mystery that is the object of the faith of those who have neither seen nor heard the thunder and lightning of Mount Sinai.

“fulfil the obligation”, yuqīmūn. The Hebrew verb qûm, “to arise, to stand up, to be on one’s feet,” which the rabbinic language also uses to signify, in the piel construction (qaîyem), the action of fulfilling a vow, a prophecy, more precisely to fulfil the obligations imposed by the masters of the rabbinic tradition.

“prayer,” ʾaṣ-ṣalawāt. In Aramaic ṣelôtâʾ. “In the rabbinical doctrine of the years following 70 a.d., prayer supplanted sacrifice, that is to say, it constituted worship and liturgy, because the Temple had been destroyed.

“spend,” yunfiqūn. Blachère translates it as “to spend (in alms).” After the instruction concerning prayer, or worship rendered to God, the exercising of charity towards one’s neighbour appears in fact self-evident. Yet, if we confine ourselves to the text, it is a question of “spending” (Aramaic niphqâʾ) in the more general sense, “not charity” (Jastrow), and the allusion would rather seem to be directed at the precept of justice, via the article of the Decalogue that forbids stealing (Ex 20:15), or even only coveting the belongings of one’s neighbour (Ex 20:17; cf. Mi 2:2). Unless, on the other hand, it simply refers to the precept of enjoying the good things that God provides (Qo 2:24 and passim; cf. Dt 12:7, specified precisely after prescriptions concerning worship, as it is the case here).

“what We provided to them,” mimmā razaqnāhum. Perhaps derived from the Hebrew, ḥâzaq: “to strengthen, to support.” The style becomes oracular. It invites the reader to see God Himself in the pronoun “We”. These “We” passages suggest the inspired character of “this Writing”, the extent of which it would be advisable to assess exactly.

4. in what has been revealed,bimā ʾunzila. Literally: “in what has been distilled” like the dew; in other words, the biblical revelation. See the Canticle of Moses in which the same word is used to express the same idea, concerning Moses’ “word”: “Let my word fall, tizzal (in Hebrew nâzal, “to flow”), like the dew.” (Dt 32:2; cf. Is 45:8)

“to you,” ʾīlayka. This is the Hebrew preposition ʾèl in its poetic construction ʿèleî to which is appended the masculine second person singular suffix . To whom is this oracle addressed, in the second person according to the paraenetical style of wisdom writings Pr 1:8; Pr 2:1; passim)? At this point in our reading, nothing allows us to identify the disciple.

“before you,” min qablika. This is the Hebraic preposition qâbâl, “before,” used as an adverb of time, to which has been appended the masculine second person singular suffix. If “this Writing” is claimed to be inspired by God, its aim therefore is not to bring a new revelation, contrary to the common interpretation, but only to convey an ancient, traditional revelation.

who are filled with jealous zeal,” hum yūqinūn. In Hebrew qinnèʾ (the piel construction of qânâʾ): “to be jealous of,” with the preposition b.

“against idolatry,” bi-l-ʾaẖirati, literally: “of the other.” In Hebrew: ʾaḥér: “next, another, stranger.” See Exodus 34:14: “You shall not worship any other god, ʾél ʾaḥér, for Yahweh is ‘the Jealous One’, qannàʾ šemô.” In Is 42:8 and Is 48:11, ʾaḥér used alone designates “someone other” than Yahweh, i.e. an idol. In rabbinic language ʾaḥér becomes a current euphemism used to refer to idolatry. Because Blachère lacks this key, he translates it by adding a word that is not in the text: “of the Last (Life), are convinced.”

“I am filled with jealous zeal, qannoʾ qinnéʾtî, for Yahweh Sabaot,” Elijah exclaimed at the very moment when he was grafting his entire prophetic work on the sources of the Mosaic revelation, in order to restore the purity of the faith in Israel 1 R 19:10.

5. This is exactly the spirit with which our author identifies for a work that is 1° a revealed teaching “a Way that comes from their Master,” i.e., from God Himself ; 2° an act of worship: “servants,” literally: “ministers of worship,” ʾal-mufliḥūn. In Aramaic pelaḥ: “to serve” God (Dn 3:17; Dn 7:14), translating, in the Targum, the Hebrew “walk in My presence” (Targum: The Book of Genesis 17:1).

6. “those who have apostatised,” ʾallaḏīna kafarū. In Hebrew Kâphar: “to cover” (sins), thus 1° to pardon, 2° to expiate, but also 3° to conceal, to deny, to refute. According to the Babylonian Talmud, the kôphér is one who denies the very principle of religion, that is to say, the unicity of God, and thus places himself outside of the Jewish people: “They know (the true religion) and yet they are incredulous, kôphrîn.”

The expression thus designates a category of people who are opposed to “those who believe,” not as the “impious” (Blachère), or the “incredulous” (Masson) in general, who are confined to the invincible ignorance of the times before preaching, but as renegades who have apostatised (the verb kafara is in the perfective form) an already ancient revelation.

“it is indifferent,” » sawāʾun. In Hebrew šâwâh: “to be all the same.”

All the Sapiential texts quoted above as regards the “way” on which walk the good, contrast it with the way of the wicked, with the same note of predestination (Ws 1:4-5; Ba 3:27).

whether you warn them,” ʾanḏarta-hum. Hebrew zâhar, in the piel construction: “to illuminate;” in the niphal construction, nizâr, “to allow oneself to be warned, to be warned;” in the hiphil construction: “to admonish.” Despite Jeffery who considers the Arabic verb naḏara as “genuine Arabic.”

7. “has put a seal” atama. In Hebrew atam. See Isaiah 29 10-11: “For Yahweh has poured out on you a spirit of deep sleep. He has shut your eyes (the prophets) and covered your heads (the seers). For you the revelation of all this has become like the words of a sealed scroll, atûm.”

“their heart,” qulūbi-him, literally: “their bowels.” In Greek kolpos.

“their ears,” samʿi-him. Literally: “their action of hearing.” Hebrew šâmaʿ: “to hear.”

“their eyes,” ʾabṣāri-him. It seems necessary to correct the diacritics so as to read ʾanṣāri-him, literally: “their action of watching.” In Hebrew nâṣar: “to guard, to watch over, to observe carefully.”

The idea of considering the heart, the ears and the eyes as the organs for receiving the revelation is typically biblical: before the Law was promulgated, “Yahweh had not given you a heart to understand, or eyes to see, or ears to hear.” (The Book of Deuteronomy 29:3).

“smoke,” ġišāwatun. Blachère, who translates it as “a blindfold,” is unaware of the parallelism with Isaiah, and yet, unwittingly, he is dependent on it through the commentators who repeat it literally. Masson, who translates it as “a veil,” sensed it, without, however, understanding the powerful originality of the very concrete expression: the word evokes the smoke, ʿâšân, that filled the Temple during Isaiah’s vision and his being sent forth on mission (Is 6:4), followed by the announce of the self-willed and guilty callousness of the people Is 6:9-10; these are the same organs, but in a different orders: the ears, the eyes, the heart).

This smoke also envelops the “smoking” [ʿašén] mountain during the theophany of Sinai (Ex 20:18). Consequently, we can understand the very profound thought of the author: the “smoke” that blinds the apostates corresponds to the obscurity” that veils the divine glory in His cloud, the object of the faith of the faithful and the denial of the impious.

From the time of Saint Paul, the image of deafness and blindness has become pregnant to stigmatise Israel’s apostasy (Rm 11:8). Are the “apostates” in question the Jews who were unfaithful to their own religion? “Abandoned are their bones,” literally: “For them, abandonment of bones;”

“abandonment,” ʿaḏābun. See the Hoda’ah of Rabbi Amram Gaon already quoted, with regards to the “survivors” whom God does not abandon. “You did not abandon us, loʾ ʿazabtenū,” from the Hebrew verb ʿâzab, “to abandon, to desert.”

“of bones,” ʿaẓīmun. In Hebrew ʿèṣèm, the plural of which is ʿaṣâmôt.

Such is the chastisement for apostasy: “God will scatter the bones ʿaṣemôt, of the apostate” (The Book of Psalms 53:6) Very precisely it is the chastisement for Israel’s apostasy, according to the vision of the “dry bones’” (The Book of Ezekiel 37).

8. “in the Day to come,” bi l-yawmi l-ʾairi. In rabbinic language, the expression is prosaic: “the next day.” In the Old Testament, however, it indicates a more or less distant period, sometimes with an eschatological nuance: beʾ aḥarît hayyâmîn, “in days to come.” (The Book of Genesis 49:1; Nb 24:14; Is 2:2; Mi 4:1; Dn 10:14). This is the case here, since this “Day” is an object of faith, and God is its sovereign Judge.

According to Blachère, “everyone (see in particular Ṭabarī, 90) is of the opinion that this verse and the subsequent ones, refer to the Hypocrites of Al Madīnah. It is therefore a revelation that dates from 624 at the earliest.” By way of a “revelation,” we continue to follow Isaiah: “Since this people draws near with words only and honors Me with their lips alone, though their hearts are far from Me.” (The Book of Isaiah 29:13). It is therefore not a question of a third category, after the faithful and the apostates; hypocrisy is quite imply a subtle form of the constantly recurring apostasy in Israel Ps 78:36-37. That is why we have translated the conjunction wa by “for,” in order to underline the unity of the text and the chain of thoughts.

9. “At the same time as the faithful, they believe they can deceive the God,” yuẖādiʿūna, which is repeated a second time: “they are only deceiving, mā yaẖdaʿūna, themselves,” implying: as they have the faithful. For if it always remains possible to lie to men, “do not be deceived; God is not mocked” (The Epistle to the Galatians 6:7; cf. The Book of Job 13:9: “Can you deceive Him, as one deceives a man?”)

The commentators do not grasp the very profound thought. Blachère writes, “They tend to deceive Allah and those who believe, while they are only deceiving themselves.” No! Rather, at the same time as they deceive those who believe, they are also deceiving themselves. This is the full nuance contained in ẖadaʿ, composed of the Hebrew ʾâḥad: “to unite, to associate,” and of ʿâwâh, “to sin, to harm, to fail.”

“without realising it,” literally: “and they do not realise,” wa-mā yašʿurūna. In Hebrew šâʿar means “to estimate, to reckon.”

10. “rebellion,” maraḍun. Blachère’s translation: “evil” is vague and does not specify the nature of this evil, which was chronic in Israel and which is clearly designated by the Hebrew mârad, “to revolt, to rebel” (six times in Jos 22:16-29, passim).

“in their bowels,” fi qulūbi-him. It is the etymological sense of the word.

“reduce” zāda. By correcting the diacritics, in Hebrew râdâh means: 1° “to trample,” 2° “to dominate, to subdue,” 3° “to seize, to take over.”

“may they be struck dumb,” literally: “for them dumb abandonment,” ʿaḏābu ʾalīm. Hebrew ʾâlam, in the niphal construction: “to be, to become dumb.” (Cf. The Book of Psalms 31:18-19 “Put the wicked to shame! Reduce them to silence in Sheol. Strike dumb, téʾâlamnâh, their lying lips.”)

In the present instance, this dumbness seems to result from the silence of God Himself Who no longer communicates a revelation to a rebellious people.

11. Cease doing evil in the Land!” Which Land? ʾarḍ, “earth.” In Hebrew, ʾèrèṣ, either the earth, orbis terrarum (Gn 1:1; Gn 11:1; passim,) or a particular land. In this second case, in an absolute sense, it certainly designates the Holy Land (Ps 37: 9, 11, 22, 29; passim).

Blachère does not pose the question of the historical circumstances or the geographical location: “Do not sow scandal over the earth!” he translates without a commentary. Masson’s “corruption,” is not more explicit. These translations, however, stray from the very concrete meaning of the expression lā tufsidū, derived from the rabbinic Hebrew pâsad, or the Targumic Aramaic pesad, “to break, to crush” (Targum: The Book of Psalms 44:3). This order would be particularly relevant for the time of Isaiah when “Aram on the east and the Philistines on the west, were devouring Israel with open mouth” (The Book of Isaiah 9:11; cf. Mi 3:3; for the time of Jeremiah when nations and tribes “have devoured Jacob utterly, and laid waste his dwelling” (The Book of Jeremiah 10:25 cf. Jr 30:16); for the time of Ezekiel Ezk 36:4-5. Even more relevant would it have been for the time after the return from Exile to Babylon, when the wicked neighbours and traditional enemies, the Edomites, the Moabites and above all the apostate Samaritans, theses false brethren, increased the number of threats, intrigues and raids in order to prevent the restoration of Judah. (Ne 3:33; Ne 4:17; cf. Sg 2:15; Ps 60).

Until we discover the locations and circumstances that explain the resurgence of evil, the easiest thing to do is to interpret this apostrophe as the literal repetition of the biblical oracle: “Cease doing evil!” (The Book of Isaiah 1:16) which, from time immemorial, prophets utter against the perpetrators of all sorts of violent acts.

We are only prospering,” literally: “We are only people who succeed in everything, muliḥūna.” Blachère translates it as “We are only Reformers,” without giving any explanation about the nature and object of the “Reform” in question. Moreover, the passive form would require writing: “We are only the Reformed,” which sounds like such a strange anacronism that it should be avoided at the cost of this grammatical inexactitude. In Hebrew ṣâlaḥ means “to succeed.” The arrogant answer brings to mind Psalm 49:7: “They trust in their wealth and boast of their abundant riches.” It evokes the scandal of the “success” of the impious, noted for the first time by Jeremiah (12:1): “Why does the way of the wicked prosper, ṣāléḥāh?” After the return from the Exile, this question becomes the object of the constant meditation of the wise men (Jb 21:7-13; Ps 37, 49, 73), in a Holy Land that is occupied and devastated by “the little foxes that damage the vineyards” (Ct 2:15), Samaria, Moab, Edom, Philistia (Ps 60:8-14).

12. “the ill-treated” ʾal-mufsidūna, as though it were already done. Blachère translates it as “the Sowers of scandal.” Besides the false sense noted above, he disregards the passive form of the word that is the antithesis of the active form of the preceding verb. This antithesis contains the theme of the reversal of fates that unwittingly awaits the impious and sustains the hope of those whom they have robbed (Pr 2:21-22; Ps 10:30; Job 20:4-19; Ps 35:8: “Let ruin overtake them unawares; let the snare they have set catch them; let them fall into the pit they have dug”; Ps 49:13, Ps 49:21; passim). See also the canticles of Hannah 1 S 2:1-10 and of the Blessed Virgin (Lk 1:46-55).

Already explicit in verses Q 2:7, 9 and 10, the theme suddenly takes on a solemn signification by the use of the prophetic adversative lākin, “but”. In Hebrew lāḵén Is 7:14 and passim).

13. “the common people.” Blachère translates “an-nāsu as ‘these people.’ Textually, it means: Men. The expression troubles commentators who perceived the article an as a device for expressing emphatically, therefore, the men worthy of this name.” Recourse to Hebraic etymology resolves the difficulty, but in the exactly opposite sense. It is the biblical designation for the “people of the land,” people without condition, those vanquished combating for God. This designation passed with its nuance of contempt into the Talmud: ʾînšeî, “the people” (Aramaic form).

“the crushed,” ʾas-sufahāʾ. In rabbinic Hebrew šâphâh is a synonym of the biblical Hebrew dâkàʾ: “crushed.” (Is 53:10).

“they are going to realise it,” literally, “they will not hide it,” yaʿlamūna. In Hebrew ʿâlam means “to hide.” After having emphasised twice with the same word šaʿar, “to reckon,” the irresponsibility of the apostates concerning the illusory nature of their present prosperity (verses 9 and 12), the parallel but antithetical expression announces the reversal of fate: soon they will understand (cf. Ws 4:20 sq.).

14. “they are inferior,” laqū. In Rabbinic Hebrew lâqâh means “to be disadvantaged.”

“they are at the mercy of,” literally: “they are weakened vis-à-vis,” ẖalaw ʾilā. In Hebrew ḥâlâh signifies “to be, to become weak.”

“their adversaries” šayāṭīnihim. The adversaries of “those who believe.” Blachère renders it as “their demons, that is, their leaders who are diabolically-minded. This interpretation is accepted by the commentators.” In Hebrew, however, sâṭân is first and foremost a common noun (1 K 5:18; 1 K 11:14, 1 K 11:23, 1 K 11:25; 1 S 29:4; Ps 109:6).

“in jest,” mustahziʾūna. Blachère conveys the literal meaning: “We are only scoffers.” The source could be the Hebrew verb nâzâh, “to splash, to spatter,” if we accept the original meaning that Gesenius gives to this verb: “to leap with joy,” but his entire explanation revolves round a single example: Isaiah 52:15, by an evident misinterpretation. There is a more obvious example: hâzâh “dreaming” (Is 56:10, hapax legomenon), which passed into the Talmud meaning to rave, to speak incoherently.

15. “to put an end,” literally: “will limit them,” yamuddu-hum. In Hebrew mâdad, meaning “to measure” to which is appended the masculine third person plural suffix.

“their prostitution,” uġyāni-him. Aramaic teʿeî, “to err (archaic acceptation: to stray, to wander)” 1° in a material sense: in the desert (Tg J Gn 21:14); 2° in a spiritual sense: “to render wanton worship” to the idols (Targum: The Book of Exodus 34:15) or more weakly, “to be mistaken” in a calculation (Tg Ps 78:9), “to forget” (Tg Pr 2:17), but always with an allusion to underlying idolatry, the cause of the error or forgetting in question.

“they are going to falter,yaʿmahūna. Aramaic ʿameî, “to weaken,” “to become gloomy.” Blachère adds a coordinating conjunction that is not in the text: “(where) they go like the blind.”

16. This verse is a summary and conclusion of this entire diatribe against apostates and false brethren: their infidelity brought them nothing but contempt.

“bought,” ʾaštaraw. The Vulgar Latin accaptare perhaps produced this form first. Then grammarians analysed it as the “eighth form” of šarâ, before it passed into French in the form: achater (10th century).

“contempt” ʾaḍ-ḍalālata, instead of the esteem of the “adversaries” whom they thought they could seduce (cf. Sg 8:7).

“their benefit” tijāratu-hum. Blachère translates it as “their traffic.” In Aramaic ʾagerâʾ means “reward” (Tg Gn 15:1; passim).

“was not great” mā rabiḥat. Blachère renders it as “will not be lucrative.” Why does he use this future? The verb is in the perfective tense, and is derived from the Hebrew râbâh, “to increase.” It is a euphemism: in reality, they only gained the contempt of God and the peoples by seeking to “cajole their adversaries,” by “prostituting” themselves, meaning: to their idols. This is the whole lesson of the prophet Hosea. In this sense, Blachère is not wrong in translating “adversaries” by “demons” (cf. the “Baals” of Ho 2:10, Ho 2:15, Ho 2:19; cf. The Book of Psalms 96:5: “the gods of the nations are demons”, according to the Greek). All forms of infidelity to the divine Covenant were considered in Israel, after Hosea to be an “adultery,” a “prostitution” to the idols of the pagan peoples with whom Israel sought to forge alliances (Hosea 1-3; Is 1:21; Jeremiah 2; Ezk 16:22-23; The Song of Songs (Canticle of Canticles).

“And they lost the Way,” mā kānū muhtadīna. Blachère translates the expression as “and they are not in the right direction.” More exactly: “they did not remain established in the Way.” The Hebrew kūn, in the hiphil construction means “to place, to establish, to lead,” to which is appended both the negation , from the Greek , and the reflexive participle, known as the “eighth form,” of hadah.

Thus, they lost everything.


17. “Their parable is like the parable of,” maṯaluhum kamaṯali. The Aramaic metal corresponds to the Hebraic mâšal, a “parable, enigma, comparison.”

“The one who” ʾallaḏī, in the singular. It is God. Blachère renders it as “those who,” to harmonise with the subject of the principal verb. It, however, is not an allegory, it is a parable. Let us note that this demonstrative pronoun, which has already been encountered several times, is itself a literal translation of the reinforced Hebrew demonstrative hallâz.

“kindled a fire” ʾastawqada nāran. In Aramaic yeqad, “to burn,” and nûr, “fire” (cf. The Book of Daniel 3:6: “a white-hot furnace, nûraʾ yâqîdtâʾ.”)

The “mashal” evokes the history of the biblical revelation: it is God Himself Who kindles the fire: the burning Bush of Mount Horeb (Ex 3:2), the inaugural vision of Ezekiel (Ezk 1:4), the theophany of Sinai where “Yahweh came down upon it in fire” (Ex 19:8). Quite distinct from the “cloud” that accompanies and envelops Him, the fire is nothing other than the “glory” of Yahweh, Yahweh Himself (Ex 24:17).

I have come to set the earth on fire,” Jesus said, “and how I wish it were already blazing!” (The Gospel According to Saint Luke 12:49) Yet here, no mention is made to Jesus, even though it is obvious that the Gospel is being imitated (Mt 13:24, Mt 13:31, Mt 13:33 passim). Neither is there any mention of the Holy Spirit Who appeared in the form of “tongues as of fire,” on Pentecost Day (Ac 2:3). Perhaps, under the veil of allegory, it is possible to recognise the Torah, personified in rabbinic elaborations to the point of rivalling the Holy Spirit: not only given in the midst of the fire of the theophany, but even itself compared to the fire.

“he had heated,” ʾaḍāʾat. Blachère, who renders it as “lights,” neglects the perfective tense, and mistranslates it in order to harmonise it with what will follow. In Aramaic ʾazâʾ means “to heat” (Dn 3:19-22, still concerning the furnace). It is God who heats by the fire that He has kindled.

What does He heat? “what is His,” mā ḥawlahu. Blachère modifies the text by putting the personal pronoun in the plural form: “what is around them.” Masson circumvents the difficulty: “what is around.” In Hebrew ḥâyâh: meaning “to be” to which is appended the preposition l and the third person singular personal pronoun. By translating literally, we are brought back to the theme of predestination that was announced from the very beginning and which underlies the entire pericope. The fire of God enkindles those who belong to Him with a jealous zeal. Jealousy, “the flash [of which] is a flash of fire, a flame of Yahweh Himself.” (The Song of Songs 8:6). It is love (Dt 6:5 +).

“behold, the God goes away” ḏahaba llāhu. The Hebrew demonstrative zèh is prefixed to the verb bōʾ which, in Hebrew, means more precisely “to enter, to come” (Is 63:1: mî zèh bâʾ, “Who is this that comes?”) but also “to go, to be gone” (Gn 37:30, passim).

“with their light, ” binūrihim. In Hebrew nîr, “lamp” (of David, 1 Kg 11:36) or nér (of God’s law, Pr 6:23; Ps 119:105; God Himself, Jb 29:3, cf. Ps 18:29 +). God’s fire that warms is also the light that illuminates the night (Ex 13:21; Ps 78:14; Ps 105:39). The suffix him designates those for whom God kindled this fire, who have become “apostate,” “adversaries,” the hypocrites whom the parable is aimed at.

“and banishes them” tarakahum, literally: “and expels them”. In Aramaic terakh means “to banish” (Tg Gn 3:24).

“into darkness” fi ẓulumātin. In Hebrew èlèm means “shadow.”

In the Gospel, Jesus calls Himself “the light of the world” (The Gospel According to Saint John 8:12), and warns the Jews, before dying: “The light will be among you only a little while. Walk while you have the light, so that darkness may not overcome you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where he is going” (Jn 12:35) Although the same thought is conveyed, here Jesus plays no role. Jesus, however, was only accomplishing the Scriptures, the very Scriptures to which our author directly refers: “Give glory to Yahweh, your God, before it grows dark; before your feet stumble on darkening mountains; before the light you look for turns to darkness, changes into black clouds!” (The Book of Jeremiah 13:16). This occurred when the glory of Yahweh left the Temple (Ezk 10:18) and Jerusalem (Ezk 11:22-23).

18. “Thirsty, in tears, forceless.” Blachère translates the phrase as “They are deaf, dumb, blind,” as though it is a simple doublet of verse 7. In this case, however, “deaf” and “dumb” are not consistent with the point of the mashal that concerns “light.” Moreover, the terminology is quite different:

“thirsty,” ummun. In Hebrew ṣâméʾ: “to be thirsty” (Ps 42:3: “my soul thirsts, omʾâʾ, for God”; cf. Ps 63:2).

“in tears,” bukmun. In Hebrew bâkhâh: “to weep” (Lm 1:2, Lm 1:16; cf. Ps 42:4: “My tears have been my food day and night, as they ask daily, ‘Where is your God?’”)

“forceless,” ʿumʾun. In Aramaic ʿameî means “to weaken, to darken.”

It seems difficult to deny that the author has Psalm 42-43 in mind: there is the same progression in the description of the evils that afflict the soul far from God – thirst, tears, weakness –, the same leitmotiv – “Why are you downcast, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me?” (Ps 42:6, Ps 42:12; Ps 43:5) –, and the same relationship to light – “Send forth Your light and Your fidelity” (Ps 43:3). The application, however, is quite different: in the Psalm, it is applied to the exile who is faithful, mystical and longing to find “the Face of God” once again (Ps 42:3+); here in the Qurʾān, it applies to hardened infidels from whom God takes his light.

“no rest” lā yarjiʿūna. In Hebrew râgaʿ, in the hiphil construction: “to give” or “to take a rest.”

19. Blachère makes no connection whatsoever with the theophany of Sinai, and shows his total incomprehension of what he somehow translates as: “Or (once again these Infidels) are like a stormy cloud in the sky, laden with darkness, thunder and lightning; (people) put their fingers in their ears against lightning, as a guard against death (But) Allah surrounds the Infidels (with His power).”

“Or again,” ʾaw. This is the Hebraic disjunctive particle ʾô.

“like a beauty,” kaayyibin. After the mashal of the fire (verse 17), here is a second mashal, which is introduced by the simple comparative particle ka (in Hebrew ke) prefixed to the word “beauty.” This word is taken from the biblical vocabulary ebî, “splendour” (Is 4:2; Is 24:16; Is 28:5). Blachère renders it as “stormy cloud,” then harmonises it with what follows, yet he fails to grasp the profound thought that commands the choice of this word, associated in fact, according to Isaiah, with the divine cloud “created, over the whole expanse of Mount Sion and over those who will gather there, a cloud of smoke by day and a glowing of flaming fire by night” (The Book of Isaiah 4:5). This, however, happens through the mediation of “the Branch of Yahweh, Who has become splendour, liṣebî, and glory” of “the remnant of Israel” (Is 4:2-3). A benevolent and tutelary presence: “For over all the glory will be canopy and protection: shade from the parching heat of day, refuge and cover from storm and rain.” (Is 4:5-6)

Here, on the contrary, this “beauty descended from heaven” becomes “tenebrous, thunderous and dazzling,” for the apostates, literally: “in it, darkness, trembling, lightning.”

“darkness,” ẓulumātun.

“trembling,” raʿdun. In Hebrew râʿad (Ex 15:15; Ps 55:6).

“lightning,” barqun. In Hebrew bârâq.

How can it be denied that all this evokes the theophany of Sinai? “There were peals of thunder and lightning, berâqîm, and a heavy cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled [...]. Mount Sinai was all wrapped in smoke, for Yahweh came down upon it in fire. The smoke rose from it as though from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently.” (The Book of Exodus 19:16-18)

“they turn away from,” yajʿalūna. In Hebrew gâʿal, “to reject” as loathsome.

“their fingers,” ʾaṣābiʿahum. In Hebrew ʾèṣbaʿ. The play on words is subtle: to the “beauty,” ayyib, corresponds “their fingers,” ʿaṣābiʿahum, plugging “their ears.”

“their ears,” āḏānihim. In Hebrew ʾozèn.

This aggadic feature, in fact, evokes the historical reaction of the children of Israel: “They said to Moses: ‘You speak to us, and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we shall die.’” (The Book of Exodus 20:19)

“the convocations,” mina ṣ-awāʿiqi. In Hebrew ṣâʿaq, “to shout,” in the niphal construction: “to be called to assemble.” They reject the call from Heaven. Cf. Dt 4:12: “You saw no form; there was only a voice,” sic!

“fear,” ḥaḏara. In Hebrew ḥârad, “to tremble, to be frightened,” with an inversion of the second and third consonants, which occurs elsewhere as in The Book of Ezekiel 21:19 according to the versions.

“of death,” ʾalmawti. In Hebrew mâwèt, in Aramaic môt. Cf. The Book of Deuteronomy 5:25: “But why should we die, nâmût, now? Surely this great fire will consume us. If we hear the voice of Yahweh, our God, any more, we shall die.”

Contrary to the Bible, which sees therein the legitimate fear in the presence of God, (Dt 5:25-29), but in accordance with the Rabbinic tradition, the author considers this gesture as offensive refusal, perhaps because his own preaching came up against the unbelief of those who listened to him:

“is offended” muḥīṭu. In Hebrew ḥâṭâʾ, “to sin, to offense,”

“by those who refuse”, bi l-kāfirīna.

20. If we follow Blachère, the storm does not represent God, but the infidels that Allah contains by “surrounding the Infidels (with His power).” To begin with, the image is strange, and to make it coherent numerous additions must be made in brackets. At verse 20, however, it gives rise to an unsurmountable contradiction: “The lightening well-nigh blinds their sight; every time that (these thunderbolts) illuminate them, they walk in their light; when they are in darkness, they stop.” Despite the “well-nigh” that tones down the contradiction, how is this to be understood that the thunderbolt both blinds them and illuminates their walk?

If, however, our interpretation is accurate, this second mashal is an enigma, a “midrash” in the manner of Ws 17:1-18:4. It is a reminiscence of the events of the Exodus that provide the explanation of the first mashal on the fire, while being the key to this entire prologue on “the two ways.”

“will strike,” yakādu. In Hébreu kâdad: “to strike,” hence kîdôd, “spark” Job 41:11.

“a lightning bolt,” ʾal-barqu, as in verse 19. Thunderstorms are the chosen setting for the great theophanies of the Old Testament (Ps 29; Ps 77:19; Ezk 1:4, Ezk 1:13). God shoots His lightning bolts as arrows to pierce His enemies Ps 18:15; Ps 97:3-4; Hab 3:11; cf. Lv l0:1-3; Nb 16:35; 2 R 1:10 sq.).

“he will blind them,” yaẖṭafu ʾabṣārahum (by reading ʾanṣārahum, literally: “ he will deprive them of their sight”. In Hebrew ḥâṭaph: “to remove forcibly.” The expression is more violent than that of Isaiah 2:10-11, exactly parallel: “… at the sight of the terror of Yahweh; at the brilliance of His majesty, when He arises to make the earth quake! The haughty eyes of man will be lowered, the arrogance of men will be abased.”

“every time it burned for them.” It is also possible to translate this clause in the present tense as Blachère does, and to understand that this action is still going on. Without forgetting that the subject of this entire mashal is the “beauty” of verse 19; then the thought is admirable, profoundly biblical: should it happen that the fire of God fall, He strikes the apostates blind but “the man of downcast eyes He saves.” (The Book of Job 22:29). “Therefore you did provide a flaming pillar of fire as a guide for your people’s unknown journey, and a harmless sun for their glorious wandering. For their enemies [the Egyptians] deserved to be deprived of light and imprisoned in darkness.” (Ws 18:3-4; cf. Ex 13:21-22)

“they walked in its light,” mašaw fihi. No foreign etymology can be found for the verb mašaw. It indeed seems to be Arabic, moreover, it is attested by epigraphy. The idea, however, is biblical: during the Exodus, “Yahweh preceded them, in the daytime by means of a column of cloud to show them the way, and at night by means of a column of fire to give them light. Thus they could travel both day and night.” (Ex 13:21)

“and when the darkness was upon them”: this is an image of the great trial that befell Israel beginning with the Exile (Sg 3:1 +; cf. Is 5:30; Is 21:11; Is 26:9; Ps 130:6). Yet it is mentioned here in an original way as an interruption of its walk. In Isaiah 9:1, on the other hand, the two images of a “walk” and a “dwelling” in the darkness of the Exile are linked. Isaiah 42:7 already favours the second manner, as here (cf. Lk 1:79).

“He no longer makes himself heard or seen by them,” literally: “He will go away with their hearing and their sight” (same turn of phrase as in verse 17). This carries on from verse 7 and concludes this entire prologue, reflecting the anguished cry of the psalmist: “Now we see no signs, we have no prophets, no one who knows how long.” (Ps 74:9; cf. Ps 77:9; Lm 2:9; Ezk 7:26).

“the God who is over all”: this formula is taken from Saint Paul who said it of Christ “Who is God over all, forever blessed.” (The Epistle to the Romans 9:5)

“obscure” qadīr. In Hebrew qâdar: “to be black, obscure, dark.”


21. “O you men.” This is in the oracular style of the prophets (Jr 5:1; Jr 7:2) and of Wisdom writings: “To you, O men, I call; my appeal is to the sons of men. O simple ones, learn prudence; O fools, gain sense.” (Pr 8:4-5; Pr 1:20)

“serve,” ʾuʿbudū. This is the paraenesis, as in Psalm 2:10-11: “And now, kings, give heed; take warning, rulers on earth. Serve, ʿibdû, Yahweh with fear.”

“has fashioned you,” ẖalaqakum. In Hebrew ḥâlaq, “to be smooth, polished.” Here, “to polish” is used in a material sense (cf. The Book of Isaiah 41:7: “the one who smooths, maḥalîq, with the hammer;” cf. Ps 119:73; Jb 10:8).

Do “those who have gone before you” belong to this “perverse and crooked generation,” this “foolish and senseless people” to whom Moses already addressed such an admonition? “Is He (Yahweh) not your Father Who created you? Has He not made you and established you?” (The Book of Deuteronomy 32:5-6) Yet, if this is the case, who are the successors to whom the author is speaking as though he were a new Moses?

“Perhaps” laʿallakum. To the Hebrew prefix l, “to, towards, for” is appended both the adverb ʾûlaî, “perhaps” and the second person plural suffix kèm. See the disillusioned commentaries of Rabbi Ami on this prophetic “perhaps” Lm 3:29 and passim in the Babylonian Talmud. Here, the preposition l adds a nuance of purpose that does not diminish the perplexity: your Master who has fashioned you, so that perhaps you might become upright, tattaqûna.

22. The Biblical account of Creation presented in a succinct homiletic and moralising style is easily recognisable here. Yet neither Blachère nor Masson remark the parallelism.

The earth first, then the heavens, as in Gn 2:4.

“and built the heavens,” literally: “made the heavens a construction”:

“the heavens,” ʾas-samāʾa. In emphatic Aramaic: šemayyâʾ, “the Heavens.”

“a construction”, bināʾan. In Hebrew bânâh, “to build.” Like a wall (Blachère: “an edifice”), very precisely: like the vault of the “firmament” (The Book of Genesis 1:6).

“He makes rain fall from the heavens” literally: “a water,” māʾan. In Hebrew mayîm. (cf. The Book of Psalms 104:13: “the earth is satisfied by the fruit of Your heaven.”)

“and brings forth,” faʾaẖraja. In Hebrew ḥârag: “to come from” (Ps 18:46).

“palm trees” mina ṯ-ṯamarāti. The Hebraic preposition min, “from,” and the Hebrew tâmâr, “palm tree” (Jl 1:12; Sg 7:9).

“thanks to it (the rain),” bihi, as is implied in Gn 2:5.

“enough to sustain you,” rizqan, literally: “sustenance,” In Hebrew ḥézèq: “strength, help.”

“Do not dedicate,” lā tajʿalū. In Hebrew gâʿal, “to abhor.” By means of a rabbinical device that we will encounter again, the word is changed to mean the opposite.

“horrors,” ʾandādan. In Hebrew nâdad: “to flee,” hence niddâh: that from which one flees, from which one recoils in horror, to which one has an aversion, for example, because of ritual sexual impurity (Lv 12:2 and passim), which is the object of a special tractate of the Mishna and the Talmud. In the Old Testament, however, the word encompasses also the much more general meaning of the moral “impurity” of the sin of adultery (Lv 20:21), which itself is the sin of idolatry, a “horror, niddâh” (Ezk 7:20), which makes Jerusalem, the Holy City, into a “filthy thing, niddâh” (Lm 1:8, Lm 1:17). Finally, “impurity” par excellence is the sin of idolatry (Zc 13:1; Ezr 9:11; 2 Ch 29:5).

Our translation is thus basically similar to Blachère’s: “Do not give Allah minor divinities.” Yet, since this author does not have an exact understanding of the word ʾandādan, this sentence seems unrelated both to what precedes and what follows. According to our etymology, the command is perfectly situated, concluding the reference made to the Creation by the divine commandment: “From the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat” (The Book of Genesis 2:17), understood as a prohibition of idolatry, which is, in fact, the most profound interpretation of the forbidden fruit (cf. The Book of Genesis 3:5: “You will be like gods.”)

“in secret,” literally: “while you are hiding.” As in verse 13, this contradicts Blachère’s: “while you know.” The focus is still on the hypocrisy of the false brothers, denounced since verse 8, with an allusion to The Book of Genesis 3:8-10: after the fault “the man and his wife hid themselves from Yahweh God among the trees of the garden.”

23. “a quarrel,” fi raybin.

“with,” ʿalā, literally: “against.” The clause “if you have a quarrel” requires the Hebraic preposition ʿâl. Blachère believes that it is governed, according to his own translation, by “what we sent down,” but in that case we would have the preposition ʾèl as above.

“Our servant,” ʿabdinā. It is God who is speaking. About whom? Is he speaking about anyone from the “common people,” provided that he obey and “put into practice” the commandment of verse 21? Or rather, is he speaking about the author himself, the spokesman for the great servants of God of bygone days? A new Moses as the reference to The Book of Deuteronomy 32:2 (infra) suggests? Or in this instance, is the word “servant” taken from the second Isaiah who uses it to designate sometimes Israel collectively, ʿabdî, “my servant” (Is 44:21), and other times a mysterious personage of the future, suffering because he also is an instrument of a revelation that is contradicted (Is 50:4 sq.)

“about what we have revealed,” mimmā nazalnā. The expression refers to Dt 32:2 and clearly designates the mosaic revelation.

“come,” faʾ. Blachère who translates it as: “bring,” overlooks the preposition b, which is prefixed to the complement. The Hebrew ʾatâh, “to come,” in the hiphil construction means “to bring.”

“with a canticle,” bisūratin. Blachère renders it as “a sūrah.” In Hebrew šîrâh, a “canticle,” the very word that Deuteronomy attributes to Moses announcing what he was going to “send down”: “Write out this canticle, hassîrâh hazzôt, then, for yourselves” (Dt 31:19).

“and call” waʾdʿū. In Hébreu dâʿâh: “to call” (Gesenius), or, more simply yâdaʿ, “to know”: “Make known.”

“your witnesses,” šuhadāʾakum. In Aramaic sâhéd, a witness (Gn 31:47; Jb 16:19). In the verse of Deuteronomy quoted above, Moses continues: “so that this canticle may be a witness for me against the Israelites.” (Dt 31:19).

“before the God’s judgement seat,” min dūni llahi. In Hebrew dûn, “justice, judgement.”

“to justify yourselves,” ʾin kuntum ṣādiqīna. Literally: “if you are just.”

All this is nothing more than a literal alteration Deutero-Isaiah’s argument: “Let all the nations gather together, and let the peoples assemble! Who among them have declared this and foretold to us the former things? Let them bring their witnesses to justify themselves weyiṣdâqû, so that others may hear and say: ‘It is true!’ ” (Is 43:9) The prophet continues: “You are My witnesses, says Yahweh, My servant, weʿabdî, whom I have chosen.”

24. If you do not ‘put into practice,’ ” literally: “if you do, tafʿalū, not do.” Blachère does not understand: “If you do not do (it).” The pronoun it, however, is not in the text. The Hebrew word pâʿal: “to do” is taken in the sense of to accomplish, execute, practice, observe. What? The commandment to “serve your Master,” the prohibition to indulge in idolatry, in short, the “revelation,” which is nothing other than the Law of Moses. The formula must be understood as a quotation. For example of The Book of Zephaniah 2:3: “Seek Yahweh, all you humble of the earth, who have observed, pâʿâlû, His law.”

“and you will not do so”: Deuteronomy attributed to Moses the same disillusioned prediction concerning his people: “For I know what they are inclined to do even at the present time, before I have brought them into the Land which I promised [...]. For I already know how rebellious and stiff-necked you will be. Why, even now, while I am alive among you, you have been rebels against Yahweh! How much more, then, after I am dead [...]. For I know that after my death you are sure to become corrupt and to turn aside from the way along which I directed you,” (Dt 31:21, 27, 29) And Jeremiah, the prophet of the same Deuteronomic reform: “When you speak all these words to them, they will not listen to you either; when you call to them, they will not answer you.” (Jr 7:27) Baruch: “For I know they will not heed me.” (Ba 2:30)

“expect” fattaqū. In Hebrew qâwâh means “to hope.” There is caustic, sarcastic irony in the use of this word that expresses the hope, the eschatological expectation of the prophets and in the psalms (Is 40:31; Ps 69:7; Lm 3:25; passim). Blachère’s “Save yourself from the Fire” is approximately equivalent to this meaning, but it strays from the grammatical construction since he did not understand the ironical nuance.

“the fire, which men and even stones fuel,” literally: “which men and stones cause to burn.” This is the sanction for idolatry provided for in Deuteronomy: “For a fire is kindled by My wrath, and it shall burn to the depths of Sheol” (Dt 32:22; cf. Jr 15:14; Jr 17:4; Is 42:25; Is 50:11: “Behold, all you who kindle a fire, who set brands alight. Walk by the light of your fire, and by the brands which you have kindled!” Cf. Mt 25:41).

“stones.” Nothing resists the devastating power of the fire of God, not even stones (cf. 1 K 18:38 according to the Hebrew text).

destined” ʾuʿiddat. In Hebrew yâʿad: “to destine, to fix.”

25. Paradise regained, which is reserved for the faithful, is evoked in this verse.

“But” wa. The adversative wa emphasises the contrast with the fate of the wicked. It is omitted by Blachère who does not see the link with what precedes and considers this verse to be a later insertion.

“announce,” bašširi. The Hebrew bâsar, in the piel construction only means “to announce” good news (Is 52:7; Is 61:1); in Greek euaggelizein, “to evangelise.” The person thus addressed is undoubtedly being identified with the beneficiary of the “revelation” mentioned above.

“work,” ʿamilū. In Hebrew ʿâmal means “to work.”

“for prosperity,” ʾa-ṣāliḥāti. Blachère translates it as “good.” Yet, to remain faithful to himself, he should have written: “the Reform!” (cf. verse 11 +) The “prosperity” of whom, of what? The “prosperity” of the “Land” (ibid).

“gardens,” jannātin, in the plural as in Sg 8:13. In Hebrew gan, the “garden” of Eden that God planted for man at the beginning, and that He will restore at the time of the restoration of Sion (Is 51:3).

“rivers,” ʾal-ʾanhāru. This plural undoubtedly also refers to the origins: “A river, nâhâr, rises in Eden to water the garden; beyond there it divides and becomes four branches” (Gn 2:10). At the same time, it refers to the restoration to come (Is 43:20).

“will flow,” tajrī. In Hebrew ʾâgar: “to earn, to amass,” which Gesenius relates to the Greek ageîrô, as well as to the Hebrew gârar, “to draw, to attract” upwards, with this observation: “By softening the roughness of the letter r we get ʾâgal and gâlal, which are used of the rolling and confluence of water.” (Am 5:24)

“from below,” min taḥtihā. Blachère’s translation: “gardens under which streams will flow,” overlooks the preposition min, “from,” and what is more, it makes no sense. Masson’s “gardens where streams flow” is intelligible but does not translate min taḥtihā. She admits in a footnote: “the text contains under,” and attempts to explain: “This expression undoubtedly alludes to the foliage evoked by the imagery of the garden; that is why the conjunction ‘where’ in the sense of ‘in which’ is preferable, which would give ‘The gardens where streams flow.’ ” In contrast, the Bible offers a parallel that can both explain the turn of phrase and throw light on the profound thought of the author: “I saw water flowing out from beneath, mittaḥat, the threshold of the Temple [...]. The water flowed down, mittaḥat, from under the right side of the Temple.” (The Book of Ezekiel 47:1) The image of the miraculous spring flowing from the Temple, which becomes a torrent, then an impassable river, begetting marvellous fruitfulness everywhere (cf. Is 43:20; Is 44:3; Is 49:9-10; Jl 4:18; Zc 14:8) announces the restoration, specifically referred to here by the Qurʾānic verse, of the garden of Eden in which “a stream was welling up out of the earth and was watering all the surface of the ground” (The Book of Genesis 2:6).

“regain strength from the palm tree,” an image of “the tree of life” (Gn 2:9; Gn 3:22), the symbol of immortality. By translating ṯamar as “fruit,” Blachère effaces the parallelism of the turn of phrase with that of the Book of Genesis: “to eat from the tree” (Gn 2:16-17). In Hebrew tâmâr is a “palm tree.”

“once” min qablu in the course of earthly life, during which they already ate from the tree of life by their fidelity to the law of God (Pr 3:18; Pr 11:30).

“they will come and sit,” waʾutū bihi mutašābihan. Blachère translates mutašābihan as “and (what) will be given to them will be similar,” which leaves the sentence unfinished and makes it necessary to add “to what they had on earth,” accompanied by this commentary: “This meaning is absolutely certain [?], although it troubles the commentators, who have interpreted the text in two ways: 1° the fruits received by the Blessed resemble those of the earth, but only in appearance; 2° the fruits of Paradise are similar, by their name, to those of the earth.” The reasons guaranteeing that “this meaning [which is unintelligible to the commentators] is absolutely certain,” are not given. Moreover bihi is left untranslated.

Hebrew ʾâtâh and yâšab, “to sit” to which is appended bihi (preposition b and the third person singular suffix). The feature is evocative of the beatitude of the Spouse of the Song of Songs: “As an apple tree among the trees of the woods, so is my Lover among men. I delight to sit, yâšabtî, in His shadow (with the preposition b) and His fruit is sweet to my mouth.” (The Song of Songs [Canticle of Canticles] 2:3; cf. Ho 14:8).

“wives,” ʾazwājun, literally: “yoke companions”. In Aramaic, zûgeyh (Targum Neofıti 1 and Tg J 2 Gn 1:27). “It is the Greek word zeugos, zugos, which has passed into the Aramaic vocabulary. It will become a verb meaning “to unite in marriage.” In the garden of the elect, there will be women according to God’s original plan Gn 2:18-25.

“purified” muṭahharatun. In Hebrew, ṭâhér: “to be pure.” The word evokes the ritual purity of woman (Lv 12; 15:19-30), the laws of which are set out with infinite precision in the Niddâh tractate of the Mishna and the Talmud. Here, however, the reference remains the biblical account of the origins, and the expression contrasts these spouses of eschatological times with the spouse, an instrument of temptation (Gn 3:6), a source of concupiscence (Gn 3:16; 2 S 11), both the occasion and symbol of all infidelities (Ho 1-3; Sg 1:5-6; Pr 2:16-19; Pr 7:6-27). The “purified wife” personifies the ‘wisdom-wife’ (Si 15:2; Ws 8:2) who is “resplendent” (The Book of Wisdom 6:12; which is the first meaning of the root ṭhr). She is the Spouse without “blemish” (Ct 4:7) because she has been purified by trials (Ho 2:21). She is the perfect woman (Pr 31:10-31; cf. Pr 11:16; Pr 12:4; Pr 18:22: “He who finds a wife finds happiness; it is a favour he receives from Yahweh”; cf. Pr 19:14).

“they will have their stable home” ẖālidūna, literally: “they will last,” without it being possible to specify whether it will be forever (contrary to what Blachère writes: “and they will be immortal there.”) The Hebrew hèlèd refers to the “span” of earthly life Ps 39:6); the word in itself does not contain the idea of immortality, but that of stability in what is good, a privilege that was lost at the origins (The Book of Genesis 3) by the instability of the woman that made the heavenly dwelling place ephemeral.

26. Blachère translates this verse as: “Allah is not at all ashamed to set forth in a parable a mosquito and what is above.” Masson renders it as: “God is not loath to set forth in a parable a gnat or something higher.” Grosjean writes: “A mosquito of some kind and something even smaller.” A mosquito or a gnat? Smaller or bigger? Aside from this insignificant note of Blachère’s: “and what is above, i.e., and some bigger animal” none of these authors provide the slightest commentary to justify his translation and explain its meaning in such a context.

In the last century, Kasimirski did not hesitate to provide the traditional explanation: “The Arabs reproached Muḥammad for combining grave and serious teachings with parables drawn from vile things, such as insects, for speaking about the bee, the spider and the ant. Here, Muḥammad is replying to this reproach.” Montet repeats the explanation: “Muḥammad thus responds indirectly to those who were offended to see him take as examples the bee, the ant and the spider” Still, in order for us to retain it in our turn, the mention of the “mosquito” should have some meaning here, bringing out the lesson of the “parable” that is drawn from this insect.

“does not make a revelation,” lā yastaḥiya. The Hebrew ḥâwâh, in the piel construction only, means “to announce, to reveal.” Against Blachère’s “to be ashamed.”

“to deliver the lesson that a parable imparts,” literally: “in order to say the advice and what arises from it in a parable” ʾan yarib maalan mā baʿūḍatan famā fawqahā. In Hebrew dâbar, “to speak,” with metathesis, and yâʿaṣ, “to advise” by correcting the diacritics and by reading: taʿûḍatan. In Aramaic nephaq, “to come out, to result.”

“conceal,” fayaʿlamūna. This revelation remains “concealed” (cf. Mt 11:25; Mt 13:11).

“the law,” ʾal-ḥaqqu. In Hebrew ḥâqaq, “to engrave” the “law” (Dt 4:1 and passim), but also the “boundary” Jb 26:10; Pr 8:27, Pr 8:29).

“What did God mean by this parable?” mā ḏā ʾarāda-llahu bihāḏā maṯalan, literally: “What did God send down by that in a parable” The Aramaic redeî, “to decide,” is akin to the Hebrew yârad: “to descend.” Like nazala (Q 2:4, 22, 23), this word refers to Moses to whom the rabbinic tradition gives the name yérèd because he “descended” the Law, because he was the instrument of the “descent” of the divine Presence (Lv R 1:3). Yahweh posed the same question to Ezekiel: mah hâ-mâšâl hazzèh Ezk 12:22).

“many,” kaṯīran obtained by correcting the diacritics to read: kabīran. In Hebrew kabbîr: “many.”

“those who abandon,” literally: “those who enter into schism,” ʾal-fāsiqīna. In Hebrew pâsaq: “to separate.”

As in the Gospel, the mashal, the parable seems to be a mode of instruction that already brings about a true differentiation that anticipates the eschatological judgement (Mt 13:10-15). That is why this verse fits in perfectly, despite what Blachère says in his commentary, after the recalling of the Last Things, the punishment for the blindness of the apostates and the reward for the faithfulness of the others (verse 24-25).

27. “ruin,” yanquḍūna. In Hebrew qâṣâh.

“the covenant of the God after having savoured it.” Blachère translates this without comment as “the pact of Allah after his Covenant.” If the word “covenant” is correct, it is of considerable importance, for it can only refer to one thing: the Covenant of Yahweh and the people of Israel, which is at the heart of the whole Jewish religion of the Old Testament, and which constitutes its specific difference from all other religions.

The accepted translation, however, errs through pleonasm: only the first word ʿahda refers to the covenant. In Hebrew ʿédâh means “testimony.” In Psalm 119, this word refers to the Law, in the broadest sense of a covenant that unites to God whoever observes it faithfully: “Your testimonies, ʿédoteîkâ, are my delight.” (Ps 119:24, passim)

The second word, mīṯāq, comes from the Hebrew mâtaq: 1° “to eat with delight,” 2° “to be gentle.”

“truncate,” yaqṭaʿūna. In Aramaic qeṭâʿ: “to cut, to cut out.”

“has said,” ʾamara. In Hebrew ʾâmar means “to say, to order, to speak.”

“for prayer,” ʾan yūṣala. In Aramaic elâʾ: “to pray” (Dn 6:11).

To break the covenant (which means no longer to have the faith, that is, to apostatise), to abstain from praying, in the manner set out by God himself, to do evil in the Land, these are the three wrongdoings that define apostates, and differentiate them from the “predestined” (verses 2-3). In the end, however, the apostates will be “the losers,” ʾal-ḥâsirûna. In Hebrew ḥâsér: “to be deprived, to lack something.” Such are the great themes of the body of this “canticle” or sūrah that we are about to enter, beginning with the history of the covenant.

1:1 +

Ps 68:20-21

Ac 9:2 +


Ps 78:1-7

1 R 19:10

Pr 2:6-8

Ps 1:6

Ba 3:32

Ba 3:37-38

Pr 9:7-9

= Jr 7:27

Is 6:9-10 +

Is 29:10-11

Mt 13:13 +

Jn 12:40

Ac 28:26-27

Ps 53:6

Jb 20:11

Jr 8 1-2


Is 29:13

Ps 78:8

Ps 78:36-37

Dt 31:27

Dt 32:5

Dt 32:20

Ps 31:18-19

Ws 4:19

Pr 30:11-14 +

Ct 2 :15 +

Pr 2:22

Ws 4:19


Ezr 4:2

Pr 2:16

Pr 5:3

Ps 5:10

Ps 55:22

Pr 1:26

Ws 4:18

Ps 2:4

Ps 37:13

Ps 59:9

Ct 8:7

Ho 2:8

Ex 24:17

Dt 4:36

Pr 6:23

Jb 29:3

Ps 119:105

Ezk 10:18

Ezk 11:22-23

Ps 42

Ps 43

Ex 19:16

Ex 20:18-19

Nb 9:15-23

Jn 12:35

Ps 74:9

= Rm 9:5

Ps 18:12

Is 45:15 +

Pr 1:20 +

Pr 8:4

Dt 32:6

Gn 1:1

Gn 1:6 +

Gn 2:5

Gn 2:17


Is 43:9

Jn 8:16-18

Dt 31:27

Is 50:11

Mt 25:41

Is 52:7

Gn 2:6

Gn 2:10

Ezk 47:1

Ct 2:3

Ct 4:7

Pr 18:22

Ps 49:5

Ps 78:2

Ezk 12:22


Mt 13:10-15

Ap 22:19

Régis Blachère, Le Coran, Introduction, Paris-Maisonneuve, 1947, p. 142.

Denise Masson. French Islamic scholar and translator of the Qurʾān (1901-1994). She was nicknamed the Lady of Marrakech because she resided in this Moroccan city. Her translation of the Qurʾān was published in the Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, 1967. It includes an introduction on the prophet Muḥammad and on the text Qurʾānic itself. Unfortunately her translation is entirely based on the Sīrah. Throughout his analysis, Brother Bruno refers to Denise Masson’s translation of the Qurʾān, along with Régis Blachère’s, for they are the only recent translators who show some concern for critical methods. Masson and Blachère will only serve Brother Bruno occasionally to emphasise the inconsistencies and contradictions of the “accepted meaning.” He does not systematically compare his exegesis with theirs. You will come to understand how totally pointless this would be as you advance in Brother Bruno’s commentary.

Denise Masson, Le Coran, Pléiade, 1967, republished in 1976, 1980, 1986, p. 779

Régis Blachère. French orientalist, Arabist and translator of the Qurʾān (1900-1973). He held the Arab Philosophy Chair at the Sorbonne and was the director of the Institute of Islamic Studies (Institut des études islamiques) in Paris. He published a history of Arabic literature (1952), a study on the problem posed by Muḥammad (1952), a translation of the Qurʾān (1950 and a new version in 1957), and an introduction to the Qurʾān (1959). He also co-authored a grammar of classical Arabic with Gaudefroy-Demombynes. Throughout his analysis, Brother Bruno refers to Régis Blachère’s translation of the Qurʾān, along with Denise Masson’s, for they are the only recent translators who show some concern for critical methods. Blachère and Masson will only serve Brother Bruno occasionally to emphasise the inconsistencies and contradictions of the “accepted meaning.” He does not systematically compare his exegesis with theirs. You will come to understand how totally pointless this would be as you advance in Brother Bruno’s commentary.

Régis Blachère, Le Coran, Introduction, Paris-Maisonneuve, 1947, pp. 146-149.

Otto Loth. German philologist, Arabist and orientalist (1844-1881). As the son of the councillor of the Royal Court of Saxony, he attended the princely school of Saint-Affre in Meissen. From 1863 to 1866, he studied Oriental philology at the University of Leipzig. In 1866, he presented his doctoral thesis: “On Abdallah ibn el Mutazz’s life and works.” From 1870 to 1872 Loth studied Arabic manuscripts in England, then in Tabari, Constantinople and Egypt. Upon his returning to Saxony, he was appointed professor at the University of Leibzig. In the years 1874-1880, Loth was in charge of the editorial staff of the magazine “Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft” (German Oriental Society). In 1881, Loth suggested to Theodor Nöldeke that the mysterious letters might have a distinct connection with the Jewish Kabbalah.

Ozar Rashe Tevot, col. 38.

Régis Blachère, Le Coran, Introduction, Paris-Maisonneuve, 1947, p. 5.

The Book of Daniel 10:21

I shall tell you what is written in the truthful book.

Tos Šab 14:4 et 115 b; j Šab 16:1, 15c; cf. Father Kurt Hruby, Autour du plus ancien rituel juif, p. 315.

Heinrich Friedrich Wilhelm Gesenius, German Hebrew philologist and orientalist (1786-1842). He pioneered the comparative method in the analysis of Chaldean, Hebrew and Aramaic. As he was steeped in rationalism, he abandoned the religious considerations that had prevailed until then in the study of the Semitic languages. Among other things, he wrote a Hebrew Grammar (Lexicon hebraïcum et chaldaïcum, edit. Leipzig, 1847) and a commented translation of the Book of Isaiah. His Hebrew-German lexicon served as the basis for the Brown-Driver-Briggs dictionary. German Hebrew philologist and orientalist (1786-1842). He pioneered the comparative method in the analysis of Chaldean, Hebrew and Aramaic. As he was steeped in rationalism, he abandoned the religious considerations that had prevailed until then in the study of the Semitic languages. Among other things, he wrote a Hebrew Grammar (Lexicon hebraïcum et chaldaïcum, edit. Leipzig, 1847) and a commented translation of the Book of Isaiah. His Hebrew-German lexicon served as the basis for the Brown-Driver-Briggs dictionary.

The Gospel According to Saint John 14:5

Thomas said to Jesus, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?”

The Acts of the Apostles 9:2

Saul asked the high priest for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that, if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.

The Book of Exodus 17:7

The place was called Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled there and tested Yahweh, saying, ‘Is Yahweh in our midst or not?’

The Book of Numbers 27:14

When the community quarreled in the Wilderness of Sin, both of you rebelled against my command to demonstrate My holiness in their sight at the waters.

The Book of Numbers 20:13

These are the Waters of Meribah, where the Israelites quarreled with Yahweh, and He demonstrated His holiness to them.

The Book of Numbers 20:24

You both rebelled against my commandment.

The Book of Psalms 81:8

At the waters of Meribah I tested you and said: Selah ‘Listen, my people, I give you warning! If only you will obey me, Israel’!

The Book of Psalms 95:8

Do not harden your hearts as at Meribah, as on the day of Massah in the desert.

The Book of Psalms 106:32

At the waters of Meribah they angered God, and Moses suffered because of them.

The Book of Qoheleth (Ecclesiastes)

1:15 What is crooked cannot be made straight.

The Book of Qoheleth (Ecclesiastes)

7:13 Consider the work of God; who can make straight what He has made crooked?

On taqqânâh, “recovery” or “restoration to the original state of man in his relationship to God,” see Father Kurt Hruby, Le Yom ha-Kippurim, p. 422.

Régis Blachère, Le Coran, Paris-Maisonneuve, 1947, Vol. III, p. 731.

The Book of Sirach 24:22

All this is the book of the Covenant of the Most High God, the law which Moses commanded us as an inheritance for the congregations of Jacob.

The Book of Baruch 4:1

She [wisdom] is the book of the commandments of God, and the law that endures forever. All who hold her fast will live, and those who forsake her will die.

The Book of Wisdom 1:2-4

Because the Lord is found by those who test Him not, and He manifests Himself to those who do not disbelieve Him. For perverse counsels separate a man from God, and His power, put to the proof, rebukes the foolhardy; Because into a soul that plots evil wisdom enters not, nor dwells she in a body under debt of sin.

The Book of Wisdom 8:19-20

I was a child of happy disposition, and a good soul fell to my lot; 20 or rather, being good, I entered an undefiled body.

The Book of Baruch 4:4

Blessed are we, O Israel; for what pleases God is known to us! Happy are we, O Israel, for we know what is pleasing to God.

The Book of Proverbs 1:32-33

32 For the self-will of the simple kills them, the smugness of fools destroys them. 33 But he who obeys me dwells in security, in peace, without fear of harm.

The Book of Wisdom 9:18

And thus were the paths of those on earth made straight, and men learned what was your pleasure, and were saved by Wisdom.

The Book of Baruch 3:13

Had you walked in the way of God, you would have dwelt in enduring peace.

Arthur Jeffery, Australian Methodist minister and renowned scholar of Middle Eastern languages and manuscripts (1892-1959). He taught at the School of Oriental Studies in Cairo (1921-1938), then from 1938 until his death jointly at Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He is the author of extensive historical studies of Middle Eastern manuscripts. His important works include Materials for the history of the text of the Qur’an: the old codices and The Foreign Vocabulary of the Qur’ān (1938), which traces the origins of 318 foreign (non-Arabic) words found in the Qur’ān.

Arthur Jeffery, The foreign vocabulary of the Qur’ān, Baroda, 1938, p. 70.

Father Kurt Hruby, Le Yom ha-Kippurim, p. 421.

Father Kurt Hruby, Le Yom ha-Kippurim, p. 421.

Otto Jastrow, German Professor Ordinarius for Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures (1942-....). He taught at two German universities (Heidelberg and Erlangen-Nürnberg) before taking office at Tallinn University in 2008. Over the decades he has conducted linguistic field work in a number of Middle Eastern countries, i.e., Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Israel. He speaks Arabic (several dialects), Turkish, Hebrew and Aramaic. He is author of 12 books and up to 100 articles. His main subjects of research are Neo-Aramaic languages and Arabic Dialectology. He holds a Ph.D. in Semitics and Islamology from the Saarbrücken University, and a Habilitation from the Erlangen University.

The Book of Exodus 20:15

You shall not steal.

The Book of Exodus 20:17

You shall not covet your neighbour’s house. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, nor his male or female slave, nor his ox or ass, nor anything else that belongs to him.

The Book of Micah 2:2

Woe to those who covet fields, and seize them; houses, and they take them.

The Book of Qoheleth (Ecclesiastes) 2:24

There is nothing better for man than to eat and drink and provide himself with good things by his labours. Even this, I realised, is from the hand of God.

The Book of Deuteronomy 12:7

There, too, before Yahweh, your God, you and your families shall eat and make merry over all your undertakings, because Yahweh, your God, has blessed you.

The Book of Deuteronomy 32:2

May my teaching drop as the rain, my discourse distil as the dew, as the gentle rain upon the tender grass, and as the showers upon the herb.

The Book of Isaiah 45:8

Let justice descend, O heavens, like dew from above, like gentle rain let the skies drop it down.

The Book of Proverbs 1:8

Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and reject not your mother’s teaching.

The Book of Proverbs 2:1

My son, if you receive my words and treasure my commands […] 

The Book of Isaiah 42:8

I am Yahweh, this is My Name; My glory I give to no other.

The Book of Isaiah 48:11

My glory I will not give to another.

The First Book of Kings 19:10

He answered: “I have been most zealous for Yahweh, the God of hosts, but the Israelites have forsaken Your Covenant, torn down Your altars, and put Your prophets to the sword. I alone am left, and they seek to take my life.”

The Book of Daniel 3:17

If our God, Whom we serve, can save us from the white-hot furnace and from your hands, O king, may He save us!

The Book of Daniel 7:14

He received dominion, glory, and kingship; nations and peoples of every language serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, His kingship shall not be destroyed.

b Sab 116 a.

The Book of Wisdom 1:4-5

Because into a soul that plots evil wisdom enters not, nor dwells she in a body under debt of sin. For the holy spirit of discipline flees deceit and withdraws from senseless counsels; and when injustice occurs it is rebuked.

The Book of Baruch 3:27

Not these did God choose, nor did he give them the way of understanding.

Arthur Jeffery, The foreign vocabulary of the Qur’ān, Baroda, 1938, p. 278, article naḏrun.

Denise Masson, Le Coran, Pléiade, 1967, republished in 1976, 1980, 1986, p. 780.

The Book of Isaiah 6:4

At the sound of that cry, the frame of the door shook and the house was filled with smoke.

The Book of Isaiah 6:9-10

And he replied: Go and say to this people: Listen carefully, but you shall not understand! Look intently, but you shall know nothing! 10 You are to make the heart of this people sluggish, to dull their ears and close their eyes; Else their eyes will see, their ears hear, their heart understand, and they will turn and be healed.

The Book of Exodus 20:18

When the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the trumpet blast and the mountain smoking, they all feared and trembled. So they took up a position much farther away.

The Epistle to the Romans 11:8

As it is written: ‘God gave them a spirit of deep sleep, eyes that should not see and ears that should not hear, down to this very day.’

Amram Gaon, Head of the Talmud Academy († 875). He was a famous Gaon or head of the Jewish Talmud Academy of Sura during the 9th century. His chief work was liturgical. He was the first to arrange a complete liturgy for use in the synagogue. His Prayer Book, Siddur Rab Amram, has exerted great influence upon Jewish religious practise and ceremonial for more than a thousand years, an influence which to some extent is still felt at the present day.

On the belief according to which the conservation of bones, considered to be the seat of the vital force, assures coming back to life, see Joseph Henninger, 1 Les fêtes de printemps chez les Sémites et la Pâque israélite, Études bibliques, Paris, 1975, p. 147-157.


Joseph Henninger, German orientalist and Catholic priest, member of the Steyler missionaries [Divine Word Society (SVD)] (1906-1991). After having completed his theological studies at the Pontificia Universitas Gregoriana in Rome in 1934, he went to Vienna, where he attended lectures on Ethnology, Prehistory and Physical Anthropology. In 1934 Henninger became a member of the Anthropos Institute, and he became the assistant editor of its journal in 1936, a position he held until 1949. When Austria became part of the Third Reich in 1938, the Anthropos Institute and its journal moved to Fribourg, Switzerland. He began lecturing at the University in Fribourg and became professor there in 1954. He became associate professor at the University in Bonn in 1964. Ten years later, Henninger took up a professorship at the Philosophical-Theological Faculty in St. Augustin, where he lectured throughout the following years. The regional focus of his work lay on Arabian countries in Northern and Eastern Africa, while the field of his interest included Semitic cultures as well as theories on sacrifice and research on Islam.

The Book of Numbers 24:14

‘But now that I am about to go to my own people, let me first warn you what this people will do to your people in the days to come.’

The Book of Isaiah 2:2

In the days to come the mountain of the Temple of Yahweh shall tower above the mountains and be lifted higher than the hills.

The Book of Micah 4:1

In the days to come the mountain of the Temple of Yahweh will be put on top of the mountains and be lifted higher than the hills.

The Book of Daniel 10:14

And have come to tell you what will happen to your people in the days to come.

Abū Jaʿfar Muḥammad ibn Jarīr al-Ṭabarī, influential Persian, scholar, compiler, and exegete of the Qurʾān (839-923). Ṭabarī was born in Amol, Tabaristan (modern Mazandaran, Province of Iran, some 20 km south of the Caspian Sea). He spent most of his life in Baghdad and composed all his works in Arabic. He was a professor of law and Ḥadīṯ. He is best known for his knowledge of Qurʾānic exegesis and Islamic jurisprudence He authored enormous compendiums. His major works were the Qurʾān Commentary (Tafsir al-Tabari) and the History of Prophets and Kings (Taʾrīkh al-Rusūl wa al-Mulūk).

Régis Blachère, Le Coran, Paris-Maisonneuve, 1947, Vol. III, p. 731.

The Book of Psalms 78:36-37

36 But they deceived Him with their mouths, lied to Him with their tongues. 37 Their hearts were not constant toward Him; they were not faithful to His Covenant.

The Book of Joshua 22:16-29

16 “Thus says the whole congregation of Yahweh: ‘What is this treachery which you have committed against the God of Israel in turning away this day from following Yahweh, by building yourselves an altar this day that you might rebel against Yahweh? 17 Have we not had enough of the sin at Peor from which even yet we have not cleansed ourselves, and for which there came a plague upon the congregation of Yahweh, 18 that you must turn away this day from following Yahweh? And if you rebel against Yahweh today he will be angry with the whole congregation of Israel tomorrow. 19 But now, if your land is unclean, pass over into Yahweh’s land where Yahweh’s tabernacle stands, and take for yourselves a possession among us; only do not rebel against Yahweh, or make us as rebels by building yourselves an altar other than the altar of Yahweh our God. 20 Did not Achan the son of Zerah break faith in the matter of the devoted things, and wrath fell upon all the congregation of Israel? And he did not perish alone for his iniquity.’ ” 21 Then the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh said in answer to the heads of the families of Israel: 22 The Mighty One, God, Yahweh! The Mighty One, God, Yahweh! He knows; and let Israel itself know! If it was in rebellion or in breach of faith toward Yahweh, spare us not today 23 for building an altar to turn away from following Yahweh; or if we did so to offer burnt offerings or cereal offerings or peace offerings on it, may Yahweh Himself take vengeance. 24 Nay, but we did it from fear that in time to come your children might say to our children: ‘What have you to do with Yahweh, the God of Israel? 25 For Yahweh has made the Jordan a boundary between us and you, you Reubenites and Gadites; you have no portion in Yahweh.’ So your children might make our children cease to worship Yahweh. 26 Therefore we said,Let us now build an altar, not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice, 27 but to be a witness between us and you, and between the generations after us, that we do perform the service of Yahweh in his presence with our burnt offerings and sacrifices and peace offerings; lest your children say to our children in time to come,You have no portion in Yahweh.’ 28 And we thought, If this should be said to us or to our descendants in time to come, we should say:Behold the copy of the altar of Yahweh, which our fathers made, not for burnt offerings, nor for sacrifice, but to be a witness between us and you.’ 29 Far be it from us that we should rebel against Yahweh, and turn away this day from following Yahweh by building an altar for burnt offering, cereal offering, or sacrifice, other than the altar of Yahweh our God that stands before His Tabernacle!

The Book of Genesis 1:1

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth.

The Book of Genesis 11:1

The whole world spoke the same language, using the same words.

The Book of Psalms 37: 9, 11, 22, 29

For the wicked shall be cut off; but those who wait for Yahweh shall possess the Land. […]

11 But the meek shall possess the Land, and delight themselves in abundant prosperity. […]

22 for those blessed by Yahweh shall possess the Land, but those cursed by him shall be cut off. […]

29 The righteous shall possess the Land, and dwell upon it forever.

The Book of Micah 3:3

They eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from them, and break their bones. They chop them in pieces like flesh in a kettle, and like meat in a caldron

The Book of Jeremiah 30:16

Yet all who devour you shall be devoured, all your enemies shall go into exile. All who plunder you shall be plundered, all who pillage you I will hand over to pillage.

The Book of Ezekiel 36:4-5

Therefore, mountains of Israel, hear the word of Yahweh: Thus says Yahweh God to the mountains and hills, the ravines and valleys, the desolate ruins and abandoned cities, which have been given over to the pillage and mockery of the remaining nations round about; therefore thus says Yahweh God: Truly, with burning jealousy I speak against the rest of the nations and against all of Edom who with wholehearted joy and utter contempt have considered my land their possession to be delivered over to plunder.

The Book of Nehemiah 3:33

When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, it roused his anger and he became very much incensed. He ridiculed the Jews.

The Book of Nehemiah 4:17

Neither I, nor my kinsmen, nor any of my attendants, nor any of the bodyguard that accompanied me took off his clothes; everyone kept his weapon at his right hand.

The Song of Songs (Canticle of Canticles) 2:15

Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that damage the vineyards; for our vineyards are in bloom!

The Book of Job 21:7-13

Why do the wicked survive, grow old, become mighty in power? Their progeny is secure in their sight; they see before them their kinsfolk and their offspring. Their homes are safe and without fear, nor is the scourge of God upon them. 10 Their bulls gender without fail; their cows calve and do not miscarry. 11 These folk have infants numerous as lambs, and their children dance. 12 They sing to the timbrel and harp, and make merry to the sound of the flute. 13 They live out their days in prosperity, and tranquilly go down to the nether world.

The Book of Psalms 60:8-14

In the sanctuary God promised: “I will exult, will apportion Shechem; the valley of Succoth I will measure out. Gilead is mine, mine is Manasseh; Ephraim is the helmet for my head, Judah, my own scepter. 10 Moab is my washbowl; upon Edom I cast my sandal. I will triumph over Philistia.” 11 Who will bring me to the fortified city? Who will lead me into Edom? 12 Was it not you who rejected us, God? Do you no longer march with our armies? 13 Give us aid against the foe; worthless is human help. 14 We will triumph with the help of God, Who will trample down our foes.

The Book of Proverbs 2:21-22

21 For the upright will inhabit the land, and men of integrity will remain in it; 22 but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the treacherous will be rooted out of it..

The Book of Proverbs 10:30

The righteous will never be removed, but the wicked will not dwell in the land.

The Book of Job 20:4-19

Do you not know this from of old, since man was placed upon earth, that the exulting of the wicked is short, and the joy of the godless but for a moment? Though his height mount up to the heavens, and his head reach to the clouds, he will perish forever like his own dung; those who have seen him will say: ‘Where is he?He will fly away like a dream, and not be found; he will be chased away like a vision of the night. The eye which saw him will see him no more, nor will his place any more behold him. 10 His children will seek the favour of the poor, and his hands will give back his wealth. 11 His bones are full of youthful vigor, but it will lie down with him in the dust. 12 Though wickedness is sweet in his mouth, though he hides it under his tongue, 13 though he is loath to let it go, and holds it in his mouth, 14 yet his food is turned in his stomach; it is the gall of asps within him. 15 He swallows down riches and vomits them up again; God casts them out of his belly. 16 He will suck the poison of asps; the tongue of a viper will kill him. 17 He will not look upon the rivers, the streams flowing with honey and curds. 18 He will give back the fruit of his toil, and will not swallow it down; from the profit of his trading he will get no enjoyment. 19 For he has crushed and abandoned the poor, he has seized a house which he did not build.

The Book of Psalms 49:13

For all their riches mortals do not abide; they perish like the beasts.

The Book of Psalms 49:21

For all their riches, if mortals do not have wisdom, they perish like the beasts.

The First Book of Samuel 2:1-10

Hannah also prayed and said: “My heart exults in Yahweh; my strength is exalted in Yahweh. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation. There is none holy like Yahweh, there is none besides You; there is no rock like our God. Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from Your mouth; for Yahweh is a God of knowledge, and by Him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble gird on strength. Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger. The barren has borne seven, but she who has many children is forlorn. Yahweh kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up. Yahweh makes poor and makes rich; he brings low, he also exalts. He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor. For the pillars of the earth are Yahweh’s, and on them He has set the world. He will guard the feet of His faithful ones; but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness; for not by might shall a man prevail. 10 The adversaries of Yahweh shall be broken to pieces; against them He will thunder in Heaven. Yahweh will judge the ends of the earth; He will give strength to His king, and exalt the power of His anointed.”

The Gospel According to Saint Luke 1:46-55

46 And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord; 47 My spirit rejoices in God My Saviour. 48 For He has regarded the lowliness of His Handmaid; behold, from now on will all ages call Me blessed. 49 The Mighty One has done great things for Me, and holy is His Name. 50 His mercy is from age to age to those who fear Him. 51 He has shown might with His arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. 52 He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. 53 The hungry He has filled with good things; the rich He has sent away empty. 54 He has helped Israel His servant, remembering His mercy, 55 according to His promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

The Book of Isaiah 7:14

But Yahweh Himself will give you this sign: the Virgin shall be with Child, and bear a Son, and shall name Him Emmanuel.

Régis Blachère, Le Coran, Paris-Maisonneuve, 1947, Vol. III, p. 732.

The Book of Isaiah 53:10

But Yahweh was pleased to crush Him in infirmity. If He gives his life as an offering for sin, He shall see His descendants in a long life, and the will of Yahweh shall be accomplished through Him.

The Book of Wisdom 4:20 sq.

They will come with dread when their sins are reckoned up, and their lawless deeds will convict them to their face.

Régis Blachère, Le Coran, Paris-Maisonneuve, 1947, Vol. III, p. 732.

The First Book of Kings 5:18

But now Yahweh my God has given me rest on every side; there is neither adversary nor misfortune.

The First Book of Kings 11:14

Yahweh then raised up an adversary to Solomon: Hadad the Edomite, who was of the royal line in Edom.

The First Book of Kings 11:23

God raised up against Solomon another adversary, in Rezon, the son of Eliada, who had fled from his lord, Hadadezer, king of Zobah.

The First Book of Kings 11:25

He was an adversary of Israel all the days of Solomon, doing mischief as Hadad did; and he abhorred Israel, and reigned over Syria.

The First Book of Samuel 29:4

The commanders of the Philistines were angry with him, and said to him: “Send the man back, that he may return to the place to which you have assigned him; he shall not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he become an adversary to us.”

The Book of Psalms 109:6

Appoint a wicked man against him; let an adversary bring him to trial.

The Book of Isaiah 52:15

So shall he sprinkle many nations, because of Him kings shall stand speechless; For those who have not been told shall see, those who have not heard shall ponder it.

The Book of Isaiah 56:10

My watchmen are blind, all of them unaware; They are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; Dreaming as they lie there, loving their sleep.

Palestinian Targum: The Book of Genesis 21:14

And Abraham rose up in the morning, and took bread and a cruse of water, and gave to Hagar to bear upon her shoulder, and bound it to her loins, to signify that she was a servant, and the child, and dismissed her with a letter of divorce (be-gitta). And she went, and wandered from the way into the desert which was hard by Beersheba.

Targum: The Book of Psalms 78:9

While they were living in Egypt, the sons of Ephraim became arrogant; they calculated the appointed time, and erred; they went out thirty years before the appointed time, with weapons of war, and warriors bearing bows. They turned around and were killed on the day of battle.

Jacqueline Picoche, Dictionnaire étymologique du français, Le Robert, Paris, 1979, au mot chasser, p. 122.

The Song of Songs (Canticle of Canticles) 8:7

Deep waters cannot quench love, nor floods sweep it away. Were one to offer all he owns to purchase love, he would be roundly mocked.

Targum: The Book of Genesis 15:1

Thereupon was the word of the Lord with Abram in a vision, saying: “Fear not; for if these men should gather together in legions and come against you, My Word will be your shield: and also if these fall before you in this world, the reward of your good works shall be kept, and be prepared before Me in the world to come, great exceedingly.”

The Book of Hosea 2:10

Since she has not known that it was I who gave her the grain, the wine, and the oil, And her abundance of silver, and of gold, which they used for Baal.

The Book of Hosea 2:15

I will punish her for the days of the Baals, for whom she burnt incense While she decked herself out with her rings and her jewels, and, in going after her lovers, forgot Me, says Yahweh.

The Book of Hosea 2:19

Then will I remove from her mouth the names of the Baals, so that they shall no longer be invoked.

The Book of Isaiah 1:21

How has she turned adulteress, the faithful city, so upright! Justice used to lodge within her, but now, murderers.

The Book of Ezekiel 16:22-23

22 In all your abominations and your harlotries you did not remember the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare, weltering in your blood. 23 “And after all your wickedness woe, woe to you! says the Lord Yahweh.”

Joüon, Grammaire de l’hébreu biblique, Rome, 1923, no. 36 b.

The Book of Exodus 3:2

There an angel of Yahweh appeared to him in fire flaming out of a bush. As he looked on, he was surprised to see that the bush, though on fire, was not consumed.

The Book of Ezekiel 1:4

As I looked, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness round about it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire, as it were gleaming bronze.

The Book of Exodus 24:17

To the Israelites the glory of Yahweh was seen as a consuming fire on the mountaintop.

The Gospel According to Saint Matthew 13:24

He proposed another parable to them. The Kingdom of Heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field.’

The Gospel According to Saint Matthew 13:31

He proposed another parable to them. ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field.’

The Gospel According to Saint Matthew 13:33

He spoke to them another parable. ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened.’

The Acts of the Apostles 2:3

Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them.

Mekhilta de Rabbi Ismaël, concerning Ex 19:18, ed. Horovitz, Bamberger & Wahrman, Jerusalem, 1960, p. 205.

The Book of Daniel 3:19-22

19 Nebuchadnezzar’s face became livid with utter rage against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace to be heated seven times more than usual 20 and had some of the strongest men in his army bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and cast them into the white-hot furnace. 21 They were bound and cast into the white-hot furnace with their coats, hats, shoes and other garments, 22 for the king’s order was urgent. So huge a fire was kindled in the furnace that the flames devoured the men who threw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into it.

The Book of Deuteronomy 6:5 +

Therefore, you shall love Yahweh, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.


Note from the Bible de Jérusalem

This love for God that corresponds to God’s love for His people, includes fear of God, the obligation of serving Him and the observance of His precepts. This commandment of love is not stated explicitly outside of Deuteronomy, but its equivalent is given by 2 K 23:25 (Before him there was no king like him, who turned to Yahweh with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; nor did any like him arise after him.) and Hos 6:6 (For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God, rather than burnt offerings.). For want of a precept, the sentiment of love for God is found throughout the prophetic books, especially Hosea and Jeremiah, and the Psalms. Jesus, quoting this verse 6:5, will give love of God as the greatest commandment, a love that embraces filial fear but excludes servile fear.

The Book of Genesis 37:30

Returning to his brothers, he exclaimed: ‘The boy is gone! And I, where can I turn?

The First Book of Kings 11:36

I will give his son one tribe, that my servant David may always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem, the city in which I choose to be honored.

The Book of Proverbs 6:23

For the commandment is a lamp, and the teaching a light.

The Book of Psalms 119:105

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path.

The Book of Job 29:3

While He kept His lamp shining above my head, and by His light I walked through darkness.

The Book of Psalms 18:29 +

It is You Yahweh Who are my lamp, give light to my lamp; Yahweh my God lightens my darkness.


Note from the Bible de Jérusalem

Translation according to the Book of Samuel. The Hebrew tones down the anthropomorphism “You light my lamp.”

The Book of Exodus 13:21

Yahweh preceded them, in the daytime by means of a column of cloud to show them the way, and at night by means of a column of fire to give them light.

The Book of Psalms 78:14

God led them with a cloud by day, all night with the light of fire.

The Book of Psalms 105:39

He spread a cloud as a cover, and made a fire to light up the night.

Targum: The Book of Genesis 3:24

When He expelled the man, He settled him east of the garden of Eden.

The Book of Ezekiel 10:18

Then the glory of Yahweh left the threshold of the Temple and rested upon the cherubim.

The Book of Ezekiel 11:22-23

22 Then the cherubim lifted their wings, and the wheels went along with them, while up above them was the glory of the God of Israel. 23 And the glory of Yahweh rose from the city and took a stand on the mountain which is to the east of the city.

The Book of Psalms 63:2

For You my soul thirsts.

The Book of Lamentations 1:2

Bitterly she weeps at night, tears upon her cheeks.

The Book of Lamentations 1:16

At this I weep, my eyes run with tears.

The Book of Psalms 42:12

Why are you downcast, my soul, why do you groan within me?

The Book of Psalms 43:5

Why are you downcast, my soul, why do you groan within me?

The Book of Psalms 42:3

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the Face of God?


Note from the Bible de Jérusalem

Behold the Face of God (in Hebrew “to appear before”), here it means to visit his sanctuary, the Temple of Jerusalem.

The Book of Isaiah 4:2

The fruit of the earth will be honour and splendour (liṣ·ḇî) for the survivors of Israel.

The Book of Isaiah 24:16

From the end of the earth we hear songs: ‘Splendour (ṣə·ḇî) to the Just One!’

The Book of Isaiah 28:5

On that day the Lord of hosts will be a crown of glory (ṣə·ḇî).

The Book of Exodus 15:15

Then were the princes of Edom dismayed; trembling seized the chieftains of Moab; All the dwellers in Canaan melted away.

The Book of Psalms 55:6

Fear and trembling overwhelm me; shuddering sweeps over me.

The Book of Deuteronomy 5:25-29

25 But why should we die now? Surely this great fire will consume us. If we hear the voice of Yahweh, our God, any more, we shall die. 26 For what mortal has heard, as we have, the voice of the living God speaking from the midst of fire, and survived? 27 Go closer, you, and hear all that Yahweh, our God, will say, and then tell us what Yahweh, our God, tells you; we will listen and obey.” 28 Yahweh heard your words as you were speaking to me and said to me, ‘I have heard the words these people have spoken to you, which are all well said. 29 Would that they might always be of such a mind, to fear Me and to keep all My commandments!’ Then they and their descendants would prosper forever.

Cf. the Mekhilta on the nations’ refusal of the offer of the Torah that God made to them first, and on Israel’s hesitations (cf. Father Kurt Hruby, Le concept de Révélation dans la théologie rabbinique, L’Orient Syrien, Vol. XI, fasc. 1, 1966, p. 46-48; fasc. 2, p. 169 sq.

The Book of Wisdom 17:1-18:4

17 1 Great are Your judgements and hard to describe; therefore uninstructed souls have gone astray. For when lawless men supposed that they held the holy nation in their power they themselves lay as captives of darkness and prisoners of long night, shut in under their roofs, exiles from eternal providence. For thinking that in their secret sins they were unobserved behind a dark curtain of forgetfulness, they were scattered, terribly alarmed, and appalled by spectres. For not even the inner chamber that held them protected them from fear, but terrifying sounds rang out around them, and dismal phantoms with gloomy faces appeared. And no power of fire was able to give light, nor did the brilliant flames of the stars avail to illumine that hateful night. Nothing was shining through to them except a dreadful, self-kindled fire, and in terror they deemed the things which they saw to be worse than that unseen appearance. The delusions of their magic are lay humbled, and their boasted wisdom was scornfully rebuked. For those who promised to drive off the fears and disorders of a sick soul were sick themselves with ridiculous fear. For even if nothing disturbing frightened them, yet, scared by the passing of beasts and the hissing of serpents, 10 they perished in trembling fear, refusing to look even at the air, though it nowhere could be avoided. 11 For wickedness is a cowardly thing, condemned by its own testimony; distressed by conscience, it has always exaggerated the difficulties. 12 For fear is nothing but surrender of the helps that come from reason; 13 and the inner expectation of help, being weak, prefers ignorance of what causes the torment. 14 But throughout the night, which was really powerless, and which beset them from the recesses of powerless Hades, they all slept the same sleep, 15 and now were driven by monstrous spectres, and now were paralyzed by their souls’ surrender, for sudden and unexpected fear overwhelmed them. 16 And whoever was there fell down, and thus was kept shut up in a prison not made of iron; 17 for whether he was a farmer or a shepherd or a workman who toiled in the wilderness, he was seized, and endured the inescapable fate; for with one chain of darkness they all were bound. 18 Whether there came a whistling wind, or a melodious sound of birds in wide-spreading branches, or the rhythm of violently rushing water, 19 or the harsh crash of rocks hurled down, or the unseen running of leaping animals, or the sound of the most savage roaring beasts, or an echo thrown back from a hollow of the mountains, it paralyzed them with terror. 20 For the whole world was illumined with brilliant light, and was engaged in unhindered work, 21 while over those men alone heavy night was spread, an image of the darkness that was destined to receive them; but still heavier than darkness were they to themselves. 18 But for your holy ones there was very great light. Their enemies heard their voices but did not see their forms, and counted them happy for not having suffered, and were thankful that your holy ones, though previously wronged, were doing them no injury; and they begged their pardon for having been at variance with them. Therefore you did provide a flaming pillar of fire as a guide for your people’s unknown journey, and a harmless sun for their glorious wandering. For their enemies deserved to be deprived of light and imprisoned in darkness, those who had kept your sons imprisoned, through whom the imperishable light of the law was to be given to the world.

The Book of Job 41:11

“Out of his mouth go forth firebrands; sparks of fire leap forth.”

The Book of Psalms 77:19

The thunder of your chariot wheels resounded; your lightning lit up the world; the earth trembled and quaked.

The Book of Ezekiel 1:4

As I looked, a storm wind came from the North, a huge cloud with flashing fire enveloped in brightness, from the midst of the fire something gleamed like electrum.

The Book of Ezekiel 1:13

In among the living creatures something like burning coals of fire could be seen; they seemed like torches, moving to and fro among the living creatures. The fire gleamed, and from it came forth flashes of lightning.

The Book of Psalms 18:15

He shot His lightning bolts and dispersed them.

The Book of Psalms 97:3-4

Fire goes before him; everywhere it consumes the foes. Lightning illumines the world; the earth sees and trembles.

The Book of Habakkuk 3:11

At the light of your flying arrows, at the gleam of your flashing spear (bə·raq).

The Book of Leviticus 10:1-3

During this time Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers and, strewing incense on the fire they had put in them, they offered up before Yahweh profane fire, such as He had not authorised. Fire therefore came forth from Yahweh’s presence and consumed them, so that they died in His presence. Moses then said to Aaron, “This is as Yahweh said: Through those who approach Me I will manifest My sacredness; In the sight of all the people I will reveal My glory.” But Aaron said nothing.

The Book of Numbers 16:35

And fire from Yahweh came forth which consumed the two hundred and fifty men who were offering the incense.

The Second Book of Kings 1:10 sq

Elijah answered the captain: “If I am a man of God, may fire come down from Heaven and consume you and your fifty men.” And fire came down from Heaven and consumed him and his fifty men.

The Book of Exodus 13:21-22

21 Yahweh preceded them, in the daytime by means of a column of cloud to show them the way, and at night by means of a column of fire to give them light. 22 Thus they could travel both day and night. Neither the column of cloud by day nor the column of fire by night ever left its place in front of the people.

Cf. Joan Copeland Biella, Dictionary of Old South Arabic, 1982, articles MšW et MšY, p. 285.

The Song of Songs (Canticle of Canticles) 3:1 +

On my bed at night I sought Him Whom my heart loves – I sought Him but I did not find Him.


Note from the Bible de Jérusalem

To seek Yahweh, to find or not to find Him: these are expressions that the prophets use frequently. Before letting Himself be found, Yahweh demands a conversion of heart.

One must “seek Yahweh,” that is to say, seek to know His will in order to put it into practice, “to seek good and not evil.” Thus, one seeks (verb: darash) Yahweh by attending His sanctuaries, but also by consulting Him through a man of God, or by “seeking His Word” either in a book or through a prophet. Another expression (usually the verb: biqqesh) indicates rather that one seeks “the Face of God,” that is to say, the presence of Yahweh. The two expressions, however, are related: one seeks “the Face” of Yahweh in order to know His will, and His presence is often manifested by His oracles. This “seeking of Yahweh” is an essential religious attitude in the Old Testament. In the New Testament one must likewise “seek the Kingdom.”

The Book of Isaiah 5:30

They will growl over it on that day, like the roaring of the sea. And if one look to the land, behold, darkness and distress; and the light is darkened by its clouds.

The Book of Isaiah 21:11

Oracle on Edom: They call to me from Seir, ‘Watchman, how much longer the night? Watchman, how much longer the night?’

The Book of Isaiah 26:9

My soul yearns for You in the night, yes, my spirit within me keeps vigil for You; When Your judgement dawns upon the earth, the world’s inhabitants learn justice.

The Book of Psalms 130:6

My soul looks for Yahweh more than sentinels for daybreak.

The Book of Isaiah 9:1

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone,

The Book of Isaiah 42:7

To open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.

The Gospel According to Saint Luke 1:79

To shine on those who sit in darkness and death’s shadow, to guide our feet into the path of peace.

The Book of Psalms 77:9

Has God’s love ceased forever? Has the promise failed for all ages?

The Book of Lamentations 2:9

Sunk into the ground are her gates; He has removed and broken her bars. Her king and her princes are among the pagans; priestly instruction is wanting, and her prophets have not received any vision from Yahweh.

The Book of Ezekiel 7:26

There shall be disaster after disaster, rumor after rumor. Prophetic vision shall fade; instruction shall be lacking to the priest, and counsel to the elders.

The Book of Jeremiah 5:1

Roam the streets of Jerusalem, look about and observe, search through her public places, to find even one who lives uprightly and seeks to be faithful, and I will pardon her!

The Book of Jeremiah 7:2

Stand at the gate of the house of Yahweh, and there proclaim this message: Hear the word of Yahweh, all you of Judah who enter these gates to worship Yahweh.

The Book of Proverbs 1:20

Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the open squares she raises her voice.

The Book of Psalms 119:73

Your hands made me and fashioned me.

The Book of Job 10:8

Your hands have formed me and fashioned me.

The Book of Lamentations 3:29

Let him put his mouth to the dust; perhaps there may yet be hope.

b Ḥag 4 b.

The Book of Genesis 2:4

Such is the story of the heavens and the earth at their creation. At the time when Yahweh God made the earth and the heavens.

The Book of Psalms 18:46

Foreigners lost heart, and came trembling out of their fastnesses.

The Book of Joel 1:12

The vine has dried up, the fig tree is withered; The pomegranate, the date palm also.

The Song of Songs (Canticle of Canticles) 7:9

I said: I will climb the palm tree.

The Book of Genesis 2:5

While as yet there was no field shrub on earth and no grass of the field had sprouted, for Yahweh God had sent no rain upon the earth and there was no man to till the soil.

The Book of Leviticus 12:2

Say to the people of Israel: “If a woman conceives, and bears a male child, then she shall be unclean seven days; as at the time of her menstruation, she shall be unclean.”

The Book of Leviticus 20:21

If a man takes his brother’s wife, it is impurity; he has uncovered his brother’s nakedness, they shall be childless.

The Book of Ezekiel 7:20

In the beauty of their ornaments they put their pride: they made of them their abominable images (their idols). For this reason I make them refuse.

The Book of Lamentations 1:8

Jerusalem sinned grievously, therefore she became filthy; all who honored her despise her, for they have seen her nakedness; yes, she herself groans, and turns her face away.

The Book of Lamentations 1:17

Sion stretches out her hands, but there is none to comfort her; Yahweh has commanded against Jacob that his neighbors should be his foes; Jerusalem has become a filthy thing among them.

The Book of Zechariah 13:1

On that day there shall be open to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, a fountain to purify from sin and uncleanness.

The Book of Ezra 9:11

The land which you are entering to take as your possession is a land unclean with the filth of the peoples of the land, with the abominations with which they have filled it from one end to the other in their uncleanness.

The Second Book of Chronicles 29:5

Hezekiah said to them: ‘Listen to me, you Levites! Sanctify yourselves now and sanctify the house of Yahweh, the God of your fathers, and clean out the filth from the sanctuary.

Translation of: “ Ne donnez point de parèdres à Allah.”

The Book of Isaiah 44:21

Remember this, O Jacob, you, O Israel, who are My servant!

The Book of Isaiah 50:4

Yahweh God has given me a well-trained tongue, That I might know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them. Morning after morning He opens my ear that I may hear.

The Book of Deuteronomy 32:2

May my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distil as the dew, as the gentle rain upon the tender grass, and as the showers upon the herb.

Hirschfeld has a different explanation. He conjectures that “the disfigurement of many Biblical names and words mentioned in the Qorân is due to misreadings in his (Muhammad’s) own notes made with unskilled hand... Surah, written in square characters (סורה) could easily be misread from Sidra (סדרה).” New Researches..., p. 13 n. (quoted by Abraham I. Katsh, Judaism in Islam. Biblical and Talmudic Backgrounds of the Koran and its commentaries, p. 3, n. 3). The interpretation is plausible if one considers the external and post-Qurʾānic data concerning the identity of its author. Internal criticism alone, however, has already allowed us to recognise too shrewd a biblical scholar to adopt such a conjecture. The transposition of the Hebrew roots into Arabic subjected them to a definite transformation, but it is the work of a masterful hand.

The Book of Genesis 31:47

Laban called it Jegar-sahadutha (which means “witness pile” [a memorial of stones] in Aramaic), but Jacob named it Galeed (which means the same in Hebrew).

The Book of Job 16:19

Even now, behold, my witness is in Heaven, and my spokesman is on high.

The Book of Isaiah 40:31

They that hope in Yahweh will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles’ wings; They will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.

The Book of Psalms 69:7

Let those who wait for You, Lord of hosts, not be shamed through me. Let those who seek You, God of Israel, not be disgraced through me.

The Book of Lamentations 3:25

Good is Yahweh to one who waits for Him, to the soul that seeks Him.

The Book of Jeremiah 15:14

I will make you serve your enemies in a land which you do not know, for in My wrath a fire is kindled which shall burn forever.

The Book of Jeremiah 17:4

You will relinquish your hold on your heritage which I have given you. I will enslave you to your enemies in a land that you know not: For a fire has been kindled by My wrath that will burn forever.

The Book of Isaiah 42:25

So He poured out wrath upon them, His wrath, and the fury of battle. It blazed round about them, yet they did not realise, it burned them, but they took it not to heart.

The Gospel According to Saint Matthew 25:41

Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.

The First Book of Kings 18:38

Yahweh’s fire came down and consumed the holocaust, wood, stones, and dust, and it lapped up the water in the trench.

The Book of Isaiah 52:7

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings glad tidings.

The Book of Isaiah 61:1

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because Yahweh has anointed me; He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly, to heal the broken-hearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners.

The Song of Songs (Canticle of Canticles) 8:13

O you who dwell in the gardens, my companions are listening for your voice; let me hear it.

The Book of Isaiah 51:3

Yes, Yahweh shall comfort Sion and have pity on all her ruins. Her deserts He shall make like Eden, her wasteland like the garden of Yahweh; Joy and gladness shall be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of song.

The Book of Isaiah 43:20

Wild beasts honor Me, jackals and ostriches, for I put water in the desert and rivers in the wasteland for My Chosen People to drink.

The Book of Amos 5:24

Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

Denise Masson, Le Coran, Pléiade, 1967, republished in 1976, 1980, 1986, p. 781

Denise Masson, Le Coran, Pléiade, 1967, republished in 1976, 1980, 1986, p. CXIII.

The Book of Isaiah 43:20

Wild beasts honor me, jackals and ostriches, For I put water in the desert and rivers in the wasteland for My Chosen People to drink.

The Book of Isaiah 44:3

I will pour out water upon the thirsty ground, and streams upon the dry land; I will pour out My Spirit upon your offspring, and My blessing upon your descendants.

The Book of Isaiah 49:9-10

Saying to the prisoners: Come out! To those in darkness: Show yourselves! Along the ways they shall find pasture, on every bare height shall their pastures be. 10 They shall not hunger or thirst, nor shall the scorching wind or the sun strike them; For He Who pities them leads them and guides them beside springs of water.

The Book of Joel 4:18

And then, on that day, the mountains shall drip new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk; And the channels of Judah shall flow with water: A fountain shall issue from the house of Yahweh, to water the Valley of Shittim.

The Book of Zechariah 14:8

On that day, living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea, and half to the western sea, and it shall be so in summer and in winter.

The Book of Genesis 2:9

And out of the ground Yahweh God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

The Book of Genesis 3:22

Then Yahweh God said: “Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever.

The Book of Proverbs 3:18

She is a tree of life to those who grasp her, and he is happy who holds her fast.

The Book of Proverbs 11:30

The fruit of virtue is a tree of life, but violence takes lives away.

Régis Blachère, Le Coran, Paris-Maisonneuve, 1947, Vol. III, p. 734, no. 23.

The Book of Hosea 14:8

Again they shall dwell in his shade and raise grain; They shall blossom like the vine, and his fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.

Roger Le Déaut, Targum des Chroniques. Introduction et traduction, t. 1, p. 82, n. 19.


Le Déaut (Roger) French religious of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit, professor and author (1923-2000). After brilliant studies, first in France and then in Rome, in literature, linguistics and Holy Scripture, he was assigned to the French Seminary in Rome where he was professor of liturgy. He devoted himself above all to studying Sacred Scripture. His master’s degree in the field of Aramaic philology and literature soon led him to be appointed professor at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome (1964 to 1994) where he was professor of Aramaic and Targumic language and literature. Father Le Déaut specialised in the study of ancient Judaism. His major works are his doctoral thesis, “La nuit pascale,” [essay on the meaning of the Jewish Passover from the Targum of Exodus XII] (1963), the translation of the Targum of the Chronicles (1971) and, in the collection “Sources chrétiennes,” the translation, in 4 volumes, of the entire “Targum of the Pentateuch,” (1978-81) He also made numerous contributions to several scholarly journals.

The Book of Genesis 2:18-25

18 Then Yahweh God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 So out of the ground Yahweh God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So Yahweh God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh; 22 and the rib which Yahweh God had taken from the man He made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24 Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.

The Book of Genesis 3:6

The woman saw that the tree was good for food, pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

The Book of Genesis 3:16

To the woman he said: ‘I will intensify the pangs of your childbearing; in pain shall you bring forth children. Yet your urge shall be for your husband, and he shall be your master.’

The Second Book of Samuel 11:1-5

In the spring of the year, the time when kings go forth to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they ravaged the Ammonites, and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking upon the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said: “Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?So David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her. Now she was purifying herself from her uncleanness. Then she returned to her house. And the woman conceived; and she sent and told David, “I am with child.”

The Song of Songs (Canticle of Canticles) 1:5-6

I am very dark, but comely, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon. Do not gaze at me because I am swarthy, because the sun has scorched me. My mother’s sons were angry with me, they made me keeper of the vineyards; but, my own vineyard I have not kept!

The Book of Proverbs 2:16-19

16 Saving you from the wife of another, from the adulteress with her smooth words, 17 Who forsakes the companion of her youth and forgets the pact with her God; 18 For her path sinks down to death, and her footsteps lead to the shades; 19 None who enter thereon come back again, or gain the paths of life.

The Book of Proverbs 7:6-27

For at the window of my house I have looked out through my lattice, and I have seen among the simple, I have perceived among the youths, a young man without sense, passing along the street near her corner, taking the road to her house in the twilight, in the evening, at the time of night and darkness. 10 And lo, a woman meets him, dressed as a harlot, wily of heart. 11 She is loud and wayward, her feet do not stay at home; 12 now in the street, now in the market, and at every corner she lies in wait. 13 She seizes him and kisses him, and with impudent face she says to him: 14 I had to offer sacrifices, and today I have paid my vows; 15 so now I have come out to meet you, to seek you eagerly, and I have found you. 16 I have decked my couch with coverings, colored spreads of Egyptian linen; 17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. 18 Come, let us take our fill of love till morning; let us delight ourselves with love. 19 For my husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey; 20 he took a bag of money with him; at full moon he will come home.” 21 With much seductive speech she persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him. 22 All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a stag is caught fast 23 till an arrow pierces its entrails; as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life. 24 And now, O sons, listen to me, and be attentive to the words of my mouth. 25 Let not your heart turn aside to her ways, do not stray into her paths; 26 for many a victim has she laid low; yes, all her slain are a mighty host. 27 Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death.

The Book of Sirach 15:2

Motherlike she will meet him, like a young bride she will embrace him.

The Book of Wisdom 8:2

Her I loved and sought after from my youth; I sought to take her for my bride and was enamored of her beauty.

The Book of Hosea 2:21

I will espouse you to me forever: I will espouse you in right and in justice, in love and in mercy.

The Book of Proverbs 11:16

A gracious woman wins esteem, but she who hates virtue is covered with shame.

The Book of Proverbs 12:4

A worthy wife is the crown of her husband.

The Book of Proverbs 19:14

A prudent wife is from Yahweh.

The Book of Psalms 39:6

You have given my days a very short span; my life is as nothing before you. All mortals are but a breath.

Translation of: “Allah n’a point honte de proposer en parabole quelque moustique et ce qui est en dessus.”

Translation of: “Dieu ne répugne pas à proposer en parabole un moucheron ou quelque chose de plus relevé.”

Translation of: “Un moustique quelconque et plus petit encore.”

Kasimirski (Albert Felix Ignace) ou Biberstein (Albin de) Polish-born Catholic orientalist (1808-1887). He studied oriental languages at the University of Warsaw and Berlin. He fled to France in 1830 after the Tsar Nicolas I crushed the Polish Insurrection in which he had taken part. He became attaché at the French Mission of Persia and in 1851 entered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Entrusted with revising the second translation of the Qur’ān into French [that of Claude-Étienne Savary (1783)], he ended up publishing his own translation: Le Koran, traduction nouvelle faite sur le texte arabe, 1840, Paris, Charpentier, 511 pp. He also published a Dictionnaire arabe-français, containing all the roots of the Arabic language and their derivatives, Paris, Maisonneuve et Cie, 2 volumes, 1860.

Kasimirski, Le Koran, Paris 1844, p. 17, no. 1. Since then, this translation has repeatedly been reedited. The present pocketbook edition, however, makes no mention of this explanation.

Montet (Édouard) An orientalist and Doctor of Theology, and Professor of Eastern Languages (1856-1934). He was Rector of the Faculty of Theology at the University of Genève. He made a very literal translation of the Qurʾān “placing the sūrahs in their context. Régis Blachère recognised that he owed Montet a debt of gratitude.

Edouard, Montet, Le Coran, Paris 1958, p. 76, n. 6.

The Gospel According to Saint Matthew 11:25

At that time Jesus said in reply, ‘I give praise to You, Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.’

The Gospel According to Saint Matthew 13:11

He said to them in reply, ‘Because knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted.’

The Book of Deuteronomy 4:1

And now, O Israel, give heed to the statutes and the ordinances which I teach you, and do them; that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land which Yahweh, the God of your fathers, gives you.”

The Book of Job 26:10

He has marked out a circle on the surface of the deep as the boundary of light and darkness.

The Book of Proverbs 8:27

When He established the heavens, I was there ; when He traced a circle on the surface of the deep.

The Book of Proverbs 8:29

When Yahweh fixed a limit to the sea so that the waters should not overstep its edge, when he fortified the foundations of the earth.

The Book of Ezekiel 12:22

“Son of man, what is this proverb that you have about the land of Israel, saying: ‘The days grow long, and every visions comes to naught’?”

The Gospel According to Saint Matthew 13:10-15

10 The disciples approached Him and said, ‘Why do you speak to them in parables?11 He said to them in reply: “Because knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted. 12 To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because ‘they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.’ 14 Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says: ‘You shall indeed hear but not understand you shall indeed look but never see. 15 Gross is the heart of this people, they will hardly hear with their ears, they have closed their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and be converted, and I heal them.’ ”

This and the following verses seem to be the repetition or the revision of previous revelations.” (Régis Blachère, Le Coran, Paris-Maisonneuve, 1947, Vol. III, p. 735, no. 24).

The Book of Daniel 6:11

Even after Daniel heard that this law had been signed, he continued his custom of going home to kneel in prayer and give thanks to his God.

The Book of Psalms 68:20-21

20 Blessed be Yahweh day by day, God, our salvation, Who carries us. Selah 21 Our God is a God Who saves; escape from death is in the hands of Yahweh God.

Note from the Bible de Jérusalem, 1961.

The “Way” designates the lifestyle that characterises the Christian community and, indirectly, this community itself. By following this “Way,” we serve God as He wishes to be served. This use of the term in the absolute construction is specific to The Acts of the Apostles.

2:63 +

à déterminer

The Book of Psalms 78:1-7

A maskil of Asaph. Attend, my people, to my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in story, drawing lessons from of old. We have heard them, we know them; our ancestors have recited them to us. We do not keep them from our children; we recite them to the next generation, the praiseworthy and mighty deeds of Yahweh, the wonders that He performed. God set up a decree in Jacob, established a law in Israel: What He commanded our ancestors, they were to teach their children; That the next generation might come to know, children yet to be born. In turn they were to recite them to their children, that they too might put their trust in God, And not forget the works of God, keeping His commandments.

The First Book of Kings 19:10

I am filled with jealous zeal for Yahweh Sabaoth, because they have broken down Your altars and put Your prophets to the sword. I am the only one left and they want to take my life too.

The Book of Proverbs 2:6-8

For Yahweh gives wisdom, from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He has counsel in store for the upright, He is the shield of those who walk honestly, 8 guarding the paths of justice, protecting the way of His pious ones.

The Book of Psalms 1:6

Yahweh watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked leads to ruin.

The Book of Baruch 3:32

Yet He Who knows all things knows her; He has probed her by His knowledge, He who established the earth for all time, and filled it with four-footed beasts.

The Book of Baruch 3:37-38

37 He has traced out all the way of understanding, and has given her to Jacob, His servant, to Israel, His beloved son. 38 Since then she has appeared on earth, and moved among men.

The Book of Proverbs 9:7-9

He who corrects an arrogant man earns insult; and he who reproves a wicked man incurs opprobrium. Reprove not an arrogant man, lest he hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you. 9 Instruct a wise man, and he becomes still wiser; teach a just man, and he advances in learning.

The Book of Jeremiah 7:27

When you speak all these words to them, they will not listen to you either; when you call to them, they will not answer you.

The Book of Isaiah 6:9-10 +

And He replied: Go and say to this people: Listen carefully, but you shall not understand! Look intently, but you shall know nothing! 10 You are to make the heart of this people sluggish, to dull their ears and close their eyes; Else their eyes will see, their ears hear, their heart understand, and they will turn and be healed.


Note from the Bible de Jérusalem, 1961.

This sentence, which will be quoted by the Gospels (cf. Mt 13:13), is written in a very Semitic construction. It does not mean that the people’s obstinacy is directly willed by God; it is foreseen by God and enters into His plan. Therefore, it must not discourage the prophet.

The Book of Isaiah 29:10-11

10 For Yahweh has poured out on you a spirit of deep sleep. He has shut your eyes (the prophets) and covered your heads (the seers). 11 For you the revelation of all this has become like the words of a sealed scroll. When it is handed to one who can read, with the request, ‘Read this,’ he replies, ‘I cannot; it is sealed.’

The Gospel According to Saint Matthew 13:13 +

This is why I speak to them in parables, because ‘they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.’


Note from the Bible de Jérusalem, 1961.

It is this wilful and culpable obstinacy that is the cause and explanation of the withdrawal of grace. All the preceding texts (in Saint Matthew’s Gospel), prepared this parabolic discourse by illustrating this obstinacy. The full light of the humble and hidden character of true Messianism would only cause these obscured minds to close their eyes more tightly. To them, Jesus can only provide a light softened by symbols, a pale light that will still be a grace, an entreaty to ask for better and to receive more.

The Gospel According to Saint John 12:40

He blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, so that they might not see with their eyes and understand with their heart and be converted, and I would heal them.

The Acts of the Apostles 28:26-27

26 ’Go to this people and say: You shall indeed hear but not understand. You shall indeed look but never see. 27 Gross is the heart of this people; they will not hear with their ears; they have closed their eyes, so they may not see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and be converted, and I heal them.’

The Book of Psalms 53:6

They have good reason to fear, though now they do not fear. For God will certainly scatter the bones of the godless. They will surely be put to shame, for God has rejected them.

The Book of Job 20:11

Though his frame is full of youthful vigour, this shall lie with him in the dust.

The Book of Jeremiah 8:1-2

At that time, says Yahweh, the bones of the kings and princes of Judah, the bones of the priests and the prophets, and the bones of the citizens of Jerusalem will be emptied out of their graves and spread out before the sun and the moon and the whole army of heaven, which they loved and served, which they followed, consulted, and worshiped. They will not be gathered up for burial, but will lie like dung upon the ground.

The Book of Isaiah 29:13

Yahweh said: Since this people draws near with words only and honours Me with their lips alone, though their hearts are far from Me, And their reverence for Me has become routine observance of the precepts of men.

The Book of Psalms 78:8

They were not to be like their ancestors, a rebellious and defiant generation, A generation whose heart was not constant, whose spirit was not faithful to God.

The Book of Psalms 36-37

36 But they deceived Him with their mouths, lied to Him with their tongues. 37 Their hearts were not constant toward Him; they were not faithful to His covenant.

The Book of Deuteronomy 31:27

For I already know how rebellious and stiff-necked you will be. Why, even now, while I am alive among you, you have been rebels against Yahweh! How much more, then, after I am dead!

The Book of Deuteronomy 32:5

Yet basely has He been treated by His degenerate children, a perverse and crooked race!

The Book of Deuteronomy 32:20

I will hide My Face from them,” He said, “and see what will then become of them. What a fickle race they are, sons with no loyalty in them!

The Book of Psalms Ps 31:18-19

18 Do not let me be put to shame, for I have called to You, Yahweh. Put the wicked to shame; reduce them to silence in Sheol. 19 Strike dumb their lying lips, proud lips that attack the just in contempt and scorn.

The Book of Wisdom 4:19

And they shall afterward become dishonoured corpses and an unceasing mockery among the dead. For He shall strike them down speechless and prostrate and rock them to their foundations; They shall be utterly laid waste and shall be in grief and their memory shall perish.

The Book of Proverbs 30:11-14 +

11 There is a group of people that curses its father, and blesses not its mother. 12 There is a group that is pure in its own eyes, yet is not purged of its filth. 13 There is a group, how haughty their eyes! how overbearing their glance! 14 There is a group whose incisors are swords, whose teeth are knives, Devouring the needy from the earth, and the poor from among men.


Note from the Bible de Jérusalem, 1961.

It is uncertain whether this description must be applied to a specific category, nation or social class.

The Song of Songs (Canticle of Canticles) 2:15 +

Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that damage the vineyards; for our vineyards are in bloom!


Note from the Bible de Jérusalem, 1961.

The little foxes are the troublesome neighbours, Samaritans, Ammonites, Arabs and Philistines, hostile to Juda’s restoration.

The Book of Proverbs 2:22

But the wicked will be cut off from the land, the faithless will be rooted out of it.

The Book of Wisdom 4:19

And they shall afterward become dishonoured corpses and an unceasing mockery among the dead. For he shall strike them down speechless and prostrate and rock them to their foundations. They shall be utterly laid waste and shall be in grief and their memory shall perish.

The Book of Ezra 4:2

They approached Zerubbabel and the family heads and said to them, “Let us build with you, for we seek your God just as you do, and we have sacrificed to Him since the days of Esarhaddon, king of Assyria, who had us brought here.”

The Book of Proverbs 2:16

Saving you from the wife of another, from the adulteress with her smooth words.

The Book of Proverbs 5:3

The lips of an adulteress drip with honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil.

The Book of Psalms 5:10

For there is no sincerity in their mouths; their hearts are corrupt. Their throats are open graves; on their tongues are subtle lies.

The Book of Psalms 55:22

Softer than butter is their speech, but war is in their hearts. Smoother than oil are their words, but they are unsheathed swords.

The Book of Proverbs 1:26

I, in My turn, will laugh at your doom; I will mock when terror overtakes you;

The Book of Wisdom 4:18

They see, and hold Him in contempt; but Yahweh laughs them to scorn.

The Book of Psalms 2:4

The One enthroned in Heaven laughs; Yahweh derides them.

The Book of Psalms 37:13

But Yahweh laughs at them, knowing their day is coming.

The Book of Psalms 59:9

You, Lord, laugh at them; You deride all the nations.

The Song of Songs (Canticle of Canticles) 8:7

Or if one loves justice, the fruits of her works are virtues; For she teaches moderation and prudence, justice and fortitude, and nothing in life is more useful for men than these.

The Book of Hosea 2:8

Therefore, I will hedge in her way with thorns and erect a wall against her, so that she cannot find her paths.

The Book of Exodus 24:17

Taking the book of the Covenant, he read it aloud to the people, who answered: “All that Yahweh has said, we will heed and do.”

The Book of Deuteronomy 4:36

Out of the heavens He let you hear His voice to discipline you; on earth He let you see His great fire, and you heard Him speaking out of the fire.

The Book of Proverbs 6:23

For the bidding is a lamp, and the teaching a light, and a way to life are the reproofs of discipline.

The Book of Job 29:3

While He kept His lamp shining above my head, and by His light I walked through darkness;

The Book of Psalms 119:105

May my ways be firm in the observance of Your laws!

The Book of Ezekiel 10:18

Then the glory of Yahweh left the threshold of the temple and rested upon the cherubim.

The Book of Ezekiel 11:22-23

22 Then the cherubim lifted their wings, and the wheels went along with them, while up above them was the glory of the God of Israel. 23 And the glory of Yahweh rose from the city and took a stand on the mountain which is to the east of the city.

The Book of Psalms 42

For the leader. A maskil of the Korahites.

As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for You, O God.

My being thirsts for God, the living God. When can I go and see the Face of God?

My tears have been my food day and night, as they ask daily, “Where is your God?”

Those times I recall as I pour out my soul, when I went in procession with the crowd,
I went with them to the House of God,
Amid loud cries of thanksgiving, with the multitude keeping festival.

Why are you downcast, my soul; why do you groan within me?
Wait for God, Whom I shall praise again, my Savior and my God.

My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember
You from the land of the Jordan and Hermon, from the land of Mount Mizar.

Here deep calls to deep in the roar of Your torrents.
All your waves and breakers sweep over me.

At dawn may Yahweh bestow faithful love that I may sing praise through the night,
praise to the God of my life.

10 I say to God, “My Rock, why do You forget me?
Why must I go about mourning with the enemy oppressing me?”

11 It shatters my bones, when my adversaries reproach me.
They say to me daily: “Where is your God?”

12 Why are you downcast, my soul, why do you groan within me?
Wait for God, Whom I shall praise again, my Savior and my God.]]

The Book of Psalms 43

Grant me justice, God; defend me from a faithless people;
from the deceitful and unjust rescue me.

You, God, are my strength. Why then do You spurn me?
Why must I go about mourning, with the enemy oppressing me?

Send Your light and fidelity, that they may be my guide
And bring me to Your holy mountain, to the place of Your dwelling,

That I may come to the altar of God, to God, my joy, my delight.
Then I will praise You with the harp, O God, my God.

Why are you downcast, my soul? Why do you groan within me?
Wait for God, Whom I shall praise again, my Savior and my God.]]

The Book of Exodus 19:16

On the morning of the third day there were peals of thunder and lightning, and a heavy cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled.

The Book of Exodus 20:18-19

18 When the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the trumpet blast and the mountain smoking, they all feared and trembled. 19 So they took up a position much farther away and said to Moses: ‘You speak to us, and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we shall die.’

The Book of Numbers 9:15-23

15 On the day when the Dwelling was erected, the cloud covered the Dwelling, the tent of the commandments; but from evening until morning it took on the appearance of fire over the Dwelling. 16 It was always so: during the day the Dwelling was covered by the cloud, which at night had the appearance of fire. 17 Whenever the cloud rose from the tent, the Israelites would break camp; wherever the cloud came to rest, they would pitch camp. 18 At the bidding of Yahweh the Israelites moved on, and at His bidding they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the Dwelling, they remained in camp. 19 Even when the cloud tarried many days over the Dwelling, the Israelites obeyed Yahweh and would not move on; 20 yet sometimes the cloud was over the Dwelling only for a few days. It was at the bidding of Yahweh that they stayed in camp, and it was at His bidding that they departed. 21 Sometimes the cloud remained there only from evening until morning; and when it rose in the morning, they would depart. Or if the cloud lifted during the day, or even at night, they would then set out. 22 Whether the cloud tarried over the Dwelling for two days or for a month or longer, the Israelites remained in camp and did not depart; but when it lifted, they moved on. 23 Thus, it was always at the bidding of Yahweh that they encamped, and at His bidding that they set out; ever heeding the charge of Yahweh, as He had bidden them through Moses.

The Gospel According to Saint John 12:35

Jesus said to them, ‘The light will be among you only a little while. Walk while you have the light, so that darkness may not overcome you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where he is going.

The Book of Psalms 74:9

Now we see no signs, we have no prophets, no one who knows how long.

The Epistle to the Romans 9:5

[…] God Who is over all be blessed forever.

The Book of Psalms 18:12

He made darkness the cover about him; his canopy, heavy thunderheads.

The Book of Isaiah 45:15 +

Truly with you God is hidden, the God of Israel, the saviour!

The Book of Proverbs 1:20 +

Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the open squares she raises her voice.


Note from the Bible de Jérusalem, 1961.

Like the prophets, personified Wisdom moves through the streets and pursues the inhabitants to impose her teaching on them.

The Book of Proverbs 8:4

To you, O men, I call; my appeal is to the children of men.

The Book of Deuteronomy 32:6

Is Yahweh to be thus repaid by you, O stupid and foolish people? Is he not your father who created you? Has he not made you and established you?

The Book of Genesis 1:1

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth.

The Book of Genesis 1:6

Then God said, ‘Let there be a vault in the middle of the waters, to separate one body of water from the other.’


Note from the Bible de Jérusalem, 1961.

For the ancient Semites, the visible “vault” of the sky was a solid dome that held back the superior waters. Through its openings streamed the waters of the Flood.

The Book of Genesis 2:5

While as yet there was no field shrub on earth and no grass of the field had sprouted, for Yahweh God had sent no rain upon the earth and there was no man to till the soil.

The Book of Genesis 2:17

From that tree [of knowledge of good and evil] you shall not eat; the moment you eat from it you are surely doomed to die.

The Book of Isaiah 43:9

Let all the nations gather together, let the peoples assemble! Who among them could have revealed this, or foretold to us the earlier things? Let them produce witnesses to prove themselves right, that one may hear and say, ‘It is true!’

The Gospel According to Saint John 8:16-18

16 ’And even if I should judge, My judgment is valid, because I am not alone, but it is I and the Father Who sent Me. 17 Even in your law it is written that the testimony of two men can be verified. 18 I testify on My behalf and so does the Father Who sent Me.’

The Book of Deuteronomy 31:27

For I already know how rebellious and stiff-necked you will be. Why, even now, while I am alive among you, you have been rebels against Yahweh! How much more, then, after I am dead!

The Book of Isaiah 50:11

All of you kindle flames and carry about you fiery darts; Walk by the light of your own fire and by the flares you have burnt! This is your fate from my hand: you shall lie down in a place of pain.

The Gospel According to Saint Matthew 25:41

Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.

The Book of Isaiah 52:7

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings glad tidings, Announcing peace, bearing good news, announcing salvation, and saying to Zion, ‘Your God is King!’

The Book of Genesis 2:6

A stream was welling up out of the earth and was watering all the surface of the ground.

The Book of Genesis 2:10

A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers.

The Book of Ezekiel 47:1

Then he brought me back to the entrance of the temple, and I saw water flowing out from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the facade of the temple was toward the east; the water flowed down from the southern side of the temple, south of the altar.

The Song of Songs (Canticle of Canticles) 2:3

As an apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my Beloved among young men. With great delight I sat in His shadow, and His fruit was sweet to my taste.

The Song of Songs (Canticle of Canticles) 4:7

You are all fair, my love; there is no flaw in you.

The Book of Ezekiel 12:22

Son of man, what is this proverb that you have in the land of Israel: ‘The days drag on, and no vision ever comes to anything’?

The Book of Psalms 49:5

I will incline my ear to a proverb; I will solve my riddle to the music of the lyre.

The Book of Psalms 78:2

I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old.

The Book of Proverbs 18:22

He who finds a wife finds happiness; it is a favour he receives from Yahweh.

The Book of the Apocalypse 22:19

If anyone takes away from the words in this prophetic book, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the Holy City described in this book.

2:106 +

To be determined.

The Gospel According to Saint Matthew 13:10-15

10 The disciples approached Him and said: “Why do you speak to them in parables?11 He said to them in reply, “Because knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted. 12 To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables, becausethey look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.’ 14 Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says: ‘You shall indeed hear but not understand you shall indeed look but never see. 15 Gross is the heart of this people, they will hardly hear with their ears, they have closed their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and be converted, and I heal them.’ ”