David's Zabur, Quran and Jesus


Psalm 23 is the best-known psalm in the Zabur [David’s Book of Psalms] both among Christians and Jews. But for Muslims, who rarely read the Zabur, psalm 37 which is referred to in the Qur’an (21:105) may be the best psalm.

The Zabur (Arabic: زبور) is according to Islam, the holy book of Dawud (David), one of the three holy books revealed by God before the Quran, alongside the Tawrat (Torah) of Musa (Moses) and the Injil (Gospel) of Īsā (Jesus). (Qur’an 4:163, 17:55 and 21:105)

The Qur'an states: "We have written in the Zabur after the reminder [of Musa] that ‘My righteous servants shall inherit the earth.’" This verse is a close parallel to Psalm 37, ascribed specifically to David, which states five times that eventually goodness always overcomes evil; and God’s “righteous servants shall inherit the earth.”

According to Psalm 37 the “righteous servants [who] shall inherit the earth” are:

“...those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land." 37:9

"But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity." 37:11

"Those the Lord blesses will inherit the land"... 37:21-2

"The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever." 37:28-9

"Hope in the Lord and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land." 37:34

The term zabur is the Arabic equivalent of the Hebrew zimrah (Hebrew meaning: "song, music.") It, along with zamir (Hebrew: “song"), and mizmor (Hebrew meaning: "psalm") are derivatives of the Hebrew verb  meaning: "sing, make music.”)

The 150 psalms of the Zabur were sung during daily or holy days prayers in the Jerusalem Temple and are still sung or chanted in Jewish synagogues throughout the world today. Almost all of these psalms are short as can be seen from the following Hadith.

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "The reciting of the Zabur (Psalms) was made easy for David. He used to order that his riding animals be saddled, and would finish reciting [one song from] the Zabur before they were [all] saddled." (al-Bukhari, 4:55:628 and Book 65, Hadith 4713)

The most controversial psalm in David’s Zabur is Psalm 2, which is quoted 7 times in the New Testament, and each quote the Christians claim concerns Lord Jesus, the Son of God. This is of course denied by both Jews and Muslims.

The verses that are supposed to refer to Jesus as the Son of God are 6, 7, and 12

Psalm 2: 1 Why do the nations conspire, and the peoples plot in vain?

2 The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the LORD and against his anointed [Messiah], saying,

3 “Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.”

4 The One enthroned in heaven [God] laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.

5 He [God] rebukes them [the nations] in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,

6 “I have installed my king [David’s dynasty not Prophet Jesus who was never a ruler in his lifetime] on Zion, my holy mountain.” Jesus himself said: "I am indeed a servant of Allah: He hath given me revelation and made me a prophet.” (19:30)

7 I will proclaim the LORD’s decree.” “He [God] said to me [David], “You are my son [not literal but metaphorically like the Jewish People who God calls: “My first-born son” [in Exodus 4:22-23]; today [a moment in time, so the son image is not of an eternal being] I have become your father.” The Qur’an states: “It is not consonant with the majesty of [Allah] Most Gracious that He should beget a son”. (19:92)

8 Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. 9 You will break them with a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.

10 Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth.

11 Serve the LORD with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling.

12 Kiss son [the word bar in Aramaic means son, but every other word in this psalm is Hebrew, and in Hebrew bar means purity so the phrase really means kiss/embrace purity] or He will be angry, and your [impure] way will lead to your destruction, for His wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in Him.” (Psalm 2:1-12)

Thus, the Qur’an states: Allah will say: "O Jesus the son of Mary! Did you say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah'?" He [Jesus] will say: "Glory to You; never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, you would indeed have known it. You know what is in my heart . . .” (5:116)

 

Rabbi Maller's web site is: www.rabbimaller.com. His new book ‘Judaism and Islam as Synergistic Monotheisms: A Reform Rabbi's Reflections on the Profound Connectedness of Islam and Judaism’ (31 articles by Rabbi Maller previously published by Islamic web sites) is now for sale ($15) on Amazon.



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