Shafaqna – Dawood (David) and Jalut (Goliath) Part-2
بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
وَقَالَ لَهُمْ نَبِيُّهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ قَدْ بَعَثَ لَكُمْ طَالُوتَ مَلِكًا ۚ قَالُوا أَنَّىٰ يَكُونُ لَهُ الْمُلْكُ عَلَيْنَا وَنَحْنُ أَحَقُّ بِالْمُلْكِ مِنْهُ وَلَمْ يُؤْتَ سَعَةً مِّنَ الْمَالِ ۚ قَالَ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ اصْطَفَاهُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَزَادَهُ بَسْطَةً فِي الْعِلْمِ وَالْجِسْمِ ۖ وَاللَّـهُ يُؤْتِي مُلْكَهُ مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ ﴿٢٤٧ ﴾
2:247 And their prophet said to them: “Indeed, Allah (SWT) has sent to you Talut (Saul) as a king.” They said: “How can he have kingship over us while we are more worthy of kingship than him, and he has not been given any measure of wealth?” He said: “Indeed, Allah (SWT) has chosen him in preference to you and has increased him abundantly in knowledge and stature. And Allah (SWT) gives Divine Sovereignty to whom God wills. And Allah (SWT) is all-Encompassing [in favor] and Knowing.”
Commentary: The Israelites had asked Prophet Samuel (AS) to pray to Allah (SWT) to send them a king so that they fight under his command with Jalut (Goliath), who had endangered their lives. Allah (SWT) responded to Prophet Samuel’s (AS) invocation and chose Talut (Saul) as a king for them. Talut was a poor man, and his appointment to kingship dismayed the Children of Israel. Hence, they tried to persuade Prophet Samuel to reconsider his choice. Verse 2:247 narrates the Israelites’ opposition to Prophet Samuel’s decision.
Prophet Samuel informs the Israelites that Allah (SWT) has sent to them Talut as a king:
وَقَالَ لَهُمْ نَبِيُّهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ قَدْ بَعَثَ لَكُمْ طَالُوتَ مَلِكًا …﴿٢٤٧ ﴾
2:247 And their prophet said to them: “Indeed, Allah (SWT) has sent to you Talut (Saul) as a king…”
The Israelites opposed the appointment of Talut as their king, though he was Allah’s (SWT) choice. They said to Prophet Samuel (AS):
… قَالُوا أَنَّىٰ يَكُونُ لَهُ الْمُلْكُ عَلَيْنَا وَنَحْنُ أَحَقُّ بِالْمُلْكِ مِنْهُ وَلَمْ يُؤْتَ سَعَةً مِّنَ الْمَالِ … ﴿٢٤٧ ﴾
2:247 …They said: “How can he have kingship over us while we are more worthy of kingship than him and he has not been given any measure of wealth…
The Israelis opposed the appointment of Talut for two reasons. First, they felt that they had more merit for kingship than Talut (وَنَحْنُ أَحَقُّ بِالْمُلْكِ مِنْهُ). But the verse does not mention why they thought they were more qualified for this position.
The commentators state that Israel’s prophets and kings were from two distinct and respected families, and Talut was not from these two families. Therefore, in the Israelites’ view, prominent members from these two families were more worthy of the kingship than Talut [Al-Mizan, Vol.2, P.434].
Prophet Samuel (AS) refuted their objection for two reasons: first, Allah (SWT) had chosen him above others, and God could give God’s kingship to whom God wills:
… قَالَ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ اصْطَفَاهُ عَلَيْكُمْ … وَاللَّـهُ يُؤْتِي مُلْكَهُ مَن يَشَاءُ … ﴿٢٤٧ ﴾
2:247 …He said: “Indeed, Allah (SWT) has chosen him over you. ….And Allah (SWT) gives Divine Sovereignty (kingdom) to whom God wills.”
Second, the Israelites argued that Talut was a poor man. They could not comprehend that a poor man could rule over them. Prophet Samuel (AS) reject their reasoning by stating that Allah (SWT) blessed him with abundant knowledge and strength.
… وَلَمْ يُؤْتَ سَعَةً مِّنَ الْمَالِ ۚ قَالَ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ … زَادَهُ بَسْطَةً فِي الْعِلْمِ وَالْجِسْمِ … ﴿٢٤٧ ﴾
2:247 …and he has not been given any measure of wealth?” He said: “Allah (SWT) has increased him abundantly in knowledge and stature.”
In summary, the Israelites asked Allah (SWT) to appoint them a king. Once He did, they opposed God’s choice because Talut was a poor and underprivileged man. Israelites did not realize that Allah (SWT) endowed him with abundant knowledge and physical strength to lead Israelis to victory. Furthermore, Allah (SWT) is the owner of sovereignty, and He could give kingship to whom He pleases [Al-e-Imran, 3:26]. The verse ends with this statement that Allah’s (SWT) kindness is All-Encompassing and All-knowing (وَاللَّـهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ).
Wasi (وَاسِعُ) is the active participle (اسم فاعل) of as-sa’ah (السَّعَةٌ), which means capacity, such as the capacity of a water bottle. Wasi (وَاسِعُ) also means vast and spacious. Wasi (وَاسِعُ) is one of the names of Allah (SWT), and it translated to All-Encompassing because His presence, mercy, forgiveness, and knowledge encompasses and surrounds everything. For instance, verse 2:115 names Allah (SWT) as Wasi (وَاسِعُ), since His presence encompasses and surrounds every being. This is why Allah (SWT) is named as Omnipresent:
وَلِلَّـهِ الْمَشْرِقُ وَالْمَغْرِبُ ۚ فَأَيْنَمَا تُوَلُّوا فَثَمَّ وَجْهُ اللَّـهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ ﴿١١٥ ﴾
2:115 To Allah (SWT) belong the East and the West. Whichever way you turn, there is Allah’s (SWT) presence. Allah (SWT) is Omnipresent and Omniscient.
Also, Wasi (وَاسِعُ) refers to Allah’s vast and unbounded mercy, forgiveness, and knowledge. For instance, in chapter 53:32 (An-Najm) Wāsiʿu l-Maghfirati (وَاسِعُ الْمَغْفِرَةِ) means vast in forgiveness:
الَّذِينَ يَجْتَنِبُونَ كَبَائِرَ الْإِثْمِ وَالْفَوَاحِشَ إِلَّا اللَّمَمَ ۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ وَاسِعُ الْمَغْفِرَةِ … ﴿٣٢ ﴾
[An-Najm] 53: 32 Those who avoid the major sins and immoralities, only [committing] slight ones. Indeed, your Lord is vast in forgiveness…
(وَاسِعًا) All-Encompassing, (وَاسِعَةٍ) vast (وَاسِعَةٌ) spacious
2:247 [وَقَالَ] And said [لَهُمْ] to them [نَبِيُّهُمْ] their prophet, [إِنَّ] indeed, [اللَّـهَ] Allah [قَدْ] has surely [بَعَثَ] raised [لَكُمْ] for you [طَالُوتَ] Talut [مَلِكًا] as a king. [قَالُوا] They said, [أَنَّىٰ] How [يَكُونُ] can be [لَهُ] for him [الْمُلْكُ] the kingship [عَلَيْنَا] over us, [وَنَحْنُ] While we [أَحَقُّ] are more entitled [بِالْمُلْكِ] to kingship [مِنْهُ] tan him, [وَلَمْ] and not [يُؤْتَ] he has been given [سَعَةً] abundance [مِّنَ] of [الْمَالِ] the wealth? [قَالَ] He said, [إِنَّ] Indeed, [اللَّـهَ] Allah (SWT) [اصْطَفَاهُ] has chosen him [عَلَيْكُمْ] over you [وَزَادَهُ] and increased him [بَسْطَةً] abundantly [فِي] in [الْعِلْمِ] the knowledge [وَالْجِسْمِ] and the physique. [وَاللَّـهُ] And Allah (SWT) [يُؤْتِي] gives [مُلْكَهُ] God’s kingdom [مَن] to whom [يَشَاءُ] God wills. [وَاللَّـهُ] And Allah (SWT) [وَاسِعٌ] is All-encompassing [عَلِيمٌ] All-knowing.