All direct quotes from
the Bible are taken from the New International Version.
 All direct quotes from
the Quran are taken from the Yusuf Ali translation.
 As we will see in Part
II, mass immigration from Canaan into Egypt in ancient times is historically
 The reason given by the
Bible for the Pharaoh’s oppression of the Israelites is their great
number. They had multiplied greatly and
had reached a point where “the land was filled with
them”. However, this description
is certainly not historically accurate and also contradicts other passages of
the Bible (where the Israelite numbers are clearly implied as being quite
small), as we will see later.
 The 14th- century
Muslim exegete Ibn Kathir stated in his book “Stories of the Prophets”:
pharaoh who ruled Egypt was a tyrant who oppressed the descendants of Jacob,
known as the children of Israel (Bani Israel). He used every means to demean
and disgrace them. They were kept in bondage and forced to work for him for
small wages or nothing. Under this system the people obeyed and worshipped the
pharaoh, and the ruling class carried out his orders, thereby authorizing his
tyranny and crazy whims.
pharaoh wanted the people to obey him only, and to believe in the gods of his
invention. Perhaps, during that time, there were many classes of people who did
not believe in or practice polytheism; however, they kept this to themselves
and outwardly did as they were expected to do, without revolting or revealing
themselves to anyone.
Thus, successive dynasties came to Egypt and assumed that they
were gods or their representatives or spokesmen.
passed, and a despotic king, who was adored by the Egyptians, ruled Egypt. This
king saw the children of Israel multiplying and prospering” (http://www.islamicstudies.info/prophets/prophets.php?id=16).
This suggests that
the oppression of the Israelites went on for some time and under successive
regimes, until the birth of Moses and the Exodus from Egypt. In fact, Islamic scholar Suzanne Haneef
explains that the oppression of the Israelites may have begun around the same
time the Hyksos dynasty was expelled from Egypt. She states:
“…in about 1550 B.C., when the Egyptians
revolted against the Hyksos kings and overthrew them, the Israelites’ situation
changed dramatically. At that time, a
pharaoh came to power who had nothing but contempt for the foreign descendants
of the Hebrew patriarch Jacob, regarding them as a despised race, fit to be
subjugated and harassed. Consequently,
the Israelites were enslaved, persecuted and abused by their Egyptian masters
until such time as God Most High raised among the descendants of Abraham two great
brother prophets whose importance in the history of religion has hardly been
History of the Prophets of Islam: Derived from the Quran, Ahadith and
Commentaries, Volume 2 (Chicago: Kazi Publications, Inc., 2003), p. 8).
It would seem that the persecution of the Israelites then
continued for several centuries until the arrival of the prophets Moses and
Aaron, and the subsequent Exodus of the Israelites.
 The Biblical episode is
self-contradictory and logically flawed.
According to the account, the Pharaoh ordered the Hebrew midwives to
kill the male infants, yet Exodus 1:15 mentions that two midwives, Shiphrah and
Puah, were given this task, despite the fact that the Israelites were so
numerous that the “land was filled with them”!
How could two midwives be expected to commit thousands of infant
murders? In addition, why would the
Pharaoh have entrusted Hebrew midwives to kill Hebrew children, when he had his
powerful army at his disposal? Clearly,
the Pharaoh could not have been so short-sighted and incompetent, especially
since he was so concerned with Egypt’s security! Ironically, when the midwives failed to
carry out Pharaoh’s orders, he eventually ordered his own people to do the job.
this particular Pharaoh, the famous Islamic exegete and historian Al-Tabari
stated that there was:
“…no pharaoh more ruthless, harder-hearted, or of more evil
character toward the Israelites than he…” (As cited in Haneef, op. cit., p. 12).
It is for this reason that the Quran states regarding this
Pharaoh elated himself in the land and broke up its people into sections,
depressing a small group among them: their sons he slew, but he kept alive
their females: for he was indeed a maker of mischief” (Surah Al-Qasas, 28:4).
According to the Bible, it was the Pharaoh’s daughter who named the baby
“Moses”, because she thought it meant “I drew him
out of the water” in Hebrew. Yet
this cannot be accurate, as Fatoohi and Al-Dargazelli explain (emphasis in the
“First, it suggests that the Egyptian
princess knew Hebrew…Second, the
explanation given for the name depends upon similarity in sound rather than
correct etymology. The name ‘Moses’
(Hebrew: Mōšeh) could be an active
participle of the Hebrew verb ‘māšāh,’
which means ‘draw out,’ whereas the Biblical explanation of the name requires a
passive participle. One would expect the
baby to have been called ‘he who is being drawn out’ rather than ‘he who arise
out of’…The Biblical etymology of the name reflects a misunderstanding of the
meaning of the Egyptian root from which the name Moses is derived…” (The Mystery of
Israel in Ancient Egypt: The Exodus in the Qur’an, the Old Testament,
Archaeological Finds, and Historical Sources (Birmingham: Luna Plena
Publishing, 2008), p. 65).
And as the late Biblical scholar John Bright explained:
names prevalent in early Israel, especially in the tribe of Levi, certainly
argue for a connection with Egypt. Among
these are those of Moses himself, Hophni, Phineas, Merari, and possibly Aaron
and others” (A
History of Israel, Third Edition (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1981),
Bright also explained in a footnote that:
(from the verb meaning ‘be born’ is an element in such names as Thutmosis,
Ramesses, etc., with the name of the deity omitted” (Ibid., fn. 30, p. 121).
 In contrast to the
Biblical version, which states that it was the Pharaoh’s daughter who found
Moses, the Quranic version states that it was the wife of the Pharaoh (known in
Islamic sources as Asiya), who found the infant and persuaded her husband to raise
the child as their own.
we come across another contradiction in the Biblical account. In Exodus 2, the “priest of Midian” whose
daughter (Zipporah) Moses marries is identified as
“Reuel”. However, in the very
next chapter, he is identified as “Jethro” (Exodus
3:1). In addition, he is identified as “Hobab” in Judges 4:11, and as “Hobab son of Reuel” in Numbers 10:29. Biblical apologists, such as Kenneth A.
Kitchen, have surmised that multiple names were a common occurrence in Egypt,
but as Fatoohi and Al-Dargazelli correctly point out:
“…Moses’ father-in-law definitely cannot be ‘Reuel’ and ‘Hobab
son of Reuel’ at the same time!” (Fatoohi and Al-Dargazelli, op. cit., p. 66).
Other apologists have claimed that “Reuel” could actually
have been the “chief patriarch” and the “grandfather” or “great-grandfather” of
Zipporah, whereas Jethro/Hobab was her actual father, and hence Moses’
father-in-law. See the following
Christian website for this explanation: http://www.tektonics.org/lp/mosdad.php
Yet this argument clearly fails for a simple reason. When Exodus 2 identifies the “priest of
Midian” as “Reuel”, he is clearly identified as having seven daughters (Exodus
2:11) and is also referred to as their “father” (Exodus 2:18). There is no indication that he was actually
the “chief patriarch” or Zipporah’s “grandfather”. This is just an excuse invented by apologists
who do not want to admit the plain contradiction.
Another problem is that while “Reuel” and “Jethro” are
clearly old men, “Hobab” is seemingly described as a young man. As the “Jewish Virtual Library” states
(emphasis in the original):
“The roles of Jethro and Hobab are so different as to preclude
identity. The former is an old man who already had seven grown daughters when
Moses arrived in Midian and who gave Moses in the wilderness the kind of advice
that could only be the product of mature wisdom. Hobab is a young, vigorous man
who could withstand the rigors of acting as a guide in the wilderness
wanderings. He is, therefore, not the father-in-law, but the son-in-law of
Moses, and ḥoten in Numbers 10:29 and Judges 4:11 should be read ḥatan” (http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/Jethro.html).
the actual reason is for the multiple and confusing identities of Moses’
father-in-law, it must be admitted that there is an inconsistency, which would
hardly be characteristic of a supposedly “inerrant” and “inspired” book.
 Unlike the Bible, the
Quran does not contain any reference to the death of one Pharaoh and the
ascension of another. Hence, it is
likely that the “Pharaoh of the Oppression” is the same as the “Pharaoh of the
Exodus”. We will revisit this issue in
Part III when we attempt to identify the Pharaoh of the Exodus, inshaAllah.
 During the trip back to
Egypt, Moses had another interesting encounter with the divine. According to Exodus 4:24, while Moses was
staying at a “lodging place”, God came to
him to kill him! However, due to a
quick-thinking Zipporah, Moses was spared.
Zipporah quickly circumcised Moses’ son and touched Moses’ feet with the
foreskin, thereby saving her husband from God’s wrath. Biblical scholars have explained that the
reason for this strange episode was that Moses had been slow to circumcise his
son, because he was more concerned with going back to Egypt as God had
commanded him. The Jewish commentator
Rashi also added that it was due to the fact that Moses was more concerned with
“his lodging” than circumcising his son, which is why he was threatened with
to say, this story is not found in the Quranic version.
 The Quran, like the
Bible, states that when Moses transformed his staff into a snake, the Pharaoh
called his best magicians to counter the miracle. However, in contrast to the Bible, the Quran
states that as a result of the competition between Moses and the Egyptian
magicians, the latter became believers after recognizing that Moses was no
magician, but an actual prophet of God.
Due to their faith, the Pharaoh threatened them with torture and
execution, but they remained steadfast in their faith. Islamic commentators like Ibn Kathir and
Al-Tabari related that the Pharaoh did carry out his threats and the converted
magicians were eventually martyred (Haneef, op. cit., p. 65).
In addition to these converts, other Egyptians also believed
in Moses, though only a few. The Quran
identifies the wife of the Pharaoh, Asiya, and another unnamed Egyptian, as
believers. It is also said that the man
who had warned Moses to leave Egypt after he had killed the Egyptian also
became a believer. The fate of this
person is unknown, but Ibn Kathir related that Hazrat Asiya, the wife of the
Pharaoh, was tortured to death, while the other unnamed Egyptian (who was a
member of the Pharaoh’s family) was apparently saved by God from the Pharaoh’s
“Then Allah saved him from (every) ill that they plotted
(against him), but the brunt of the Penalty encompassed on all sides the People
of Pharaoh” (Surah Ghafir, 40:45).
more information on these brave Egyptian believers, see Haneef, op. cit., pp. 63-65, 68-74.
Quran states that the Pharaoh and his chiefs threatened to kill the sons of the
Israelites as punishment for their belief in Moses, as the Pharaoh had done at
the time of the blessed prophet’s birth.
The only difference was that the Pharaoh was now attempting to dissuade
the Israelites from accepting the message of the prophet Moses.
As a result of the Pharaoh’s latest act of oppression, some
of the Israelites grumbled that Moses had brought more trouble upon them, yet
the prophet urged them to be patient and reassured them that:
“It may be that your Lord will destroy your enemy and make you
inheritors in the earth; that so He may try you by your deeds” (Surah Al-Araf, 7:129).
Indeed, the Quran mentions that only a few people believed
in Moses due to their fear of the Pharaoh’s wrath:
believed in Moses except some children of his people, because of the fear of
Pharaoh and his chiefs, lest they should persecute them; and certainly Pharaoh
was mighty on the earth and one who transgressed all bounds” (Surah Yunus, 10:83).
miracles performed were the staff changing into a snake, and the plagues of
blood, frogs, gnats, flies, dead livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, and
the death of the first-born sons (which afflicted both humans and animals). Interestingly, the Bible states that each
miracle/plague was copied by the Pharaoh’s magicians (thereby convincing the
Pharaoh to resist Moses’ demands), up until the plague of gnats, which they
could not replicate. However, after the
plague of frogs, the Pharaoh pleaded with Moses to pray to his God and remove
the frogs. In return, the Pharaoh would
allow the Israelites to make sacrifices to God, as Moses had originally
demanded. Of course, once the plague was
removed, the Pharaoh reneged on his promise.
After the plague of gnats, the magicians warned the Pharaoh that “this is the finger of God”, but the Pharaoh still
refused to let the Israelites go. The
Pharaoh behaved the same way after every subsequent plague, until the final
plague when Egypt’s first-born sons were killed. It was at this time that the Pharaoh finally
allowed the Israelites to leave Egypt.
Curiously, the Bible does not indicate that Moses performed
the miracle of his hand “as white as snow”
(Exodus 5:6), despite the fact that God clearly gave Moses this “sign” to
persuade the Pharaoh to believe that Moses was indeed sent by God. In Exodus 5, God gives Moses clear
instructions to utilize both signs, for if the Egyptians did not believe the
first miracle, they may believe the second:
“Then the Lord said, “If
they do not believe you or pay attention to the first sign, they may believe
the second. But if they do not believe
these two signs or listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on
the dry ground. The water you take from the river will become blood on the
ground”” (Exodus 5:8-9).
Notice that God told Moses to perform the two miracles first
and if the Egyptians did not believe them, it was then that Moses was to
unleash the first plague, which was the turning of the Nile into blood. Yet in Exodus 7, Aaron performs the miracle
of the staff, but the miracle of the “white hand” is not performed. Instead, Moses and Aaron went to the Pharaoh
the next morning and transformed the Nile River into blood! Did they forget to perform the second miracle
as God had told them? And why did God
not remind them? This is yet another
inconsistency in the Biblical version for which no reasonable explanation
According to the Quran, there were a total of 9 “signs” for Pharaoh and the
Egyptians. The first two were the
miracles of the staff and the “white hand”, while the other seven were five
plagues (flood, locusts, lice, frogs, and blood), and two other “signs” for
which there appears to be some disagreement among the scholars of Islam, since
they are not clearly identified.
According to Ibn Kathir, the nine signs given to Moses were:
is clear, however, is that the death of the firstborn son was definitely not
one of the signs, whereas the Bible states that this was the last and most
devastating plague to strike Egypt.
There is no indication in the Quran or authentic ahadith that Allah
(Glorified and Exalted be He) struck the Egyptians with such a catastrophe. For more on the “nine signs of Moses”, see Haneef,
op. cit., pp. 80-84 and Fatoohi and
Al-Dargazelli, op. cit., pp. 73-74.
Ali referred to “wholesale death” as one of the plagues, yet this is probably
an incorrect translation. The Arabic
word “الطُّوفَانَ” is used in only one other
place besides 7:133, which is in Surah Al-Ankabut, 29:14. There, it refers to the flood that afflicted
the people of the prophet Nuh (peace be upon him). Hence, most other translations have elected
to refer to the plague as the “flood”, not “wholesale death”. Yusuf Ali may have been influenced by a
tradition related in the tafsir of Ibn Kathir that “Tuwfan” could also refer to
“mass death” (http://www.qtafsir.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1120&Itemid=62).
Nevertheless, it seems more reasonable to assume that
“flood” is the more correct translation.
Of course, a flood would have certainly caused “wholesale death”, so it
could be an appropriate description after all.
Indeed, in his commentary on the verse, Ali wrote:
Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) knows
According to Exodus 12:37, there were 600,000 Israelite men who left Egypt, a
figure which implies that the total Israelite population was at least 2-3
million. This figure is more
specifically stated as 603,550 in Exodus 38:26 and Numbers 1:46 and 601,730 in
Numbers 26:51 (the latter was after God sent a plague upon the Israelites for
committing sexual immoralities with Moabite women and worshiping their
gods). However, historians have
demonstrated that this figure cannot be accurate, and in fact, contradicts earlier
and later verses in the Book of Exodus.
As John Bright observed:
“All the ancestors of the later Israel could hardly have
participated in the exodus, for the number cannot have been large. To be sure, it is stated (e.g., Num. 1:46,
26:51) that Israel on the march could muster some six hundred thousand men of
military age - which would mean some two or three million in all, counting
women and children. This figure, which
is high even for the population of Israel under the monarchy, is out of the
question for the day of the exodus. Not
only could seventy men have scarcely multiplied so in the time involved, but
such a host even if marching in close order (as it did not) would more than
have extended from Egypt to Sinai and back!
It would have had no need to fear the Egyptian army! […] But the numbers are not to be taken
literally. We see in the Bible itself a
smaller group, whose needs are cared for by two midwives (Ex. 1:15-22), who
cross the Reed Sea in a single night, and who cringe before a foe more numerous
than they. The number that participated
in the exodus was hardly more than a very few thousand; all of later Israel was
scarcely physically descended from them” (Bright, op. cit., pp. 133-134).
contrast to the Bible, the Quran indicates that the Pharaoh had remained
stubborn despite the suffering of his people and had refused to free the
Israelites from slavery, which is why Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He)
commanded Moses to leave Egypt under cover of night, but told him to expect to
be pursued. This is consistent with the
Pharaoh’s decision to actually pursue Moses and the Israelites, since they
would have fled when he least suspected it and obviously without his
permission. On the other hand, the
Bible, as we shall see shortly, claims that the Pharaoh agreed to let the
Israelites go, and then when informed that they had “fled”, flew into a rage
and marshaled his military strength to chase after the runaway slaves!
should also point out that if the Israelites were able to flee under cover of
darkness, the implication is that they were a very small group, instead of the
2-3 million-strong group the Bible implies.
As we will see shortly, the Quran indeed very clearly states that the Israelites
were a “small band” of people. This
would be historically accurate and also make logical sense.
13:17-18 states that God did not make the Israelites leave through “the road through the Philistine country”, which
was shorter, but “around by the desert road toward
the Red Sea/Sea of Reeds”. Yet,
this passage contains a clear anachronism since the “Philistines” did not yet
exist in Canaan. As author Jonathan
Kirsch observes (emphasis in the original):
reference to the Philistines in Exodus 13:7 is an anachronism that was inserted
in the text of the Bible by a late author or editor, since these invaders from
the Aegean did not establish themselves in Canaan until after the events depicted in the Book of Exodus, at least according
to the strict chronology of the Bible” (Moses: A Life (New York: The Random
House Ballantine Publishing Group, 1998), p. 183).
again we see an example of the Bible’s internal inconsistencies. According to the text, the Pharaoh was
informed that the Israelites had "fled". Yet according to Exodus 12:31-32, the Pharaoh
had agreed to let the Israelites go! It
is also stated that the Israelites even had time to ask the Egyptians for
silver, gold and clothing (Exodus 12:35).
Clearly, to say that they had “fled” is absurd.
Moreover, it is again implied in the text that the
Israelites were few in number (instead of having 600,000 men of fighting age),
since the Pharaoh’s army comprised 600 of his “best
chariots, along with all the other chariots in Egypt” (Exodus
14:7). At most, this would imply a total
force of no more than 1,000 chariots, or if we want to be more liberal, perhaps
as many as 1,500-2,000 chariots.
Josephus claimed that the Pharaoh’s army consisted of:
“…six hundred chariots, with fifty thousand horsemen, and two
hundred thousand footmen, all armed” (Antiquities of the Jews,
This figure is of course also inaccurate, as it is
historically verifiable that even Egypt could not muster such a force, and
indeed, the Bible does not specify the exact size of the army, but as we just
saw, it is implied that it was not large enough to subdue millions of
people. Yet if the Israelites numbered
some 2-3 million people, how would the Pharaoh have hoped to
subdue them all? This is clearly more
evidence that the Israelites were a small group and that the Pharaoh was
confident that he could overwhelm them with his martial prowess.
if we account for the fact that the Pharaoh took his entire army with him,
including infantrymen and horsemen (Exodus 14:9), the Egyptians still could not
have had a total strength of more than several thousands. At the famous Battle of Kadesh in c. 1274
B.C., in which Ramesses II fought the Hittites to a stalemate, the Egyptian
army mustered an impressive force of 20,000 men (http://www.ancient.eu/Kadesh/).
they have numbered more than that at the time of the Exodus? And even if they were, could they have hoped
to capture 2 million runaway slaves?
Logic dictates that the answer to these questions is a definite “no”.
Quran says that after realizing that the Israelites had fled (emphasis ours):
“Then Pharaoh sent heralds to (all) the Cities,
(Saying): "These (Israelites) are but a small band,
"And they are raging furiously against us;
"But we are a multitude amply fore-warned"” (Surah As-Shuara, 26:53-56).
Overconfident with his numerical and military prowess, the
Pharaoh set out to recapture the Israelites, utterly unaware and heedless of
the fact that Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) was protecting this “small
Here, we see that the Quran clearly states that the
Israelites were a small group of people, in contrast to the Biblical claim that
there were millions of them. While no
exact numerical figure has been given, it is obvious that there could not have
been more than a few thousand people at most.
Ironically, some Quranic commentators still assigned a large number to
the Israelite population, having clearly been influenced by the Biblical
traditions! For example, the Tafsir
and Al-Dargazelli state that the commentators Al-Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir and
Al-Tabari also assigned similar numbers (Fatoohi and Al-Dargazelli, op. cit., p. 142). But this is clearly illogical and inaccurate,
for even if we assume that the Pharaoh’s army was “700,000” strong (which is impossible),
no rational person could say that “670,000” Israelites would constitute a
“small band” by comparison! This
confusion among the commentators was of course completely unnecessary, since
the Quran’s description of a “small band” cannot by any stretch of the
imagination be conflated to mean hundreds of thousands of Israelites! Whatever the exact number was, we can say
that they were not a mass throng of a few million people. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) knows
 How fitting and ironic
it was that the Pharaoh refused to humble himself before the Lord of all the
worlds (Rabb Al-Alimin), in spite of witnessing numerous signs at the hand of
the prophet Moses, but when confronted with defeat and death, only then did the
once mighty king finally realize that he was nothing in comparison to the one
 Of course, God gave
many other commandments and laws to the Israelites, as seen in Exodus
20-24. It was at Mount Sinai that God
also made His Covenant with them.
Bible claims that at the meeting, the men literally saw the “God of Israel”! Exodus 24:10 even states that:
“Under his feet was something like a pavement
made of lapis lazuli, as bright blue as the sky.”
Yet, it also states that none of them died after seeing God,
in direct contradiction of clear statements throughout the Bible that no man
can look upon God and live. In fact,
later in the Book of Exodus, God tells Moses:
“…you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live” (Exodus 33:20).
Amazingly, the Biblical account claims that it was Aaron who made the idol of
the golden calf, and did not need much persuasion to do it! According to the text, the Israelites had
grown impatient with Moses’ prolonged absence and asked Aaron to make a “god”
for them, which he did. This is in spite
of the fact that Aaron had been Moses’ companion from the beginning of the
mission to Pharaoh. There is no indication
that he was threatened into making the idol.
In fact, he even admitted later to Moses that the Israelites simply
asked him to make an idol, and he obliged (Exodus 32:22-24)!
Josephus omitted the entire episode of the golden calf, whereas Philo of
Alexandria summarized it but made no mention of Aaron (On the Life of Moses,
the Bible, the Quran places the blame for the Israelites’ worship of the idol
not on Aaron but on another man, identified as “Al-Samiri” (the
Samaritan). Indeed, the Quran states
that Aaron tried to dissuade the people from degenerating into idol worship:
“Aaron had already, before this said to them: "O my people!
ye are being tested in this: for verily your Lord is (Allah) Most Gracious; so follow
me and obey my command"” (Surah
This is clearly more logical, whereas the Biblical version
claims that Aaron, the prophet of God, built the idol without much persuasion
or even any resistance the people’s clamoring.
 In the
Quranic account, the meeting of the 70 Israelites with God occurs after the
episode of the golden calf, whereas in the Bible, it occurs before. But the main difference between the two
accounts which concerns us most is the fact that in the Quranic account, the 70
Israelites actually demand that they be able to see Allah (Glorified and
Exalted be He):
“And remember ye said: "O Moses! We shall never believe in
thee until we see Allah manifestly," but ye were dazed with thunder and
lightning even as ye looked on. Then We
raised you up after your death: Ye had the chance to be grateful” (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:55-56).
punishment for their disbelief and arrogance, Allah (Glorified and Exalted be
He) struck them dead, and then revived them after Moses prayed for their
 The Quran states that
two men among the Israelites remained faithful in Allah’s promise of victory
and did not fear the power of the Canaanites.
The Bible identifies these men as Joshua and Caleb.
also, the Bible contradicts itself. The
conquest of Canaan is described as rapid, bloody and complete. Most of the cities were utterly destroyed and
its people exterminated. However, a
different account, found in Judges 9, describes the conquest as much more
gradual. As Bright observed:
to the main account (Josh., chs. 1 to 12), the conquest represented a concerted
effort by all Israel, and was sudden, bloody, and complete. […] The inhabitants having all been
butchered, the land was then apportioned among the tribes (chs. 13 to 21). But, alongside this, the Bible presents
another picture of the occupation of Palestine that makes it clear that it was
a long process, accomplished by the efforts of individual clans, and but
partially completed. […] What is more, cities already said to have been taken
by Joshua and all Israel (e.g., Hebron, Debir: Josh. 10:36-39) are here taken
by individual action (Judg. 1:9-15)” (Bright, op.
cit., p. 129).
Quran does not describe how the Israelites “inherited” the Holy Land, though
there are authentic traditions which describe military campaigns under Joshua
(peace be upon him), without providing specific details. We can only say with certainty that the “Holy
Land” (which was part of the land of Canaan) eventually came under Israelite
control by the grace of Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He).
would certainly have corresponded with the waning of Egyptian influence in the
Canaanite province. Egypt had maintained
a strong presence in Canaan for centuries, even into the early 13th
century BCE, as evidenced by the “Merneptah stele”, which describes how the
Pharaoh Merneptah (the son and successor of Ramesses II) campaigned in Canaan
and subdued many nations, including “Israel” (http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/merenphatvictorystele.htm).
will further discuss the significance of the stele in Part II.