One of the many things you have said is that we should take the Bible as a whole and not twist bits of it to our purpose. Of course I cannot relate every bit to one another all at once, if that is what you want, but I can relate your quotations to their context. I would like to ask you who the son of God is, in in Nathan’s revelation. If it is not Jesus, how many sons of God are there? The revelation in 2 Samuel 7 is given to the Prophet Nathan because King David complains: “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.” (NIV 2 Samuel 7:2)
God chides David over his complaint. He says, “Are you the one to build Me a house to dwell in? I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as My dwelling. Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd My people Israel, ‘Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?.’” (NIV 2 Samuel 6-7)
In other words, the location that the container where the Scripture of God was guarded was of little issue to God; it mattered only only that the people He had chosen kept it. The Ark containing the covenant written down by Moses was meant to be read and adhered to, wherever the people be. In the Quran, Allah says, “And to Allah belongs the east and the west. So wherever you [might] turn, there is the Face of Allah. Indeed, Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing. (Sahih International 2:115)
However, God satisfied the yearning of David, his servant, by informing him of what He had been ordained, just as he did for Muhammad, whom He praises, Peace be upon him, and the house he wanted to be established. Allah said to his servant in the Quran: “We have certainly seen the turning of your face, [O Muhammad], toward the heaven, and We will surely turn you to a qiblah (direction of prayer) with which you will be pleased. So turn your face toward the Sacred Mosque. And wherever you [believers] are, turn your faces toward it [in prayer]. (Sahih International 2:144)
Ahh! You say. Muhammad changed the direction of prayer from Jerusalem to Makkah, while God said, “Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before Me; your throne will be established forever.” (NIV 2 Samuel 7:16)
Let us look at this word “forever”. Does it really mean “until the end of time”?
First, let’s look at the fobjective evidence. The house of David lasted as Israel for David’s reign and Solomon’s reign. Solomon’s son, Rehoboam was rejected as king of united Israel and Jeroboam, from the tribe of Ephraim, broke away. The Assyrians conquered Israel, or Samaria, in 722 BCE when the Line of Ephraim came to an end. The Davidic line established their kingdom in Judah, but this, too, came to an end 125 years later in 597, when Jehoiachin, the last Davidic King in 597 BCE surrendered his kingdom to Nebuchadnezzer of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar, appointed Zedekiah, distantly related to the Royal line, as king over Judah, but removed him and killed his descendants after he rebelled in 586 BCE.
There were two waves of forced exile at these two points of time, as there were two waves of return seventy to a hundred years later. In other words, forever turned out to be the lifetimes of David and Solomon, or at a stretch (if we include the throne of Judah) 400 years.
The question we have to ask is, why was the covenant terminated? The only answer I will venture is that Yhwh Elohim’s covenant is a dependent one. As long as his people stayed faithful to monotheism, the covenant was good. However, when the Jews began to worship other gods such as Ba’al, this broke the covenant, and the period of grace ended. The sign of this termination was the destruction of the temple and the loss of the original Torah that Moses wrote and the Tablets scribed by God when the Ark was removed from its chamber in the Temple by the Prophet Jeremiah, who hid it in a cave and sealed up the entrance: “It was also in the writing that the prophet (Jeremiah), having received an oracle, ordered that the tent and the ark should follow with him, and that he went out to the mountain where Moses had gone up and had seen the inheritance of God. And Jeremiah came and found a cave, and he brought there the tent and the ark and the altar of incense, and he sealed up the entrance.” (2 Maccabees 2:4-5)
The second reason that we can regard forever as applying only to David and Solomon is the phrasing in the revelation of Nathan to David. He said, “The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you.” (NIV 2 Samuel 7:11-15)
God’s promise is specifically to David’s offspring that succeeded him (Solomon), and his throne. Not even David’s own sojourn on the throne was included, because David actually abdicated in Solomon’s favor before he died to ensure succession. God promised that the Kingdom would NEVER be taken away from Solomon as it was from Saul. That is, David succeeded Saul before Saul died, but no one would succeed Solomon before he died. That is why Rehoboam’s succession was not unopposed and he was forced to go to Schechem, the stronghold of Ephraim, for the coronation. The line of Ephraim competed before conceding the right of the line of Judah. In fact, even after Rehoboam won the succession, his united kingdom lasted less than a year from the death of his father. He had to flee into exile in Egypt after Jeroboam and his backers rebelled.
Before the Ark of the covenant was established in the Temple of Solomon, the direction of prayer was towards it wherever it was guarded, usually in a tent. But do we know what the direction of prayer was before Moses received the Tablets and wrote down the Torah? Very little concrete evidence is found in the Bible, but the Quran mentions the building of “His House” by Abraham and Ishmael where Hagar had been left in the desert.
The Biblical reference to this place is in Genesis 21:14-21, though there is another report of Hagar going into the desert (while pregnant) in Genesis 16:7-15.
The former place is said to be in the desert of Beersheba (the Well of Sheba), where Abraham made a treaty with King Abimelek. The latter was at a place between Kadesh and Bered which Hagar named “the Lahai Roi well”. There, she received revelation from an angel of God, who said, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count. [for] you are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard of your misery. He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.”
In the Genesis 21, she also receives revelation. The angel of God tells her, “Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” The chapter also informs us that Ishmael became an archer and lived in Paran, where he got married.
Following this incident, the treaty with Abimelek, Abraham stayed in or near the land of the Philistines a long time. Sometime later, he is described as building an alter there to sacrifice his son Isaac. Islam disagrees that it was Isaac he was told to sacrifice – rather, the event described was done while he was living with Hagar, and Ishmael was the chosen victim. But when God saved the boy, he sacrificed a ram instead. Then, according to the Bible, he headed back to the well of Sheba.
Very curiously, Genesis then informs us of the descendants of Nahor, Abraham’s second brother. “And Abraham stayed in Beersheba. Sometime later Abraham was told, ‘Milkah is also a mother; she has borne sons to your brother Nahor: Uz the firstborn, Buz his brother, Kemuel (the father of Aram), Kesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph and Bethuel.’
Bethuel became the father of Rebekah. Milkah bore these eight sons to Abraham’s brother Nahor. His concubine, whose name was Reumah, also had sons: Tebah, Gaham, Tahash and Maakah. ” (NIV Genesis 22: 19-24)
I am not sure of the relevance of the passage, but why was it dropped in at this point? I mention this because, according to our Prophet, Hagar and Ishmael encountered a tribe of people descended from Jarhum, (perhaps this is Gaham). This information is not offered as proof, here; it is just a point of speculation. Nahor was reported to have been left behind in Harran when Abraham and his nephew, Lot, proceeded towards Canaan. According to several sources, Harran signifies crossroads, and Biblical commentators suggest it was located in the Euphrates valley. However, Makkah was also known as a crossroads of trade caravans, and became a metropolis due to its trade market.
Etymologically, Makkah is related to Bakah which is derived from a root (BKK) that means crowding together (around an object). The Asatir records: “And it came to pass after the death of our master Abraham that Ishmael reigned as king for twenty seven years. And all the children of Ishmael, who are of the seed of his first born, Nebat, ruled one year in Ishmael’s lifetime and for thirty years after his death; And they built Bakah.” (Chapter in VIII. P. 242)
Book reference: http://openlibrary.org/books/OL14024150M/The_Asatir
Page reference: http://archive.org/stream/MN40245ucmf_0#page/n271/mode/2up
I suggest that the narrative in the Bible is inaccurate because it is inconsistent. I also suggest that interpretations of the locations of Biblical places by Biblical scholars are also warped. Quite recently, a man called Ron Wyatt made some amazing discoveries by assuming that Mt. Sinai was not in the Sinai Peninsula, but in Arabia, just as Paul describes in his letters: “Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children.” (NIV Galatians 4:25)
He discovered there was a land bridge under the Gulf of Aqaba and archeological evidence that the crossing took place there. He identifies Jebel al Lawz and Jebel al Hurb as Mt. Sinai and Mt. Horeb. If they are right, Biblical estimations of places such as Kadesh, Bered, Shur, Marah, and Lahai Roi are actually greatly misplaced. It also makes the encounters the Israelites had with Edomites and Medianites much more reasonable. You can inspect for yourself his evidences through the following website:
Of course, you may argue that the Bible is God’s word and is infallible. Well, we have just discussed the loss of the Ark of the covenant and its sequestering by Jeremiah. If the proposed hiding place suggested in Maccabees is wrong, it still leaves a problem. There has been no trace of it since the exile to Babylon. The Scribe Ezra and Prophet Nehemiah are credited with writing down the Oral Torah on their return to Judah, but this was not the original writings of Moses, nor the words etched by God on the stone Tablets, neither of which are available today.
Thus we return to the Quran. You have suggested that the verses, “He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son,” applies to the Sonship of Jesus to God, and I concede that there certainly is a parallel meaning, here. However, we can see in the verse above that the relationship of Father and Son in the case of God and Solomon is not LITERAL. Solomon, after all, is David’s son. So it must be figurative.
The Quran, in refuting the literal, or even figurative implication of sharing his Lordship with an associate, uses the same argument as when it refutes begetting Jesus. He says: “They say, ‘Allah has taken a son.’ Exalted is He! Rather, to Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and the earth. All are devoutly obedient to Him, Originator of the heavens and the earth. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is.” (Sahih International 2:116-117)
A second glance at the word used to describe being father and son through Strong’s Lexicon will clarify what is meant by the Hebrew words ab and ben figuratively. According to Strong the meaning of (li)ben can literally be a (begotten) son, male child. However, figuratively, it can refer to characterization, i.e. son of injustice [for un- righteous men] or son of God [for an angel]. Just as men are not literally the genetic offspring of God, nor are angels. Rather, God is their (li)ab in the sense of Originator or Creator and a Protective guiding Authority. Strong gives as possible meanings the following: A genetic father of an individual, an originator or patron (of a person), a producer or generator (fig.), a benevolent protector (fig.), a founder, ruler or God (of a chosen people) or simply a term of respect and honor.
Which of these terms is meant is up to you to figure out. But it clearly does not literally mean genetic father and son or even partners in patronage and authority.
Finally, before you say Muhammad changed the direction of prayer, think. What was the direction of prayer for Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Lot, Job, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Jethro, Balam before the Tablets were etched, and in what direction did Aaron, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, and Saul pray before the Temple of Solomon was built? How long was the covenant that made the Temple of Solomon the direction of prayer, and when (see 1 Kings 8:38-40) was that direction instituted? If God can change the direction of prayer once, can He not do so a second or third time? Think!
God says: “The foolish among the people will say, ‘What has turned them away from their qiblah (direction of prayer), which they used to face?’ Say, ‘To Allah belongs the east and the west. He guides whom He wills to a straight path.’ And thus we have made you a just community that you will be witnesses over the people and the Messenger will be a witness over you. And We did not make the qiblah (direction of prayer) which you used to face (Jerusalem) except that We might make evident who would follow the Messenger from who would turn back on his heels (after changing it according to what I have ordained). And indeed, it is difficult except for those whom Allah has guided. And never would Allah have caused you to lose your faith. Indeed Allah is, to the people, Kind and Merciful.” (Sahih International 2:142-3)
I hope, in this wandering discourse, I have not lost you. I hope you see the argument I make. To deal adequately with the question of Sonship and Fatherhood in relation to 2 Samuel 7:12-14, the whole context is needed, including the task of building the Temple, the nature and length of the covenant, the building of the Ka’ba by Ismail and altar by Abraham (according to Islam, both built both) at Makkah long before the building of the Temple by Solomon.
May God guide those whose hearts are listening.