Having Words With God: The Bible As Conversation

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Genesis ; Yusuf The others are half-brothers. The Qur'an correctly does not refer to the king of Egypt during Joseph's time as the "Pharaoh. This distinction is not found in the Bible. The narratives here are mostly in Exodus 1—14 and In the Quran, the Moses narratives are in the following passages: 2.

Pharaoh slew the young male children of the Israelites II , and to avoid this fate, Moses' mother cast Moses as an infant into a small ark, where God protected him. Moses was found by the household of the Pharaoh, who adopted him. Moses' sister, Miriam, had followed Moses, and she recommended that his own mother serves as a nurse to him. When Moses became an adult, he saw an Egyptian fighting with an Israelite, and he interceded and killed the Egyptian. The next day, the Israelite asked whether Moses intended to kill him as well. The Pharaoh tried to have Moses killed and Moses fled to a watering place in Midian.


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He met some sisters and watered their herd. When the women's father, Jethro , learned of Moses, he invited him to stay and gave him a daughter, Zipporah , to marry. In Midian, Moses saw a fire and approached it. God spoke to him and told him to remove his shoes. God said that he had chosen Moses.

God said to throw down his staff and to stretch out his arm as signs. His staff turned into a serpent and then returned to the form of a staff. His arm became white although he was not sick. God commanded him to go to Pharaoh to deliver a message. Moses said that he could not speak well. So God provided Aaron, his brother, to help Moses speak. God sent Moses to the court of Pharaoh. Pharaoh refused to listen to Moses.

In response, Moses threw down his staff and it became a serpent. This prompted Pharaoh's magicians also threw down their staffs, which also turned into snakes. But the snakes of Pharaoh's magicians were swallowed by Moses' serpent.

Psalm 19:14

God caused a famine. God sent plagues of locusts, frogs, blood, and destruction. God sent at least nine signs to Pharaoh, but Pharaoh ignored these signs. When he could ignore them no longer, he agreed to let the Israelites go. However, after God had allowed tranquility, Pharaoh went back on his word and refused to let the Israelites go. As punishment, God made every first-born Egyptian son die and spared every Israelite the first Passover. Pharaoh became hysterical and demanded that Moses and the Israelites leave at once- only to pursue them with his army after their exit.

Then God helped Moses lead the Israelites into a desert and across a sea. Moses struck the sea with his staff and the sea split in half exposing dry land while creating a wall of water on each side for the Israelites to walk through. Pharaoh and his army were catching up to the Israelites but the water returned to its original state.

Pharaoh and his army drowned. Exodus , II Moses left the Hebrews for forty nights. He put his brother Aaron in charge of the people Al-Baqara 2. God made tablets with writing on them which Moses carried back to Israel. Moses asked to see God. The people saw the fire and lightning and the mountain and were afraid. While Moses was gone, the Israelites demanded to worship an idol. They used the gold from their ornaments to construct a golden calf whom they said was the god who rescued them from Egypt.

Aaron does not stop them.


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Then Moses returned and chastised them and Aaron. Many were killed for their actions. God sent down manna and quail to eat but the Hebrews still rebelled against God, and complained about the food. Moses asked God for water and God answered him. Moses struck a stone with his staff and water came forth. The Israelites were divided into twelve tribes. God gave the Israelites a bountiful land, but this occurred at different times in the two scriptures.

Besides that and the many additional details in the Torah , [ citation needed ] there are other differences:. Korah was an Israelite living during the time of Moses.

Because of his wickedness, God caused him to die by opening the ground and swallowing him and his home Numbers —33 ; Al-Qasas In the Quran, Karon is simply a rich man who is too arrogant. In the Torah, he leads a minor rebellion against Moses. God also kills the others who rebel with him and destroys their homes.

In the Quran and the Bible, there are stories about smaller armies winning victory over larger ones. One story in the Quran and the Bible share strong resemblances, although they are placed at different times and attributed to different characters. Gideon is reluctant, but accedes after making God prove Himself with three different tests. As they are heading to fight, God tells Gideon to send away those who are homesick or afraid of dying.

Because the army is still large enough to credit its own strength for victory, God tells Gideon to observe the drinking habits of his troops at the river. God says to send those who do not drink with their hands, but lap the water directly like a dog, back to their homes. The remaining Israelites go on to victory. In 2 of the Quran, God chooses Talut generally considered to be Saul to lead the Israelites into battle against the army of Goliath.

On their way, God tells Talut to warn the men that they will be tested by God, and that they must not drink from the next river in order to pass the test. Despite this warning, most of the men disobey and drink from the river. God tells Talut to leave the disobedient members behind, unless they only drank one handful so that the army will consist of only faithful members.

The army then goes on to defeat General Goliath's army. The story appears in 1 Samuel 8—12 and — The Prophet Samuel is petitioned by the Israelites for a king. God sends Samuel to appoint Saul as the king, although with the warning that kings only take from their people. At least a few people are not happy with Samuel's choice, but Saul then prophecizes and wins some victories, so the people embrace him. Later Saul falls out of God's favour and God promises to appoint someone else as king.

The Philistines attack and are bolstered by the fear engendered by their champion Goliath , a giant.

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Having Words with God: The Bible as Conversation by Karl Allen Kuhn (Paperback, 2008)

God sends Samuel to recruit David , who kills Goliath. David eventually goes on to become Israel's new king. A similar story appears in the Qu'ran 2 — The Israelites demand of their prophet to appoint a king, and so God appoints the man Talut. The people respond poorly to the selection, upset that Talut does not seem special. God gives the Ark of the Covenant back to the Israelites in order to verify His choice this is an event that predates Saul in the Bible.

Talut leads the men to battle against an army led by the General Goliath. The Israelite army is small and doubtful, but a few men trust that God can still give them victory.

Biblical and Quranic narratives

David then kills Goliath and becomes king of Israel. The account also bears similarity to when Gideon led an army. The story appears in 1 Kings —13 and 2 Chronicles —13 and in verses Surah 27 20— The two stories have almost nothing in common. In each, the Queen of Sheba comes to visit Solomon and is impressed by his wisdom and riches. In the Bible, the visit is only diplomatic. In the Quran, the Queen becomes monotheist and peace is established in the kingdoms.

In both the Bible and the Quran, Jonah is swallowed by a "big fish", usually inferred to be a whale. In the Quran, Jonah gets frustrated by his own people and abandons them to God's mercy, however without asking permission from God and thus going against his given responsibility. In the Quran, it is also mentioned that if Jonah had not prayed inside the belly of the fish he would have stayed in there until the Judgement day.

In the Bible, Jonah pays a fare to sail to Tarshish. In both stories, he boards the ship loaded with passengers, lots are cast and Jonah is thrown overboard and swallowed by a large fish Jonah , As-Saaffat 37 After praying, he is cast out of the fish and washed ashore, and God causes a gourd to grow 37 or weeds In the Bible, Jonah continues into Nineveh, and the city is spared by God. In the Quran, God causes the gourd to grow to comfort Jonah after he lies on the shore in a sickly state As-Saaffat 37 , in the Bible the gourd plant grows up to provide shade for Jonah while he waits for Nineveh to be destroyed According to an Islamic tradition [ citation needed ] however, the big fish gets frightened at first, fearing it might have swallowed a holy person as it heard prayers and supplications read in a wonderful voice from her stomach, hearing which numerous sea creatures had surrounded it.

But she comforts herself later since it was God's order to swallow Jonah.

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After two days the fish casts him out the beach of an island and he is very weak. The gastric juices with the hot sunlight burned his skin till the point he was about to scream of pain. God causes a vine to grow over him and provide him fruit and shade. He recovers and goes back to his people who had become good after he left. According to the Bible, Ninevah was a great city, with more than one hundred twenty thousand people and much livestock Jonah In the Quran, the number of people he was sent towards as a prophet exceeded a hundred thousand.

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