Story of Talut in Quran: Jalut and Talut-2:252)
The story of Talut is mentioned in Surah Baqarah,
Prophet], consider the leaders of the Children of Israel who came after Moses, when they said to one of their prophets, ‘Set up a king for us and we shall fight in God’s cause.’ He said, ‘But could it be that you would not fight, if it were ordained for you?’ They said, ‘How could we not fight in God’s cause when we and our children have been driven out of our homeland?’ Yet when they were commanded to fight, all but a few of them turned away: God has full knowledge of those who do wrong.
Their prophet said to them, ‘God has now appointed Talut to be your king,’ but they said, ‘How can he be king over us when we have a greater right to rule than he? He does not even have great wealth.’ He said, ‘God has chosen him over you, and has given him great knowledge and stature. God grants His authority to whoever He pleases: God is magnanimous, all knowing.’
Their prophet said to them, ‘The sign of his authority will be that the Ark [of the Covenant] will come to you. In it there will be [the gift of] tranquillity from your Lord and relics of the followers of Moses and Aaron, carried by the angels. There is a sign in this for you if you believe.’
When Talut set out with his forces, he said to them, ‘God will test you with a river. Anyone who drinks from it will not belong with me, but anyone who refrains from tasting it will belong with me; if he scoops up just one handful [he will be excused].’ But they all drank [deep] from it, except for a few. When he crossed it with those who had kept faith, they said, ‘We have no strength today against Goliath and his warriors.’ But those who knew that they were going to meet their Lord said, ‘How often a small force has defeated a large army with God’s permission! God is with those who are steadfast.’
And when they met Goliath and his warriors, they said, ‘Our Lord, pour patience on us, make us stand firm, and help us against the disbelievers,’
and so with God’s permission they defeated them. David killed Goliath, and God gave him sovereignty and wisdom and taught him what He pleased. If God did not drive some back by means of others the earth would be completely corrupt, but God is bountiful to all.
These are the revelations of God which We recite to you [Muhammad] with the truth, and you truly are one of the messengers.
The Bani Isra’il used to have the legacy of a wooden chest (also identified as the Ark of the Covenant). Moses and other prophets of Bani Isra’il would keep this chest in the frontline of the battlefield. Its barakah (blessing, benediction) used to give them victory. When Jalut overcame Bani Isra’il, he took this chest away with him.
When Allah Almighty willed the return of the chest, it so happened that the infidels were struck by some epidemic or calamity at places where they carried this chest. Five cities were turned desolate. Nonplussed, they loaded it on two bullocks and drove them off. Then, the angels took control of the bullocks and made it reach Talut’ s doorsteps. (Talut is the Qur’anic name of the king known in the Bible as Saul) When the Bani Isra’il saw this sign, they believed in the kingdom of Talut, who then mounted an attack on Jalut while the weather was very hot.
The wisdom behind this test, appears to be as follows. Not difficult to imagine is the excitement created on such occasions but there are not many who would stay firm in their hour of trial. And should such a time come,
The weakness shown by such people becomes contagious making others panic as well. Allah Almighty willed that such people be pruned out. This purpose was accomplished by this test, which is very appropriate, because steadfastness is necessary in fighting.
So, being patient, when water is made available without asking in a state of intense thirst, is a proof of steadfastness, and dashing for water is a proof of its absence. Later on comes the unusual: Those who drank too much water became mysteriously more incapacitated. This has appeared in Ruh al-Ma’ani on the authority of Ibn Abi Hatim from Ibn ‘Abbas ra. Now the events and sayings mentioned in this story tell us that there were three kinds of people among them:
(1) The weak in faith who failed to make the grade in their hour of trial.
(2) The perfect who fully succeeded in their trial but did feel concerned about how low they were in numbers.
(3) The most perfect who did not bother even about that.
Reference: Mariful Quran tafseer
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