From Yusha ibn Nun to King David: Chronicles of the Children of Israel Featured

By Sheikh Khaled Al-Abdullah July 06, 2024 97

The Children of Israel went through an era in which they migrated from Egypt, wandered for forty years, and where Moses, Harun, and Yusha ibn Nun passed away. They were succeeded by a man known as Caleb ibn Jephunneh.

Ibn Jarir said: There is no disagreement among scholars regarding the accounts of the past that the leader of the Children of Israel after Yusha ibn Nun was Caleb ibn Jephunneh. He was one of the two men who feared Allah and on whom Allah had bestowed His grace in Moses’s story. After them, there was Ezekiel ibn Buzi, who prayed to Allah and was revived. “Those who left their homes in many thousands, fearing death.” (Al-Baqarah: 243) (1)


Is Ezekiel's Prophethood verified?

The prophethood of Ezekiel is not confirmed with authentic evidence from Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and all that is narrated in historical books and by tafsir scholars is from the Israelites.


Idol Worship as an Inherent Practice

Then Allah sent his prophet Elias to the children of Israel; they were worshiping an idol called “Ba’l,” as if polytheism and idol worship were ingrained in them. Their ancestors worshiped the golden calf instead of God, so Moses and Harun rebuked them, and when they passed the sea, they passed a people who were devoted to idols, so they asked Moses to grant them a god idol, but he strongly denied them, and this is what the Prophet of God, Elias, did, where he denied them worship of this idol: “Do you call upon Ba'l and leave the best of creators - Allah, your Lord and the Lord of your first forefathers?” (As-Saaffat: 125-126) He continued to call them to worship Allah alone until he died.


The murder of the prophets by the children of Israel was their gravest sin, provoking Allah's anger and spreading corruption among them.

 They Deny Some and Kill Some!

Then Allah sent His prophet, Al-Yasa (peace be upon him). Al-Hasan said: After Elias came Al-Yasa, and he kept calling them to worship Allah alone, adhering to the path of Elias and his law until he passed away. Then, one succession came after another, events and sins intensified, and tyranny increased among them until they killed the prophets. (3)

The killing of the prophets by the Children of Israel was their most heinous act and one of the greatest reasons for Allah's wrath toward them and the occurrence of corruption among them. This is repeatedly mentioned in the Qur'an, such as in the ayah: “That is because they disbelieved in the verses of Allah and killed the prophets without right. That is because they disobeyed and [habitually] transgressed.” (Aal-Imran: 112), and: “But is it [not] that every time a messenger came to you, [O Children of Israel], with what your souls did not desire, you were arrogant? And a party [of messengers] you denied and another party you killed.” (Al-Baqarah: 87)

Then rulership was passed to judges, who governed them by the laws of the prophets. It was their fate that they were defeated in a devastating battle with the Philistines, who seized their women, expelled them from their homes, and plundered the Ark of the Covenant from them. They remained in that state of humiliation and disgrace until their nobles approached their judge, Samuel, asking him to choose a king for them under whose banner they could gather to fight their enemies, who had always attacked them and inflicted severe punishment upon them. (4)


False Courage and Genuine Cowardice

Afif Tabbara says: Samuel knew the reality of his people and their reluctance in battle. He asked them, “Would you perhaps refrain from fighting if fighting was prescribed for you?” (Al-Baqarah: 246) They responded, affirming their seriousness in battle and justifying it by saying, “And why should we not fight in the cause of Allah when we have been driven out from our homes and from our children?” (Al-Baqarah: 246) However, their actions contradicted their claims. They exhibited the anticipated cowardice and reluctance to fight, as Allah says, “But when fighting was prescribed for them, they turned away, except for a few of them.” (Al-Baqarah: 246) (5)

Indeed, the Israelites revealed their true colors in this situation, frequently making and breaking promises. They never fulfilled their oaths, being the most despicable and cowardly to fulfill anything they promised, for even though they were defeated and driven out of their homes and their women and children were taken captive, they were too cowardly to liberate their captives and turned away from fighting their enemies, except for a very few among them. This is not a strange behavior for them, as their ancestors abandoned the fight with Moses, saying to him, “Go, you and your Lord, and fight. Indeed, we are remaining right here.” (Al-Ma'idah: 24)


The Children of Israel objected to Allah's choice of Saul as their king, invoking his poverty and lack of status.

Evasive Specialists!

Samuel informed his people that Allah had granted their wish and chosen Saul as their king to lead them in battle. Here, they objected to Allah's choice of Saul, arguing that he was a poor man from among the common people, using frivolous excuses and transparent tricks from a people specializing in deceit and evasion.

Dr. Salah Al-Khalidi states: The Jews first evade the commands of Allah. If they fail to evade and are compelled to execute and perform, they resort to another method no less harmful than evasion: procrastination and delay. He continues: The story in Surah Al-Baqarah provides a clear example of Jewish evasion, a prominent evidence of their mastery of deception. First, they accused their prophet of mocking them, even though he conveyed to them what Allah commanded. Second, they demanded clarification about the cow they were asked to sacrifice. Third, they asked for the color of the cow. Fourth, they claimed the cows resembled each other. After all these evasions, Allah says about them: “So they slaughtered it though they were near to not doing it.” (Al-Baqarah: 71) (6)

The Children of Israel objected to Allah's choice of Saul as their king, invoking his poverty and lack of status. Samuel responded to them, saying, “Allah has chosen him over you and has increased him abundantly in knowledge and stature. And Allah gives His sovereignty to whom He wills.” (Al-Baqarah: 247) He further informed them that a sign of Saul's kingship was that he would lead them to victory and that the angels would bring them the Ark that had been taken from them.

After all these tricks and evasions, the Children of Israel accepted Saul as their king and leader. When he called them to jihad against the arrogant Goliath and his mighty army, many of them gathered under his banner.

Saul marched with his army of the Children of Israel, intending to test their sincerity, patience, and courage in battle. However, he was surprised by the opposite of what he had hoped for and what displeases any responsible leader: disobedience to orders and cowardice in facing the enemy.

Firstly, when they passed by the river and became thirsty, they disobeyed Allah's and their leader's orders as soon as they saw the water, causing most of them to fail this test. “And when Saul went forth with the soldiers, he said, 'Indeed, Allah will be testing you with a river. So whoever drinks from it is not of me, and whoever does not taste it is indeed of me, excepting one who takes [from it] in the hollow of his hand.' But they drank from it, except a [very] few of them.” (Al-Baqarah: 249)

Secondly, when Saul proceeded with the small remaining group of faithful soldiers towards the battlefield, and Goliath appeared with his mighty army, fear gripped them, and their inherent cowardice surfaced. They said to Saul, “There is no power for us today against Goliath and his soldiers.” (Al-Baqarah: 249) How similar is this situation to the past! Their situation mirrors that of their ancestors with the Prophet Moses when they stood on the threshold of the Holy Land. Moses invited them to enter it, but they said, “O Moses, indeed within it is a people of tyrannical strength, and indeed, we will never enter it until they leave it.” (Al-Ma'idah: 22) It's as if, due to their cowardice and deep humiliation, they sought conquest without effort and victory without facing their enemies.

Dr. Salah Al-Khaldi remarks: If it weren't for the remnants of faith, courage, and steadfastness among some Jews during Saul's time, Saul's army would have been defeated and Goliath's would have prevailed. However, it was this small minority that turned the tide, always raising the banner and leading to victory. By Allah's permission, they defeated them, David killed Goliath, and Allah granted him kingdom and wisdom. (7)


David Takes over the Children of Israel

Dr. Al-Tayeb Al-Najjar recounts: David heard that Saul was urging the Children of Israel to fight Goliath and his army, saying, “Whoever kills Goliath will marry my daughter and share in my kingdom.” David was an archer. When the battle began, he placed a stone in his sling and struck Goliath in the head, splitting it open. Then he finished him off with his sword, causing his army to flee defeated. Saul fulfilled his promise to David by marrying him to his daughter and appointing him as ruler. (8)



  1. The History of the Prophets and Kings, by al-Tabari (1/460): There is no authentic evidence for the prophecy of Ezekiel except what is mentioned in the tafsir and reports, possibly from the Israelite traditions which cannot be verified with certainty. Ibn Atiyya said: All these stories have weak chains of transmission.
  2. Tafsir Ibn Kathir.
  3. Stories of the Prophets, by Mahmoud Al-Masri
  4. History of the Prophets by Muhammad, by at-Tayyib an-Najjar.
  5. With the Prophets, by Afif Tabarrah.
  6. The Jewish Personality, by Salah Al-Khaldi.
  7. The Jewish Personality, by Salah Al-Khaldi.
  8. History of the Prophets, by Muhammad at-Tayyib an-Najjar.


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