Song of Songs 5:16 prophesied Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace) by name

Muhammad in Bible.png

When dealing with the fact that a Bible passage in the Song of Songs or Shir haShirim 5:16 שיר השירים  ה:טז in Hebrew where the word “Machamadim” מַחֲמַדִּים is clearly shown, Christian apologists like James White in his debate with Br. Zakir Hussain titled “Is Muhammed Prophesied in the Bible?” typically respond that it cannot refer to Prophet Muhammad (p) based on the following arguments:

  1. The context of the whole Song of Solomon is about human love or  human sexual desire.
  2. The word is in adjective form and can be found in other places in the Bible.
  3. The word is in plural form.

White even boldly claims that this is the weakest argument the Muslims have on finding prophet Muhammad in the Bible.

Let us have a closer look and see if this argument is valid.

Human sexual desire or God’s beloved man?

To address his first argument, nowhere does Jewish and Christian tradition read this particular passage solely in its literal meaning of romantic sexual poetry between a man and a woman.

In Judaism the Song was taken not to be about sexual desire but God’s love for Israel.

The Rabbis at Yabneh accepted the Song into the canon — to believe Rabbi Aqiba, without much hesitation — because they read it both pseudepigraphically, as stemming from King Solomon himself, and allegorically, as a depiction of God’s love for Israel rather than man’s love of sexual partnership.

(Anselm C. Hagedom (editor); Perspectives on the Song of Songs p107)

Christians also followed suit after Jewish exegetes began to read the Song allegorically, as having to do with God’s love for his people.  Christian exegetes treat the love that it celebrates as an analogy for the love between God and the Church.

The surface or “literal” subject matter of the Song was the love that joins bride and her betrothed, sexual longing that the Song celebrates cheerfully. Understood in that way, however, the Song had little to say directly about the relation between God and “us”; and that relation of course defines the basic interest — the agenda — that Jews and Christians alike brought, and bring to their reading of the ScripturesHence the traditional resort to allegory in interpretation of the Song: the love that it celebrates is treated as figure or analogy for the love between God and the people of Godthe Church.  

[Richard A. Norris Jr ; The Song of Songs: Interpreted by Early Christian and Medieval Commentators p1]

Therefore it is clear that the intellectual tradition in Judeo-christianity understood the context of Song of Songs to be not about human love or human sexual desire but rather as an allegory of the relationship between God and His special person or people.

Bearing in mind centuries of Judeo-Christian interpretation battle, why can’t Muslims be allowed their own understanding of the text? Why can’t Muslims read the Song of Songs as a befitting allegory of God’s love for someone really special, someone who will glorify and exalt God in a manner the like no one has ever seen before – which to Muslims can only refer to Prophet Muhammad (p), the last messenger of God who has proclaimed and spread the genuine truth about God: the One and Only all-powerful God, guarding against the false belief of polytheism of multiple gods or god in three persons.

Just an ordinary Hebrew adjective ?

It is obvious that James White has little or no familiarity in Hebrew or in any other Semitic language. Anyone with has proficiency in Semitic languages must recognize that etymologically, there is no so called adjective in Arabic or in Hebrew. In semitic thinking the quality of a noun is described by another noun — either concrete or abstract. The main idea of an expression is stated first and it is then qualified by what immediately follows. For example “A big house” is, in the Semitic parts of speech, “a house (the main idea), a big (one)” (qualifying it) – בַּיִת גָּדוֹל (bayiṯ gāḏôl) in Hebrew or بيت كبير (bayt kabîr) in Arabic.

In particular when we analyse the Song of Songs 5:16:

חִכֹּו֙ מַֽמְתַקִּ֔ים וְכֻלֹּ֖ו מַחֲמַדִּ֑ים זֶ֤ה דֹודִי֙ וְזֶ֣ה רֵעִ֔י בְּנֹ֖ות יְרוּשָׁלִָֽם

Hebrew  Translit English Morph
חִכּוֹ֙ ḥikkōw His mouth Masc Noun
מַֽמְתַקִּ֔ים mamṯaq-qîm, a sweetness Masc Noun
וְכֻלּ֖וֹ waḵullōw he wholly Masc Noun
מַחֲמַדִּ֑ים machamad-dîm; a precious man Masc Noun
זֶ֤ה zeh This Masc Pronoun
דוֹדִי֙ ḏōwḏî my beloved man Masc Noun
וְזֶ֣ה wazeh and this Masc Pronoun
רֵעִ֔י rê‘î, my friend Masc Noun
בְּנ֖וֹת banōwṯ O daughers Fem Noun
יְרוּשָׁלִָֽם yarūšālim. of Jerusalem Proper Noun

So it is clear from the passage above the word Machamad מַחֲמַדִּ֑ functions as a masculine noun not an adjective, and it refers to a person, a man. The word itself comes from the stem חמד (hamad) which occurs all over the Semitic spectrum but with slightly differing meanings; in Arabic it means praiseworthy but in Hebrew it means something precious or desirable.

Some interesting points to note:

  • Most strikingly this particular form could not refer to a figure whom Christians refer to Jesus because he was mentioned in Isaiah as a man whom would not be desired לֹֽא  נֶחְמְדֵֽהוּ loneḥmaḏê-hū (Isaiah 53:2).
  • This passage also mentions “his mouth” which was full of sweetness. How can an “adjective” have a mouth? So this passage must be talking about a person, a man.
  • The passage tells us that this maḥămad is beloved (a man); how can an adjective can be a beloved of anyone?
  • The masculine noun takes the form of what in Hebrew is called Maqtal . Here hebrew root-verb חמד (hammedis given with the pre-fix מ (mem)  מחמד (mahmad)  literally denoting a place or agent of preciousness. This correspond with Arabic construct  اسم المشتق  Ism al-Mushtaq, in which the word  محمد Muhammad  takes its form.

Far from being mere sounds having similarity or a wrong part of speech, Muslims have a strong case to relate the name of the prophet Muhammad to its Hebrew root-verb חמד (hammed) in Song of Songs 5:16 to a prophecy about an individual to come, a mystery man, not about an adjective whom God loves and desires.

The same way the word Islam relates its root-verb שלם (shalem), meaning to be whole or complete — hence the familiar words שלוםshalom, meaning peace, and Islam, meaning to be at peace or to be complete.

But the word Machamad-dîm is in the plural..

This can not refer to single person Muhammad – or can it?

If we look at the passage and the overall structure in the Song of Songs, it consistently retains singular in meaning for the actors involved in the plot.

Jewish and Christian translation all give singular meaning:

His mouth is sweetness itself; he is altogether lovely (Machamad). This is my beloved, this is my friend, daughters of Jerusalem. (New International Version)

His mouth is sweetness itself; he is desirable (Machamad) in every way. Such, O women of Jerusalem, is my lover, my friend. (New Living Translation)

His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely (Machamad). This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem. (King James Bible)

His mouth is most sweet; Yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem. (JPS 1917)

The style the Biblical Hebrew uses for this particular passage is called the ‘majestic plural’. It is a plural word referring honorifically to a single person or entity. Such plural forms are most commonly used when referring to the God but it can also be used when referring to a human.

Here is one beautiful example: in Genesis 24:9

וַיָּ֤שֶׂם הָעֶ֙בֶד֙ אֶת־יָדֹ֔ו תַּ֛חַת יֶ֥רֶךְ אַבְרָהָ֖ם אֲדֹנָ֑יו וַיִּשָּׁ֣בַֽע לֹ֔ו עַל־הַדָּבָ֖ר הַזֶּֽה

So the servant put his hand under the thigh of his master Abraham and swore an oath to him concerning this matter. (NIV)

Here although all the translations render this passage to… “his master”… the Hebrew word used is in plural adonaw אֲדֹנָ֑יו which literally means “his masters” not in singular form אֲדֹנוֹ  adonó which means “his master”

Having said that the word מַחֲמַדִּ֑ים Machamad-dîm must denote something not just an ordinary noun. It must refer something possessing godly and holy qualities. What is more interesting is out of 12 variations from the Hebrew root-verb חמד (hammed) taking this majestic plural form, there exists only one occurrence throughout the Bible. This boost the prophetic significance for the holy prophet Muhammad in this particular passage.

Also for those with familiarity with the rule of Tajweed will notice that Muslims pronounce the word Muhammad as Muḥammadin in the genitive case or Majrur when reciting the Qur’an and it sounds almost exactly when a rabbi recites מַחֲמַדִּ֑ים Machamaddîm in the original Hebrew

Furthermore Song of Songs 5:10 says:

 דּוֹדִי צַח וְאָדוֹם, דָּגוּל מֵרְבָבָה

10 ‘My beloved is white and ruddy, pre-eminent above ten thousand.’

This is a very strong case to be a prophecy of Prophet Muhammad as he conquered Mecca. It is a well known historically documented fact that in the year 630 CE Muhammad entered Mecca as the leader of an army of 10,000 “ten thousand men”.

This verse and the preceding verse (v. 11)

רֹאשׁ֖וֹ כֶּ֣תֶם פָּ֑ז קְוּצּוֹתָיו֙ תַּלְתַּלִּ֔ים שְׁחֹר֖וֹתכָּעוֹרֵֽב

11 His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are curled, and black as a raven.

This amazingly also matches Prophet Muhammad’s physical description as found in hadith sources (light skin and black and wavy hair).

Then the Song of Songs verse 5:15 compares this prophetic mystery man to the land of “Lebanon” which is the land of the Arabs.

 שׁוֹקָיו עַמּוּדֵי שֵׁשׁ, מְיֻסָּדִים עַל-אַדְנֵי-פָז; מַרְאֵהוּ, כַּלְּבָנוֹן–בָּחוּר, כָּאֲרָזִים.

15 His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold; his aspect is like Lebanon, excellent as the cedars.

This undeniably implies that the mystery man would be an from Arab lineage.

Instead of being the weakest evidence, the Song of Songs 5:16 gives very strong evidence for the prophecy of prophet Muhammad (p) in the Bible.

What more proof can we ask for? We have his very name mentioned letter by letter and it is referred to in such a special unique form.

So the Muslim translation of Song of Songs 5:16 should rendered like the following:

His mouth is full of sweetness; he is Muhammad in every way. Such, O women of Jerusalem, he is my beloved, my friend.

الَّذِينَ آتَيْنَاهُمُ الْكِتَابَ يَعْرِفُونَهُ كَمَا يَعْرِفُونَ أَبْنَاءَهُمْ ۖ وَإِنَّ فَرِيقًا مِّنْهُمْ لَيَكْتُمُونَ الْحَقَّ وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ

Those to whom We gave the Scripture know him (Muhammad) as they know their own sons. But indeed, a party of them conceal the truth while they know [it]. (Q 6:20)

Sadaqa Allaahu al-‘Azeem ≡ Almighty God has spoken the truth

Categories: Bible, Biblical Hebrew, Eric bin Kisam, Islam

12 replies

  1. Reblogged this on ModWestMuse and commented:
    His mouth is full of sweetness; he is Muhammad in every way. Such, O women of Jerusalem, he is my beloved, my friend…

    • Hosea 9:16 ‘I will kill their Muhammad’ .

      2 Chr 36:19 ‘Then his army burned the Temple of God, tore down the walls of Jerusalem, burned all the palaces, and completely destroyed Muhammad’

      If ‘Machmadim’ is Muhammad, there’s a lot of prophecies about Muhammad in the Bible

      • Translating it to Muhammad in any other verse doesn’t fit.
        Hosea 9:16 is talking about Israel.

        And 2 Chr 36:19??? It’s past tense and not even talking about a person (again about past Israel).

      • This verse unlike other verses is situated in an explicitly allegorical context. As the first point stated “the context of Song of Songs to be not about human love or human sexual desire but rather as an allegory of the relationship between God and His special person or people.”

  2. The same exact word.. It’s not a verb, so it’s impossible that it’s past tense. Btw, there is no past tense in Classical Hebrew. Song of Songs is not ‘explicitly’ allegorical: It’s a collection of erotic love poetry

  3. Oh so desperate

    • yes, you are pretty desperate in life.. I hope all of that ass selling as a Male Gigolo during the summer in Mykonos Island is paying off for you Anthony Faggoner

      • I love the fact that everyone here is free to voice their opinion with no moderation. It reflects very positively on you Paul Williams and I hope you will keep it that way forever. Whether by a Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu. atheist or whatever the above comment is clearly unpolite, exceeded what was said in that thread and is clearly not in the good natured spirit of you personally or of this blog. Not suggesting it should be deleted but perhaps a friendly reminder to keep it nice.

  4. @Anthony Waggoner

    My apologies for being rude man. I was in a bad mood yesterday and it affected my attitude and words. I should not have posted rude things to you.

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