Recently, on another website, I read a comment by a Muslim which said that the Christian Bible mentions Mohammad – by name – as the next and last prophet of God. Curious, I asked about it – which book and verse? He responded with Deuteronomy 18:18 and Song of Solomon 5:16.
I’m used to seeing Christians make exaggerated claims about how the Old Testament predicted Jesus, but I have to say that Muslims do an even worse job at apologetics. Here’s all the problems with his claim:
If Deuteronomy and Song of Solomon (written somewhere between 1000 BC and 500 BC) mentioned Mohammed as the next prophet of God, then what about all of the Old Testament “prophets” in the intervening centuries? Muslims believe that Jesus, Isaiah, and Elisha were all prophets, so there’s certainly something wrong if Deuteronomy claims Mohammad would be the next prophet.
Anyway, the verses simply do not support this claim.
“I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.”
Apparently, Mohammad tried to use this verse to argue that he was a prophet of God. Muslims try to draw parallels between Moses (who supposedly wrote Deuteronomy) and Mohammad – including: “Rejected by his people and then accepted”, “Became a national leader”, “Encountered enemies in battle”, and “Family – married with children”.
The problem is that nothing in this verse is specific – almost any “prophet” could claim that the verse is talking about him. The verse doesn’t even say in what way this new prophet would be like Moses (maybe it simply means that the prophet would be an Israelite – which is exactly what some translations say), so Muslims go on a fishing expedition to find parallels. Further, the verse never mentions the name “Mohammad”.
Song of Solomon 5:16:
“His mouth is full of sweetness. And he is wholly desirable. This is my beloved and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.”
Apparently, in the original Hebrew, the words “wholly desirable” or “one worthy of praise” is pronounced as Machmaddim or Muhammadim (Hebrew uses an entirely different alphabet).
There are number of problems with the claim that this is about Mohammad:
(1) The claim that the verse is talking about Mohammad because the Hebrew words sound like Mohammad is quite a stretch. The Bible is a big book, so there are going to be some words that sound like Mohammad.
(2) The reason we don’t see the word “Machmaddim” or “Mohammad” in our English Bibles is because Machmaddim was a word with a meaning (“one worthy of praise”) – it wasn’t a proper name. Proper names get only minor changes during translation. For example, miryam (Jewish) gets translated as “Mary” (English) or “Maria” (Spanish). “Machmaddim” isn’t a proper name.
(3) Nowhere does this verse claim that Mohammad would be the next and last prophet of God (which was the Muslim’s original argument).
(4) These words were written by a woman – not by God. The chapter is actually an erotic love poem. If you step back and look at the chapter as a whole, you’ll find this:
The Torment of Separation
1 “I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride; I have gathered my myrrh along with my balsam. I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey; I have drunk my wine and my milk. Eat, friends; Drink and imbibe deeply, O lovers.”
2 “I was asleep but my heart was awake. A voice! My beloved was knocking: ‘Open to me, my sister, my darling, My dove, my perfect one! For my head is drenched with dew, My locks with the damp of the night.’
3 “I have taken off my dress, How can I put it on again? I have washed my feet, How can I dirty them again?
4 “My beloved extended his hand through the opening, And my feelings were aroused for him.
5 “I arose to open to my beloved; And my hands dripped with myrrh, And my fingers with liquid myrrh, On the handles of the bolt.
6 “I opened to my beloved, But my beloved had turned away and had gone! My heart went out to him as he spoke. I searched for him but I did not find him; I called him but he did not answer me.
7 “The watchmen who make the rounds in the city found me, They struck me and wounded me; The guardsmen of the walls took away my shawl from me.
8 “I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, If you find my beloved, As to what you will tell him: For I am lovesick.”
9 “What kind of beloved is your beloved, O most beautiful among women? What kind of beloved is your beloved, That thus you adjure us?”
Admiration by the Bride
10 “My beloved is dazzling and ruddy, Outstanding among ten thousand.
11 “His head is like gold, pure gold; His locks are like clusters of dates And black as a raven.
12 “His eyes are like doves Beside streams of water, Bathed in milk, And reposed in their setting.
13 “His cheeks are like a bed of balsam, Banks of sweet-scented herbs; His lips are lilies Dripping with liquid myrrh.
14 “His hands are rods of gold Set with beryl; His abdomen is carved ivory Inlaid with sapphires.
15 “His legs are pillars of alabaster Set on pedestals of pure gold; His appearance is like Lebanon Choice as the cedars.
16 “His mouth is full of sweetness. And he is wholly desirable. This is my beloved and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.”
Verse 1 show this woman drinking wine (forbidden by Islam), and have some erotic details (verses 3-6). It’s very clear that this is not a chapter that was supposedly written by God, but it was an erotic love poem written by a woman. It has nothing to do with prophets or foretelling Mohammad as the next and last prophet of God. It’s absurd the way that Muslims try to twist the Bible to make it support their beliefs about the world.