Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 9.djvu/68

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ⅩⅪ, 76-84.

they were a bad people, so we drowned them all together.

And David and Solomon, when they gave judgment concerning the field, when some people’s sheep had strayed therein at night; and we testified to their judgment[1]; and this we gave Solomon to understand. To each of them we gave judgment and knowledge; and to David we subjected the mountains to celebrate our praises, and the birds too, — it was we who did it[2].

80 And we taught him the art of making coats of mail for you, to shield you from each other’s violence; are ye then grateful?

And to Solomon (we subjected) the wind blowing stormily, to run on at his bidding to the land[3] which we have blessed, — for all things did we know, — and some devils to dive for him, and to do other works beside that; and we kept guard over them.

And Job, when he cried to his Lord, 'As for me, harm has touched me, but Thou art the most merciful of the merciful ones.' And we answered

  1. This case, say the commentators, being brought before David and Solomon, David said that the owner of the field should take the sheep in compensation for the damage; but Solomon, who was only eleven years old at the time, gave judgment that the owner of the field should enjoy the produce of the sheep — that is, their milk, wool, and lambs — until the shepherd had restored the field to its former state of cultivation, and this judgment was approved by David.
  2. This legend, adopted from the Talmud, arises from a too literal interpretation of Psalm ⅽⅹⅼⅷ.
  3. The legend of Solomon, his seal inscribed with the holy name by which he could control all the powers of nature, his carpet or throne that used to be transported with him on the wind wherever he pleased, his power over the ginns, and his knowledge of the language of birds and beasts are commonplaces in Arabic writings.