Song of Songs 5:16

Another text Muslims often use to ”prove” that Muhammad is to be found in the Bible is Song of Songs 5:16, with the emphasis on the Hebrew word מַחֲּמַדִּים. First of all, the subject of the text has nothing to do with prophets, much less a last/final prophet. According to Jewish interpretation, it is a love story, in the form of an allegory, between God and his people Israel. But still, let us study the verse carefully.

His mouth is full of sweetness. And he is wholly desirable [machamadim]. This is my beloved and this is my friend, o daughters of Jerusalem.

Muslims claim that the Hebrew word machamadim (מַחֲּמַדִּים) is the name ”Muhammad” with the plural ending –im. The famous Muslim apologist Zakir Naik wants to pronounce it ”Muhammadim”, despite the fact that מַחֲּמַדִּים can’t be pronounced ”Muhammadim”. I have studied Biblical Hebrew at the university and know very well how to pronounce Hebrew letters and words. To pronounce מַחֲּמַדִּים ”Muhammadim” is nothing more than a fabrication.

But let’s begin with the meaning of machamadim. It has nothing at all to do with a name. It means ”desirable”, ”lovely”, ”pleasant” and ”precious”. It consists of the word machmad with the plural ending –im suffixed to the main word. Muslims claim that this plural ending is a so-called ”plural of majesty” added to the name Muhammad to emphasise his honorable name. But names in the Bible does not have plural endings, and that enough should be evidence that machamadim has nothing to do with Muhammad. 

But, Muslims argue, does not the Hebrew word for God, elohim, has the same plural ending? Isn’t that the name of God? It is true that elohim has the same plural ending as machamadim, but elohim is not a name but a title. It can be treated as a name, but it is nevertheless a title. That’s why it can have the plural ending. We can take a very interesting and telling example to compare with. The most mighty name in the universe is Yahweh (יהוה). Yes, you read correctly. The mightiest name is not Allah but Yahweh! It occurs almost 5 800 times in the Hebrew Bible. But not even ones does it have a plural ending. Why not, if this name is much, much, much mightier and holier than the name Muhammad? Is it reasonable to think that Muhammads name has a plural of majesty, while the name Yahweh has not? Of course not! To think otherwise is absurd.

Let’s continue our in-depth study. There is another way of proving that machamadim has nothing to do with Muhammad. It’s understandable that people like Zakir Naik only quotes from Song of Songs 5:16. Because if he would quote from other places in the Bible where this same word occurs, his argument would collapse.  

Our holy and beautiful house (the Temple in Jerusalem), where our fathers praised You, has been burned by fire; And all our precious [machamadim] things have become a ruin. (Isaiah 64:11)

According to this text, all the machamadim has become a ruin. Shall we agree that it talks about Muhammad, that he as become a ruin? I assume not, because the text doesn’t talk about him. It’s the same with Song of Songs 5:16. It does not talk about Muhammad. To try to find him there is only a wishful undertaking. Nothing more!

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