Isaiah 21:7

It is much to be deplored that some Muslims, in their eagerness to find in the pages of the Bible some reference to Muhammad, often resort to the most unreasonable and fanciful methods of exegesis. If their eye but meets the word ‘sword’ in the pages of that Book, there is immediately an hysterical cry raised that the word contains some reference to Muhammad. In like manner the word ‘camel’ is invariably sufficient to raise a chorus of asseveration that, at last, a distinct prophecy of the Arabian lawgiver has been found!! 18 We are moved to these remarks by the Muslim exegesis of Isaiah 21:7, which illustrates in a striking manner the fault of which we complain. It is there written, ‘And when he seeth a troop, horsemen in pairs, a troop of asses, a troop of camels, he shall hearken diligently with much heed.’ Strange as it may appear, Muslim writers profess to find in the words just quoted a prophecy of Muhammad, and the troop of asses' we are gravely told, refers to Jesus Christ, because, forsooth, He, on one occasion, entered Jerusalem riding upon an ass; whilst, more wonderful still, the troop of camels refers to Muhammad, because it was his custom to ride on that beast; as if none but Muhammad ever rode upon a camel, or any but Jesus entered Jerusalem upon an ass!!

We have seen many attempts to find Muhammad in the pages of the Old and New Testaments, but this, surely, is the most ludicrous of them all. It has not even the shadow of reasonableness; for there is nothing in the whole context which in any way suggests a reference to the Arabian Prophet. 19 The chapter deals, as a careful perusal will easily show, with the coming destruction of Babylon, and the prediction was fulfilled some two hundred years later when Darius the Persian took that city. Had the writer quoted above but taken the trouble to read the ninth verse of that same chapter he would not have permitted himself to write as he has done, for there we find Babylon distinctly mentioned in these words, ‘And, behold, here cometh a troop of men, horsemen in pairs. And he answered and said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen’ (Isaiah 21:9). Muslim authors must be hardpressed indeed for predictions of their Prophet when they have to argue from such passages.

18. When he sees riders, horsemen in pairs, riders on donkeys, riders on camels, let him listen diligently, very diligently. Isaiah 27:1.

19. The passage is a prophecy of the destruction of Babylon.