place during the sojourn of the Israelites in the wilderness. Not less strange is what we are told about the calf which they made to worship during Moses' absence. In Surah XX 1, Ta Ha, we are told that when Moses returned and reproached them for this, they said, "We were made to bear loads of the ornaments of the people, and we threw them [into the fire]: and the Samaritan likewise cast in. Then he brought out unto them a calf in body, which could low." Jalalain's note says that the calf was made of flesh and blood, and that it had the power of lowing because life was given it through a handful of dust from the print left by the hoof of the Angel Gabriel's steed, which "the Samaritan" had collected and put into its month, according to v. 96 of the same Surah.

This legend also comes from the Jews, as is evident from the following extract which we translate from Pirqey Rabbi Eli'ezer, ยง 45, "And this calf came out lowing, and the Israelites saw it. Rabbi Yehudah says that Sammael was hidden in its interior, and was lowing in order that he might deceive Israel." The idea that the calf was able to low must come from the supposition that, though made of gold (Exod. xxxii. 4), it was alive, since it "came out" (v. 24) of the fire. Here, again, we see that the use of a figurative expression, when taken literally, led to the growth of a myth to explain it. The Muhammadan commentator in

1 v. 90; cf. Surah VII., 147.

explaining the words "a calf in body" in the Qur'an as signifying that it had "flesh and blood" has only gone a step further, and he does this to explain how it was that the animal could low. Muhammad seems to have understood most of the Jewish legend correctly, but the word Sammael puzzled him. Not understanding that this is the Jewish name of the Angel of Death, and perhaps misled as to the pronunciation, he mistook the word for the somewhat similar "Samiri," which means "Samaritan." Of course he made this mistake because he knew that the Jews were enemies of the Samaritans, and he fancied that they attributed the making of the calf to one of the latter. He was doubtless confirmed in this belief by some indistinct recollection of having heard that Jeroboam, king of what was afterwards called Samaria, had "made Israel to sin" by leading them to worship the calves which he made and placed in Dan and Beth-el (1 Kings xii. 28, 29). But since the city of Samaria was not built, or at least called by that name, until several hundred years after Moses' death, the anachronism is at least amusing, and would be startling in any other book than the Qur'an, in which far more stupendous ones frequently occur.

Here, as in very many other instances, Muhammad's ignorance of the Bible and acquaintance with Jewish legends instead is very striking. It is hardly necessary to point out that in the Bible the maker of the golden calf is Aaron, and that we