PICKTHAL: And when We said: Go into this township and eat freely of that which is therein, and enter the gate prostrate, and say: "Repentance." We will forgive you your sins and will increase (reward) for the right-doers.
SHAKIR: And when We said: Enter this city, then eat from it a plenteous (food) wherever you wish, and enter the gate making obeisance, and say, forgiveness. We will forgive you your wrongs and give more to those who do good (to others).
The questions that rise:
1.Which town is it?
2.Why God forgive those who enter the town?
3.Where is this story in the bible?
In Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali translation we find one interpretation:
And (remember) when We said: "Enter this town (Jerusalem) and eat bountifully therein with pleasure and delight wherever you wish, and enter the gate in prostration (or bowing with humility) and say: 'Forgive us,' and We shall forgive you your sins and shall increase (reward) for the good-doers."
There's no explain upon what the translator knew that this town was Jerusalem but it make sense,cause Jerusalem is a holly place so the combination of holly place and humility will give forgiveness.
So the 2 questions above have answers,but the third,where is such story in bible?
There's another difficult:
One Verse before was the story of the Manna:
And We gave you the shade of clouds and sent down to you Manna and quails, saying: "Eat of the good things We have provided for you:" (But they rebelled); to us they did no harm, but they harmed their own souls. (2:57)
Two verse after there's the story of water from the rock:
And remember Moses prayed for water for his people; We said: "Strike the rock with thy staff." Then gushed forth therefrom twelve springs. Each group knew its own place for water. So eat and drink of the sustenance provided by Allah, and do no evil nor mischief on the (face of the) earth. (2:60)
So The story with the manna was in the desert and the story of water from the rock was in the desert so where Jerusalem fitting in?
Yusuf Ali's Commentary:
This probably refers to Shittim. It was the "town of acacias," just east of the Jordan, where the Israelites were guilty of debauchery and the worship of and sacrifice to false gods a terrible punishment ensued, including the plague of which 24,000 died. The word which the transgressors changed may have been a pass-word. In the Arabic text it is "Hittatun" which implies humility and a prayer of forgiveness, a fitting emblem to distinguish them from their enemies. From this particular incident a more general lesson may be drawn; in the hour of triumph we are to behave humbly as in God's sight, and our conduct should be exemplary according to God's word; otherwise our arrogance will draw its own punishment.
Is this explain what is so important to enter the town?shittim wasn't a holly place!
This interpretation try to answer where this story is in the bible,but is there a connection between the story in Quran to the story of shittim in bible?
The shittim story is in Numbers:
And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit harlotry with the daughters of Moab. And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods; and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods. And Israel joined himself unto the Baal of Peor; and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel...And those that died by the plague were twenty and four thousand. (25:1-9)
So there's no room to try to match between those 2 stories.
So we didn't found any story in bible that fitt to those verse and it very odd cause Muhammad speak to the jews and say remember ,how can someone remember somthing he never knew?