[5:41] O you messenger, do not be saddened by those who hasten to disbelieve among those who say, “We believe,” with their mouths, while their hearts do not believe. Among the Jews, some listened to lies. They listened to people who never met you, and who distorted the words out of context, then said, “If you are given this, accept it, but if you are given anything different, beware.” Whomever GOD wills to divert, you can do nothing to help him against GOD. GOD does not wish to cleanse their hearts. They have incurred humiliation in this world, and in the Hereafter, they will suffer a terrible retribution.
[5:42] They are upholders of lies, and eaters of illicit earnings. If they come to you to judge among them, you may judge among them, or you may disregard them. If you choose to disregard them, they cannot harm you in the least. But if you judge among them, you shall judge equitably. GOD loves those who are equitable.
[5:43] Why do they ask you to judge among them, when they have the Torah, containing GOD’s law, and they chose to disregard it? They are not believers.

When it says that “they listened to people who never met you, and who distorted the words out of context” does that only apply to the Children of Israel or can this be applied at any time?
We see this same situation take place with Jesus, Muhammad and the Messenger of the Covenant. Jesus never said he was God, the son of God, or part of a trinity, but people took his words out of context. Muslims in mass created hadith that were created hundreds of years after Muhammad’s death and attribute all kinds of lies to him. Similarly people are starting to do the same thing with the Messenger of the Covenant.

What is the relation between lies and illicit earnings?
Human beings have a tendency of being able to convince themselves of anything. When there is a monetary stake, people have more of a tendency to deceive themselves to justify illicit earnings.

Why would God will to divert people?
God does not lead anyone astray. God created a system whereby any belief we choose it is God’s system to augment that belief and justify it for each person.

[19:75] Say, “Those who choose to go astray, the Most Gracious will lead them on, until they see what is promised for them – either the retribution or the Hour. That is when they find out who really is worse off, and weaker in power.”
[19:76] GOD augments the guidance of those who choose to be guided. For the good deeds are eternally rewarded by your Lord, and bring far better returns. 

[3:177] Those who choose disbelief, instead of belief, do not hurt GOD in the least; they have incurred a painful retribution.
[3:178] Let not the disbelievers think that we lead them on for their own good. We only lead them on to confirm their sinfulness. They have incurred a humiliating retribution.
[3:179] GOD is not to leave the believers as you are, without distinguishing the bad from the good. Nor does GOD inform you of the future, but GOD bestows such knowledge upon whomever He chooses from among His messengers. Therefore, you shall believe in GOD and His messengers. If you believe and lead a righteous life, you receive a great recompense. Footnote
[3:180] Let not those who withhold and hoard GOD’s provisions think that this is good for them; it is bad for them. For they will carry their hoardings around their necks on the Day of Resurrection. GOD is the ultimate inheritor of the heavens and the earth. GOD is fully Cognizant of everything you do.

Do we have precedent of Children of Israel asking people of other scripture for judgment?
It is interesting that even if they went to Muhammad for judgment, God still pointed them to their own scripture. Similarly God gave us the Quran, yet people go to other sources looking for a different answer.

Since they went to Muhammad to judge shows a sign that they are not happy with what their scripture says, so they are hoping to get a different answer from Muhammad.

Could seeking judgment have anything to do with the two people that went to David for judgment? Should David have provided judgment from the Torah?
[38:21] Have you received news of the feuding men who sneaked into his sanctuary? [38:22] When they entered his room, he was startled. They said, “Have no fear. We are feuding with one another, and we are seeking your fair judgment. Do not wrong us, and guide us in the right path.
[38:23] “This brother of mine owns ninety-nine sheep, while I own one sheep. He wants to mix my sheep with his, and continues to pressure me.”

David’s Exemplary Piety

[38:24] He said, “He is being unfair to you by asking to combine your sheep with his. Most people who combine their properties treat each other unfairly, except those who believe and work righteousness, and these are so few.” Afterwards, David wondered if he made the right judgment. He thought that we were testing him. He then implored his Lord for forgiveness, bowed down, and repented.
*38:24 In this clear example, 99 on one side vs 1 on the other side, David’s extreme care to render the correct judgment caused him to ask forgiveness. Are we this careful?

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