If you read Deuteronomy 18:15-18, in the Hebrew, if you analyse the text, the word “you” in verse 15 is in the singular because the children of Israel are sometimes spoken of in the singular in the Bible. Sometimes the whole nation represents one person.
For example, Prophet Muhammed said that the Muslims are like one body. The same thing with the Bible. For example, in Exodus 4:22 God says “Israel is my son, verily my first born” that’s speaking about the children of Israel the nation.
So, when God says to the children of Israel, I will raise up a Prophet from amongst the brothers of “you”, this Prophet cannot arise from the children of Israel themselves because the brothers of the nation of Israel are not the same as Israel itself. The nation of Israel is not the brother of the nation of Israel. So, we have to ask ourselves who are the brothers or brethren of children of Israel.
Now in the book of Deuteronomy itself, the Edomites, who are known as Arabs, are called as brethren of the children of Israel. In the book of Genesis 16:12 it says that Ishmael shall dwell in the presence of his brothers.
And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren
Now Ishmael here doesn’t represent Ishmael the individual. He represents the Ishmaelites as a nation which means the brothers of the Ishmaelites are the other nations that descend from the Prophet Abraham because in Genesis 15, God tells Abraham that I will make you a great nation through your descendants. That makes all these nations that descend from Abraham brothers of each other.
So, we know that this Prophet will not arise from Israel itself but from amongst the brothers of Israel. Now the question is who the Edomites? the Midianites? who?
Why do I say it’s the Ishmaelites specifically, well, we get a clue from the Torah itself? For example, in Genesis chapter 16 and 17, God says to Abraham “i will make you a great nation”.
Then that same promise is given to Isaac who is the father of the children of Israel. A great nation. And then the same promise is given to the mother of Ishmael and Abraham regarding Ishmael that he will become a great nation. Now to know who the nation is that is the brother of Israel that this prophet will arise from we have to look at how was the great nation promise fulfilled with the descendants of Isaac.
Interestingly enough Moses himself answers this question himself in the Book of Deuteronomy 4 where he says, speaking about Israel “who is a great nation like unto us which believes in the one true God and follows His commandments.” So, Moses himself likens his own mission to the fulfilment of the prophecy given to Isaac regarding his descendants that they will become a great nation by saying a great nation is one who follows the one true God and follows these commandments.
The only time this was fulfilled where the descendants of Isaac was with the coming of Moses and Torah being handed down at Mount Sinai which means Moses understood himself as the fulfilment of that promise.
So, to narrow it down and see who are the brethren of Israel where the Prophet will arise from we just have to see who else had the great nation promise and in Genesis 16 we see that it was the Ishmaelites who had the great nation promise. So, if for the children of Israel.
The fulfilment of the great nation promise was with the coming of Moses and them knowing the one true God and following His commandments, then we just have to ask in history when did this happen for the Ishmaelites?
For 3,000 years there is only one time in history of the Ishmaelites that history reports where they knew the one true God and they followed these commandments just like the Israelites follow the commandments of God with the Torah and that was in the 7th century with the coming of Prophet Muhammed with the revelation of the Qur’an. This is not something that just us Muslims claim, this is something that history itself testifies to.
Even Thomas Carlyle, who was a very good historian, said the same thing in the last century. Chumaish commentary of the Jews admits the same thing. Anis Shorrosh, a Christian apologist says the same thing.
So, we always see a likeness with Prophet Muhammed and Moses that both of them brought a great nation but let me take this one step further. This promise was given to the Israelites and this promise was given to the Ishmaelites. But this promise was also given to Abraham.
Now how was it fulfilled for Abraham it was fulfilled by the coming of Prophet Muhammed because when God said to Abraham that he will become a great nation, when did ALL of his descendants believe in the one true God and follow His commandments the same way Moses applied the prophecy? that was with the coming of Prophet Muhammed.
When he came, ALL of the descendants of Abraham believed in the one true God and followed His commandments. All of them except the Jews who rejected Prophet Muhammed, but they still believed in the one true God and follow His commandments in the sense that they followed the Torah.
And some of the Jewish Christians still followed the commandments of God because they still believed in the Torah laws unlike some modern-day Christians and so-called Orthodox Christians who don’t follow the commandments because they believe it’s been abolished as Paul claimed.
Allah knows Best.