(I will not give up) meaning, I will keep on traveling,
[حَتَّى أَبْلُغَ مَجْمَعَ الْبَحْرَيْنِ]
(until I reach the junction of the two seas) meaning, the place where the two seas met.
[أَوْ أَمْضِىَ حُقُباً]
(or a Huqub passes.) meaning, even if I have to travel for a very long time. Ibn Jarir (may Allah have mercy on him) said, "Some of the scholars of the Arabic language said that Huqub means a year in the dialect of [the tribe of] Qays,'' then he narrated that `Abdullah bin `Amr said, "Huqub means eighty years.'' Mujahid said, "Seventy years.'' `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said that it means a lifetime. Qatadah and Ibn Zayd said likewise.
[فَلَمَّا بَلَغَا مَجْمَعَ بَيْنِهِمَا نَسِيَا حُوتَهُمَا]
(But when they reached the junction of the two seas, they forgot their fish,) He had been commanded to carry a salted fish with him, and it had been said to him, when you lose the fish, that will be a sign that you have reached the right place. So they set out and traveled until they reached the junction of the two seas, where there was a spring called `Ayn Al-Hayat (the Spring of Life). They went to sleep there, and the fish felt the drops of that water, so it came back to life. It was in a vessel with Yusha`, upon him be peace, and it jumped out of the vessel towards the sea. Yusha` woke up and the fish fell into the water and started to swim through the water, leaving a track or channel behind it. Allah said:
[فَاتَّخَذَ سَبِيلَهُ فِى الْبَحْرِ سَرَباً]
(and it took its way through the sea as in a tunnel.) meaning, like going through a tunnel on land. Ibn Jurayj said, "Ibn `Abbas said, `It left a trace as if it were a rock.'"
(So when they had passed further on,) means, past the place where they had forgotten the fish. Forgetfulness is attributed to them both even though it was actually Yusha` who forgot. This is like the Ayah:
[يَخْرُجُ مِنْهُمَا الُّلؤْلُؤُ وَالمَرْجَانُ ]
(Out of them both come out pearl and coral.) [55:22], although they come from the salt water, according to one of the two opinions. When they had passed one stage beyond the place where they had forgotten the fish,
[قَالَ لِفَتَـهُ ءَاتِنَا غَدَآءَنَا لَقَدْ لَقِينَا مِن سَفَرِنَا هَـذَا]
([Musa] said to his boy-servant: "Bring us our morning meal; truly, we have suffered in this, our journey) meaning, their journey beyond the place where they should have stopped.
(Nasaban) means, exhaustion.
[قَالَ أَرَأَيْتَ إِذْ أَوَيْنَآ إِلَى الصَّخْرَةِ فَإِنِّى نَسِيتُ الْحُوتَ وَمَآ أَنْسَانِيهُ إِلاَّ الشَّيْطَـنُ أَنْ أَذْكُرَهُ]
(He said: "Do you remember when we betook ourselves to the rock I indeed forgot the fish; none but Shaytan made me forget to remember it...'') Then he said,
(It took its course), meaning its path,
[فِى الْبَحْرِ عَجَبًاقَالَ ذَلِكَ مَا كُنَّا نَبْغِ]
("...into the sea in a strange (way)!'' [Musa] said: "That is what we have been seeking.'') meaning, this is what we have been looking for.
(So they went back )
[فَوَجَدَا عَبْدًا مِّنْ عِبَادِنَآ ءَاتَيْنَاهُ رَحْمَةً مِّنْ عِندِنَا وَعَلَّمْنَاهُ مِن لَّدُنَّا عِلْمًا ]
(Then they found one of Our servants, on whom We had bestowed mercy from Us, and whom We had taught knowledge from Us.) This was Al-Khidr, peace be upon him, as is indicated by the authentic Hadiths narrated from the Messenger of Allah . Al-Bukhari recorded that Sa`id bin Jubayr said, "I said to Ibn `Abbas: `Nawf Al-Bikali claims that Musa, the companion of Al-Khidr was not the Musa of the Children of Israel.' Ibn `Abbas said, `The enemy of Allah has told a lie.' Ubayy bin Ka`b narrated that he heard the Messenger of Allah say,