Christian Churches of God
Sons of Ham: Part II
(Edition 2.0 20070917-20071020)
This paper deals with the illustrious first son of Ham and the dispersion of the Cushites throughout the world. The sons of Cush, including Nimrod, will be studied and the present locations of their descendants revealed from both genetic sampling and linguistic clues. The eventual conversion of Cush is shown in Scripture.
Sons of Ham Part II: Cush
Cush is the first son of Ham in the list of Seventy Nations recorded in both Genesis 10 and 1Chronicles 1.
Genesis 10:6 The sons of Ham: Cush, Egypt, Put, and Canaan. (RSV)
In his Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus records the progeny of Noah and the locations of the tribes descended from these sons. As with most other writers, he equates Noah’s grandson Cush with the Ethiopians.
The children of Ham possessed the land from Syria and Amanus, and the mountains of Libanus; seizing upon all that was on its sea-coasts, and as far as the ocean, and keeping it as their own. Some indeed of its names are utterly vanished away; others of them being changed, and another sound given them, are hardly to be discovered; yet a few there are which have kept their denominations entire. For of the four sons of Ham, time has not at all hurt the name of Chus [Cush]; for the Ethiopians, over whom he reigned, are even at this day, both by themselves and by all men in Asia, called Chusites. (Bk. I, vi, 2)
The descendants of the patriarch Cush and their dispersion to various locations throughout the world will now be investigated.
Characteristics of the Cushites
Perhaps the most obvious characteristic of this group of the sons of Cush in Ethiopia, and also sub-Saharan Africa, is that they are black-skinned, hence the patronym Cush (kush, SHD 3568), meaning simply black.
In Jeremiah 13:23, the rhetorical question is posed: “Can the Cushite change his skin or the leopard his spots?” This would indicate a marked difference in skin colour between the Israelites and the sons of Cush. The mention of a leopard here is interesting in that it is probably the most widespread of all the big cats, found throughout Africa, Asia Minor, India, China and Siberia – a diversity that seems to closely parallel the descendants of Cush and the Hamitic peoples in general.
In the early New Testament era, we see an important official of Queen Candace or Kandake (possibly the historical Queen Gersamot Hendeke VII) being visited by Philip in preparation for his baptism. He is referred to in Greek as an Aithiops, meaning literally scorched face, from which comes the generic term Ethiopian (Acts 8:27).
The warlike nature of the Cushites or Ethiopians is alluded to in 2Kings 19:9, where King Tirhakah of Ethiopia is seen hastening to attack Sennacherib’s army when Jerusalem was under threat (see also Isa. 37:9; 2Chr. 12:3; 16:8). Perhaps they were acting as mercenaries in the defence of Judah, or perhaps as allies stemming from the early alliance that resulted from the Queen of Sheba’s visit to Solomon from Yemen, when she had dominion over the lands on both sides of the Red Sea.
The Assyrians called the Cushites Kashshi or Kusu, while the Egyptian inscriptions referred to them as Kesh.
The lands of Kish or Khus were in fact in the Middle East near Assyria and not in Ethiopia at all, and this has sometimes led to confusion. The sons of Cush are divided into Northern and Southern Cushites, and by the time of Josephus the Northern Cushites had gone so far to the east they were in South, South-east, North-east and East Asia and Australia, and some were in the Americas. The Southern Cushites developed the Haplogroup B by mutation and do not possess the link of M168 P9, which is common to all other sons of Noah except the other African group of Phut, which is Hg A. The basic C (termed CR) is also there in North-east Africa.
In a book called African Glory: The Story of Vanished Negro Civilizations, first published in 1954, J.C. Degraft-Johnson gives the history of northern Africa including Carthage, the Arab conquest, and the Moors, of whom she says: “The Conquest of Spain was an African conquest. They were Mohammedan Africans, not Arabs, who laid low the Gothic kingdom of Spain”.
Somewhat surprisingly, perhaps, history in the form of myth highlights at least one famous descendant of Cush. Under the title Mighty Memnon: The African Presence in Greek and Roman Mythology, Runoko Rashidi gives a perspective on one particular ‘mythical’ hero of Greece.
The fabled story of the ancient and stupendous African general and warrior-king Memnon and his display of courage and prowess at the Greek siege of Troy was one of the most widely circulated and celebrated epics in the annals of Greek and Roman mythology. Memnon, described as "black as ebony, and the handsomest man alive," is mentioned repeatedly in the works of such early writers as Hesiod, Ovid, Pindar, Diodorus Siculus, Strabo and Virgil.
Arctinus of Miletus composed an epic poem entitled Ethiopia in which Memnon was the leading figure. Quintus of Smyrna credits Memnon with "bringing the countless tribes of his people who live in Ethiopia, land of the black man," to Troy in support of its war against the hostile coalition of Greek city-states. It was written that: "Memnon came to help them. Memnon was lord over the dark Ethiopians, and the host he brought seemed infinite. The Trojans were delighted to see him in their city."
According to Homer, "To Troy no hero came of nobler line, Or if nobler, Memnon, it was thine." In more recent times (late in the nineteenth century), Dr. Rufus Lewis Perry pronounced that:
"The distinguished Cushite whom Homer calls Memnon came and went like a meteor in the galaxy of illustrious Ethiopian monarchs. But the poet in classic song and the historian in legendary tradition, have preserved enough of his brightness to indicate his rank and power among the contemporary potentates of the earth. He was king of the Ethiopians. He fought against the Greeks in the Trojan war; and after he had slain Antilochus, son of Nestor, was killed by Achilles."
Dr. Perry concluded that, "Through slain by Achilles, Memnon is so embalmed in verse and prose by Homer, Hesiod, Virgil and others, that his name will last as long as the writings of these imperishable authors."
SOURCES: The Cushite, by Rufus Lewis Perry; Ethiopia and Ethiopians as Seen by Classical Writers, by William Leo Hansberry. (retrieved from http://www.cwo.com/~lucumi/runoko.html)
The time of which we speak is the fall of Troy in 1054 BCE, but the Cushites had long been in Africa at this time and were to split into diverse ethnic groups and two distinct YDNA Haplogroups.
Location of the land of Cush
As noted in the first paper in this series, the name Cush was almost certainly applied to two distinct regions: one on the eastern side of the lower Tigris river in Mesopotamia (later known as Khuzistan: Rawlinson); and a land in East Africa more usually referred to as Ethiopia. It is the latter we are concerned with here.
Ephorus, the Greek historian, wrote in ca. 340 BCE that: “the Ethiopians were considered as occupying all the south coasts of both Asia and Africa, divided by the Red Sea into Eastern and Western Asiatic and African”.
Many authors refer to the African Kush/Cush as being synonymous with northern Sudan (Nubia), Upper Egypt and all the land south from the First Cataract of the Nile. Others claim that Cushites may also be found in the Horn of Africa, as well as among the Somali, Afar and Oromo peoples. In Chronicles 21:16, the Ethiopians are simply said to be located near the Arabians.
On his website, the pan-Africanist historian and lecturer Runoko Rashidi gives some idea of the extent of the Ethiopian or Cushite civilisations.
The classical home of the ancient Ethiopians was the Eastern Sudan, although Homer and Herodotus mentioned other Ethiopians dwelling in Egypt, Arabia, Palestine, Western Asia and India.
To cite Lady Lugard: "The fame of the ancient Ethiopians was widespread in ancient history. History describes them as the tallest, most beautiful and long-lived of the human races, and before Herodotus, Homer, in even more flattering language, described them as the most just of men, the favorites of the gods. The annals of all the great early nations of Asia Minor are full of them. The Mosaic records allude to them frequently; but while they are described as the most powerful, the most just, and the most beautiful of the human race, they are constantly spoken of as Black, and there seems to be no other conclusion to be drawn than that at that remote period of history, the leading race of the Western World was a Black race."
The ancient Kushite or Ethiopian culture may be called the Archaic Civilization. Even before the rise of the culture of Egypt, there was the great Kushite, or Ethiopian civilization, which was widespread in both Africa and Asia. One of the greatest African Ethiopian temples was located at Abu Simbel, or Ipsambul, in Nubia. When an English traveler named Wilson visited this temple, he saw sculptured on its walls the story of the Fall of Man as told in Genesis. Adam and Eve were shown in the Garden of Eden as well as the tempting serpent and the fatal tree. Commenting on this fact, Godfrey Higgins asked: "How is the fact of the mythos of the second book of Genesis being found in Nubia, probably a thousand miles above Heliopolis, to be accounted for?" Higgins then added that: "The same mythos is found in India." …
The ancient peoples of India were Asiatic Ethiopians and it should not surprise us that they shared common traditions with their brothers in Africa.
SOURCE: African Presence in Early Asia, edited by Runoko Rashidi and Ivan Van Sertima; REFERENCES: Analcalypsis, by Godfrey Higgins; A Tropical Dependency, by Lady Lugard.
(retrieved from http://www.cwo.com/~lucumi/runoko.html)
Syrian writers of the 5th century CE spoke of the Himyarites in southern Arabia as being both Cusheans and Ethiopians. Several later authors (e.g. Johann Michaelis and Rosemuller) applied the name Cush to both sides of the Red Sea, i.e. Arabia and Africa. This basically coincides with the ancient Kingdom of Aksum, which occupied much of modern-day Eritrea, north-eastern Sudan and Yemen.
The following extract is from the Wikipedia article on the origins of the important Cushite Kingdom of Aksum. We see that there is still dispute as to whether the Sabaean descendants of Sheba/Seba are from the Semitic or the Hamitic line, or both. The YDNA is the only way of determining their origins.
Aksum was previously thought to have been founded by Semitic-speaking Sabaeans who crossed the Red Sea from South Arabia (modern Yemen) … but most scholars now agree that it was an indigenous development.
Scholars like Stuart Munro-Hay point to the existence of an older D’mt or Da'amot kingdom, prior to any Sabaean migration ca. 4th or 5th c. BC, as well as to evidence of Sabaean immigrants having resided in Ethiopia for little more than a few decades. Furthermore, Ge'ez, the ancient Semitic language of Ethiopia, is now known to not have derived from Sabaean, and there is evidence of a Semitic speaking presence in Ethiopia and Eritrea at least as early as 2000 BC.
Sabaean influence is now thought to have been minor, limited to a few localities, and disappearing after a few decades or a century, perhaps representing a trading or military colony in some sort of symbiosis or military alliance with the Ethiopian civilization of D`mt or some proto-Aksumite state. Adding more to the confusion, there existed an Ethiopian city called Saba in the ancient period that does not seem to have been a Sabaean settlement.
Aksum traded with India and Rome (later Byzantium), exporting ivory, tortoise shell, gold and emeralds, and importing silk and spices. Aksum's access to both the Red Sea and the Upper Nile enabled its strong navy to profit in trade between various African (Nubia), Arabian (Yemen), and Indian states.
Aksum remained a strong empire and trading power until the rise of Islam in the seventh century. However, because the Axumites had sheltered Muhammad's first followers, the Muslims never attempted to overthrow Aksum as they spread across the face of Africa.
For the relationship of Aksum and Sheba refer to the papers on the Sons of Shem (No. 212A-G) dealing with Sheba and the Sons of Keturah.
An interesting tradition of a slave rising to prominence in the Aksumite court is also related in the Wikipedia article (cf. the paper Slavery (No. 148)).
A story recorded by Rufinus has it that at that time, a foreign boy named Frumentius was made a slave of the royal court, and later a tutor to the royal children. When the king died, the queen asked Frumentius to help rule Axum. He had declined promised freedom and remained until the queen's son, Ezana, was old enough to rule. Frumentius established a number of Christian churches, and when Ezana became king he made Christianity the official religion of Aksum [Ecclesiastical History]. This custom of a slave who teaches kings remained an important tradition for the next few hundred years.
It was a cosmopolitan and culturally important state. It was a meeting place for a variety of cultures: Egyptian, Sudanic, Arabic, and Indian. The major Aksumite cities had Sabean, Jewish, Nubian, Christian, and even Buddhist minorities. … Aksum began to decline in the 7th century, and the population was forced to go farther inland to the highlands, eventually being defeated c. 950.
Aksum was in fact originally part of the Sabaean kingdom ruled from the Yemen.
The Kingdom of Nubia also had significant connections with Cush. It was located in what is today southern Egypt and northern Sudan, and hence lies directly north of Aksum. The Wikipedia article on Nubia gives an overview.
In 2300 BC, Nubia [dating from the Manetho based chronology] was first mentioned in Old Kingdom Egyptian accounts of trade missions. From Aswan, right above the First Cataract, southern limit of Egyptian control at the time, Egyptians imported gold, incense, ebony, ivory, and exotic animals from tropical Africa through Nubia. As trade between Egypt and Nubia increased so did wealth and stability. By the Egyptian 6th dynasty, Nubia was divided into a series of small kingdoms. …
When the Egyptians pulled out, they left a lasting legacy that was merged with indigenous customs forming the kingdom of Kush. Kush adopted many Egyptian practices such as their religion and the practice of building pyramids. The kingdom of Kush survived longer than that of Egypt, even invading and controlling Egypt itself for a period (the Kushite dynasty) in the 8th century BC. Kush was never annexed by the Romans. The Kushites did trade with the Romans, and were also a source of mercenaries.
During this time, the different parts of the region divided into smaller groups with individual leaders, or generals, each commanding small armies of mercenaries. They fought for control of what is now Nubia and its surrounding territories, leaving the entire region weak and vulnerable to attack.
At some point, Kush was conquered by the Noba people, from which the name Nubia may derive (another possibility is that it comes from Nub, the Egyptian word for gold). From then on, the Romans referred to the area as the Nobatae. Indeed, recent studies in population genetics suggest that there was a south-north gene flow through the Nile Valley. [Fox, C.L., 'mtDNA analysis in ancient Nubians supports the existence of gene flow between sub-Sahara and North Africa in the Nile Valley', in Annals of Human Biology, 24, 3, 217–22.]
Similarly, linguistic evidence suggests that the Nubians from the Nile Valley originally came from the south or southwest. Historical comparative research into the Nubian language group has indicated that the Nile-Nubian languages must have split off from the Nubian languages still spoken in the Nuba Mountains in Kordofan, Sudan, at least 2500 years ago.
Thus the flow was into the Sudan and South and West into sub-Saharan Africa, and not as supposed. That accords with the Bible record.
In Esther 1:1 and 8:9, Ethiopia (or Cush) is seen as one of the 127 provinces of the Persian Empire, ruled at the time by Ahasuerus (Xerxes). This empire thereby encompassed Hamitic peoples as far apart as India and Africa, “the two extreme boundaries of the known world“ (Bullinger). One of the satrapies near the Indus Valley was called Aethiopes, mirroring the African province of Aethiopia.
The name is thus applied to what was by now two separate civilisations. When we examine the YDNA of the Southern Indians and the Cushites we find a composite group that relates to the Australian Aboriginals of both Hamitic and Japhethitic or Aryan groups. They seem to have developed from the CxC1 basic Hamitic in India and from the RxR1 basic Aryans that moved into India before the later Aryan invasion. From the CxC1 basic we find the Asians develop into the following:
C* This basic or original Haplogroup not belonging to any of the sub-groups has been found all along the Southern Coast of Asia from India to Vietnam, into China in Yunan Province, and on through the Philippines, Indonesia and Micronesia. The chromosomes have been detected, but in even lower frequencies, in coastal New Guinea and island Melanesia. This is considered to suggest that in Oceania the C* are associated with Austronesia despite the fact that C4 is the predominant Haplogroup of Australian Aborigines. Several at extremely low frequencies have been found among the Turkic people of Central Asia. One Hg C (RPS4Y) has been found in a Lebanese man on a sample size of 31 (thus 3.2%). It is not clear if it really was C basic, hence an Asian origin, or if it was C3 from a Turko-Mongol invader.
C1 (M8, M105, M131), limited to a low frequency in the Japanese Archipelago.
C2 (M38), which is typical of Polynesia and some Melanesians.
C3 (M217, P44) is typical of Mongols, Khazaks, and the people of the Russian Far-East and including Manchurians and Koreans.
C3a (M93) observed sporadically among Japanese.
C3b (P39) typical of the Na Dene or Chippewa people of North America.
C3c (M48, M77, M86) Northern Tungistic and Outer Mongolian people and with a moderate distribution in Southern Tungustics and Inner Mongolians and some Turkic people.
C3d (M407) sporadic among the Yakuts and Han Chinese.
C4 (M347) Aboriginal Australians.
C4a (DYS 390.I del)
C5 (M356) low frequency distribution in South-East Asia
The distribution of Haplogroup D is quite distinct from C in Asia and is found among the Negritos in the Andaman Islands, the Tibetans and the Japanese. Haplogroup D is actually a division from the YAP divide at M145 and M213. It is actually an offshoot of the original YDNA of the Egyptians and the Canaanites.
The Ainu of Japan and the Tarawa and Onge of the Andamans possess it almost exclusively while the Ainu, like the Japanese, generally have a 10% distribution of Hg C.
D is found at moderate to low frequencies among the people of Central and North-east Asia as well as the Han and Miao-Yao peoples of China and among the several minority groups of Yunnan that speak Tibeto-Burman.
Hg D has developed into exclusive sub-clades among the populations in which it is distributed. The sub-groups of D (M174) has
D* in some Chinese.
D1 (M15) is typical of Tibetans.
D2 (M55, M57, M64.1, M179, P12, P37.1, P41.1 (M359.1), 12f2.2) is typical of the Ainu, Ryukyans and Japanese
D3 (P47) is found at moderately high levels in southern central Asia.
(cf. Haplogroup C (YDNA) and Haplogroup D YDNA article Wikipedia).
We will discuss these distributions in the DNA charts in the Appendix. The D YDNA groups appear to be related to the Ancient Egyptians and Canaanites in the original links but developed from an early division that went into Asia.
Either that or the YAP-divide mutation of M145 and M213 was developed in the sons of Cush also, and was isolated to the specific groups by their mtDNA-induced mutations from the women that were associated with them.
Sons of Cush
Reference is made to six sons of Cush, including the infamous Nimrod, in Genesis 10 and 1Chronicles 1. Each will be discussed in order of seniority.
1Chronicles 1:9-10 The sons of Cush: Seba, Hav'ilah, Sabta, Ra'ama, and Sab'teca. The sons of Ra'amah: Sheba and Dedan. 10 Cush was the father of Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one in the earth. (RSV)
The name Seba (SHD 5434) is a word of foreign origin that may mean drink thou! (BDB). However, there has often been confusion between him and the similar Sheba, who was a grandson of Cush. The author of a Wikipedia article entitled ‘Sons of Ham’ supports the biblical separation of the two when stating that:
The Shibboleth-like division amongst the Sabaeans into Sheba and Seba is acknowledged elsewhere, for example in Psalm 72, leading scholars to suspect that this is not a mistaken duplication of the same name, but a genuine historical division. The significance of this division is not yet completely understood, though it may simply reflect which side of the sea each was on.
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE) provides details as to the possible location of the lands occupied by the tribe descended from Seba.
Their country is regarded as being, most likely, the district of Saba, North of Adulis, on the west coast of the Red Sea. There is just a possibility that the Sabi River, stretching from the coast to the Zambesi and the Limpopo, which was utilized as a waterway by the states in that region, though, through silting, not suitable now, may contain a trace of the name, and perhaps testifies to still more southern extensions of the power and influence of the Sebaim. … The ruins of this tract are regarded as being the work of others than the black natives of the country. Dillmann, however, suggests (on Ge 10:7) that the people of Seba were another branch of the Cushites East of Napatha by the Arabian Sea, of which Strabo (xvi. 4, 8, 10) and Ptolemy (iv.7, 7 f) give information.
The notations on the Semitic Seba are contained in the papers on the Sons of Shem (No. 212 A-G). The Cushite Sheba is commemorated in the Indian god Shiva, as are Rama and the others in the Ramayana (the spread is discussed in the work Mysticism Chapter 1 Spreading the Babylonian Mysteries (No. B7_1)).
Havilah is the name given not only to the second of Cush’s sons, but also to a son of Joktan, the descendant of Shem (Gen. 10:29; 1Chr. 1:23), once again blurring the distinction between the Hamitic and Semitic lines.
The location of the “land of Havilah” (Gen. 2:11), which appears to have been named retrospectively after one of these patriarchs, cannot be determined with any degree of certainty (Gesenius places it in the Indus Valley). The name Havilah or Chaviylah (SHD 2341) means circle or circular, and is rendered Heuila in the LXX. The ISBE provides a few additional details.
The mention of a Cushite Havilah is explained by the fact that the Arabian tribes at an early time migrated to the coast of Africa. The context of Ge 10:7 thus favors situation on the Ethiopian shore, and the name is perhaps preserved in the kolpos Aualites and in the tribe Abalitai on the South side of the straits of Babel-Mandeb. Or possibly a trace of the name appears in the classical Aualis, now Zeila‘ in Somaliland. But its occurrence among the Yoktanite Arabs (Ge 10:29) suggests a location in Arabia.
South Arabian inscriptions mention a district of Khaulan (Chaulan), and a place of this name is found both in Tihama and Southeast of San‘a’. Again Strabo’s Chaulotaioi and Chuwaila in Bahrein point to a district on the Arabian shore of the Persian Gulf. No exact identification has yet been made.
We can see that the Joktan Hebrews are mistaken for Arabs here. The Arabs are derived from the sons of Keturah, and the Joktan Hebrews are from an earlier patriarch. The admixture cannot be discounted as there are many Haplogroup I people in the area; these could be either Hebrew or Abrahamic, as the Hg J split from I with common S2 and S22 markers in both groups.
Brown-Driver-Briggs (BDB) suggest that Havilah is: “a district in Arabia of the Ishmaelites named from the 2nd son of Cush; probably the district of Kualan, in the northwestern part of Yemen”.
It is beyond dispute that the Semites and Cushites and Japhethites all moved into India and also occupied the North-west and North-east areas of Africa.
Sabta was the third son of the patriarch Cush; his name means striking (SHD 5454). It has been suggested that this tribe is connected with the Hadhramis or Hadramaut in eastern Yemen, whose capital was the ancient Shabwat (now Sabota). The ISBE has the following entry regarding the location of Sabta or Sabtah:
A place Sabta is probably to be looked for in South Arabia. Arab geographers give no exact equivalent of the name. Al Bekri (i.65) quotes a line of early poetry in which Dhu ‘l Sabta is mentioned, and the context might indicate a situation in Yemamah; but the word is possibly not a proper name. It is usually identified with Saubatha (Ptol., vi.7, 38) or with the Sabota of Pliny (vi.32; xii.32), an old mercantile city in South Arabia celebrated for its trade in frankincense and, according to Ptolemy, possessing 60 temples. It is said also to have been the territory of a king Elisarus, whose name presents a striking resemblance to Dhu ‘l-Adhar, one of the "Tubbas" or Himyarite kings of Yemen. Another conjecture is the Saphtha of Ptolemy (vi.7, 30) near the Arabian shore of the Persian Gulf.
Cush’s fourth son was Raama(h), who was the father of S(h)eba and Dedan (1Chr. 1:9). The RSV uses both spellings in the same verse for Raama(h), whose name means horse’s mane (SHD 7484); in the LXX it is given as Regma, which also happens to be the capital city of a people known as the Rhammanitae in southern Oman. The ISBE gives a brief description of Raama.
In Ezekiel’s lament over Tyre (Eze 27:22) the tribe of Raamah is mentioned along with Sheba as a mercantile people who provided the inhabitants of Tyre with spices, precious stones and gold. It has generally been identified with Regina, mentioned by Ptolemy and Steph. Byzantr. as a city in Southeastern Arabia on the shores of the Persian Gulf. The Septuagint (Rhegma) itself supposes this site. But the Arabic name of the city here indicated is spelled with a "g" and so gives rise to a phonological difficulty. A more probable identification has been found in the Sabean ra‘mah in Southwestern Arabia near Me‘in in the north of Marib. Me‘in was the capital of the old Minaean kingdom.
Easton’s Bible Dictionary puts the descendants of Raamah in Yemen rather than neighbouring Oman.
The country Raamah is described … as a country of the Arabian Peninsula, and Sheba, a son of Raamah and his country, its countrymen commonly being referred to as the Sabeans, was posited on the southwestern side of the Peninsula and cited as Yemen.
Notably, the Yemenites are dark-skinned as are the descendents of their progenitor's eponymous grandfather, Cush, commonly translated in the Bible as Ethiopia, meaning dark. (emphasis added)
Sheba and Dedan
Confusion has also arisen over these particular names. Sheba and Dedan are the two sons of Raamah (Gen.10:7), as well as being two sons of Jokshan, the son of Abraham by Keturah (Gen. 25:3). Yet another Sheba was a son of Joktan and thus a descendant of Shem (Gen. 10:28). Sheba means both seven and an oath (SHD 7614); Dedan or dedaneh (SHD 1719) means low country.
The ISBE gives further explanation in its article on Sabaeans, but is unable to satisfactorily distinguish between these various tribes with exactly the same name.
From the above statements it would appear that Sheba was the name of an Arab tribe, and consequently of Semitic descent. The fact that Sheba and Dedan are represented as Cushite (Ge 10:7) would point to a migration of part of these tribes to Ethiopia, and similarly their derivation from Abraham (Ge 25:3) would indicate that some families were located in Syria.
In point of fact Sheba was a South-Arabian or Joktanite tribe (Ge 10:28), and his own name and that of some of his brothers (e.g. Hazarmaveth = Hadhramaut) are place-names in Southern Arabia.
The Sabeans or people of Saba or Sheba, are referred to as traders in gold and spices, and as inhabiting a country remote from Palestine (1Ki 10:1 f; Isa 60:6; Jer 6:20; Eze 27:22; Ps 72:15; Mt 12:42), also as slave-traders (Joe 3:8), or even desert-rangers (Job 1:15; 6:19; compare CIS 84 3).
Under the sub-heading ‘Civilization’ in the same article, the ISBE makes some interesting comments on the status of women in Sheba and their famous queen (see the paper Rule of the Kings Part III: Solomon and the Key of David (No. 282C)).
The high position occupied by women among the Sabeans is reflected in the story of the Queen of Sheba and Solomon. In almost all respects women appear to have been considered the equal of men, and to have discharged the same civil, religious and even military functions. Polygamy does not seem to have been practiced. The Sabean inscriptions do not go back far enough to throw any light upon the queen who was contemporary with Solomon, and the Arabic identification of her with Bilqis is merely due to the latter being the only Sabean queen known to them. Bilqis must have lived several centuries later than the Hebrew monarch.
Along with Cush and Egypt, it is noted from Isaiah 43:3 and 45:14 that Sheba/Seba is to be “ransomed” in the future, representing the coming salvation of the Gentiles (see the paper The Witnesses (No. 135)). Bullinger’s note to Isaiah 43:3 says of the three nations mentioned that: “These were given to Persia as ransom-money (as it were) for the release of Israel by Persia through the successors of Cyrus. … In the time of Isaiah these three were united under one dynasty” (Comp. Bible).
Regarding Dedan, the ISBE has the following entry:
An Arabian people named in Ge 10:7 as descended from Cush; in Ge 25:3 as descended from Keturah. Evidently, they were, like the related Sheba (Sabaeans), of mixed race (compare Ge 10:7,28). In Isa 21:13 allusion is made to the "caravans of Dedanites" in the wilds of Arabia, and Eze mentions them as supplying Tyre with precious things (Eze 27:20; in verse 15, "Dedan" should probably be read as in Septuagint, "Rodan," i.e. Rhodians). The name seems still to linger in the island of Dadan, on the border of the Persian Gulf. It is found also in Min[aean] and Sab[atean] inscriptions (Glazer, II, 392 ff).
The name Sheba is also to be found in that of the Hindu god Shiva (see the paper Mysticism Chapter 6 Origins of the Indian Religious Systems (No. B7_6)).
The composite structure of the groups in the three areas of Africa, Arabia and the Indus is also indicated by the composite YDNA found there of Semtic, Hamitic and Japhethitic lineages.
Sabteca or Sabtecha, whose name also means striking (SHD 5455), was the fifth son of Cush. As with the other tribes in this group, the location of the peoples descended from him is vague. One suggestion is that they may be identified with the “Sabaiticum Ostium, Sabaeans living around a specific harbour in Eritrea” (Wikipedia). The ISBE, however, places them in the Arabian Peninsula rather than Africa.
Many conjectures have been made as to the place here indicated. Recently Glazer (Skizze, II, 252) has revived the suggestion of Bochart that it is to be identified with Samydake in Carmania on the East of the Persian Gulf. This seems to rest on nothing more than superficial resemblance of the names; but the phonetic changes involved are difficult. Others have thought of various places in Arabia, toward the Persian Gulf; but the data necessary for any satisfactory decision are not now available. (ISBE)
The identification will need to take into account the known Cushite DNA.
Nimrod is listed separately from his brothers as sons of Cush (Gen. 10:8-10; 1Chr. 1:10). The name Nimrod (SHD 5248) or Nebrod (LXX) means rebellion or the valiant (BDB).
Genesis 10:8-12 Cush became the father of Nimrod; he was the first on earth to be a mighty man. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore it is said, "Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the LORD." 10 The beginning of his kingdom was Ba'bel, Erech, and Accad, all of them in the land of Shinar. 11 From that land he went into Assyria, and built Nin'eveh, Reho'both-Ir, Calah, and 12 Resen between Nin'eveh and Calah; that is the great city. (RSV)
The Book of Jasher gives a possible explanation for the separate reference to Nimrod: that he was the favoured son of Ham’s old age (cf. Abraham’s son Isaac).
And Cush the son of Ham, the son of Noah, took a wife in those days in his old age, and she bare a son, and they called his name Nimrod, saying, At that time the sons of men again began to rebel and transgress against God, and the child grew up, and his father loved him exceedingly, for he was the son of his old age. (Ch. 7, 23)
In Legend: The Genesis of Civilisation, David Rohl equates the Sumerian king Enmerkar with the biblical Nimrod.
Let us look at the name Enmerkar. In most of the Sumerian literature Enmerkar’s name is written En-me-kar. In slightly later texts we find En-me-er-kar. This is consistent with the development of the written Sumerian language where the more explicit orthography of the later texts painstakingly includes all the amissable consonants of a name which would not have been expressed in the older texts. … one copy of the Sumerian King List, found at Nippur and published by Arno Poebel in 1914, gives En-me-er-ru-kar. We might, therefore, justifiably vocalise the name as Enmerukar.
Next we come to a crucial point. The four syllables En-me-ru-kar can be understood as a name plus an epithet -- once realised that kar is the Sumerian word for ‘hunter’ (Akk. habilu). Thus we have King ‘En-me-ru, the hunter’.
Nimrod was closely associated with Erech -- the biblical name for Uruk -- where Enmerkar ruled [cf. Gen. 10:8-10]. Enmerkar built a great sacred precinct at Uruk and constructed a temple at Eridu -- that much we know from the epic poem ‘Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta’. The Sumerian King List adds that Enmerkar was ‘the one who built Uruk’. Nimrod was also a great builder, constructing the cities of Uruk, Akkad and Babel. Both Nimrod and Enmerkar were renowned for their huntsmanship. Nimrod, as the grandson of Ham, belongs to the second ‘generation’ after the flood … and this is also true of Enmerkar who is recorded in the Sumerian King List as the second ruler of Uruk after the flood (Ubartutu -- (Utnapishtim) -- Flood -- Meskiagkasher -- Enmerkar). Both ruled over their empires in the land of Shinar/Sumer. …
The first ruler of Uruk following the flood is called Meskiagkasher in the Sumerian King List. You will immediately see the name Cush or Kush here, embedded in the longer Sumerian name. (Arrow Books Ltd, London, 1999, pp. 205-210)
Thus Nimrod or Enmerkar was probably the ruler of Uruk/Erech who succeeded his father, Cush or Meskiagkasher. In the epic literature of Mesopotamia, Nimrod is variously referred to as Enmerkar, Ninurta and Ninus, while in Phoenicia, Aram and Egypt he was known as Reshep or Reshpu, and to the Greeks, Orion, the mighty hunter.
The ISBE, in its article on Nimrod, states that he was initially seen as a benefactor to the people of the land.
In the primitive days of Mesopotamia, as also in Palestine, wild animals were so numerous that they became a menace to life and property (Ex 23:29; Le 26:22); therefore the king as benefactor and protector of his people hunted these wild beasts. The early conquest of the cities of Babylonia, or their federation into one great kingdom, is here ascribed to Nimrod.
However, as a type of Satan, who was also supposed to assist the human race, Nimrod’s pride rose along with his authority and accomplishments. Eventually, in an exact parallel with Satan, he rebelled against God Most High; this had similar far-reaching and often fatal consequences for humanity. Josephus states simply that:
… Nimrod, the son of Chus, stayed and tyrannized at Babylon, as we have already informed you (A.J., Bk. I, vi, 2).
The term here stayed and tyrannised at Babylon indicates that the others did not; and, indeed, the Cushites were the most nomadic and the most widespread hunter-gatherers. It is an absolute fact that the tomb of King Tutankhamen of Egypt contained boomerangs that would be recognised and used by any Australian Aboriginal in its specific hunting context, as they would be by the Dravidians of India, and there are clear links in the hunting systems of each. Yet the Aborigines were not builders, while the Egyptians were.
As we saw above, the Japanese and Tibetans are also derived from the origins of the Haplogroup C as Haplogroup D, as is Haplogroup E around the Mediterranean. It is in dispute as to whether the entire groups moved by sea to Japan and from there to Asia and Tibet or whether they moved overland. It appears that they may have done both, along with the Hg C people. As they are of the Uralic-Altaic language groups it is likely that they moved into India and the Russian Steppes from Afghanistan and spread east from there. The remaining puzzle is just how the Australians got into Australia, either from India or by island hopping. It may have been both, as the RxR1 basic is common among the Dravidians while the C basic is not as common, and the Australian Aboriginal C4 is found only in Australia. The Hg F found here seems to actually be a Semitic I1a1 as the F was not tested thoroughly. However, it is thought to be a European admixture from British occupation.
The Tower of Babel
From Genesis 10:10-11 we see that Nimrod built four cities in the land of Shinar or Sumer, and then went into the land occupied by Asshur, son of Shem, to build Nineveh and three other major cities. Nimrod could perhaps be viewed as the originator of the city-state.
We note from Genesis 4:17 that Cain, son of Adam, was probably the first builder of a city, for his son Hanoch (Enoch: KJV & RSV). It would appear that congregating together in cities is not what God had intended for mankind (cf. Gen. 11:9); but the rebellious ones from Cain onwards appear to have thought otherwise and thus wilfully disobeyed God.
The ISBE mentions the differing opinions regarding Nimrod’s involvement with the building of these cities.
Whether the founding and colonization of Assyria (Ge 10:11) are to be ascribed to Nimrod will be determined by the exegesis of the text. English Versions of the Bible read: "Out of that land he (i.e. Nimrod) went forth into Assyria, and builded Nineveh," etc., this translation assigning the rise of Assyria to Nimrod, and apparently being sustained by Mic 5:5,6 (compare J. M. P. Smith, "Micah," ICC, in the place cited.); but American Revised Version, margin renders: "Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh," which translation is more accurate exegetically and not in conflict with Mic 5:6, if in the latter "land of Nimrod" be understood, not as parallel with, but as supplemental to, Assyria, and therefore as Babylon (compare commentaries of Cheyne, Pusey, S. Clark, in the place cited.).
The text concerning the ambitious construction of a tower designed to reach to the heavens is given in Genesis 11.
Genesis 11:2-4 And as men migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. 3 And they said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly." And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4 Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth." (RSV)
In Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus expands upon the biblical account of Nimrod’s rebellion and his construction of the Tower of Babel.
CONCERNING THE TOWER OF BABYLON, AND THE CONFUSION OF TONGUES.
2. Now it was Nimrod who excited them to such an affront and contempt of God. He was the grandson of Ham, the son of Noah, a bold man, and of great strength of hand. He persuaded them not to ascribe it to God, as if it was through his means they were happy, but to believe that it was their own courage, which procured that happiness. He also gradually changed the government into tyranny, seeing no other way of turning men from the fear of God, but to bring them into a constant dependence on his power. He also said he would be revenged on God, if he should have a mind to drown the world again; for that he would build a tower too high for the waters to be able to reach and that he would avenge himself on God for destroying their forefathers.
3. Now the multitude were very ready to follow the determination of Nimrod, and to esteem it a piece of cowardice to submit to God; and they built a tower, neither sparing any pains, nor being in any degree negligent about the work: and, by reason of the multitude of hands employed in it, it grew very high, sooner than any one could expect; but the thickness of it was so great, and it was so strongly built, that thereby its great height seemed, upon the view, to be less than it really was. It was built of burnt brick, cemented together with mortar, made of bitumen, that it might not be liable to admit water.
When God saw that they acted so madly, he did not resolve to destroy them utterly, since they were not grown wiser by the destruction of the former sinners; but he caused a tumult among them, by producing in them divers languages, and causing that, through the multitude of those languages, they should not be able to understand one another.
The place wherein they built the tower is now called Babylon, because of the confusion of that language which they readily understood before; for the Hebrews mean by the word Babel, confusion. The Sibyl also makes mention of this tower, and of the confusion of the language, when she says thus: "When all men were of one language, some of them built a high tower, as if they would thereby ascend up to heaven, but the gods sent storms of wind and overthrew the tower, and gave every one his peculiar language; and for this reason it was that the city was called Babylon." (Bk. I, iv)
A fragment of the Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta Epic is held by the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England. It restates the biblical account of the confusing of the single universal language.
“Then Enki, lord of abundance, whose commands are trustworthy, the lord of wisdom who understands the land, the leader of the gods endowed with wisdom, the lord of Eridu, changed the speech in their mouths, bringing contention into the speech of Man which until then had been one.”
The subject of the confusion of languages is addressed briefly in the paper Sons of Ham: Part I (No. 45A) under the heading ‘Language Clues’.
The following is from the Wikipedia article on the various Cushitic languages, which make up a small portion of all those on the continent of Africa.
The East Cushitic languages comprise more than thirty languages belonging to the Cushitic family within the Afro-Asiatic phylum. East Cushitic languages are spoken mainly in Ethiopia but also in Somalia, Kenya and Djibouti.
The most prominent East Cushitic language is Oromo, with about 21 million speakers. Other prominent languages include Somali (in Somalia, Ethiopia, and Djibouti) with about 15 million speakers, Sidamo (in Ethiopia) with about 2 million speakers, and Afar (in Eritrea and Djibouti) with about 1.5 million.
In the internal classification of East Cushitic, the most common major division is between Highland East Cushitic and Lowland East Cushitic. Western Omo-Tana is a distinct branch, as are the two branches represented by Yaaku (extinct) and Boon (endangered).
Eastern Cushitic languages
· Lowland East Cushitic: Rendille-Boni (Rendille and Boni); Somali languages (Somali and Af-Maay); Saho-Afar languages (Saho and Afar); Konso-Gidole (Konso or Komso; and Dirasha or Gidole, Kidole, Diraytata); Oromo; Dullay (Bussa (endangered); Gawwada; Tsamai);
· Western Omo-Tana: (Arbore; Baiso; Daasanach; El Molo/Elmolo (extinct; all speakers have shifted to Elmolo-Samburu));
· Yaaku (moribund; all speakers have shifted to Mukogodo-Maasai, only three fluent speakers left);
· Boon (endangered, possibly extinct).
Central Custhitic languages (after Appleyard)
· Northern Agaw:
Western Cushitic languages
The Western African languages of the Haplogroup B tribes are also derived from the main stem, which is the Southern Cushites.
The Asian Cushites are involved basically in the Uralic-Altaic language groups, which are comprised of both Hamite and Japhethite tribes from Japan to Finland and Hungary and south to Turkey.
The early Sumerians also extended into the Indus basin at Harappa and Mohenjo Daro and were mixed but of the same culture as the Ancient Sumerians and Assyrians (see Mysticism Chapter 1 Spreading the Babylonian Mysteries (No. B7_1)).
The Australian languages were of eight distinct groups that entered Australia as eight ethno-linguistic waves, and probably derived from the nomadic composites of the Cushite and proto-Aryans. They were the earliest of the nomads, and entered North America ahead of all others there as well. The K basic groups entered Asia and Australasia ahead of the Cushite C2 Maori.
The Cushite diaspora
In his History of the Negro Race in America From 1619 to 1880, the American author George Washington Williams wrote:
Now, these substantial and indisputable traces of the march of the Negro races through Japan and Asia lead us to conclude that the Negro race antedates all profane history … And while the great body of the Negro races have been located geographically in Africa, they have been, in no small sense, a cosmopolitan people. Their wanderings may be traced from the rising to the setting sun.
Monuments and temples, sepulchred stones and pyramids, rise up to declare the antiquity of the Negro races … the Negro type of man was the most ancient, and the indigenous race of Asia, as far north as the lower range of the Himalaya Mountains, and presents at length many curious facts which cannot ... be otherwise explained.
Traces of this black race are still found along the Himalaya range from the Indus to Indo-China, and the Malay peninsula, and in a mixed form all through the southern states to Ceylon. (G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1883, pp. 18-19)
What he could not realise is that the YDNA Haplogroups show that they were not the original settlers of North America, as C3, because the vast majority of Amerindians are later Q and Q3 Japhethites, and the C3 are mixed with them from Alaska through the Chippewa to the Cheyenne, Apache and Maya C3; but they are not the majority. Hg Q Amerindians are more closely related to Celts and Slavs than they are to the Apache or the Cheyenne.
In The Histories, Herodotus claimed that the Colchians of the Caucasus Mountains were of Egyptian descent (Bk. II, 104), although they are described as of typically Negroid appearance.
Much has been made of this African Genesis by black Muslims. Some seek to use the African Genesis theory of Evolutionists to promote their own agendas. Runoko Rashidi adds:
We now know that modern humanity originated in Africa, and that all modern humans can ultimately trace their ancestral roots back to the African continent. Herodotus, the European father of history, regarded Colchis, a land located along the western slope of the Caucasus Mountains near the Black Sea, as an African colony.
He not only pointed to the Colchians' black skin and woolly hair, but also to their oral traditions, language, methods of weaving, and practice of circumcision. Saint Jerome, writing during the fourth century, called Colchis the "Second Ethiopia."
Two hundred years later, Sophronius, patriarch of Jerusalem, described an "Ethiopian" presence in the same region. Even today, in the same district about which Herodotus wrote, lives a numerically minute black-skinned, woolly-haired community.
The Arabian Peninsula was early populated by Black people. Once dominant over the entire peninsula, the African presence in early Arabia is most clearly traceable through the Sabeans. The southwestern corner of the peninsula was their ancient home. This area is today called Yemen. In antiquity this region gave rise to a high degree of civilization because of the growth of frankincense and myrrh.
The city of Makkab was considered a holy place and the destination of pilgrims long before the prophet Muhammad. Muhammad himself, who was to unite the whole of Arabia, appears to have had a prominent African lineage. According to al-Jahiz, the guardian of the sacred Kaaba, Abd-al-Muttalib, "fathered ten Lords, Black as the night and magnificent." One of these men was Abdallah, the father of Muhammad.
According to tradition, the first Muslim killed in battle was Mihja--a Black man. Another Black man, Bilal, was such a pivotal figure in the development of Islam that he has been referred to as "a third of the faith." Many of the earliest Muslim converts were Africans, and a number of the Muslim faithful sought refuge in Ethiopia because of initial Arabian hostility to Muhammad's teachings. It was this relationship which caused Muhammad to declare that, "Who brings an Ethiopian man or an Ethiopian woman into his house, brings the blessings of God there."
SOURCES: African Presence In Early Asia, Edited by Runoko Rashidi & Ivan Van Sertima;
Wonderful Ethiopians Of The Ancient Cushite Empire, by Drusilla D. Houston, Al I. Obaba (Editor).
(retrieved from http://www.cwo.com/~lucumi/runoko.html)
The Prophet claims to be a direct descendent of Edom and of Abraham but he did not disclose the first forty generations (see the papers Descendants of Abraham Part II: Lot, Moab, Ammon and Esau (No. 212B); Descendants of Abraham Part III: Ishmael (No. 212C) and Descendants of Abraham Part IV: Sons of Keturah (No. 212D)).
Other authors have attested to the widespread dispersion of the sons of Cush. For instance, Dr Richard Pankhurst has written a series of articles entitled Great Habshis in Ethiopian/Indian History: History of the Ethiopian Diaspora, in India – with an historical connection being made between the Cushite Ethiopians and the Indians (see http://www.cwo.com/~lucumi/runoko.html).
This theme is followed in the Wikipedia article on the ancient Indian civilisation of Meluhha.
Bernard Sergent (in Genèse de l'Inde, Payot, Paris, 1997) claims that Dravidians were a "Melano-African" race from the African Sahel belt, positing that these peoples migrated from there, and suggesting that Meluhha first referred to Ethiopia, and later to the Indus Valley. It is important to note that from the third millennium BC onwards, Ethiopia itself was never referred to as Meluhha, but as Kush.
With the people of Madagascar we find at least two distinct Hamitic lineages brought together. This island state lies only 250 miles (400 km) off the east coast of Africa, but its major influence seems to have come from the islands of Indonesia.
In a chapter entitled ‘Malagasy Language as a Guide to Understanding Malagasy History’ in the work Phylogenic methods and the prehistory of languages (McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge, UK, 2006), Robert E. Dewar writes the following:
One clear conclusion is that the modern population of Madagascar has important genetic ancestry both in East Africa and Southeast Asia. A significant contribution from Melanesia seems unlikely.
In 1951, Otto Christian Dahl demonstrated a close relationship between Malagasy and Maanyan, a language spoken today on Borneo (Dahl 1951). More recently, he has proposed that it is more proper to regard the ancestral relationship of Malagasy as linking to the Barito Valley languages of which Maanyan is a member (Dahl 1977).
Dahl’s work … established, beyond any doubt, insular Southeast Asia as one of the homelands of Malagasy language and culture. Dahl … has recently (1991) revised his estimate of initial migration to about the seventh century AD.
Some regional populations of Madagascar, particularly along the southeast coast, trace their ancestry to migrations from the Persian Gulf, and there is strong linguistic evidence for Arab influence.
The Malagasy language, although unquestionably of Indonesian origin, has been known to show features that reflect contact with languages of the Western Indian Ocean, and especially with the Bantu languages including Swahili.
The clear evidence of both African and Asian roots, in linguistic, cultural and biological realms, was evident to the seventeenth-century European observers [who first encountered Madagascar in 1500 CE]. (pp. 13-17)
The Malays themselves are linked to the Japhethite Chinese in Haplogroup O, but the earlier Negritos are more likely associated with this movement and the Indianisation of South-East Asia (see also the paper Mysticism Chapter 9 South East Asian Systems (No. B7_9)).
Prophecies concerning Cush
Bullinger (The Companion Bible) refers to the Scriptures in Isaiah 18 as the Burden of Ethiopia, the third ‘burden’ in a series of seven.
Isaiah 18:1-7 Woe to the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia [Cush]: 2 That sendeth ambassadors by the sea, even in vessels of bulrushes upon the waters, saying, Go, ye swift messengers, to a nation scattered and peeled, to a people terrible from their beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden down, whose land the rivers have spoiled! 3 All ye inhabitants of the world, and dwellers on the earth, see ye, when he lifteth up an ensign on the mountains; and when he bloweth a trumpet, hear ye. 4 For so the LORD said unto me, I will take my rest, and I will consider in my dwelling place like a clear heat upon herbs, and like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest. 5 For afore the harvest, when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, he shall both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks, and take away and cut down the branches. 6 They shall be left together unto the fowls of the mountains, and to the beasts of the earth: and the fowls shall summer upon them, and all the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them. 7 In that time shall the present be brought unto the LORD of hosts of a people scattered and peeled, and from a people terrible from their beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden under foot, whose land the rivers have spoiled, to the place of the name of the LORD of hosts, the mount Zion. (KJV)
The clue here is that they come from the land the rivers divide. This is the land of Abyssinia and the areas of the Sudd or Sudan. It is explained by Isaiah in chapter 1. The nation scattered and peeled means smooth-skinned (see RSV). The Sudanese are the descendants of Cush that have been trodden down, and they will be brought to repentance even though they were terrible [to behold] from their beginnings (v. 7). In this last phase of their breaking down they will be brought into the Temple of God and converted. God will accomplish this in the near future, and He is doing it now.
Isaiah 20:3-6 the LORD said, "As my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and a portent against Egypt and Ethiopia, 4 so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians captives and the Ethiopians exiles, both the young and the old, naked and barefoot, with buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt. 5 Then they shall be dismayed and confounded because of Ethiopia their hope and of Egypt their boast. 6 And the inhabitants of this coastland will say in that day, `Behold, this is what has happened to those in whom we hoped and to whom we fled for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria! And we, how shall we escape?'" (RSV)
This text involves the capture of Ethiopia by the Tartan (commander-in-chief) of Sargon II of Assyria, three years after taking the city of Ashdod of the Philistines. As mentioned in Isaiah 37:9, Judah’s later reliance on the mercenaries of Ethiopia was in vain.
In Jeremiah 38:6ff., we see that a Cushite ‘servant of the king’ (Ebed-melech) was instrumental in releasing the prophet Jeremiah from the dungeon following the latter’s persistent and unwelcome predictions of disaster for Jerusalem. Jeremiah’s mention of this minor character in Assyrian history has recently been proven by the discovery of a tablet in the ancient records which mentions the exact same person. This proves that the biblical account was written at the time that was accorded to it, and is not a later invention as some modern “scholars” assert.
Perhaps the only positive outcome was that, because he had protected one of God’s prophets and had himself trusted God, this Cushite or Ethiopian eunuch was informed by Jeremiah that he was to be saved from the death and destruction coming upon the city. This may yet have end-time prophetic significance. Also, from this we note that God often uses the most unlikely people to effect salvation.
Jeremiah 49:15-18 For behold, I will make you small among the nations, despised among men. 16 The horror you inspire has deceived you, and the pride of your heart, you who live in the clefts of the rock, who hold the height of the hill. Though you make your nest as high as the eagle's, I will bring you down from there, says the LORD. 17 "Edom shall become a horror; every one who passes by it will be horrified and will hiss because of all its disasters. 18 As when Sodom and Gomor'rah and their neighbor cities were overthrown, says the LORD, no man shall dwell there, no man shall sojourn in her. (RSV)
Jeremiah 46:1-10 The word of the LORD which came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning the nations. 2 About Egypt. Concerning the army of Pharaoh Neco, king of Egypt, which was by the river Euphra'tes at Car'chemish and which Nebuchadrez'zar king of Babylon defeated in the fourth year of Jehoi'akim the son of Josi'ah, king of Judah: 3 "Prepare buckler and shield, and advance for battle! 4 Harness the horses; mount, O horsemen! Take your stations with your helmets, polish your spears, put on your coats of mail! 5 Why have I seen it? They are dismayed and have turned backward. Their warriors are beaten down, and have fled in haste; they look not back -- terror on every side! says the LORD. 6 The swift cannot flee away, nor the warrior escape; in the north by the river Euphra'tes they have stumbled and fallen. 7 "Who is this, rising like the Nile, like rivers whose waters surge? 8 Egypt rises like the Nile, like rivers whose waters surge. He said, I will rise, I will cover the earth, I will destroy cities and their inhabitants. 9 Advance, O horses, and rage, O chariots! Let the warriors go forth: men of Ethiopia and Put who handle the shield, men of Lud, skilled in handling the bow. 10 That day is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, to avenge himself on his foes. The sword shall devour and be sated, and drink its fill of their blood. For the Lord GOD of hosts holds a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphra'tes. (RSV)
With regard to verse 8 here, Bullinger says that: “Egypt at this time was so strong that Jeremiah’s prophecy seemed most unlikely to come to pass” (Comp. Bible), and adds that the Ethiopian mercenaries formed the main part of the Egyptian forces – together with the Libyans.
Nahum 3 refers to the destruction of Nineveh.
Nahum 3:1-19 Woe to the bloody city, all full of lies and booty -- no end to the plunder! 2 The crack of whip, and rumble of wheel, galloping horse and bounding chariot! 3 Horsemen charging, flashing sword and glittering spear, hosts of slain, heaps of corpses, dead bodies without end -- they stumble over the bodies! 4 And all for the countless harlotries of the harlot, graceful and of deadly charms, who betrays nations with her harlotries, and peoples with her charms. 5 Behold, I am against you, says the LORD of hosts, and will lift up your skirts over your face; and I will let nations look on your nakedness and kingdoms on your shame. 6 I will throw filth at you and treat you with contempt, and make you a gazingstock. 7 And all who look on you will shrink from you and say, Wasted is Nin'eveh; who will bemoan her? whence shall I seek comforters for her? 8 Are you better than Thebes that sat by the Nile, with water around her, her rampart a sea, and water her wall? 9 Ethiopia was her strength, Egypt too, and that without limit; Put and the Libyans were her helpers. 10 Yet she was carried away, she went into captivity; her little ones were dashed in pieces at the head of every street; for her honored men lots were cast, and all her great men were bound in chains. 11 You also will be drunken, you will be dazed; you will seek a refuge from the enemy. 12 All your fortresses are like fig trees with first-ripe figs -- if shaken they fall into the mouth of the eater. 13 Behold, your troops are women in your midst. The gates of your land are wide open to your foes; fire has devoured your bars. 14 Draw water for the siege, strengthen your forts; go into the clay, tread the mortar, take hold of the brick mold! 15 There will the fire devour you, the sword will cut you off. It will devour you like the locust. Multiply yourselves like the locust, multiply like the grasshopper! 16 You increased your merchants more than the stars of the heavens. The locust spreads its wings and flies away. 17 Your princes are like grasshoppers, your scribes like clouds of locusts settling on the fences in a day of cold -- when the sun rises, they fly away; no one knows where they are. 18 Your shepherds are asleep, O king of Assyria; your nobles slumber. Your people are scattered on the mountains with none to gather them. 19 There is no assuaging your hurt, your wound is grievous. All who hear the news of you clap their hands over you. For upon whom has not come your unceasing evil? (RSV)
About 60 years before Nahum wrote this prophecy, it is known that: “Thebes, the old capital of Egypt, was destroyed by Assyria about 663 B.C. Assurbanipal has recorded his conquest. … Nineveh fell later, just as Nahum had foretold” (note in Comp. Bible).
Cush is included with other nations when referring to the coming of Messiah and the restoration of Israel, in Isaiah 11:1 to 12:6, where the remnant are drawn out of many nations including Ethiopia. Also, as shown earlier in Isaiah 43:3, Cush and his son Seba, together with Egypt, are given as a ransom for Israel.
Cush or ‘Ethiopia’ is also mentioned prophetically in Ezekiel 29:10 and 30:4-9. These texts are discussed in the paper The Fall of Egypt (No. 36): The Prophecy of Pharaoh’s Broken Arms. Similarly, the texts relating to Cush or Ethiopia in Ezekiel 30:4-9 and 38:5 are included in the paper The Day of the Lord and the Last Days (No. 192).
Amos 9:7 "Are you not like
the Ethiopians to me, O people of Israel?" says the LORD. "Did I not
bring up Israel from the land of Egypt, and the Philistines from Caphtor and
the Syrians from Kir? (RSV)
When all nations are brought to Jerusalem, the Sabaeans – whether sons of Cush or otherwise – will finally acknowledge the One True God and give honour to His chosen nation of Israel, into which all people are to be inducted.
Isaiah 45:14 Thus says the LORD: "The wealth of Egypt and the merchandise of Ethiopia, and the Sabe'ans, men of stature, shall come over to you and be yours, they shall follow you; they shall come over in chains and bow down to you. They will make supplication to you, saying: `God is with you only, and there is no other, no god besides him.'" 15 Truly, thou art a God who hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Savior. (RSV)
We see in Zephaniah 2:12-13, the Ethiopian warriors are slain along with their Assyrian adversaries. Earlier in the text, and ostensibly speaking to Judah, but with application to every nation and individual, God entreats them to seek His protection and salvation.
Zephaniah 2:1-3 Come together and hold assembly, O shameless nation, 2 before you are driven away like the drifting chaff, before there comes upon you the fierce anger of the LORD, before there comes upon you the day of the wrath of the LORD. 3 Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, who do his commands; seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the wrath of the LORD. (RSV)
When the Temple has been rebuilt, and the city is at peace, the people of Cush will be there as a people who know their God.
Psalm 87:1-6 A Psalm of the Sons of Korah. A Song. 1 On the holy mount stands the city he founded; 2 the LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob. 3 Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God. [Selah] 4 Among those who know me I mention Rahab and Babylon; behold, Philistia and Tyre, with Ethiopia [Cush] -- "This one was born there," they say. 5 And of Zion it shall be said, "This one and that one were born in her"; for the Most High himself will establish her. 6 The LORD records as he registers the peoples, "This one was born there." [Selah] (RSV)
Similarly, in Psalm 68 we see that the people of Cush will one day hasten both to bring gifts to God’s Temple at Jerusalem, and to stretch out their hands to Him in supplication and worship.
Psalm 68:20-35 Our God is a God of salvation; and to GOD, the Lord, belongs escape from death. 21 But God will shatter the heads of his enemies, the hairy crown of him who walks in his guilty ways. 22 The Lord said, "I will bring them back from Bashan, I will bring them back from the depths of the sea, 23 that you may bathe your feet in blood, that the tongues of your dogs may have their portion from the foe." 24 Thy solemn processions are seen, O God, the processions of my God, my King, into the sanctuary -- 25 the singers in front, the minstrels last, between them maidens playing timbrels: 26 "Bless God in the great congregation, the LORD, O you who are of Israel's fountain!" 27 There is Benjamin, the least of them, in the lead, the princes of Judah in their throng, the princes of Zeb'ulun, the princes of Naph'tali. 28 Summon thy might, O God; show thy strength, O God, thou who hast wrought for us. 29 Because of thy temple at Jerusalem kings bear gifts to thee. 30 Rebuke the beasts that dwell among the reeds, the herd of bulls with the calves of the peoples. Trample under foot those who lust after tribute; scatter the peoples who delight in war. 31 Let bronze be brought from Egypt; let Ethiopia [Cush] hasten to stretch out her hands to God. 32 Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth; sing praises to the Lord, [Selah] 33 to him who rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens; lo, he sends forth his voice, his mighty voice. 34 Ascribe power to God, whose majesty is over Israel, and his power is in the skies. 35 Terrible is God in his sanctuary, the God of Israel, he gives power and strength to his people. Blessed be God! (RSV)
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