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Cush

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(Heb. Kush, כּוּשׁ, deriv. uncertain; A. V. "Cush," Genesis 10:6-8; 1 Chronicles 1:8-10; Psalm vii, title; Isaiah 11:11; "Ethiopia," Genesis 2:13; 2 Kings 19:9; Esther 1:1; Esther 8:9; Job 28:19; Psalms 78:31; Psalms 87:4; Isaiah 18:1; Isaiah 20:3; Isaiah 20:5; Isaiah 37:9; Isaiah 43:3; Isaiah 45:14; Ezekiel 29:10; Ezekiel 30:4-5; Ezekiel 38:5; Nahum 3:9; Zephaniah 3:10; "Ethiopians," Isaiah 20:4; Jeremiah 46:9; Ezekiel 30:9), the name of two men, and of the territory or territories occupied by the descendants of one of them.

1. (Sept. Χούς, Vulg. Chus.) A son (apparently the eldest) of Ham. B.C. cir. 2510. In the genealogy of Noah's children Cush seems to be an individual, for it is said "Cush begat Nimrod" (Genesis 10:8; 1 Chronicles 1:10). If the name be older than his time, he may have been called after a country allotted to him. The following descendants of Cush are enumerated: his sons, Seba, Havilah, Sabtah or Sabta, Raamah, and Sabtechah or Sabtecha; his grandsons, the sons of Raamah, Sheba and Dedan; and Nimrod, who, as mentioned after the rest, seems to have been a remoter descendant than they, the text not necessarily proving him to have been a son. (See HAM). The only direct geographical information given in this passage is with reference to Nimrod, the beginning of whose kingdom was in Babylonia, and who afterwards went, according to the reading which we prefer, into Assyria, and founded Nineveh and other cities. The reasons for our preference are:

(1) that if we read "Out of that land went forth Asshur," instead of "he went forth [into] Asshur," i.e. Assyria, there is no account given but of the "beginning" of Nimrod's kingdom; and

(2) that Asshur the patriarch would seem here to be quite out of place in the genealogy. (See NIMROD).

LAND OF CUSH. From the eldest son of Ham (Genesis 10:6; 1 Chronicles 1:8) seems to have been derived the name of the land of Cush, which is commonly rendered by the Sept. Αἰθιοπία, and by the Vulgate AEthiopia; in which they have been followed by almost all other versions, ancient and modern. The German translation of Luther has Mohrenland, which is equivalent to Negroland, or the Country of the Blacks. A native was called Cushi' (כּוּשִׁי, Αἰθίοψ, AEthiops, Jeremiah 13:23), the feminine of which was Cushith' (כּוּשִׁית, Αἰθιόπισσα, AEthiopissa, Numbers 12:1), and the plural, Cushiim' (כּוּשִׁיַּים, Αἰθίοπες, tiopes, Amos 9:7). (See ETHIOPIAN). "Of the four sons of Ham," says Josephus (Ant. 1:6, 2), "time has not at all hurt the name of Chus; for the Ethiopians over whom he reigned are even at this day, both by themselves and by all men in Asia, called Chusites." The Peshito Syriac version of Acts 8:27, styles both queen Candace and her treasurer Cushaeans. (See CANDACE).

The locality of the land of Cush is a question upon which eminent authorities have been divided; for while Bochart (Phaleg, 4:2) maintained that it was exclusively in Arabia, Gesenius' (Lex. in voce) held, with no less pertinacity, that it is to be sought for nowhere but in Africa. In this opinion he is supported by Schulthess of Zurich, in his Paradies (p. 11, 101). Others again, such as Michaelis (Spicileg. Geogr. Heb. Ext. cap. 2, p. 237) and Rosenmü ller (Bibl. Geogr. by Morren, 1:80; iii. 280), have supposed that the name Cush was applied to tracts of country both in Arabia and Africa a circumstance which would easily he accounted for on the very probable supposition that the descendants of the primitive Cushite tribes who had settled in the former country emigrated across the Red Sea to the latter region of the earth, carrying with them the name of Cush, their remote progenitor. This idea had been developed by Eichhorn (De Cuschaeis, Ohrduf, 1774). The term Cush is generally applied in the Old Testament to the countries south of the Israelites. It was the southern limit of Egypt (Ezekiel 29:10), and apparently the most westerly of the provinces over which the rule of Ahasuerus extended, "from India even unto Ethiopia" (Esther 1:1; Esther 8:9). Egypt and Cush are associated in the majority of instances in which the word occurs (Psalm 48:31; Isaiah 18:1; Jeremiah 46:9, etc.); but in two passages Cush stands in close juxtaposition with Elam (Isaiah 11:11) and Persia (Ezekiel 38:5). The Cushite king, Zerah, was utterly defeated by Asa at Mareshah, and pursued as far as Gerar, a town of the Philistines, on the southern border of Palestine, which was apparently under his sway (2 Chronicles 14:9, etc.). In 2 Chronicles 21:16, the Arabians are described as dwelling "beside the Cushites," and both are mentioned in connection with the Philistines. The wife of Moses, who, we learn from Exodus 2, was the daughter of a Midianite chieftain, is in Numbers 12:1, denominated a Cushite. Further, Cush and Seba (Isaiah 43:3), Cush and the Sabaeans (Isaiah 45:14), are associated in a manner consonant with the genealogy of the descendants of Ham (Genesis 10:7), in which Seba is the son of Cush. From all these circumstances it is evident that under the denomination Cush were included both Arabia and the country south of Egypt on the western coast of the Red Sea. It is possible also that the vast desert tracts west of Egypt were known to the Hebrews as the land of Cush, but of this we have no certain proof. The Targumist on Isaiah 11:11, sharing the prevailing error of his time, translates Cush by India, but that a better knowledge of the relative positions of these countries was anciently possessed is clear from Esther 1:1.

Some have sought for another Cush in more northerly regions of Asia, as in the Persian province of Chusistan or Susiana, in Cuthah, a district of Babylonia, etc.; and as Nimrod, the youngest son (or descendant) of Cush, spread his conquests in that direction, it is no doubt possible that his father's name might be preserved in the designation of some part of the territory or people. But here again the data are not very satisfactory; indeed, the chief thing which led to the supposition is the mention, in the description of the site of Paradise (Genesis 2:13), of a land of Cush, compassed by the river Gihon. Yet, even though the name of Gush were more variously applied in Scripture than it really is, it would not be more so than was the corresponding term Ethiopia among the Greeks and Romans, which comprised a great many nations far distant, as well as wholly distinct from each other, and having nothing in common but their swarthy, sun-burnt complexion Αἰθίοψ q. d. αἰθὸς τὴν ὄψιν, i.e. "burnt-black in the face." Homer (Odyss. 1:22) speaks of them as " a divided race the last of men some of them at the extreme west, and others at the extreme east." Strabo (i. 60) describes them as a "two-fold people, lying extended in a long tract from the rising to the setting sun." Herodotus (vii. 69, 70) distinguishes the eastern Ethiopians in Asia from the western Ethiopians in Africa by the straight hair of the former and the curly hair of the latter. The ancients, in short, with the usual looseness of their geographical definitions, understood by Ethiopia the extreme south in all the earth's longitude, and which, lying, as they thought, close upon the fiery zone, exposed the inhabitants to the sun's scorching rays, which burned them black. It is the mistaken idea of the scriptural term "Cush" being used in the same vague and indeterminate manner that has led to so much confusion on this subject; and one writer (Buttmann, Allt. Erdkc. d. Morgenl. p. 40, note), in his desire to carry out the parallel between Ethiopia and Cush, derives the latter word from the root כוה (kavh, kau, ku), to burn;" but that is opposed to all the rules of etymological analogy in the formation of Hebrew proper names (comp. Ritter's Erdkunde, 1:222; Heeren's African Nations, Engl. transl. 1:289). (See CUTH).

1. The existence of an African Cush cannot reasonably be questioned, though the term is employed in Scripture with great latitude, sometimes denoting an extensive but undefined country (Ethiopia), and at other times one particular kingdom (Meroe). It is expressly described by Ezekiel as lying to the south of Egypt beyond Syene (29:10; comp. 30:4-6. Strabo, 17:817; Pliny, Hist. Nat. 6:35; Josephus, War, 4:10, 5). Its limits on the west and south were undefined; but it was probably regarded as extending eastward as far as the Red Sea, if not as including some of the islands in that sea, such as the famous Topaz Isle (Job 28:19; Pliny, Hist. Nat. 6:29; 37:8; Strabo, 16:4, 6; Diod. Sic. iii. 39). It thus corresponded, though only in a vague and general sense, to the countries known to us as Nubia and Abyssinia, so famous for the Nile and other great rivers. Hence the allusions in Scripture (Isaiah 18:1; Zephaniah 3:11) to the far- distant "rivers of Ethiopia," a country which is also spoken of (Isaiah 18:2) in our version as the land "which the rivers have spoiled," there being a supposed reference to the ravages committed by inundations (Bruce's Travels, iii. 158, and Taylor's Calmet, iii. 593-4); but recent translators prefer to render בָּזָא by "divide," q. d. "a land intersected by streams." Isaiah likewise takes notice (in the above passage) of the "bulrush" boats, or vessels of papyrus, which the Ethiopians employed upon the waters, a fact which is confirmed by Heliodorus in his AEthiopica (x. 460), and also by Bruce, who states that the only kind of boat in Abyssinia is that called tancoa, which is made of reeds, "a piece of the acacia-tree being put in the bottom to serve as a keel. to which the plants are joined, being first sewed together, then gathered up at stem and stern, and the ends of the plants tied fast there." It is to the swiftness of these papyrus vessels that Job (9:26) compares the rapid speed of his days. From its proximity to Egypt we find Mizraim and Cush (i.e. Egypt and Ethiopia) so often classed together by the prophets (e.g. Psalm 48:31; Isaiah 11:11; Isaiah 20:4; Isaiah 43:3; Isaiah 45:14; Nahum 3:9). The inhabitants are elsewhere spoken of in connection with the Lubim and Sukkiim (2 Chronicles 12:3; 2 Chronicles 16:8; Jeremiah 46:7; Daniel 11:43), supposed to be the Libyans and Ethiopic Troglodytes, and certainly nations of Africa, for they belonged to the vast army with which Shishak, king of Egypt, "came out" of that country against Rehoboam, king of Judah. In these, and indeed in most other passages where "Cush" occurs, Arabia is not to be thought of; the Ethiopia of Africa is beyond all doubt exclusively intended. (See ETHIOPIA).

In the ancient Egyptian inscriptions Ethiopia above Egypt is termed Keesh or Kish, and this territory probably corresponds perfectly to the African Cush of the Bible (Wilkinson, Anc. Eg. 1:404, abridgment). The Cushites, however, had clearly a wider extension, like the Ethiopians of the Greeks, but apparently with a more definite ethnic relation. The settlements of the sons and descendants of Cush mentioned in Genesis 10, may be traced from Meroe to Babylon, and probably on to Nineveh. Thus the Cushites appear to have spread along tracts extending from the higher Nile to the Euphrates and Tigris. Philological and ethnological data lead to the same conclusion. There are strong reasons for deriving the nop-Shemitic primitive language of Babylonia, variously called by scholars Cushite and Scythic, from an ante-Shemitic dialect of Ethiopia, and for supposing two streams of migration from Africa into Asia in very remote periods; the one of Nigritians through the present Malayan region, the other and later one of Cushites, "from Ethiopia properly so called, through Arabia, Babylonia, and Persia, to Western India" (Poole, Genesis of the Earth, p. 214 sq.). Sir H. Rawlinson has brought forward remarkable evidence tending to trace the early Babylonians to Ethiopia, particularly the similarity of their mode of writing to the Egyptian, and the indication in the traditions of Babylonia and Assyria of "a connection in very early times between Ethiopia, Southern Arabia and the cities on the Lower Euphrates," the Cushite name of Nimrod himself as a deified hero being the same as that by which Meroa is called in the Assyrian inscriptions (Rawlinson's Herod. 1:353 n.). History affords many traces of this relation of Babylonia, Arabia, and Ethiopia. Zerah the Cushite (A. V. "Ethiopian"), who was defeated by Asa, was most probably a, king of Egypt, certainly the leader of an Egyptian army; the dynasty then ruling (the 22d) bears names that have caused it to be supposed to have had a Babylonian or Assyrian origin, as Sheshonk, Shishak, Sheshak; Namuret, Nimrod; Tekrut, Teklut, Tiglath. The early spread of the Mizraites illustrates that of the Cushites, (See CAPHTOR); it may be considered as a part of one great system of migrations. On these grounds we suppose that these Hamite races, very soon after their arrival in Africa, began to spread to the east, to the north, and to the west; the Cushites establishing settlements along the southern Arabian coast, on the Arabian shore of the Persian Gulf and in Babylonia, and thence onward to the Indus, and probably northward to Nineveh; and the Mizraites spreading along the south and east shores of the Mediterranean, on part of the north shore, and in the great islands. These must have been seafaring peoples, not wholly unlike the modern Malays, who have similarly spread on the shores of the Indian Ocean. They may be always traced where very massive architectural remains are seen, where the native language is partly Turanian and partly Shemitic, and where the native religion is partly cosmic or high- nature worship, and partly fetichism or low-nature worship. These indications do not fail in any settlement of Cushites or Mizraites with which we are well acquainted. (See ETHNOLOGY).

But that part of this vast region of Cush which seems chiefly intended in these and most other passages of Scripture is the tract of country in Upper Nubia which became famous in antiquity as the kingdom of Ethiopia, or the state of Meroe. The Ethiopian nations generally ranked low in the scale of civilization; "nevertheless," says Heeren, "there did exist a better cultivated, and, to a certain degree, a civilized Ethiopian people, who dwelt in cities; who erected temples and other edifices; who, though without letters, had hieroglyphics; who had government and laws; and the fame of whose progress in knowledge and the social arts spread in the earliest ages over a considerable part of the earth." Meroe Proper lay between the river Astaboras (now the Atbara or Tacazze) on the east, and the Nile on the west. Though not completely enclosed with rivers, it was called an island, because, as Pliny observes, the various streams which flowed around it were all considered as branches of the Nile, so that to it the above description of a "country of rivers" was peculiarly appropriate. Its surface exceeded that of Sicily more than a half, and it corresponded pretty nearly to the present province of Atbara, between 13° and 18° N. lat. In modern times it formed a great part of the kingdom of Sennaar, and the southern portion belongs to Abyssinia. Upon the island of Meroe lay a city of the same name, the metropolis of the kingdom, the site of which has been discovered near a place called Assur, about twenty miles north of the town of Shendy, under 17° N. lat. The splendid ruins of temples, pyramids, and other edifices found here and throughout the district have been described by Caillaud, Gau, Riippell, Belzoni, Waddington, Hoskins, and other travellers, and attest the high degree of civilization and art among the ancient Ethiopians. (See MEROE).

Josephus, in his account of the expedition of Moses when commander of the Egyptian army against the Ethiopians, says that the latter "at length retired to Saba, a royal city of Ethiopia which Cambyses afterwards called Meroe, after the name of his own sister" (Ant. 2:10, 2). The same origin of the name is given both by Strabo and Diodorus Siculus, but see Mannert's Geog. of the Greeks and Romans, 10:199. There is still a place called Merawe considerably north of the island and near Mount Berkal, where Heeren thinks there may have been a settlement of the parent state called by the same name. The opinion of Josephus that Meroe was identical with Seba accords well with the statement in Genesis 10:7, that Seba was the eldest son of Cush, whose name (סבא ) is not to be confounded with either of the Shebas (שׁבא ), who are mentioned as descendants of Shem (Genesis 10:28; Genesis 25:3). Now this country of African Seba is classed with the Arabian Sheba as a rich but far-distant land (Psalms 72:10). In Isaiah 43:3, God says to Israel," I have given Egypt for thy ransom; Cush and Seba in thy stead;" and in Isaiah 45:14, "The wealth of Egypt, and the merchandise of Cush and of the Sebaim, men of stature, shall pass over to thee, and shall be thine." Charles Taylor, the ingenious but fanciful editor of Calmet, had the singular notion that by the expression "men of stature." in that passage is meant men of short measure, or dwarfs; and hence he identifies the Ethiopians with the pygmies of antiquity (Fragments to Calmet, 322). But the Hebrew phrase plainly denotes "tallness of stature" (comp. 1 Chronicles 11:23), and the Ethiopians are described by Herodotus as of gigantic stature (ἄνδρες μέγιστοι, iii. 114; μέγιστοι ἀνθρώπων, 3, 20); and Solinus affirms that they were twelve feet in height (Polyhist. cap. 30). In common with the other Cushite tribes of Africa the skin was black, to which there is an obvious allusion in Jeremiah 13:23 : "Can the Cushite change his skin?" Bruce finds Seba in Azab, a sea-port on the east coast of Africa, near the entrance to the Red Sea, and in this he is followed by Heeren, while others think of a place called Subah, about lat. 15° N., where are some of the most remarkable ruins of Nubian grandeur; but both opinions are merely conjectural. (See SEBA). Among other tribes of Africa said to have been in alliance with Egypt, the prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 30:5) mentions along with Ethiopia the name of Chub, which Michaelis connects with Kobe, a trading town described by Ptolemy as on the west coast of the Red Sea. But in the Arabic translation made from the Septuagint, instead of Chub we find "the people of Nubia," a name easily interchanged for the other, and in some Hebrews MSS. actually read there. There are still two districts adjoining Meroe on the south-west, called Cuba and Nuba, which are said to abound in gold. The Sukkiim, who, along with the Cushites and Lubim or Libyans, formed part of the host of Shishak (2 Chronicles 12:3), are in the Sept. designated as Troglodytes, i.e. cave-dwellers, and were no doubt the people known to the Greeks by the same name as inhabiting the mountain caverns on the west coast of the Red Sea (Diod. Sic. 3, 32; Strabo, 17, p. 785). They,were noted for swiftness of foot and expertness in the use of the sling, and hence were employed, as Heliodorus informs us (AEthiopica, 8:16), as light troops. Pliny makes mention of a town of Suche in that region (Hist. Nat. 6:29, 34), and there is still on the same coast a place called Suakim, described by Burekhardt in his Travels in Nubia. If, however, the term Sukkiim be of Hebrew derivation, it would specially denote those who lived in booths, i.e. tabernacles made of the boughs of trees; and it deserves remark that the Shangallas who inhabit that country still dwell during the good season in arbors fitted up for tents, repairing in winter to their rocky caves. (See CHUB).

In the age of Herodotus, the countries known to us as Nubia and Sennaar were occupied by two different races, one of whom he includes under the general appellation of Ethiopians, the other an immigratory Arabian race leading, for the most part, a nomadic life. This distinction has continued down to the present day. Among the original inhabitants the first place is due to the Nubians, who are well-formed, strong, and muscular, and with nothing whatever of the negro physiognomy. They go armed with spear, sword, and a shield of the skin of the hippopotamus. South of Dongola is the country of the Scheygias, whose warriors are horsemen, also armed with a double-pointed spear, a sword, and a large shield (comp. Jeremiah 46:9, the "Cushites who handle the shield"). They were completely independent till subdued by Mehemet Ali, pacha of Egypt. It is in their country that the pyramidal monuments which adorned the ancient Meroe are first met with, and even its name has been preserved in that of their chief place, Merawe, though the original Meroe must be sought farther south. Next comes the territory of the Berbers, strictly so called, who, though speaking Arabic, evidently belong to the Nubian race. Above these regions, beyond the Tacazze, and along the Nile, the great mass of the inhabitants, though sometimes with a mixture of other blood, may be regarded as of Arab origin. But between the valley of the Nile and the Red Sea there is still, as of old, a variety of scattered aboriginal tribes, among whom the Arabic is much less common; they are, doubtless, partly the descendants of the abovementioned Sukkiim, or Troglodytes, and of the Ichthyophagi, or fish-eaters. Some of them spread themselves over the plains of the Astaboras, or Tacazze, being compelled to remove their encampments, sometimes by the inundations of the river, at other times by the attacks of the dreaded zimb, or gad-fly, described by Bruce, and which he supposes to be the "fly which is in the utmost part of the rivers of Egypt" (Isaiah 7:18). Another remarkable Ethiopic race in ancient times was the Macrobians, so called from their supposed longevity. They were represented by the ambassadors of Cambyses as a very tall race, who elected the highest in stature as king: gold was so abundant that they bound their prisoners with golden fetters circumstances which again remind us of Isaiah's description of Ethiopia and Seba in ch. 45:14. (See Ludolf, Hist, AEthiopica, F. ad M. 1681; with his Commentaries thereon, ib. 1691; and his Hodlern. Habess. status, ib. 1693). (See AFRICA).

2. That some of the posterity of Cush settled in the south of Arabia may readily be granted; but that he gave a permanent name to any portion either of the country or people is by no means so evident: it is, at least, more a matter of inferential conjecture than of historical certainty, Almost all the passages usually cited in support of the averment are susceptible of a different interpretation.

(1.) For example, in Numbers 1:21, Miriam and Aaron are said to have taken offense at Moses for having married "a Cushitess;" and upon the presumption that this was the same person as Zipporah, daughter of the priest of Midian (Exodus 2:16; Exodus 2:21), it is inferred that Midian was in Cush. But, to say nothing of Zipporah's high rank, or of the services of her family to Israel, there would have been something so grossly incongruous and absurd in Moses's brother and sister complaining for the first time of his selection of a wife, after the marriage had subsisted for more than forty years, that it is evident Zipporah was now dead, and this second wife, though doubtless a proselyte to Judaism, was (whether born in Asia or Africa) a descendant of Cush, and therefore a Hamite, and not one of the Midianites, who were of Shemitic origin, being the children of Abraham by Keturah. But, admitting that it is a second marriage which is thus referred to, the case is not materially altered, for still Cush must be sought near the place of Israel's encampment, as it cannot be supposed that Moses would go to Ethiopia to fetch a wife. (See ZIPPORAH).

(2.) Others discover a connection between Cush and Midian, because in Habakkuk 3:7, the clause, "I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction," finds a parallelism in "the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble" Cushan being held to be the poetical and high-sounding form of Cush. But this idea is met by another identification; for while it is acknowledged that part of the sublime description in that chapter refers to the Exodus and the transactions at Sinai, other portions (such as the passage of the Jordan, Habakkuk 3:8, and the standing still of the sun, Habakkuk 3:11) have plainly a reference to incidents in the books of Joshua and Judges. Now in the latter book (3, 10; 8:12) we find a record of signal victories successively obtained by Othniel over Cushan Rishathaim, king of Mesopotamia, and by Gideon over the princes of Midian. (See CUSHAN).

(3.) But perhaps a stronger argument is the mention of Arabians as contiguous to the Cushites. Thus, in 2 Chronicles 21:16, among those who were stirred up hgainst the Hebrews are mentioned the Philistines, and "Arabs that were near the Cushites," and the expression "near" (עִל יָד ) in this connection can scarcely apply to any but dwellers in the Arabian peninsula. Other arguments adduced by Michaelis (Spicileg. Geograph. Hebr. 1:149) in favor of the Arabian Cush are not decisive, and the passages on which he relies apply with greater probability to the African Cush. Thus the retreat of Sennacherib from Judaea in order to meet Tirhakah (2 Kings 19:9; Isaiah 37:9) does not necessarily imply that the latter passed through Palestine, since the Egyptians had reached Carchemish on the Euphrates without doing so (2 Chronicles 35:20), and Tirhakah was undoubtedly an African prince. (See TIRHAKAH). Again, it has been rashly concluded that Zerah the Cushite, who attacked Asa, king of Judah, with so immense a host (2 Chronicles 14:9), could not have been an Ethiopian of Africa, and yet the fact of his army having included Libyans (2 Chronicles 16:8) as well as Ethiopians, seems decisive of the fact that the latter were of African origin. Their ancestors may have belonged to the "people without number"' whom Shishak had led forth against Asa's grandfather, Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 12:3), and these their descendants may have retained possession of the north of Arabia Petraea, between Palestine and Egypt (see Bruce's Travels, 1:30). (See ZERAH).

Yet, though there is a great lack of evidence to show that the name of Cush was ever applied to any part of Arabia, there seems no reason to doubt that a portion of the Cushite race did early settle there. According to the ethnographic table in the 10th chapter of Genesis, Cush was the father of Seba, Havilah, Sabta, Raamah (whose sons were Sheba and Dedan), Sabtechah, and also of Nimrod (Genesis 10:7-8; 1 Chronicles 1:9-10). The last mentioned appears to have moved northward, first into Babylonia and then into Assyria, but the others seem to have migrated to the south, though it is impossible accurately to trace out their settlements. Yet, even if we give Seba to Africa, and pass over as doubtful the names of Havilah, Sheba, and Dedan (for these were also the names of Shemitic tribes, Genesis 10:28-29; Genesis 25:3), still, in Ezekiel 27:22, Raamah is plainly classed with the tribes of Arabia, and nowhere are any traces of Sabtah and Sabtechah to be found but in the same country. By referring, however, to the relative geographical positions of the south-west coast of Arabia and the east coast of Africa, it will be seen that nothing separates them but the Red Sea, and it is not unlikely that while a part of the Cushite population immigrated to Africa, others remained behind, and were occasionally called by the same name. In the fifth century of our era, the Himaryites, in the south of Arabia, were styled by Syrian writers Cushaeans and Ethiopians (Assemanni, Bibl. Orient. 1:360; 3, 568). The Chaldee paraphrast Jonathan, at Genesis 6, and another paraphrast at 1 Chronicles 1:8, explain "Cush" by Arabia. Niebuhr (Beschr. p. 289) found in Yemen a tribe called Beni Chusi. Job 28:19 speaks of the topaz of Cush, and there was a Topaz Island in the Red Sea (Diod. Sic. 3, 39; Pliny, Hist. Nat. 37:8; Strabo, 16:4, 6). Yet most of these are circumstances:upon which we can lay but little stress; and the passage in 2 Chronicles 21:16, is the only direct evidence we possess of the name "Cush" being applied in Scripture to any part of Arabia, and even that does not amount to absolute demonstration. (See ARABIA).

3. Cush, as a country, therefore appears to be African or Arabian in all passages except Genesis 2:13. We may thus distinguish a primeval and a post-diluvian Cush. The former was encompassed by Gihon, the second river of Paradise: it would seem, therefore, to have been somewhere to the northward of Assyria. See GIHON. From etymological considerations, Huet was induced to place Cush in Chusistan (called Cutha, 2 Kings 17:24), Leclerc in Cassiotis in Syria, and Reland in the "regio Cossaeorum." Bochart identified it with Susiana, Link with the country about the Caucasus, and Hartmann with Bactria or Balkh, the site of Paradise being, in this case, in the celebrated vale of Kashmir. It is possible that Cush is in this case a name of a period later than that to which the history relates, but it seems more probable that it was of the earliest age, and that the African Cush was named from this older country. Most ancient nations thus connected their own lands with Paradise, or with primeval seats. In this manner the future Paradise of the Egyptians was a sacred Egypt watered by a sacred Nile; the Arabs have told of the terrestrial paradise of Sheddad the son of Ad (q.v.) as sometimes seen in their deserts; the Greeks located the all-destroying floods of Ogyges and Deucalion in Greece; and the Mexicans seem to have placed a similar deluge in America all carrying with them their traditions, and fixing them in the territories where they established themselves. We are told that, in the Hindoo mythology, the gardens and metropolis of India are placed around the mountain Meru, the celestial north pole; that, among the Babylonians and Medo-Persians, the gods' mountain, Alborj, "the mount of the congregation," was believed to be "in the sides of the north". (Isaiah 14:13); that the oldest Greek traditions point northwards to the birthplace of gods and men; and that, for all these reasons, the Paradise of the Hebrews must be sought for in some far-distant hyperborean region. Guided by such unerring indications, Hasse (Entdeczkunen, p. 49, 50, n.) scrupled not to gratify his national feeling by placing the Garden of Eden on the coast of the Baltic; Rudbeck, a Swede, found it in Scandinavia; and the inhospitable Siberia has not been without its advocates (Morren, Rosenmü ller's Geog. 1:96). But, with all this predilection in favor of the north, the Greeks placed the gardens of the Hesperides in the extreme west, and there are strong indications in the Puranas "of a terrestrial paradise, different from that of the general Hindu system, in the southern parts of Africa" (As. Res. 3, 300). Even Meru was no further north than the Himalayan range, which the Aryan race crossed in their migrations. (See EDEN).

2. (Sept. Χουσί, Vulg. Chusi.) A Benjamite, apparently at the court of Saul, by the name of Cush is mentioned in the title of Psalms 7, respecting whom nothing more is known than that the psalm is there said to have been composed "concerning his words" (or affairs). B.C. 1061. "There is every reason to believe this title to be of great antiquity (Ewald, Psalmen, p. 9). Cush was probably a follower of Saul, the head of his tribe, and had sought the friendship of David for the purpose of rewarding evil to him who was at peace with him' an act in which no Oriental of ancient or modern times would see any shame, but, if successful, the reverse. Happily, however, we may gather from Psalms 7:15 that he had not succeeded." By some (see Poole's Synopsis, in loc.) he is believed to have been Saul himself (see Hengstenberg, in loc.); by others he is identified with Shimei (see Pfeiffer, Vict. Vexata, in Opp. 1:297), who treated David so scurrilously on his retreat from Absalom (2 Samuel 16:5-8). A recent view (Kitto's Daily Illustrations, in loc.) is that this was the name of some treacherous informer in David's corps, through fear of whose intrigues he fled the second time to Achish (1 Samuel 27:1); or (see Calmet's Comment. in loc.), most probably, some of Saul's malicious courtiers, as no good reason can be given for calling so well-known characters as either Saul or Shimei by so fanciful a title as Cush. (See DAVID).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Cush'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/c/cush.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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Sunday, May 24th, 2020
the Seventh Sunday after Easter
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