Cushi-ites and Others (23 June 2016, 17 Sivan, 5776)
1. Questions from Kennard Levi Brown
2. Black Peoples and Israelite Customs
3. Cush and Israel
4. Slaves Taken in Ships (Deuteronomy 28:68)
5. Like the Sons of "Cushiim" i.e. Cushities
1. Questions from Kennard Levi Brown
Kennard Levi Brown asked:
There are some Blacks that believe that ALL of the original Israelites were Black. Of course, I don't believe this because I have read your materials and other materials that prove this is not the case.
Can you provide me with Biblical and secular sources/references that Deuteronomy 28:68 is not talking about Black people?
Also, Blacks who believe that Israelites were ALL Black could use Amos 9:7 to prove this. Please explain this Amos 9:7 also.
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2. Black People and Israelite Customs
You have expressly or by implication asked us concerning (1) Black people and Israelites in general; and (2) Biblical verses sometimes used to prove that the Lost Ten Tribes are Black People.
Amongst the black peoples of Africa one will find many small groups who keep Hebraic customs and may have had some connection at one time with Israelites or with offshoots of Israelites and Jews such as Samaritans or Karaites.
In our opinion these are not from the Ten Tribes or from Judah but may be due to Israelite influence and perhaps some intermixture.
When the Messiah comes and establishes his rule and that of Israelites over the earth the religious reformation that will follow may incorporate these Hebraic influences and revitalize them.
3. Cush and Israel
The Bible uses the term Cush. This was the name of a specific non-Israelite people.
6 The sons of Ham were Cush and Mizraim and Put and Canaan.
7 The sons of Cush were Seba and Havilah and Sabtah and Raamah and Sabteca; and the sons of Raamah were Sheba and Dedan.
In Rabbinical Aramaic translations of the Bible and related sources the term Cush may be used for either Africa or India and neighboring areas. There were ethnic linkages between peoples in Africa and India.
Cush is associated with black people though in principle some descendants of Cush may have been white and many blacks are not of Cushite descent.
The father of Nimrod, who rebelled against God, was Cush (Genesis 10:8, 1-Chronicles 1:10).
Saul king of Israel was nicknamed "Cush" (Psalms 7:1). Perhaps he was dark -skinned? or perhaps not?
Isaiah seems to link the Land of Cush with Israelites we.g.
"Alas, oh land of whirring wings Which lies beyond the rivers of Cush" (Isaiah 18:1). Some have applied this verse to North America but we have suggested South Africa, see:
South Africa in Biblical Codes
1. Zebulon, Holland, and the Elders of Cush
2. Cush and the Diamond
3. The Rivers of Cush, Reuben, Gad, and half-Menasseh
4. Reuben, Gad, and the Huegonots.
5. South Africa and Naphtali
7. A Solution for South Africa?
Israelites were destined to take black people from Cush and Saba in chains across the seas as happened in North America.
Isaiah (43:3) predicted that Cush (Africa and India) and Saba (Black Africa), would be subjected to Israel. Isaiah (43:3 and 45:14 and the verses around them). The Lost Ten Tribes would rule over India, Egypt and much of Negro Africa. The trade with India would be theirs, the recompense arriving (via the Suez Canal) at Egypt would be theirs, and they would transport Negroes (many of whom were large-bodied), across the seas in chains. The whole passage ends on the point that in the Last Days they will return to worship the True God. This includes those from Cush and Saba who were taken captive.
The Hebrew term Cush in English translations is sometimes rendered as "Ethiopian." This is misleading. While Ethiopia may well be a Cushite nation the term Cush may also apply to numerous other peoples.
Cushites served in the armies and household of the Kings of Israel and Judah. David had a fleet-footed runner to bring him the news (1-Samuel 18:21). Even then the athletic proclivities of black people were appreciated.
Jeremiah was saved by Ebed-Melech (whose name means "Slave of the King") who was a Cushite (Jeremiah 38:12) in the service of the king of Judah.
The Bible links Cush with black people.
23 "Can the Ethiopian [i.e. Cushite] change his skin Or the leopard his spots? Then you also can do good Who are accustomed to doing evil."
Moses married a Cushite woman, see:
The Black Woman. Color Prejudice Condemned by the Torah
4. Slaves Taken in Ships (Deuteronomy 28:68)
68 The Lord will bring you back to Egypt in ships, by the way about which I spoke to you, 'You will never see it again!' And there you will offer yourselves for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but there will be no buyer.
When the Ten Tribes were exiled a portion of them were taken to Egypt, as noted by the Radak, and from there they went to the west.
Nevertheless, the main thrust of the above verse applies to Judah.
The Jews were taken by ship by the Romans to Egypt to be sold as slaves. There were so many of them that not enough buyers came forward.
The Aramaic Translation known as "Targum Yonatan ben Uziel" paraphrases the above verse (Deuteronomy 28:68) as saying:
# And Hashem will exile you back to Egypt in ships by way of the Reed Sea that you once crossed and concerning which I said: You shall not see it again! And there you will be sold into servitude to your enemies for large sums of money as crafts-men. And afterwards (you will be sold) cheaply as slaves and maidservants, until you will be cheapened (and try) to sell yourselves for nothing, and no one will take you in # (Deuteronomy 28:68).
This punishment happened to the Jews at least twice, one at the fall of the Second Temple (ca. 66-70 CE) and again after the Rebellion of Bar Cochba.
After the Fall of the Second Temple (70 CE) Josephus reports:
# Because the soldiers were now growing weary of bloodshed, and survivors appeared constantly, Caesar orders to kill only those who offered armed resistance and to take alive all the rest. (415) The troops, in addition to those covered by their orders, slaughtered the aged and infirm; people to their prime who might be useful they herded into the Temple area and shut up in the Court of the Women (lcl. (416) Caesar appointed one of his freedmen as their guard, his friend Fronto, to decide the fate appropriate to each. (417) All those who had taken part in sedition and brigandage (they informed against other) he executed. He picked out the tallest and handsomest of the lot and reserved them for the Triumph (418). Of the rest, those who were over seventeen he put in chains and sent to hard labor in Egypt while great numbers were presented by Titus to the provinces to perish in the theaters by sword or by wild beasts; those under seventeen were sold. #
Josephus, "The Jewish Wars"; Book vi 9:2.
After the Fall of Betar (135 CE)
Cassius (150-235 C.E.), a Roman historian, tells us,
"Few Jews remained alive, 50 of their strongest fortified cities and 985 of the best towns and villages were demolished; 580,000 died on the battlefield, besides countless others who perished of hunger and pestilence .. the entire land of Judea was almost transformed into a barren wasteland."
Munter -- Roman Historian
# Now that Betar had been captured, everything came under Ruman control, while Palestine [Judah] was reduced to a desolate mound. Captives were sold into slavery in numbers too great to count. First they were brought to the grand annual market at the Terebinth-Eloh tree in Hebron, or in the words of Hyranumous, to the Tent-Ohel of Abraham near Hebron. Each slave sold for the price of a horse. Those captives who were not sold there were brought to the market place in Azza [Gaza] which, because of the great multitudes of slaves who were sold there, was called Hadrian's market place. And those who were still not sold there were herded into ships and were taken to Egypt. Many died in transit, whether by starvation or by shipwreck, while many also were killed by cruel masters.
Munter, Primordia Eccl. Africanae, pp. 85f.,113.
# The toll of the Bar Kochba uprising was devastating both on the population and on the places of habitation. The numbers of dead were awesome, while multitudes of Jews were taken captive to fill the slave markets near and far. The slave market of the Terebinth of Hebron was particuIarly famous as a center where Jewish slaves, sent into captivity by Hadrian were sold. So many Jewish slaves were available that, recording to one report, a Jew was sold for as little as the price of a portion of horse feed. #
"History of Am Yisrael in Ancient Days" (Hebrew, Devir), 1971, p.321.
# Innumerable was the multitude of those who were sold away as slaves. At the Annual market at the Terebrinth of Hebron they were offered for sale in such numbers that a Jewish slave was of no more value then a horse. What could not be disposed of there was brought to Gaza and there sold or sent to Egypt, on the way to which many died of hunger, or of shipwreck. #
Emil Schurer, " A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ", Edinburgh, 1896, p.11.
7 'Are you not as the sons of Ethiopia to Me,
O sons of Israel?' declares the LORD.
'Have I not brought up Israel from the land of Egypt,
And the Philistines from Caphtor and the Arameans from Kir?
8 'Behold, the eyes of the LORD God are on the sinful kingdom,
And I will destroy it from the face of the earth;
Nevertheless, I will not totally destroy the house of Jacob,'
Declares the LORD.
9 'For behold, I am commanding,
And I will shake the house of Israel among all nations
As grain is shaken in a sieve,
But not a kernel will fall to the ground.
10 'All the sinners of My people will die by the sword,
Those who say, 'The calamity will not overtake or confront us.'
The expression translated above as "the sons of Ethiopia" in Hebrew is "Benai (Sons of) Cushiim." It says "Cushiim" and not "Cushim" and not "Cush".
What does "Cushiim" (with two "ii"s) mean?
A rough literal translation would render it as "A type of Cushite."
Taking the expression in its context we would say it implies:
Are you not similar to a type of the Sons of Cush to me?
You sin before me. What makes you any different from the others?
It is true that I took you out of Egypt but so what?
I also took other peoples from here and there and placed them elsewhere.
Philistines from Caphtor and Aramaeans from Kir.
What makes you different?
Why should I not destroy you like all the others?
Nevertheless the house of Jacob will not be totally wiped out..
No-one has ever understood this to mean that the Israelites were being described as physically like the Cushites.
On the contrary. This was the most improbable comparison which is why it was made, i.e. to emphasize the point that the Israelites because of their sins were no longer special when compared with others..