Blacks in the Bible
10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. 11 The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; 12 And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone. 13 And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. 14 And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward F11 the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.
Dissertation by Dan Rogers-The Evidence of Black People in the Bible
“I’ve given you the background for this discussion. My purpose has to do with the fact that European artists and Bible commentators of the past several centuries have painted and described all biblical characters as white, even God. In European paintings, in European theological writings, God is white and so is everyone else. It is sometimes difficult for people of color even to identify with the Christian Bible because, according to some scholars, there are no black people mentioned.”
There are 5 basic views of the origin of black people according to the Judeo-Christian tradition. I’d like to share those with you briefly. There’s the pre-Adamite, the Adamite, the Cainite, the Noahite (which is also known as the old Hamite), there is the new Hamite and there are various ideas that certain people in Black culture have presented in modern times.
The pre-Adamite view says that blacks, particularly so-called Negroes, are not descended from Adam. This is a very powerful statement. In Acts 17, the Apostle Paul said that we all come from one ancestor. Blacks belong to a black race created before Adam and from among whom Cain found his wife. And therefore Cain, because he married into one of these pre-Adamic peoples became the progenitor of all black people. What they mean by this and they explain it in detail in their writings, is that black people, people of black skin, especially Negroes, are non-human because they did not descend from Adam but descended from some pre-Adamic creation. And only entered into the human race by intermarriage. During the 15th and 16th centuries Bible writers, Bible commentators, preachers, theologians and lay people began to regard the Negro as the beast of the field in Genesis 3. Some believed that a Negro male was actually the one who had tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden. Thus, the serpent actually represented a pre-Adamic Negro male who tempted Eve to sin. This idea is advanced in a book by Jay Carrol entitled The Negro A Beast, a Justification of Slavery. The idea that came out of this is that since people of color, particularly Negroes, came from a pre-Adamic race, they were not truly human but were animals. While they looked like humans, they were not human and they had no soul. Because they had no soul they were a beast like any beast of the field. In fact, that’s what Genesis 3 is talking about, every beast of the field, that’s talking about black people. Therefore, since black people have no souls and because black people are beasts and animals in Genesis we are told that God gave humans dominion over the beasts and the beasts are to help the humans to work the fields and to do the hard labor and the work. And this theological premise was used in churches, preached in sermons in the United States of America particularly in the southeastern United States, to reassure all the good Christian folk that slavery was not only appropriate, but the will of God, rooted firmly in a proper understanding of the Bible in the book of Genesis.
Second, the Adamite view. The Adamite view is the orthodox Jewish, Christian and Islamic view. It is based on Acts 17:26, which states all have come from Adam, all have come from God’s creation. We are all children of God by creation.
Third view, the Cainite view indicates that Cain started white but he got in trouble and was turned black. And that was the origin of all black people from Cain. According to some of the Midrashim of the rabbis writing in both the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmud, because Cain offered an unacceptable sacrifice, the smoke from this unacceptable sacrifice blew back on him and it turned him black. Naturally then, all of his children were black after that. Another rabbi says that God beat Cain with hail until he turned black. According to a common Euro-American belief, God cursed and/or marked Cain by turning him black. This theory was promulgated and made very popular by Joseph Smith and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, commonly known as Mormons. They’ve had to deal with this theory that has been promulgated in the past in their fellowship.
The fourth view is the Noahite or old Hamite view. Ham violated God’s prohibition against mating on the ark. And because he could not resist mating he was turned black. Another teaching that originated from rabbinical interpretation and was preached in the southeastern United States prior to the Civil War was that Ham mated with an animal on the ark and produced a black offspring and that’s where all black people come from.
Another teaching was that Ham and/or Canaan were turned black as a result of Noah’s curse in Genesis 9:24-27. Because God cursed Canaan, that curse was to go upon all of Canaan’s descendants and the curse was 1) that they would all be turned black and 2) that they would be servants to white people. Again we see here an attempt to interpret the Bible in a way that justifies the institution of black slavery in the United States.
Fifth view, called the new Hamite view. This is a 19th century intellectual critical view that holds that Hamites were all white rather than black with the exception possibly of Cush. (Cush is a Hebraic term and probably Arcadian as well, it means black one, Cush=black.) Scholars, particularly in 19th century Germany, said even if Cush were black in color, he must be regarded as white. He was a Caucasoid black.
The Hamites mentioned in Genesis 10:6 the Bible locates in Africa, Central Africa and in Asia in what today we’d probably call India, Malaysia, that general part of the world. What would we find there today and what does history tell us of the peoples who have inhabited Central Africa and parts of southern Asia? They have been and are black. So geographically, the Bible places these people with the name black, with the tradition of being black, in geographical regions which historically we see even to this day have traditionally been the abode of black people. There was a land of Ham in Canaan and the designation of Egypt as the tents and land of Ham. There’s the location of Ethiopia and Egypt all of which are referred to biblically in terms that reflect people who are black. The name Cush from the Hebrew when it was carried over into Greek became ethiopia which means black people. We even have the reference in the book of Jeremiah, . . . can the Ethiopian change his skin? Egypt was called mizraim, another word that some scholars say connects to a certain coloring of being dark or black in the land of Egypt.
Noah plays an important part in the Bibles race relations. The first time race is mentioned is in Genesis 9:18-19. Noah had three sons Ham, Shem and Japheth. Ham means “dark or black” Shem means “dusky or olive colored” and Japheth means “bright or fair” Noah had three sons and from them was the whole earth overspread. Studies show that it is possible for a man to father three children with three different complexions by the same woman. I must also add that one or both of the parents must be of darker skin tone. To go a step further this means that either Adam or Eve was of a darker skin tone or maybe both. I believe that all people started out dusky or dark skinned.
Ham Noah’s dark skinned son by birth and not by a curse, is the Father of the black race. Ham had four sons Cush (Ethiopia), Mizraim (Egypt), Phut (Libya) and Canaan (Palestine).
The words Cush and Ethiopia are used interchangeably in Scripture. The word “Cush” is a Hebrew word meaning “black” Ethiopia is a Greek word meaning “a man with a sun burned or black face” The Greek word for burned was “ethios” and the word for face was “ops”, thusly Ethiopian.
Ethiopia or Cush is one of the first countries mentioned in Scripture. The Ethiopians conceive themselves to be of greater antiquity than any other nation. Herodotus, the father of history, said that the Ethiopians were the longest-lived people in civilization, the tallest and the handsomest men in the world. Song of Solomon 1:5 The black lady in Solomon’s court describes herself as Black and beautiful. Numbers 12:1 Moses married an Ethiopian woman. The Bible describes the Ethiopians as dark and tall. As a world power, Isaiah described the military men sent from Ethiopia to King Hezekiah to assure Israel of their assistance as people of “a nation tall and smooth, a people feared near and far” (Isaiah 18:1,2,7 RSV) 1 Ah, land of whirring wings which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia; 2 which sends ambassadors by the Nile, in vessels of papyrus upon the waters! Go, you swift messengers, to a nation, tall and smooth, to a people feared near and far, a nation mighty and conquering, whose land the rivers divide. 7 At that time gifts will be brought to the LORD of hosts from a people tall and smooth, from a people feared near and far, a nation mighty and conquering, whose land the rivers divide, to Mount Zion, the place of the name of the LORD of hosts. According to Herodotus and Homer, the inhabitants of the following countries were Ethiopians: Sudan, Egypt, Arabia, Palestine, Western Asia and India. The only physical difference in these inhabitants was their texture of hair. Cushites were the founders of Mesopotamian civilization. There are pyramids in Ethiopia that rival the ones in Egypt. Ethiopian and Egyptian recorded history begins about 3500 BC, which leads to a discussion about Ham’s second son Mizraim (Egypt).
The word “Mizraim” is translated in the Revised Standard Version of the Bible as “Egypt”. The ancient inhabitants of this land called the country Khem, Kam or Ham which literally meant “the blackland”. They called themselves the Khemi or Kamites, or Hamites meaning “the black people”.
Mark Hyman, a Black journalist and historian said that a melanin test was taken from the skin of an Egyptian mummy…the melanin proved the Egyptian was Black. The ethnicity of the Egyptians is confirmed in Scripture. The psalms refer to Egypt as the Land of Ham (Psalms 105:23,26,27; 106:21,22)
Ham’s third son was Phut. The Bible mentions Phut or Libya in Ezekiel 27:10. Phut was a son of Ham.
This is Ham’s son that was spoken of in Genesis 9:20-26. The Canaanites are depicted as dark complexioned people on Egyptian monuments. It should be noted again that Ham had three sons and only one, Canaan, was cursed. Canaan was assigned servitude to Ham’s brothers, Japheth and Shem. Out of Ham’s four sons Ethiopia, Egypt, Libya and Canaan, Canaan is the only one that does not exist today as a nation.
Also, Ham’s grandsons were men of great preeminence. Nimrod one of the sons of Cush (Ethiopia) was the first world ruler. He was in control when the “whole Earth was of one language and one speech Genesis 11:1-9. Nimrod was a mighty hunter and protected the entire people. We still refer to people with confused talking as babelling.
Look to other notes start at 2. Come back after 8 Exodus 4
6 And the LORD said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow. 7 And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and, behold, it was turned again as his other flesh.
Exodus 12 1 And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian F28 woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman. 2 And they said, Hath the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the LORD heard it. 3 (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.) 4 And the LORD spake suddenly unto Moses, and unto Aaron, and unto Miriam, Come out ye three unto the tabernacle of the congregation. And they three came out. 5 And the LORD came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth. 6 And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. 7 My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. 8 With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? 9 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against them; and he departed. 10 And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and, behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous. 11 And Aaron said unto Moses, Alas, my lord, I beseech thee, lay not the sin upon us, wherein we have done foolishly, and wherein we have sinned. 12 Let her not be as one dead, of whom the flesh is half consumed when he cometh out of his mother's womb. 13 And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, Heal her now, O God, I beseech thee. 14 And the LORD said unto Moses, If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be ashamed seven days? let her be shut out from the camp seven days, and after that let her be received in again. 15 And Miriam was shut out from the camp seven days: and the people journeyed not till Miriam was brought in again. 16 And afterward the people removed from Hazeroth, and pitched in the wilderness of Paran.
2 Kings 5
1 Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with F19 his master, and honourable, because by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper. 2 And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman's wife. 3 And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with F20 the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy. 4 And one went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maid that is of the land of Israel. 5 And the king of Syria said, Go to, go, and I will send a letter unto the king of Israel. And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment. 6 And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, Now when this letter is come unto thee, behold, I have therewith sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy. 7 And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and said, Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me. 8 And it was so, when Elisha the man of God had heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel. 9 So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha. 10 And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean. 11 But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, F21 He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. 12 Are not Abana F22 and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage. 13 And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean? 14 Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
15 And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant. 16 But he said, As the LORD liveth, before whom I stand, I will receive none. And he urged him to take it; but he refused. 17 And Naaman said, Shall there not then, I pray thee, be given to thy servant two mules' burden of earth? for thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto the LORD. 18 In this thing the LORD pardon thy servant, that when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon: when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon thy servant in this thing. 19 And he said unto him, Go in peace. So he departed from him a little F23 way.
20 But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, as the LORD liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him. 21 So Gehazi followed after Naaman. And when Naaman saw him running after him, he lighted down from the chariot to meet him, and said, Is all well? 22 And he said, All is well. My master hath sent me, saying, Behold, even now there be come to me from mount Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets: give them, I pray thee, a talent of silver, and two changes of garments. 23 And Naaman said, Be content, take two talents. And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and laid them upon two of his servants; and they bare them before him. 24 And when he came to the tower, F24 he took them from their hand, and bestowed them in the house: and he let the men go, and they departed. 25 But he went in, and stood before his master. And Elisha said unto him, Whence comest thou, Gehazi? And he said, Thy servant went no whither. F25 26 And he said unto him, Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants? 27 The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.