Stories of 8 Black Men and Women in the Bible
Introduction: Galatians 3:26-28
For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
This is the weekend that we celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. There have been many African-American spokesmen on television, radio, and in the newspaper articles talking about the contributions of blacks in American society. These are all good, but I want to go back, way back, even thousands of years. I would like to look at the stories of 8 men and women in the Bible who were black.
I should start off by pointing out it is difficult to determine with accuracy black men and women in the Bible because the Bible is color-neutral. There is never any reference to race or racial features. The main distinction throughout the Bible is between those that serve God and those that do not, whether as individuals or as nations. It is not definite that everyone from Ethiopia or Cyrene was black, but certainly you could reasonably assume that it was a good possibility. So this study will have to be considered reasonable speculation.
The Ethiopian Eunich
The story of the Ethiopian Eunich is found in Acts 8:26-39. Verses 26-29 tell us, “And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.”
We see from verse 27 that this man was an important government official in the court of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. We also see that the man was one who loved reading God’s word. We don’t know why he had a copy of Isaiah, but we know that God brought him to this passage to show him the way of eternal life. Notice how God brought these two men together. From a social class viewpoint Philip was from the lower class whereas the Ethiopian was an important government official. Racially, Philip was Greek whereas the Eunich was African. But neither man saw these distinctions in each other. All they saw was another person seeking the things of God. And they joined together, rich and poor, white and black, to share the good news of God’s message. God used Philip to lead the Eunich into an encounter with Christ. I wonder how many Ethiopians heard the gospel message because of this one man’s testimony?
Simon of Cyrene
Mark 15:21 tells us the first part of the story of Simon, “And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.” We know very little about Simon. Cyrene sat in modern-day Libya on the northern tip of Africa. We see from this verse that he had come from the country to Jerusalem on this occasion, perhaps on business. He must have been a strong man. I don’t think the soldiers would have picked a weakling. God had appointed him to be there, not to help Jesus with the cross, but to encounter the one who was to be crucified for his sins. Except for Mark’s obscure reference to Rufus and Alexander we would have no more information about Simon.
Rufus in Rome
It is in Romans 16:13 that we have Paul’s reference to Rufus, “Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.” According to the patristic writing of the second century the gospel of Mark was written for the Roman Christians. If this is true, it would make sense that Mark would identify Simon of Cyrene as the father of Rufus and Alexander, two men that the Roman Christians would know. None of the other gospel writers include the names of the sons. So perhaps the Rufus that Paul greets is the same Rufus that Mark writes about. It is a good possibility. So I’m going to include Rufus in our list of black men in the Bible. This reference tells us about Rufus and it also tells us more about Simon.
Paul emphasizes that Rufus is chosen in the Lord in Romans 16:13. Rufus must have been a willing follower of Christ. But this also tells us that Simon not only accepted Christ as his Savior, but he passed on the gospel message to his sons.
Lucius of Cyrene and Simeon called Niger
The church at Antioch became the hub of missionary movement. It grew to become an important center in the early church history. It was the headquarters of Paul and Barnabas. But the way it started is a real lesson in how God uses different men for different purposes to accomplish his work. It was after the stoning of Stephen that the early church was scattered. Acts 11:20 tells us, “And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus.” This was something different. Notice it says they spoke to the Grecians. Before this the Christians who were scattered proclaimed Christ only to the Jews living in the city. But these men from Cypress and Cyrene proclaimed the gospel message to the non-Jews. Who were these anonymous men? Later on we find the church is built up and Paul and Barnabas have joined the work. And then it mentions two black men that must have been part of the group that first preached in Antioch. Simeon called Niger and Lucius of Cyrene. The word “Niger” means “black.” Long before Paul and Barnabas were in Antioch God had raised up these two black believers to build the church.
Jeremiah had been cast into a dungeon to die. In Jeremiah 38:7-12, and 39:16-18 is told the story of how Ebedmelech petitioned the king and took men to rescue Jeremiah. He was not willing to stay back. He was willing to get involved in this great injustice. In Jeremiah 39:18 God tells Ebedmelech, “As a reward for trusting me, I will preserve your life and keep you safe.”
It is most difficult to determine if this person was from African descent or not. The reason is that the Song of Solomon is a love poem. Song of Solomon 1:5 says, “I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.” But naturally this is poetic language as is the next verse which describes how she is dark. In her favor is the fact that Solomon uses the uniqueness of her skin color as a point of beauty to him, and the Hebrew word he uses here is shachar which does mean black. So if one of Solomon’s brides were black, you would have to say that she received one of the highest honors of all time because the Song of Solomon is considered one the most beautiful love poems of all ages.
Moses’ Ethiopian Wife
In Numbers 12 we have an interesting thing take place. Verse 1 tells us Moses married an Ethiopian woman. Both Moses’ brother Aaron and sister Miriam spoke out against this woman. Perhaps this is the first example of racial prejudice. But, Aaron and Miriam could have been upset with their brother for marrying a non-Jew, and race may not have been a consideration. We don’t know. The passage of scripture is not clear why they didn’t like her.
The interesting thing about this story is that God took the side of the Ethiopian woman. The woman was apparently a believer, so any criticism they had against her would be unjustified. In God’s kingdom, he doesn’t want to see his children fighting over things that are so unimportant.
Blacks in the Bible
Ebony, Feb, 1994 by Lisa C. Jones
Although film, books and art depict most biblical characters as blond and blue-eyed Europeans, a growing body of research indicates that Blacks or people who would be considered as Blacks today were among the major actors in the Bible, which is generally called “the greatest book of all time.”
“Over the years, African-Americans have been introduced to a form of Christianity that was largely recast through the European culture,” says Dr. Cain Hope Felder, a New Testament language and literature professor at the Howard University School of Divinity and the author of several books on the subject. “We are not creating something new. We are going back and recovering what was always there.”
What was always there, Dr. Felder and other religious experts say, is incontrovertible evidence that noted biblical figures, such as the Queen of Sheba, Moses’ Cushite wife Zipporah, Prophet Jeremiah’s right-hand man Ebedmelech, and Sarah’s Egyptian handmaiden Hagar, are among the many royal Black personalities mentioned in the Bible.
Although evidence on the presence of Blacks in the Bible dates back to the 18th century, only in the past 25 years have Black scholars and ministers made major breakthroughs on a subject that has been practically ignored or suppressed by White religious authorities. Modern research, however, is based on the findings of Black historians like William Leo Hansberry and W.E.B. DuBois, who identified major Black biblical characters more than 50 years ago.
Moreover, some scholars say, it has taken them just as much time to convince Black Americans of their findings.
“Black people have been duped into running from the Bible, thinking it was the White man’s book,” says the Rev. Walter A. McCray, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Chicago and author of two volumes titled The Black Presence in the Bible. But in fact, Rev. McCray says, “Many notable biblical personalities were Black.”
Scholars base their characterizations of biblical figures on a few basic hypotheses set forth, in part, by Dr. Charles B. Copher, professor-emeritus of Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta and a leading authority the historical analysis of Blacks in the Bible. These assumptions are that 1) race was not the social and political issue that it is today, 2) most Bible activity took place in areas historically populated by people of color, such as the near Middle East and Northeast Africa; 3) “blackness” can be determined by scriptural references to skin color, Black ancestry and features characteristic of Black peoples.
Based on this criteria alone, “You’d have to say that the vast majority of peoples referred to in the Bible would have to be classified as Black,” Dr. Copher says. Another school of thought holds to the view that only those people belonging to ancient Africa can be identified as Black.
In any case, Black preachers, scholars and historians are determined to establish the presence of Black kings, queens, war leaders and women of the Bible as part of missing links in Black history. “The question isn’t where are the Blacks in the Bible,” Dr. Felder said during a telephone interview, “but where are the Whites?”
“The information has been there for the reader all along,” adds Dr. Renita J. Weems, an Old Testament assistant professor at Vanderbilt University who specializes in biblical hermeneutics. “To the extent that African-American people identify with their African heritage, I think that they can take pride in [the fact] that African people were very much embedded in the founding of the Judeo-Christian traditions.”
Although there are differences of emphasis, Black scholars and an increasing of White biblical scholars agree on the eight most widely accepted Black personalities in the Bible:
- The Queen of Sheba. The queen, who visited King Solomon and marveled at his wisdom, was queen of Ethiopia and Egypt. In scripture, she is called “the queen of the South.” Scriptures: I Kings 10:1; II Chronicles 9:1; St. Matthew 12:42.
- Zipporah. She was Moses’ Cushite wife. It is said that Moses’ siblings, Aaron and Miriam, did not like her. Some say it was because of a family spat. Others claim it’s because Zipporah, daughter of Jethro, was Black. Scripture: Numbers 12:1.
- Ebed-melech. This Ethiopian eunuch saved the life of Jeremiah, the prophet. Scriptures: Jeremiah 38:7-13; 39:16.
- Ethiopian Eunuch. This unnamed eunuch received a spiritual conversion and a better understanding of the Scriptures after speaking with Philip. Scriptures: Acts 8:26-40.
- Hagar. She was Sarah’s Egyptian handmaiden, and she eventually had Abraham’s first son, Ishmael. Scriptures: Gen. 16:1,3; 21:9.
- Pharaoh Tirharkah. He was an Ethiopian king. II Kings 19:9.
- Asenath. She was the Egyptian wife of Joseph, given to him by the Pharaoh. Asenath and Joseph had two sons, Manessah and Ephraim. Scriptures: Gen. 41:45.
- Simon of Cyrene. He helped Jesus carry the cross. Cyrene was an ancient city in Libya, Africa. Scriptures: St. Mark 15:21.
In determining the race of biblical characters, religious scholars consider legends, languages, Bible translations and other historical manuscripts. But there is some disagreement.
Although few, if any, believe in the “curse of Ham,” which was used as a justification for slavery, some experts, like Dr. McCray of Chicago, maintain that Blacks are indeed descendants of Ham, the youngest of Noah’s three sons. Ham — translated from Hebrew to mean “hot, heated or Black” — was called the father of Canaan in the Bible.
Canaan, along with Cush (or ancient Ethiopia), Mizraim (early Egypt) and Phut are considered to be Ham’s direct offspring.
If this is true, according to Dr. Copher, Dr. Felder and other scholars, at least one book of the Bible was written by a Black man, namely Zephaniah. Called the “son of Cushi,” (Zephaniah 1:1) Zephaniah was counted among the minor prophets of the Bible.
In addition to agreeing that Zephaniah was Black, some read King Solomon’s lyrical prose in The Songs of Solomon and conclude that he, too, was a Black man and that this song-like book was devoted to his relationship with the Queen of Sheba. In the book’s first chapter Solomon’s female companion proclaims, “I am black, black, but comely… look not upon me because I am black, because the sun has looked down upon me.”
If Solomon, King David’s son, was Black, some scholars reason that Jesus Christ himself — according to the genealogy outlined in the first chapter of St. Matthew — was Black. Other observers, not as convinced by this logic, just conclude that he was not White.
“Jesus was definitely a person of color. He was not Anglo or White, but that doesn’t mean that he was Black either,” adds Dr. Weems, who sees the benefit of dialogue on Blacks in the Bible as long as it does not lead to ethnic chauvinism.
And what about the Three Wise Men who carried gifts to Jesus? In fact, the Bible makes no reference to the number of wise men who greeted Jesus and his parents that day. It only states that the wise men were from the east — east of Bethlehem, that is. And many scholars believe that these “wise men,” magicians or the Magi as they are best known, were all from Egypt.
These arguments have whetted the interests of a growing number of Blacks and have prompted the production of several books, and even Bibles, that address the subject.
Black churches are also recognizing the power of physical religious images. Some assemblies, like the historic Abyssinian Baptist Church of Harlem, are discussing the idea of replacing their stained-glass windows and wall paintings, which depict biblical character’s as Whites, with multicultural images. Other churches, like Saint Sabina Catholic Church in Chicago and Moore’s Chapel A.M.E. Church in St. Petersburg, Fla., have already executed such plans. “It’s the height of paradox for Black people to experience as much racism that we do during the week and then to go to our most holy place and see all of these White images of the so-called holy families,” Dr. Felder adds. “We want to see more multicultural images and more Black images that are more correct.”
Although there is evidence that Blacks were major contributors in ancient, biblical times, religious scholars say the major point is that the Bible depicted a multicultural world. “Whites are in the Bible as Greeks and Romans. Asia is mentioned and so is Hispana,” says Howard University’s Dr. Felder. “I think it’s this rich mosaic of diverse people in the Bible that makes it very compelling.”
People Of Color In The Bible
(Part 1 – Egypt)
Rev. Robert Ash
“(Gen 41:45) And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphnathpaaneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt.”
Knowing that God can use us is one of the most powerful and encouraging blessings in any Christian’s life. Feeling that God cannot use us or that we have accomplished nothing for Him is one of the most disheartening situations that any committed Christian can face.
Galatians 3:28 teaches, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” God has always honored this principle. Man, however, has not.
For centuries, up through today, European-descended Christians have exclusively portrayed our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as being European in virtually every visual representation they have made including paintings, books, television and films. This has even continued decades after it has become widely known that Jesus was not a European at all. Portraying Jesus as being one color or another is not a problem in and of itself. No brother or sister in Christ should ever object to visual portrayals of the Lord Jesus as being of any race. The problem is that there are many in the church who use the European Jesus image to exclude other peoples from identifying with Jesus as being one of them.
Black people and other people of color have dealt well with this state of affairs, focusing not on portrayals and images, but on the truth of the saving gospel of Jesus Christ and the brotherhood of all of His children. But overuse and abuse of European images have “given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme” Him (2 Sam 12:14) by calling Christianity a “white man’s religion”, a religion of racial prejudice, when it is neither. There is no need to wrongly accuse Christianity, nor to depart from orthodox Christianity into Black Liberation Theology or other variants. People of color have a strong presence both in the Old Testament and the New Testament, and in church history.
The things we’re sharing now are things that most Bible teachers we listen to and whose works we read never tell us. Some do this purposefully because of prejudice, pride or peer pressure. Many others actually don’t know these things themselves, or don’t realize what great help and encouragement it would be to Christians of all backgrounds to know how God has throughout history redeemed and used people with willing hearts “from every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Rev 5:9).
God “hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26). Preaching this is not preaching “social gospel”. From God’s perspective it’s just as important to make it a point to mention that people He used were Africans or other people of color as to mention they were Roman, Greek, German or English, “for ye are all one in Christ Jesus”.
It’s all there, out in the open. It’s just not presented by most Bible teachers or books in a way that makes it obvious. We just have to dig a little and when they mention all these ancient names, know a little bit about their history, then just look on a map and find out where they actually are!
The first people of color we’ll share about are Egyptians. We usually think of Egypt today as an Arab country, and that’s the way we talk about it. But there were no Arabs in Egypt in Bible days, Old Testament or New Testament. In fact, there were no Arabs in Egypt until the time of Mohamed, almost 600 years after the Bible was already finished. The early Egyptians in the Bible days and earlier were Africans of various colors. About 1/3 were black-skinned; more importantly, the people who lived in the area known as the Fayoum depression, that laid the foundation for Egyptian civilization in the dynastic ages, were black-skinned Africans. There were even black-skinned Pharoahs.
For many, many years European and American historians and anthropologists created what is now called the Hamitic Myth, that light-skinned Africans were responsible for all civilization in Africa. First, that’s wrong. Second, most of the light-skinned peoples they talked about were nomads, who traveled the desert going from place to place. Most of the black-skinned people were settlers. What does it take to develop civilization? Agriculture, settled lifestyle, stability. That’s why Egyptian civilization started with those black-skinned Africans in the Fayoum depression.
Egyptians were very prominent in bloodline and ethnic heritage of Israel. They were in Egypt for over 400 years, and they didn’t grow from 70 people to 2.5 million people just marrying each other. Joseph married an African woman while he was president of Egypt. Her name was Asenath the daughter of Poti-pherah priest of the city of On (Gen 41:45). Joseph’s children were half-African, and each of his two half-African children (Ephraim and Manasseh) became a tribe of Israel. Because the tribe of Levi was not counted in the census of armed men for Israel’s army Joseph was given two half-tribes. Two of Israel’s tribes were fathered by men who had African blood in their veins. All of the Jews from both of these tribes had an African forefather.
And they’re not the only ones. A large mixed multitude of Africans came out of Egypt with the Israelites (Ex 12:38). Many Bible teachers talk about them as though they were bad people and many say they never should have allowed them to come along. They say unkind and untrue things about them (one prominent Bible teacher even said they were ‘all mixed up and didn’t know who they were’ because they were racially mixed), and say they caused all kinds of trouble. And they did. One time.
Numbers 11:4 says, “And the mixed multitude that [was] among them fell a-lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat?” But God said the nation of Israel provoked Him not just one time, but ten times in the wilderness. Why does the mixed multitude (i.e. Africans and the people who were mixed Hebrew and African) who provoked God one time get more bad press than the other Israelites who provoked Him ten times? And even that one time the children of Israel were right there weeping with them. Weeping for flesh to eat because they didn’t like the manna God fed them from heaven every morning.
The most important thing here, though, is that God never once spoke against the mixed multitude. He never once had even one thing to say against the African people who followed Israel out of Egypt to worship the God of Israel. God has always welcomed anyone who wants to follow Him. God never minded when the Israelites married other people from other races who turned from their false gods to follow the only true God. He was only angry when the Israelites married other races to follow their gods. That’s when He got angry.
The attitude God had toward the mixed multitude, even those among them who had no Hebrew blood at all, is written in Ex 12:48 “And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land…” God repeats this teaching in GAL 3:27. ” For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Once again, God’s thoughts are higher than man’s thoughts.
It’s human prejudice and carnality that makes Bible teachers single out the mixed multitude and blame them for Israel’s problems. It’s only human prejudice that says Israel never should have let the mixed multitude go along, and implies that Africans’ going along was a bad thing. God never said these people were all mixed up and didn’t know who they were. That’s not the way God sees it! Those Egyptians that followed Him were treated and loved by Him the same as the Hebrews that were native born. So while man has been “pre-ju-dus”, so to speak, God’s been “use-ing us.”
We should understand this, and understand where they’re coming from when they say that. But we should never talk about them the way they talk about us. We should never react to white prejudice with black prejudice. Instead, let us show the love that Jesus showed. Let’s recognize people even who don’t recognize us or give us the credit that God gives us. As Ro 12:21 says, “Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good”. And 1Pe 3:9 “Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.”
People Of Color In The Bible
(Part 2 – Ethiopia)
Rev. Robert Ash
“ZEP 1:1 The word of the LORD which came unto Zephaniah the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hizkiah, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah.”
Ethiopians, a race of black people, are another people of color mentioned in scripture. Actually, the Bible term “Ethiopia” refers to a number of black-skinned peoples who lived in the southern Nile area, including southern Egypt plus modern-day Sudan, Ethiopia (called Havilah in Gen 2:11), Somalia and other areas. Also called “Cushites” today, all “Ethiopian” peoples descended from Cush, the oldest son of Ham (Noah’s youngest son — Gen 9:18-19, Gen 10:6-7). There are over 50 mentions of “Ethiopia” and “Ethiopian” peoples in the Bible.
God first mentions Ethiopia in the Creation account itself. The river that watered the Garden of Eden (Gen 2:10) split into four giant rivers: “The name of the first [is] Pison: that [is] it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where [there is] gold…And the name of the second river [is] Gihon: the same [is] it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.” (Gen 2:11, 13). God’s “Garden” was quite colossal, actually — more like a giant preserve, a country or a continent. His “Garden” had to be watered by a mighty river! That river split into four other mighty rivers, two of which flowed in Ethiopia.
One of the most amazing facts in the Bible is that the inspired author of Zephaniah was at least half-Ethiopian (he had an Ethiopian father, no info about his mother). This Israelite prophet was a direct descendant of King Hezekiah: “The word of the LORD which came unto Zephaniah the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hizkiah, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah.” (Zep 1:1). “Cushi” means “man of Ethiopia”. There are three men named Cushi in scripture, all very prominent: Joab’s runner (2 Samuel 18:21-32), the great-grandfather of Jehudi the scribe (Jer 36:14), and Zephaniah the prophet’s father (Zep 1:1).
Moses had an Ethiopian wife. He married her after his first wife died. Moses’ only children were through his first wife, Zipporah (1 Chr 23:15), but God loved Moses’ Ethiopian wife so much that He burned in anger against Moses’ own brother and sister Aaron and Miriam when they spoke against her and against Moses for marrying her. God even struck Miriam with leprosy for her wrong, probably because she was the ringleader in this error–see Nu 12:1-15). This blessed Ethiopian woman was now one of His people, and God was not going to let anyone get away with speaking against her. Not anyone.
Another Ethiopian saved Jeremiah’s life. Jer 38:4-15 records: “Therefore the princes said unto the king, We beseech thee, let this man be put to death: for thus he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them: for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt.”
Then Zedekiah the king said, “Behold, he [is] in your hand: for the king [is] not [he that] can do [any] thing against you. Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah the son of Hammelech, that [was] in the court of the prison: and they let down Jeremiah with cords. And in the dungeon [there was] no water, but mire: so Jeremiah sunk in the mire. Now when Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, one of the eunuchs which was in the king’s house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon; the king then sitting in the gate of Benjamin; Ebed-melech went forth out of the king’s house, and spake to the king, saying, My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the dungeon; and he is like to die for hunger in the place where he is: for [there is] no more bread in the city.
Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, Take from hence thirty men with thee, and take up Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon, before he die. So Ebed-melech took the men with him, and went into the house of the king under the treasury, and took thence old cast clouts and old rotten rags, and let them down by cords into the dungeon to Jeremiah. And Ebed-melech the Ethiopian said unto Jeremiah, Put now [these] old cast clouts and rotten rags under thine armholes under the cords. And Jeremiah did so. So they drew up Jeremiah with cords, and took him up out of the dungeon: and Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison.
Jer 39:15-18 say, “Now the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah, while he was shut up in the court of the prison, saying, Go and speak to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring my words upon this city for evil, and not for good; and they shall be [accomplished] in that day before thee. But I will deliver thee in that day, saith the LORD: and thou shalt not be given into the hand of the men of whom thou [art] afraid. For I will surely deliver thee, and thou shalt not fall by the sword, but thy life shall be for a prey unto thee: because thou hast put thy trust in me, saith the LORD.” God used this Ethiopian man Ebed-melech to save the life of one of his most prominent and important prophets, the prophet Jeremiah. Then God blessed Ebed-melech by saving his life in return. It’s a good thing to do good to God’s people, whatever color they are, whatever color we are.
God also used a rumor about an Ethiopian king to save Jerusalem during one of the most famous battles in the Bible. This is a battle so spectacular and so famous that the Bible goes into detail about it, and not once, but twice! The Bible talks about this battle in 2 Kings 18 and Isaiah 37. Anything God tells us about twice is important. Anything He tells us about once is important, and it’s doubly important if He tells us about it twice.
There was a king named Rab-shakeh who had Jerusalem surrounded. It looked like God’s people were doomed. He had conquered other mighty nations before attacking Jerusalem. But he got so proud and cocky that he started blaspheming God. Isaiah 37:7-9 is God’s reply to Rab-shakeh:
“Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumor, and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land. So Rab-shakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah: for he had heard that he was departed from Lachish. And he heard say concerning Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, He is come forth to make war with thee….” Indeed, God sent Rab-shakeh back to his own country and killed him. And He used a rumor about Tirhakah, king of Ethiopia, to get Rab-shakeh back there.
Of the nations that Israel went to war against in her history, Ethiopia had the largest army. Its size is mentioned in 2Ch 14:9 “And there came out against them Zerah the Ethiopian with an host of a thousand thousand, and three hundred chariots; and came unto Mareshah.” A thousand thousand is a million. Zerah the Ethiopian led a 1 million man army, the largest numbered army that Israel ever fought. Zerah the Ethiopian went to war against Asa king of Judah, whose army was much smaller.
But being Ethiopian or any other race is never enough to win the battle. Without God on their side, any army of any size and of any race can be defeated. 2Chronicles 14:10-12 continues “Then Asa went out against him, and they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, LORD, [it is] nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou [art] our God; let not man prevail against thee. So the LORD smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled.”
It doesn’t matter how big the battle is or who we’re fighting against, with God on our side, even one plus God is a majority. How can we have God on our side? By turning away from our sins and trusting God’s one and only Son, Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, God who came once to dwell on earth, who died once on the cross for our sins and rose once from the dead on the third day after, so that all who repent and believe on His one resurrection will be saved from our sins and from His coming Judgment. Believe on Jesus Christ right now and get God on your side!
To be continued….Watch BlackandChristian.com for the next part where we will talk about People of Color in the Bible, the Cyrenes.
Evidence of Black Africans in the Bible
By Dan Rogers
In 1992, I took a class at Emory University in Atlanta called Introduction to the Old Testament. As I read the various required textbooks for the course, I saw something I had not noticed before. Many Old Testament scholars, particularly European scholars of the 18th, 19th and early 20th century, had written their books and commentaries on the Old Testament from the perspective that there were no people of color mentioned in the Scriptures.
Puzzled, I began to look into the topic more deeply. I studied intensively for about a year, attending lectures and interviewing scholars. I began to realize that this was a particularly difficult and controversial subject, and it has caused much hurt. Thankfully, times have changed, but some of the wounds remain. So let’s look at it, and put to rest once and for all this biased and unfair distortion of the Bible.
Let me apologize in advance for some of the terms that I will need to use as we discuss this topic. They are not the terms we would prefer today, but they are terms that historians, ethnologists and Bible commentators of past centuries, and even the 20th century, have employed to explain their ideas about the origin of blacks. These ideas, steeped in racial prejudice, were alleged to provide a biblical justification for black slavery and the subjugation of black peoples.
When I first read about these concepts, they brought tears to my eyes. As a white person in a predominantly white country, I also began to gain a better understanding of and a greater appreciation for the black experience in the United States.
Is the Bible a book by a white God for white people? Of course not. God is spirit and does not have “color” in our human and earthly sense. There is nothing in the Scriptures to indicate that people are excluded from God’s saving grace on the basis of ethnic origin or skin color. God is “not wanting anyone to perish” (2 Peter 3:9). Jesus is the Savior of all peoples. Nevertheless, it is a fact that the majority of European artists and Bible commentators painted and described all biblical characters, including God, as white. This had the effect of excluding blacks from being a part of Scripture and has led some people of color to question the Bible’s relevance to them.
Exclusion was only one side of the problem. Where the presence of blacks in the Bible was admitted, primarily among uneducated whites, outrageous myths and fables abounded. This was especially true among white Christians living in the southeastern United States prior to the Civil War. These denigrating tales were believed to support the racist (and unbiblical) notion that the Bible supported a white subjugation of black people.
What Do We Mean By “Black”?
There are several difficulties surrounding any discussion of this sensitive topic. Some are obvious; others are less so. Not least is the question, what do we mean by “black” people? In America today, we mean African- Americans—those with African ancestry and dark skin color. But is that how the people who lived when the books of the Bible were written would have thought?
There are differences between ancient and modern concepts of what “black” means when it is applied to people. For example, in the table of nations in Genesis 10, the word used to describe the people descended from Ham in the ancient Hebrew, Akkadian and Sumerian languages is related to the color black. But what does this mean? Our traditional understanding of the Old Testament is influenced by the ancient rabbinic method of interpretation known as Midrash. These interpretations sometimes take precedence over the literal meaning of the text being interpreted. They also belong to another time with other socio-economic conditions and concerns. When ancient rabbinic literature mentions black people, does it mean ethnically “Negro” or just people of generally darker skin?
Let me give you a modern example. In a congregation I once pastored were two families with the surnames Black and White. The Whites were black and the Blacks were white. Mr. Black, who was white, used to talk about his lovely white grandchildren who were Blacks. And Mr. White talked about his lovely black grandchildren who were Whites. Imagine what someone a thousand years from now would think if they read that.
Just because some people are called by a term meaning “black” does not necessarily prove they were what we now call black. Of course, it does not mean that they were not “people of color” either. In ancient times, just as folks did in the old frontier societies of our country, people often were given names that reflected their personality, where they were from or their appearance. But names like “Slim,” “Tex,” “Kid,” “Smitty” or “Buffalo” tell you nothing of a person’s ancestry.
Some ancient writers say that the Egyptians and Ethiopians were black. But what do they mean? How “black” were they? Were they merely darker than those doing the writing? The wall paintings and hieroglyphics of the ancient Egyptians and Ethiopians picture some people as black in color. But this was a highly stylized art form, and may have nothing to do with their actual skin color.
Some black people are much fairer in skin color than some we classify as “Caucasians.” There are also social and legal definitions, based on the percentage of African or “Negro” blood people have in their ancestry. It was not so long ago that certain states had laws that stated that someone was a “Negro” if the person had even a single black ancestor. Physical appearance did not matter.
These are some of the difficulties of trying to determine if people in the Bible are what today we consider black. It is therefore irresponsible to draw superficial conclusions either for or against a black presence in the Scriptures. But this did not stop scholars and theologians (who surely should have known better) from suggesting that all people in the Bible were white, and that the Bible record excludes the Asian and “Negro” races, a conclusion that is not true.
But suppose it were true? What difference would that make? The Bible account focuses on what we now call the Middle East, and in particular the rags-to-riches-to-ruin story of ancient Israel. It is specific to geography and to a historical period. Other people are mentioned as they pertain to the unfolding of that story. So Eskimos (or Inuit) are not included, nor are Koreans. Yet no one seriously believes that they are excluded from the human race. But when it comes to the alleged absence of black people, we encounter a web of cruel deceit that makes a mockery of the true biblical record. Only when you understand this can you begin to get a glimmer of what it has been like to be black in America.
The pre-Adamite view argues that blacks, particularly so-called “Negroes,” are not descended from Adam. This view appears to have its origin in the works of such authors as Paracelsus in 1520, Bruno in 1591, Vanini in 1619 and one of the most prolific writers, Peyrère, in 1655. It reached a high level of development with the 19th-century scholar Alexander Winchell in his book, Preadamites; or a Demonstration of the Existence of Men Before Adam, published in 1880.
These writers (all of them white), argued that blacks belong to a race created before Adam and from among whom the biblical villain Cain found his wife. Cain, by marrying one of these pre-Adamic peoples, the reasoning goes, became the progenitor of all black people. Therefore, it was rationalized, black people, especially “Negroes,” are not actually human, because they did not descend from Adam but from some pre-Adamic creation, having entered the human race only by intermarriage, and that with a notorious sinner. As non-humans, therefore, they did not have souls, but were merely beasts like any other beast of the field. And since the Bible says God gave humans dominion over the beasts, it was concluded that these soulless creatures exist to do work for the humans.
This preposterous theological premise was preached in churches across the United States, particularly in the Southeast, to reassure people that slavery was not only acceptable, but the very will of God, rooted firmly in a “proper” understanding of the Bible.
The Cainite view argues that Cain was born white, but after his unacceptable sacrifice and the murder of his brother, Abel, he was turned black as punishment and became the progenitor of all black people. According to some of the rabbinic Midrashim (in both the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmud), because Cain offered an unacceptable sacrifice, the smoke from this unacceptable sacrifice blew back on him, turned him black and caused all of his children to be born black. In another Talmudic story, a rabbi says that God beat Cain with hail until he turned black. Stories vary, but it became a common Euro-American belief that God cursed and marked Cain by turning him black.1
The Noahite (or old Hamite) view can be traced to writings suggested in the Talmud and later adopted by Jewish and Christian interpreters (especially among white southerners in the pre-Civil War United States). In this view, Ham violated God’s supposed prohibition against mating on the ark. Because he could not resist, he was turned black. Yet another teaching was that Ham and/or Canaan were turned black as a result of Noah’s curse in Genesis 9:24-27. In this view, because God cursed Canaan, that curse was to go on all of Canaan’s descendants and the curse was, first, that they would all be turned black, and second, that they would be servants to white people. Again, we see here a blatant attempt to interpret the Bible in a way that justifies the institution of black slavery.
The New Hamite view is a 19th-century view that holds that Hamites were all white rather than black with the possible exception of Cush. (Cush is a Hebrew term that means “black one.”) Scholars, particularly in 19thcentury Germany, said that even if Cush were black in color, he must be regarded as a Caucasoid black. Why? Because, in their view, Negroes were not within the purview of the writers of the Bible. Even some modern biblical scholars hold this view. For example, Martin Noth, considered to be one of the most respected Old Testament scholars of all time, states on page 263 of his book The Old Testament World (Fortress, 1966) that the biblical writers knew nothing of any Negro people.
Understandably, there has been a reaction among black theologians and black people to these ideas. Some have tended toward the opposite extreme, arguing that everyone in the Bible was black. Dr. Charles B. Copher, professor of African American Studies at Interdenominational Theological School in Atlanta, says this view is patently outlandish. He believes that this notion is an overreaction that can lead to another kind of extremism.
The Adamite view. The Adamite view is the orthodox Jewish, Christian and Islamic view. It is based (for Christians) on Acts 17:26, which states that God made all people from one original bloodline, or one source. This, we emphasize, is the only view that is consistent with the true message of Scripture. Nevertheless, these other hideously distorted ideas have been promulgated, and some still have a degree of influence even today.
So, where does that leave us? Feeling slightly nauseated, I hope, over the amazing ability we have to delude ourselves and bend the word of God in any direction that suits our purposes.
The overall and surely indisputable message is that God has created us all in his image and has included all members of the human race in the saving work of his Son. Nowhere does the Bible give any indications that black people, or any people, whether “of color” or not, are outside the embrace of his love. But the fact remains that people have believed and taught this error, and sadly, it has been a teaching that still affects the way many of us think about each other, and perhaps even ourselves. The Bible does not focus on skin color as any form of criterion. All have sinned, all have fallen short of the glory of God, and all are recipients of his grace through Jesus Christ.
But what about the question of whether black people are mentioned in the Bible? Admittedly it is difficult to build a definitive case, based on textual evidence, to prove beyond all doubt that black people are mentioned in its pages. But why should we have to? Let’s turn the question around. There is no evidence whatsoever that black people—or any people for that matter—are excluded from the purview of the writers of the Bible. Let us put the burden of proof on those who would teach otherwise.
Evidence in the Bible
The stories of the Bible took place in and around what we now call the Middle East, and people moved on and off its stage based on their relationship with the nations of ancient Israel and Judah. Consequently the vast majority of the world’s ethnic and racial groups are not specifically identified. But some of those who are identified were black. There are traditions of Cain and his descendants through Ham being black. Rabbinical writings, Jewish writings attribute blackness to Ham.
Genesis 10, Nimrod, son of Kush, became the Black founder of civilization in Mesopotamia.
Genesis 11 Abram was from Ur of the Chaldees, a land whose earliest inhabitants included Blacks. The people of the region where Abraham came from can be proven historically and archaeologically to have been intermixed racially. This could lead us to suppose that Abraham and those who came out of that area with him were also racially mixed.
Genesis 14 Abram’s experiences in Canaan and Egypt brought him and his family into areas inhabited by Black peoples. Both archaeological evidence and the account in I Chronicles 4 tell us that Canaan was inhabited by the descendants of Ham.
Further Black presence can be found in the accounts of Hagar, the Egyptian, Ishmael and his Egyptian wife, and Ishmael’s sons especially Kedar. The Kedarites are mentioned many times in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Nehemiah and the word itself is a word that means Blackness.
Genesis 41 further Black presence in the patriarchal period appears with Joseph’s experiences in Egypt. Joseph marries an Egyptian woman, Asenath, descended from Mizriam. If she were an Egyptian woman she was descended from Mizriam. If she were a descendant of Mizriam, she was Hamitic. If she were Hamitic, chances are she was Black. Do you follow me? She was the mother of Ephraim and Manasseh. So Joseph married an Egyptian woman, Asenath, by whom he had Ephraim and Manasseh.
In the enslavement in Egypt, the land of Ham becomes the Israelite home for a long time and intermarriage occurs. Exodus 2:5, I Chronicles 4:17, Leviticus 24:10-16, I Chronicles 2:34 all show that intermarriage occurred between the Israelite peoples and the people of the land.
Numbers 12 Moses marries a Kushite, an Ethiopian.
Exodus 2:19 Moses is identified as an Egyptian by Jethro’s daughters. He looked like an Egyptian. Was it the clothes he wore or was it the tint of his skin? We can’t say for sure. Moses’ family intermarried with Hamites. Some of his descendants were perceived to be Black.
The grandson of Aaron was named Phineas, which means, translated from the Egyptian through the Hebraic dialect, the Negro or the Nubian, depending upon which translator you use. Eli’s sons (Eli was a descendant of Aaron), were Hophni and Phineas. The Egyptian name, Phineas, means Black.
Exodus 12:38 tells us a mixed multitude came out of Egypt. Many slaves in Egypt were Egyptians. History tells us they were also Cushites, Hamites, people from Central Africa, and Israelites. When the slaves came out of Egypt they were indeed a mixed multitude of peoples. Numbers 11:4 tells us that along with intermarried Israelites many of the slaves who left Egypt with Moses were intermarried and they became the twelve tribes of Israel that inhabited the land.
They were a mixed racial people.
Can I prove that absolutely 100%? No. I don’t have a Polaroid. But what I’m arguing is that the weight of evidence, carefully compounded, and indicates this very strongly and the burden to resist this evidence is on those who would deny it. The weight of evidence is in this direction, in my opinion.
In 2 Samuel 18 we have Ha-Cushi, Hebrew for the Kushite. He’s the one who carried the news of Absalom’s death to David. David’s private army was composed partially of Philistines who were descendants of Ham. They’d come out from Crete. There were Blacks from Ethiopia. There were Egyptians. There were Cretans and others from early times. According to Brunson and his book, Black Jade, many of the soldiers that David hired as mercenaries were Black because it was very common for Black people to hire out as mercenaries.
You have to understand that in the early world, history tells us that in the earliest days of civilization most slaves were white and most rulers and dominant peoples were people of color. They hired themselves out to other nations as mercenaries. So Brunson argues that much of David’s military was composed of these mercenaries from Ethiopia and other places.
According to Josephus, Solomon had a wife from Egypt who was an Egyptian princess. There was also the Queen of Sheba, who reigned over lands from India to Ethiopia. Many early Christian writers considered Solomon’s Egyptian wife and the Queen of Sheba to be Black. Egyptians and Ethiopians are mentioned often in the prophets. For example, Jeremiah 13:23 “… can the Ethiopian change his skin?”
Zephaniah 1:1, Zephaniah is called a son of Kushie. Gene Rice in his book, African Roots, holds that Zephaniah was Black, at least on his mother’s side. He was related to King Hezekiah on his father’s side and Rice believes that because he was indeed named after one of his ancestors, and literally named, Rice argues that Zephaniah was Black.
For those who use the New Testament, in Matthew 1:3 we find Tamar was a Canaanite, of Hamitic ancestry. She was the mother of Pharaz and Zara, the tribes of rulership in Judah.
We have Luke 23:26 that talks about Simon a Cyrenian. The Cyrenians, geographically, are Black.
Acts 8 talks about the Ethiopian eunuch and people can argue what he was. Was he a Jew? Was he this? Was he that? He came from Ethiopia. Ethiopia is a Black region. Could he have been Black no proof absolutely, only an indication.
In Acts 13 we read of Simeon, called Niger. That’s the Latin term for Black. Again he was called Simeon the Black, the Black man. But why was he called the Black man? We don’t know for sure. He could have been Black in skin color. There is also Lucias of Cyrene and again Cyrene is a geographical location of Black people. So here even into the New Testament I would argue that there is some evidence for a Black presence.
My conclusion is this: On the basis of references to the Hamites and Elamites in the table of nations, in Hebrew tradition, and because the geographical location of these peoples who are called Black in the Bible are today and have historically been the locations of Black people, I argue that the references to the Hamites and Elamites in the Bible are references to Black people.
Jesus’ Black Ancestors
Some Preliminary Information
In ancient times, including Jesus’ time, the Arabian peninsula was considered part of what we now call Africa, not “the Near East” or “the Middle East”.
Americans and modern Europeans tend to think of a genealogy as a simple chronological list of ancestors and descendants; hence, many skeptics are quick to point out omissions in biblical genealogies and claim those are “proof” that the Bible is not reliable.
It is important to note that in ancient times genealogies were not always simple “family histories”. They served numerous purposes, e.g.:
The segmented genealogy describes more than one line of descent from an ancestor. It charts alliances among peoples and may serve a variety of different functions in the areas of confederations, intermarriage, habitations, possessions of land, and war.
Segmented genealogies were used for domestic purposes by mirroring changes in the society, and for religious reasons related to celebrating some festival. They were also used for political and legal purposes revealing ethnic alliances. Since the group was more socially powerful than the individual, relationship to the group enhanced one’s social power. This made ethnic relationships essential for effectuating treaties and alliances. Thus, family tree records were pressed into the service of explaining the social and political relationships needed to defend and maintain the survival of the people.
McCray, Vol 2. pp 32-33
I do not claim to be an expert on this topic, nor does this paper purport to be an exhaustive treatise on this subject. The main reasons I put the paper (slightly modified) on the site are:
1 – Most English-language information on Christianity gives the false subliminal impression that Jesus was a dark-haired Anglo, (an American term referring to Caucasian Americans of generally northern European heritage, e.g., English, German, etc. “Anglo” is a term of ethnicity not race. It is a narrower term than “white” or “Caucasian”. For instance, medium-dark skinned persons from India, Pakistan, etc., are definitely Caucasian but would not be considered Anglo.)
2 – Christianity is frequently portrayed as “the White Man’s religion”. The truth is that most of the people in the Bible were people of color (i.e., not “Anglo”): Semitics, blacks, and Mediterranean, e.g., Romans.
3 – I spent a lot of time researching and writing this (about 30 hours), because so little material is available.
4 – Very little information is readily available in print.
5 – Virtually all the printed works on this topic are very biased: American and European biblical scholars like to pretend that Jesus was Anglo, and black Bible scholars who write on this topic give the impression that everybody in the Bible was dark black with pronounced negro features.
6 – Like most Anglos, I was quite surprised to find out that Jesus does have black ancestry.
7 – I know it’ll really bug a lot of Anglos who feel superior to people of color because “Jesus was white.” (i.e., Anglo).
(Incidentally, since I know people will wonder . . . I’m half Italian, one-quarter German and one-quarter English. I attend a Protestant black church and also a congregation of Messianic Jewish and gentile believers and a Reform Jewish temple, although I have no Jewish ancestry, because those are where the Lord led me.)
The Origin of Mankind After The Flood
According to Genesis 9:19 and the Table of Nations in Genesis 10, all mankind is descended from the three sons of Noah: Shem, Ham and Japheth. (For some strange reason, Noah’s sons are always listed in that order although Genesis 10:21 says Japheth was Shem’s older brother. Normally in the Bible sons are listed in chronological order.)
The descendants of Japheth settled in Anatolia, modern Turkey, and from there moved into the Caucasus mountains of Western Russia and from there settled Europe and Russia. They are the ancestors of the Caucasian peoples. Their main impact on Israel was through the Persians, the Greeks and the Romans.
Ham’s descendants became the various black peoples who settled the African continent and parts of the Arabian peninsula. His sons were Cush, whose descendants settled in Ethiopia, Mizraim, whose descendants settled in Egypt, Put, whose descendants settled in Libya, and Canaan, whose descendants settled in Palestine and founded the cities of Sidon, Tyre and Carthage and, among others, were the ancestors of the Phoenicians.
Collectively, in ancient times the descendants of Cush formed a large ethnic group and were the main populace of the Cushite Empire, which extended from present-day western Libya to Ethiopia and Nubia, south of Egypt, all of present-day Egypt, and the Arabian peninsula into the mountains of Turkey. They spoke a variety of languages and had skin pigmentation ranging from dark black to medium brown.
One of Cush’s sons was Nimrod, founder of Babylon, Akkad, Assyria and Nineveh, several of early mankind’s most powerful nations and cities. Their languages are generally referred to as belonging to the Western Semitic group, although they actually are Hamitic.
Mizraim’s descendants became the Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim, Pathrusim, and Casluhim [Philistines]. According to the Jewish-Roman historian Flavius Josephus, most of these peoples were destroyed in the Ethiopic Wars.
The Mythical ‘Curse of Ham” And TheACtual Curse of Canaan
It is often claimed that the black race resulted from a curse that Noah placed on his son Ham because Noah became drunk with wine and Ham “looked upon his father’s nakedness.” Some scholars interpret this as a euphemism and believe that Ham had homosexual intercourse with his father; others believe the reason for the curse was the disgrace Ham caused by telling others. The claim is that the curse turned Ham black on the spot. In any event, Genesis 9:25-27 records that in fact Noah cursed Ham’s youngest son, Canaan, not Ham:  he said, “Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.”  He also said, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem.  May God extend the territory of Japheth; may Japheth live in the tents of Shem, and may Canaan be his slave.”
Canaan’s descendants founded Sidon and, among others, were the ancestors of the Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, Arvadites, Zemarites and Hamathites. There is ample historical evidence that indeed they were cursed with moral depravity including temple prostitutes and human sacrifice. One scholar, Lenormant, said of the Canaanite religion: “No other people ever rivaled them in the mixture of bloodshed and debauchery with which they thought to honor the Deity.” (per Summary of Near Eastern History, cited below.)
Shem’s descendants became the Semitic peoples who settled parts of the Arabian Peninsula, including what is now Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Jordan, Israel, and Lebanon. They were of a generally medium-brown complexion with facial features roughly mid-way between typical negro and typical Caucasian and the languages they spoke included Arabic, Hebrew, and Aramaic, Jesus’ native language.
It is important to realize that in Old Testament times Egyptians were black, not Arab. Arabs first conquered Egypt when Moslems invaded Egypt shortly after the death of Mohammed.
The Lineage of Jesus From Noah
Jesus descended from the line of Shem; His lineage from Noah through Abraham is shown in Genesis 11:10-27 and Luke 3:34-38: Noah, Shem, Arphaxad, Cainan, Salah, Eber, Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor, Terah, Abram a.k.a Abraham.
Jesus’ lineage from Abraham through David is shown in Matthew 1 and Luke 3: Matt 1: Abraham, of Ur of the Chaldees & Sarah, Isaac & Rebekah, Jacob & Leah,  Judah & Tamar [Canaanite ?], Perez, Hezron,  Ram, Amminadab, Nahshon,  Salmon & Rahab [Canaanite], Boaz & Ruth [Moabite], Obed,  Jesse, David & Bethsheba, who probably was a non-Hamitic Hittite **. (Moabites were Semitic — descendants of Abraham’s nephew Lot; see Genesis 20:36-37.)
(**Note: Historically, there were two, possibly three unrelated peoples called Hittites. One group conquered another group but kept the name. One may have descended from Ham, (Hamitic) and one from Japheth. The Japhethic group would be Caucasian. The Hittites are among the oldest of the Indo-European peoples. This site has information on the Hittites. It is not clear whether the “Biblical Hittites” are the “Hittites” referred to by historians.)
Rahab was a contemporary of Joshua, successor to Moses. Seventy Israelites went into captivity in Egypt and during the 400 years the Israelites were in captivity in Egypt they and their descendants intermarried with non-Israelites. (The Israelites were in Egypt 430 years, 400 in captivity.) The group of over 600,000 men plus women and children that left Egypt under Moses was a “mixed multitude”. Ethnically, their ancestors were a combination of Hamitic Egyptians and Semitic Israelites. Although the Bible lays out Jesus’ ancestors through Shem, it does not mention that His ancestors would have had Hamitic blood from this intermixing, e.g. on their mothers’ sides.
Jesus’ human paternal genealogy after David, mainly as shown in Matthew is:  Solomon (1Ch 3:5), Rehoboam, Abijah,  Asa, Jehoshaphat, Jehoram,  Uzziah (Ahaziah 1Ch 3:11), Joash (1Ch3:11), Amaziah (1Ch3:12), Azariah (1Ch3:12), [Matt 9] Jotham, Ahaz,  Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon,  Josiah,  Jeconiah, Shealtiel,  Zerubbabel, Abiud, Eliakim,  Azor, Zadok, Akim,  Eliud, Eleazar, Matthan,  Jacob, Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus.
Jesus’ maternal genealogy after David, as shown in Luke 3:23-31: Nathan (1Ch 3:5), Mattatha, Menna,  Melea, Eliakim, Jonam, Joseph, Judah,  Simeon, Levi, Matthat, Jorim, Eliezer,  Joshua, Er, Elmadam, Cosam, Addi,  Melki, Neri, Shealtiel, Zerubbabel, Rhesa,  Joanan, Joda, Josech, Semein, Mattathias,  Maath, Naggai, Esli, Nahum, Amos,  Mattathias, Joseph, Jannai, Melki, Levi,  Matthat, Heli, Joseph, Jesus.
The Black Presence In Jesus’ Lineage
Rahab and probably Tamar were Canaanites. Although Canaanites spoke a Semitic language, they were descendants of Ham through his son Canaan. Bethsheba, who had been the wife of Uriah the Hittite, probably was a Hittite herself, possibly a Hamitic Hittite, though scholars disagree on the precise identity of the “Hittites” in the Bible because historical records are quite scarce.
In the United States today the general view on whether someone is “black” is the One-Drop Rule — if a person has any black ancestors s/he is considered “black”, even with a clearly Anglo skin color, e.g., Mariah Carry, LaToya Jackson. (cf., for example, The Politics of Egyptology and the History Kemet (Egypt))
The Theological Significance
In Old Testament times the first son had the right of preeminence, the right to inherit the best of what his father owned. As first-born Son of God, Jesus has that right. In Ezekiel, e.g., 5:5-7 God condemns Israel, saying that it has been more unfaithful than the Gentiles. Yet Jesus was entitled to the best the Father had. During the period from Noah to the Cross, God was preparing for His only Son a worthy inheritance. Also, regarding Israel, God had covenanted with Abraham:
Genesis 17:7-8 “ I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.  The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.”
It has also been noted:
The prophesy of the moral and spiritual history of the nations in Genesis 9 furnishes an indispensable introduction to the principle that underlies the table of the nations in Genesis 10. The principle is that in divine dealings the moral character of a thing cannot be understood unless its source is known. Israel was in God’s mind the medium of redemptive blessing to the world, and it was necessary for the nation to understand the source from which the various nations that surrounded her sprang, in order that she might have an insight into their character, thereby to guide her attitude and conduct toward them. This moral and spiritual principle underlying Genesis 10 makes it unique. (Summary of Near Eastern History by R.P. Nettelhorst, Chapter: “Prehistory: The Flood”, Quartz Hill School of Theology) [emphasis added]
God used the Hamitic descendants in Egypt and Babylon and the Japhethic descendants in Rome to train and castigate Israel, to “bring it through the fire” and “remove the dross”. (In metallurgy, certain metals are refined by melting them. Impurities rise to the top and are skimmed off. This layer of impurities is known as ‘dross’.)
God used the Shemitic and Japhethic descendants to fulfill Noah’s curse on Canaan and His promise to Abraham, giving the land of Canaan’s descendants to Israel and destroying the Phoenicians with Alexander the Great (Tyre) and Rome (Carthage).
At the Tower of Babel mankind tried to make itself great independent of God, so God confused man’s language. At Pentecost, God showed that men, even descendants of Canaan, can only be brought together in Him.
God used Jesus, a descendant of cursed Canaan, to redeem the Elect, showing that people need not be bound by generational curses if they trust and rely on God for deliverance.
Internet sources found by Altavista search on 11/17/98
Search for: +Hamitic +Bible -WHS -~custance
NLOL means “No Longer On-Line”
WAYBACK means now only accessible through the Internet Archive, www.archive.org
Beyond the Flood WAYBACK
by Arlen L. Chitwood
The Lamp Broadcast, Inc., Norman, Okla. © 1996
Bibliophobe’s Guide to the Acts of the Apostles, The. WAYBACK
by S.N.Mousir-Harrison. ©:1997
Part Three – Regional witness: A God for all peoples.
Black Presence in the Bible – Discovering the Black and African identity of Biblical Persons and Nations, The.
by Rev. Walter Arthur McCray
Black Light Fellowship, Chicago Illinois © 1990
Black Presence in the Bible and the Table of Nations Genesis 10:1-32, The.
Volume 2, Table of Nations
by Rev. Walter Arthur McCray
Black Light Fellowship, Chicago Illinois © 1990
(Note: McCray’s two books are both paperbacks and the covers look virtually identical. The only real difference on the covers is the background colors. At first glance, Volume 2 appears to be a ‘rehash’ of the first book, i.e., the author simply paraphrased his first book figuring he would sell more books. However, this is not the case. Each volume does cover different material, and anyone interested in this topic should buy both volumes. Most bookstores do not stock them. They can be ordered on-line from amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com)
Canaanite & Phoenician History & Culture
by Lilinah biti-Anat Copyright 1997
(Main directory) Levantine and near Eastern Paganism
Curse of Ham: Capsule of Ancient History, The.
by Robert Brow
This article originally appeared in Christianity Today [October 26, 1973], pp. 8-10.
From Jerusalem — Pictures of a Black Jesus NLOL Mar ’07
by Moreijah Ben HaMelech a.k.a. Wesley B. Webster © 1997
African Israelite Information Center
Genesis Flood, the Biblical Record and its Scientific Implications, The.
Article: “Origin of Postdiluvian Civilizations”
by John C. Whitcomb and Henry M. Morris
P & R Publishing, Phillipsburg, New Jersey
Hallmarks of High Civilization WAYBACK
by Gregory M. Gordon
Afro-American History I/hst 240, Fall 1998
Index – The Table of Nations
by Bill Cooper
Part Two: the Lineage of Ham
Introduction to the Exodus: A Picture of the Plan of the Ages, An. WAYBACK
Brother James Parkinson
International Convention of Bible Students — Miskolc, Hungary
http://www.biblestudents.xentec.com/hun … on_two.htm
Pastoral Theology 601 Unit 1 (“Sacred Words”) / Lesson 5 (The Torah) WAYBACK
(author not specified) on-line course materials, Culdee College
Politics of Egyptology and the History Kemet (Egypt), The. WAYBACK
by Gregory M. Gordon, History Professor,
College of Lake County, Grayslake, IL U.S.A.
(12 Sept 1998)
Original Black Ethiopia Israelites (author not identified) WAYBACK
http://www.webcom.com/nattyreb/rastafar … srael.html
Repopulation after the Flood
Christian Network: The Ben Crick Files
Roots of the Nations, The
Chapter 3: The Descendants of Ham
Arthur C. Custance, PhD.
The Arthur C. Custance Library (downloadable)
http://www.custance.org/Library/Volume1 … pter3.html
Summary of Near Eastern History
by R.P. Nettelhorst
Chapter: “Prehistory: The Flood”
Quartz Hill School of Theology, 43543 51st Street West – Quartz Hill, CA 93536
Summary of North African History, 1000 B.C. – 630 A.D. WAYBACK
by Dr. Robert A. Hess, Messiah College
This Land is Mine WAYBACK
Abridged from the booklet of the same name by the Chicago Bible Students