Saturday, November 5, 2016

Cush, Africa, India and Arabia

One of the most confusing things in trying to determine the geography of Eden in Genesis 2 (if you think those names refer to the same places they do in Post-Flood geography, which Moses' present tense grammar supports), is how a river (The Gihon) sharing the same source as the Tigris, Euphrates and one seemingly linked to Arabia (Pishon), can encompass the Land of Cush (translated Ethiopia).  But of course this is confusing only to those who've gotten in the habit of thinking Cush only refers to Africa south of Egypt.

Rob Skiba mocks the theory that places the Gihon in northern India.  Well he is forgetting the Hindu Kush and the Kushan Empire.  I've already discussed on this blog that I think Cush's son Raamah traveled to India and that he was partly the basis for the Indian mythical figure of Rama.  Rama and Raamah both had two sons.  Rama's were mothered by Sita and named Lava and Kush, so like the Greeks the Indian mythical memory confused things.  The Ramayana, our main source on Rama, like the Mahabarata is post Alexander The Great, (they're not nearly as old as Ancient Aliens keeps saying they are).  Raamah's sons were Sheba and Dedan, maybe they are equally as linked to Arabia as Jokshan's pair of sons by those names.  But I think the Hindu god Shiva's name could come from Sheba, the Hebrew word Sheba is sometimes pronounced that way thanks to the B/V interchangeability.  And maybe Dedan is connected to the Danu and Danavas of Hindu mythology, and/or the Danuna of Burma.

Cush can also be linked to Mesopotamia starting with Nimrod.  Some theories on Eden say the Cush meant there is the city of Kish.  The Ziggurat of Kish is to a god who's name is possibly similar to two of Cush's sons.  Judges has a King of Mesopotamia with Cushan in his composite name and/or title.  Cushan in the Hebrew is just Cush with an N added at the end.  Some have also theorized the Kassites could come from Cush.

The names of some of Cush's sons in Genesis 10 can be linked to Arabia, even leaving out the names that have duplicates among the descendants of Shem.  Bill Cooper covers them in After The Flood Appendix 2.  I think his biggest mistakes are who he puts where with the duplicate names, but it's still all useful information.  He sadly missed Raamah's connection to India.

Another appearance in The Bible of the name Cushan is in Habakkuk 3:7 which all scholars agree is about Arabia.  Where Cushan is mentioned in close proximity to Midian.

The reference in Numbers 12 to Moses having a Cushite wife is, because of the tendency to by default assume that name means Africa, part of the origin of the tradition recounted in Josephus that Moses married a Nubian princess after conquering Ethiopia for Egypt.  This passage also becomes relevant to debates about both Polygamy and Inter-Racial marriage, with the text's condemnation of Aaron and Miriam's criticism here taken as a condemnation of opposition to either of those.

However there are scholars who have argued this wife may not even be a separate individual from Zipporah, the daughter of Jethro, thus making it irrelevant to Polygamy.  Jetho is called a Priest in Midian, and sometimes seemingly a Midanite by residence.  But his tribal identity is Kenite, we do not know how the Kenites fit into Genesis 10.  Bill Cooper's argument they came from Midian's son Henoch I do not find convincing.  Remembering that a Cushan is linked to Midian, the Kenites could very well be from Cush.

Bishop James Ussher in Annals of The World for the year 1615 BC quotes Eusebius Chronicles 1. 1. 1:53 as saying that the Ethiopians of Africa migrated there from the Indus River.  During the Old and Middle Kingdoms Egypt's main enemy to their south was called Kerma, there is no definitive evidence of a nation called Kush on the Nile River until the 18th Dynasty.

One scholar writing theories about the Igbo Tribe of Africa suggested that Midian's sons Ephah and Epher might have gone to Africa, and the name Africa itself might come from Epher.  I think all five sons of Midian were still in Midian in the days of Moses, and that is why Midian had five kings during the Wandering.  But maybe in the days of Gideon when some Midianites sought to conquer Israel, others migrated to Africa.  And perhaps at that time some of the Cushites near them did the same.  Midianites have already been suggested to be among the tribes that made up the Hyksos, perhaps the Cushites were as well.

Putting all of those factors into consideration.  There is no definitive proof ANY reference to Cush in The Torah ever means Africa.  And maybe even many references from later that cause confusion are confusing only because we assume Africa.

On the subject of Revised Chronology there is Zerah The Cushite who fought a war with King Asa according to 2 Chronicles.  Nothing in that account mentions Egypt at all.  But all theories on who Shishak is think an Ethiopian invading Israel a generation later must be tied to Egyptian history somehow.  And while I have myself on this blog endorsed two possible Egyptian identifications for Zerah (the more recent one the only one I still consider plausible).  I now feel the need to point out that we do not need to.

The proper account of the war with Zerah doesn't mention Lubim (often taken to mean Libya) either.  But they are mentioned alongside the Ethiopians when a Prophet rebukes Asa later.  We don't know everything about Asa's 41 year reign, this may not have even been the same war.  But either way Libyans are in a much better position then Nubia to potentially come to Israel by sea and thus bypass Egypt altogether.  And perhaps what Lubim refers to is itself something we need to reevaluate, but I don't feel like looking into that myself just yet.

Isaiah 18 is also confusing.  Partly because this Prophecy includes a quotation.  I think most likely Israel is the nation that the nation "beyond the rivers of Cush" is sending messengers to.  The "rivers of Cush" I think best fits a Mesopotamian or Indian Cush.

In the reign of Jehoram/Joram of Judah, there is an account of Judah being attacked by Philistines and "Arabians who are by Cush".  That doesn't make sense if Cush and Arabia are on different continents.

One more thought on Cush and Arabia.  In an earlier Nimrod post I observed how the Book of Jubilees seems to make a daughter of Nimrod the mother of Peleg and probably also Joktan.  That would make Cush via Nimrod an ancestor of all the Semitic Tribes of Arabia.

Isaiah 20 is clearly the Cush in Africa however.  Same mostly with Ezekiel 38&39 where since I view it the same as Revelation 20's Gog and Magog invasion, Cush is the South and Phut the West, while Persia is the East, and the other invaders mentioned are the North, all four corners (though Arabia could also be described as South, Jesus called the Queen of Saba the Queen of the South).  And I do still think Taharqa is the 25th Dynasty ruler.

In an early post of this blog I made a big deal out of how Ethiopia in Greek mythology is linked to Joppa, and using that as evidence for the Ethiopian Jews claim to come from Dan. Since then I've read criticism that the Ethiopian Jews do not identify themselves with Dan, that idea comes solely from the legends spread by Eldad.  The various traditions the Ethiopian Jews have all seem to favor them coming from Judah.  That is something I may discus more in the future.

Maps drawn interpreting what was allotted to the Tribes tend to put Joppa in Dan.  But Joshua 19:46 mentions a Danie location as a border before Joppa, not Joppa itself..  Likewise the Samson narrative from Judges 23-26 makes no reference to Joppa even though Samson was a Danite in their original allotment.  Joppa seems to not be referenced itself at all till the time of Solomon, it appears in the Old Testament only three times, in 2 Chronicles 2:16, Ezra 3:7 and Jonah 1:3.  Jonah is the most famous reference, but the other two are about the Lebanon in origin supplies for The Temple coming through there.

Once Dan existed solely in the North, his old allotment could have been absorbed by Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim or Western Manasseh.  All four of those tribes also had Monarchies at some point, but Manasseh's only lasted two years.  At the same time observations I've made elsewhere make Manasseh seem the most likely to be interested in Sea Faring and thus having a port city.  But they had other ports already like Dor.  Acts 9:32-28 refers to Lydda as being nigh to Joppa.  Lydda is in the Hebrew Bible Lod which is identified as a town of Benjamin (1 Chronicles 8:12; Ezra 2:33; Nehemiah 7:37; 11:35).

I mentioned how Cepheus is a name that could come from the same Semitic root the New Testament uses as the Hebrew/Aramaic counterpart to Petros/Peter.  As an non-Catholic I know that Petros is Peter but Petras, the true Rock, is Jesus.  Solomon is a type of Christ, and The Temple is a type of The Church.  So could Cepheus have been a name for a Davidic King?

But Petra is also the name of a city in modern Jordan and the classical definition of Arabia, that is possibly right where Sinai was.  So could this mythical Ethiopia also be an Arabian Cushan, and Joppa really just a port Perseus traveled through to get there?  Memnon king of Ethiopia of Greek mythology had a brother who was a king of Arabia.

The Rock Moses struck to provide Water for the Israelites was a type of Jesus as The Rock, so connecting Petra and Cepheus to that region is very logical.  Jeremiah 49:16 and Obadiah 3 both in prophecies against Edom refer to them "that dwellest in the clefts of the rock".  The word for Rock there is Cela/Sela/Selah, believed to be the name for the Seir/Petra area in the Amarna letters, and mentioned in 2 Kings 14:7 which seems to describe it's name being changed.  1 Samuel 23 possibly records how it got the name Cela to begin with.  Isaiah 42:11 also mentions Cela in close proximity to Kedar.

You might ask "where do Black Africans come from then?"

For starters as I don't believe in the Evolutionary model I think it's entirely possible many parts of Africa were not inhabited until after 1615 BC.  And some even far later then that.

But regardless of that.  I think Phut, the only Son of Ham who none of his own sons are named, could have been ancestral to more Tribes then we usually assume.  I also think the Seven sons of Mizriam may have spread further then we usually assume.  They certainly all started in Egypt, but ultimately the intent of Genesis 10 is to identify 70 distinct Nations, so I do think they were more then just subgroups of Egypt.  The Kingdom of Kerma was probably a Mizraimite offshoot for example.

Last but not least, given the premise of my Shem, Ham and Japheth post.  I'm willing to consider that the population of Africa is not limited to Ham.  I've already suggested Midianites came at the same time Cush did.  But maybe others came before that.  Most of the sons of Joktan are not as firmly accounted for as the big three, Sheba, Ophir and Havilah, and links to Africa are argued even for those.

And at a much later point even then Cush. I have entertained the arguments of some that many Israelites came to Africa and were ancestral to the same Tribes chiefly targeted by the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.  But that shall be a subject for a future post.

No comments:

Post a Comment