Hidden Africans Of The Bible And Early Church -- By: Catherine Clark Kroeger

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 14:1 (Winter 2000)
Article: Hidden Africans Of The Bible And Early Church
Author: Catherine Clark Kroeger

Hidden Africans Of The Bible And Early Church

Catherine Clark Kroeger

Catherine Clark Kroeger is President Emerita of Christians for Biblical Equality and Adjunct Associate Professor of Classical and Ministry Studies at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. She is author of several books, including I Suffer Not a Woman and Women, Abuse and the Bible.

How seldom are we made aware of the special promises that God has given to African people! Psalm 68:31 declares that “Cush shall reach out its arms to God!” (The early Church loved this promise, for they considered Cush to be a metaphor for the gentile Bride of Christ.) The Psalms predicted that one day people would recognize the spirituality of the Cushites, and declare that they had been born anew in Zion (87:3-6). Isaiah foretold that God would bring forth a remnant from Cush (11:11), and a redeemed people bearing gifts to Zion (18:1-8). Zephaniah proclaimed that from beyond the rivers of Cush, God’s people should bring offerings (3:10). Amos expresses God’s concern for Cush: “‘Are you not like the Cushites to me, O people of Israel?’ says the Lord” (9:7).

Biblical scholars are aware that “Cush” sometimes refers to all of Africa, sometimes to all of Africa except Egypt, and sometimes to ancient Nubia, stretching from modern Aswan in the north to Khartoum in the south. Today most of this area lies in the Sudan. But how is the general reader to understand that Cush and Cushite (used 57 times in the Hebrew Bible) are in fact a designation for an African nation and people? Some versions of the Bible translate “Cush” as “Ethiopia,” but this does not ordinarily designate the modern country of that name. David Adamo has suggested that the best translation is simply “Africa.”

All of us have a right to know and applaud the important biblical role played by Africans. People of African descent may claim the deep roots of their ancestors in the Bible.

Africa In The Old Testament

We read in Genesis that one of the rivers of Eden ran around the whole land of Cush, and another encircled the land of Havilah that yielded gold and onyx and bdellium (2:10-13). These products were found in antiquity principally in the area now known as the Sudan. If the Tigris and Euphrates rivers are located in Babylonia, then there is good reason to believe some of Eden lay in Africa. We are now told that the oldest human remains may...

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