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Are there any black people mentioned in the Bible? The answer is yes. However, the Christian site “Got Questions?” got this answer completely wrong (click here to read their original response to this question). Their entire response is uninformed and continues the cycle of denying what scripture actually says. I’m going to quote and highlight everything they got wrong, and then I’ll explain why it’s wrong.
It is both intellectually dishonest and scripturally inaccurate to claim that Ham is the father of the black nations, and then attempt to explain away every descendant of Ham as anything other than black. It doesn’t work both ways.
With that said, this rebuttal isn’t about bashing or condemnation, but about correction and education.
Black People Mentioned In The Bible
While we do agree that skin color is not relevant to the overall message, their politically correct answer to the question about black people mentioned in the Bible is 100% incorrect.
“We can say with a fair degree of certainty that, yes, the Bible does mention black people, although the Bible does not explicitly identify any person as being black-skinned. Neither does the Bible specifically identify any person as being white-skinned. A person’s skin color is rarely mentioned in the Bible; the color of one’s skin is meaningless to the basic message of the Bible.” – Got Questions.org
The Bible does identify skin color on several occasions. Here are just a few examples of that:
- Kedar: Named so based solely on his skin color. His name means “dark skinned”, which makes sense because he was 3/4 African.
- Moses: Mistaken for an Egyptian, which we know descended from Hamites in Africa. Egyptians depicted themselves as black people.
- Song of Solomon: The woman writer identifies herself as having black skin twice.
- Paul: Mistaken for an Egyptian just like Moses.
- Niger: An apostle mentioned in Acts. His name literally means “black skin”.
These are just a few examples, and there are many more. All of these references can be found all over this site, which is dedicated to that exact subject. The following image shows black Arabs, which are very rarely shown in the media or even mentioned in most Bible studies. These same black Arabs also claim to be Kedarites (descendants of Abraham’s grandson Kedar).
- Hebrews Had Dark Skin: Evidence In The Old and New Testaments
- The Meaning of Ruddy: Reddish Brown Skin Tones In The Bible
The Middle East Was Originally Black (Hamite & Hebrew)
Once again, Got Questions delivers a highly inaccurate response. Let’s take a look at what they have to say, and then we’ll take a look at actual history:
“The vast majority of the Bible’s narrative takes place in the Middle East, in and around Israel. Neither “black” nor “white” people are common in these regions. The majority of people in the Bible are Semitic and would have been light to dark brown in complexion. Ultimately, it does not matter what skin color the people in the Bible had.” – Got Questions.org
Both of these statements are wrong according to scripture, history, and geography. Let’s start by looking at a map of Israel
Israel shares a border with Egypt, which is located in Africa. Egypt is the Hebrew word Mizraim, and he was a descendant of Ham. We know that the Hebrews spent 400 years in Africa, and also intermarried with Africans throughout scripture. To say that there were mostly Middle Eastern People in the area is simply not true.
Tacitus Describes The Jews
Tacitus was a Roman historian that referenced the Jews and the rumors about them circulating at his time. His description of them seems to confirm all of the findings presented on this site:
“A few authorities hold that in the reign of Isis the surplus population of Egypt was evacuated to neighboring lands under the leadership of Hierosolymus and Judas. Many assure us that the Jews are descended from those Ethiopians who were driven by fear and hatred to emigrate from their home country when Cepheus was king.” – Tacitus, Histories 5.2 (110 A.D.)
Why is it that during the first century after the death of Christ, people thought the Jews were either Ethiopian or Egyptian? Both of which are black descendants from the lineage Ham. If the Hebrews were white, light, or “Middle Eastern”, they would not have been rumored to be from different parts of Africa.
- 110 A.D. – Rumored to be descended from Africans.
- 2018 A.D. – Mostly depicted as European.
The Myth of a White Egypt
The myth of a white Egypt is heavily presented in most Christian churches, in order to avoid admitting that Egypt was a black African empire that intermarried into the Hebrew tribes. Here are two videos that confirm that Egypt was a black nation before Greek, Roman, and other invasions:
If you are of the belief that a black Egyptian is biased or doesn’t know his own history, here is a white professor that verifies all of the above claims about a black Egypt.
Hamites Settled The Middle East
In addition to the above history lessons, black people mentioned in the Bible are said to have founded a majority of Arabia, now known as The Middle East
- Nimrod – He was a Cushite from the lineage of Ham. He founded Babylon and several other nations in The Middle East. Cushites are historically known for their black skin. Nimrod was no exception.
- Asshur – His descendants were known as the Assyrians. He was from Nimrod’s Cushite empire and he founded Nineveh.
According to the Bible Nineveh was founded by a Cushite (Asshur), and when archaeologists discovered the artwork at Nineveh it clearly depicted black people.
The Majority Were Not Semetic (Shemites)
Here is a map that shows exactly where everyone settled, and you will see that Shemites were not the majority. Hamites were the majority in the area where the Shemites settled.
We can see on the map that it was the descendants of Ham that settled the majority of locations that are significant to scripture. According to Genesis 10, it was Nimrod that established the earliest and largest Middle Eastern empire. Nimrod was one of the first Cushites born to Ham’s son Cush.
Downplaying Black People In The Bible
Far too often, the role of black people in the Bible is downplayed or explained away as something other than what it is. This has been done in art and by people that teach the Bible. Black people are not given credit for much of what can only be attributed to black people.
Moses and Zipporah
“Some scholars guess that Moses’ wife, Zipporah, was black since she was a Cushite (Numbers 12:1). Cush is an ancient name for an area of Africa.” – Got Questions.org
Zipporah Was Not A Cushite
Here we find a huge error due to lack of research. Zipporah is a Midianite descendant of Abraham and his third wife Keturah (Exodus 2:15-22). Since Midianites descend from Abraham and Cushites descend from Ham, there is no way Zipporah was a Cushite. Moses took a second wife and she was black.
I find it odd that they don’t mention that Cush was descended from Ham. We have to wonder if that was an oversight or intentional, but we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. As mentioned before, Cushites were known for their black skin. It wasn’t just an area. It was an entire lineage of African people.
King Solomon’s Black Lover
“The Shulammite may have been black (Song of Solomon 1:5), although the context indicates that her skin was dark due to working in the sun” – Got Questions.org
Once again, her exact words are overlooked. She specifically say, “my skin is black” two times. She even gives a comparison:
- Black as the curtains of Solomon
- Black as the tents of Kedar
She wasn’t just saying her skin was “dark”. She was making it clear that she was a black skinned person. Once again we have to wonder if this was an oversight on their part or intentional.
Bathsheba The Gilonite
“Some propose that Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:3) was black” – Got Questions.org
The reason that people propose this is because she was a descendant of Ham. The Gilonites inhabited Canaan, which was named after Ham’s son that Noah cursed.
The Queen of Sheba
“Some believe that the Queen of Sheba who visited Solomon (1 Kings 10:1) was black.” – Got Questions.org
Sheba is known today as Ethiopia, and they were Cushites. They were descendants of Ham’s son Cush, and well known for their dark skin. There’s no reason to “believe” a person from Africa was black back then. We know they were black for a fact.
Simon of Cyrene
“Simon of Cyrene (Matthew 27:32) may have been black…” – Got Questions.org
Cyrene is located in Libya (Africa), which is a pretty strong indication that he was black. The founding of Libya can be traced back to Ham’s son Phut. The following quote isn’t a matter of disagreement, but it could’ve been taken a little bit further:
Ethiopians and Hebrews
“The Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:37 was almost certainly black. Ethiopians are mentioned about 40 times in the Bible, and we can assume that these are references to black people, since Ethiopians are black. The prophet Jeremiah asked, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin?” (Jeremiah 13:23)—the natural assumption is that Jeremiah refers to black skin.”
For starters, they are correct when they say that Ethiopia and it’s inhabitants are mentioned 40 times in the Bible. Here are those references:
- Ethiopia: 20
- Ethiopian: 8
- Ethiopians: 12
What Is left out is that Jeremiah describes the Hebrews of his time as having black skin:
“Our skin was black like an oven because of the terrible famine.” – Lamentations 5:10
All we need to do to verify the color of their skin is look at the inside of an ancient oven, which was made of stone. Here is a picture to give you an idea of what Jeremiah meant:
The above picture shows the same style of oven that would’ve been used in Jeremiah’s time. We can see that the oven is black. Not brown or tanned or any other words that avoid using the description of black. We also know that white people do not turn black. The same holds true with most light skinned people. Black people get darker and lighter based on how long they are in the sun.
Being a dark person myself, my skin gets a shade darker in the summer, and then goes back to normal the longer I’m out of the sun. These are just facts.
“Most Bible teachers believe that black people are descendants of Noah’s son Ham (Genesis 10:6–20), but we cannot be sure since the Bible does not specifically say. When it comes to skin color, the Bible is consistently silent. The color of the skin is not as important to God as the condition of the heart. The gospel is universal good news. Black people, white people, and every shade in between are invited to come to Christ for salvation. By the grace of God we can take our eyes off of the skin and focus on the soul.” – Got Questions.org
As we’ve seen throughout this article, skin is actually mentioned consistently. While the last statement is true in spirit, it is not true in reality. The reality of it is the following:
- Depictions and descriptions of Biblical people were changed from black to white during the Renaissance Period.
- We are constantly shown images of The Middle East and Egypt post European invasion and not based on the actual history of how Egyptians depicted themselves. .
- British-Israelism and Christian Identity teach that whites are the true Israel, which isn’t based on anything other than their own need to feel superior to everyone else.
- The false teaching of Ham being “cursed” with black skin is ever present in churches, even though the Bible doesn’t mention black skin, nor was Ham the one cursed..
- The false teaching that Cain was cursed with black skin is a huge issue in church.
If skin color truly didn’t matter, they wouldn’t have changed the way Hebrews were depicted or described in the first place. The following picture is the oldest know picture of Christ and the disciples in existence. The picture is located in The Coptic Museum in Cairo, Egypt… and yet we still see more modern pics of white Renaissance Jesus, and never this one.
The response over at Got Questions.org needs a drastic update or at the very minimum it needs to add a link to sites like this one if their actual intent is to provide truthful answers. This is also why it is important for us to share this type of information because it’s simply not being taught in its entirety. Only by spreading knowledge can we hope to counter the misinformation being pushed all over the internet and in most churches.
When it comes down to it, people should be asking, “are there any white people mentioned in the Bible?” The answer is yes, but they were referred to as the Gentiles.
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