Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 13: 23 Can the Cushite
change his skin or the leopard his spots?
You who are taught to do evil are also unable to do good.
There is a serious reason for this study, and it is not concerned with the colour of a person’s skin. Throughout history black people have been labelled by some as “sons of Ham” whose descendants were under a curse, Bereshith (Genesis) 9: 25. Yes, the descendants of Ham are under a curse, but all this confusion springs from the erroneous idea that the three sons of Noah were of three different colours and nationalities.
Ham was a brother of Shem and Yepheth and we know from scripture that all living creatures, including man, reproduce “after their kind”.
Noah and his wife, who was a daughter of Enoch as quoted in the Book of Yahshar (Jasher), and their three sons were all fair skinned and in the direct righteous line from Adam.
The belief that black people are “cursed sons of Ham” has led to abominable practices such as slavery, genocide and denigration of whole nations of people because they were black and considered to be inferior to other men. This “belief” is so very wrong.
The answer to the scripture in the heading is invariably answered in the negative as “No, a leopard cannot change its spots” and “No, a Cushite cannot change the colour of his skin”. We will go ahead in the following investigation to determine “What colour is a Cushite”. Whatever he was then, he is not subject to change. Is a Cushite an Ethiopian as usually believed? Also, where is the land of Cush?
This word “Cushite” in many versions of the bible, including the KJV is translated as “Ethiopian”. However this is a false interpretation as we shall see as we go into this study.
Many believers are firm in their assertion that the Cushites (the descendants of Cush, the son of Ham) are black people. As a result, it is often stated that Africans in particular, are descended from Ham. Also they believe that the Queen of Sheba was black and that the wife of Moses was an Ethiopian. However, there is no basis for any of these beliefs in the Scriptures and in the Book of Yahshar as we shall see.
We will begin in the Book of Yahshar, as it gives much information regarding the period of Bereshith (Genesis) and Shemoth (Exodus) that is not contained in the Scriptures. It fills in the details which are not essential to know in the Scriptures but are of much assistance in understanding the complete story. The story continues from the time when Moses had fled from Egypt after killing an Egyptian guard who was beating one of the Hebrew men. Remember Moses was raised in the palace of the Pharaoh as a Prince of Egypt after being rescued from the Nile and adopted by a royal princess.
Book of Yahshar Ch 76: 1 - 6 “And Moses (who was made king of Cush at 27 years of age) the son of Amram was still king in the land of Cush in those days, and he prospered in his kingdom, and he conducted the government of the children of Cush in justice, in righteousness and integrity, and all the children of Cush loved Moses all the days that he ruled over them, and all the inhabitants of the land of Cush were greatly afraid of him, and in the fortieth year of the reign of Moses over Cush, Moses was sitting on the royal throne while Adoniah the queen was before him (she was the widow of the previous king and had been given to Moses as his wife). And all the nobles were sitting around him and Adoniah the queen said before the king and the princes, “What is this thing which you, the children of Cush, have done for this long time? Surely you know that for forty years that this man has ruled over Cush he has not approached me, nor has he served the almighties of the children of Cush. Now therefore hear, oh you children of Cush, and let this man no more reign over you as he is not of our flesh”.
Verses 21 - 24 And Moses related to Reuel that he had fled from Egypt and that he ruled forty years over Cush and that they afterward had taken the government from him and had sent him away in peace with honour and with presents and when Reuel had heard the words of Moses Reuel said within himself “I will put this man into the prison house whereby I will conciliate the children of Cush for he has fled from them”. And they took and put him into the prison house and Moses was in prison ten years, and while Moses was in the prison house, Zipporah, the daughter of Reuel took pity over him and supported him with bread and water all the time. And all the children of Yisrael were yet in the land of Egypt serving the Egyptians in all manner of hard work and the hand of Egypt continued in severity over the children of Yisrael in those days.
(Note - Reuel is sometimes called Raguel or Jethro in the Scriptures).
Book of Yahshar 77: 26 .... And Moses, the son of Amram was still confined in the dungeon in those days in the house of Reuel the Midianite, and Zipporah the daughter of Reuel did support him with food secretly day by day. And Moses was confined in the dungeon in the house of Reuel for ten years. And at the end of ten years which was the first year of the reign of Pharaoh over Egypt, Zipporah said to her father Reuel, “No person enquires or seeks after the Hebrew man, whom you did bind in prison now ten years. Now therefore, if it seem good in your sight, let us send and see whether he is living or dead”, but her father knew not that she had supported him. And Reuel her father answered and said to her “Has ever such a thing happened that a man should be shut up in prison without food for ten years and that he should live?”. And Zipporah answered her father saying “Surely you have heard that the Almighty of the Hebrews is great and awful, and does wonders for them at all times. He it was who delivered Abraham from Ur of the Chaldeans, and Yitshaq (Isaac) from the sword of his father, and Yaacob (Jacob) from the angel of Yahweh who wrestled with him at the ford of Yabbuk. Also with this man has he done many things, he delivered him from the river in Egypt and from the sword of Pharaoh, and from the children of Cush, so also can he deliver him from famine and make him live?”. And the thing seemed good in the sight of Reuel, and he did according to the word of his daughter, and sent to the dungeon to ascertain what became of Moses. And he saw and behold, the man Moses was living in the dungeon, standing upon his feet praising and praying to the Almighty Elohim of his ancestors. And Reuel commanded Moses to be brought out of the dungeon, so they shaved him and he changed his prison garments and ate bread. And afterward Moses went into the garden of Reuel which was behind the house and he there prayed to Yahweh his Elohim, who had done mighty works for him.
Verse 51 Reuel gave Moses his daughter Zipporah for a wife.
Yahshar 78: 7 - 10 In those days Moses the son of Amram in Midian took Zipporah the daughter of Reuel the Midianite for a wife. And Zipporah walked in the ways of the daughters of Yaacob. She was nothing short of the righteousness of Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah. And Zipporah became pregnant and birthed a son and he called his name Gershon, for he said, “I was a stranger in a foreign land”, but he circumcised not his foreskin, at the commandment of Reuel his father in law. And she became pregnant again and birthed a son but circumcised his foreskin and called his name Eliezer, for Moses said “Because the Almighty of my fathers was my help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh”.
* * * * * * * *
Bemidbar (Numbers) 12: 1 Now Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had taken, for he had taken a Cushite woman to wife.
Note - Miriam and Aaron were looking for any means of finding something against Moses, so they dug into his distant past to bring up the point that he had married a Cushite woman, which they resented as she was not a Hebrew. This was referring to the Cushite queen who was given to him for marriage by the Cushite people but he declined to take her as a wife. The woman Adoniah who was given to Moses by the Cushites never became his wife as he knew that she was a gentile follower of pagan gods and that was quite repugnant to him. We soon see what Yahweh thought of their accusation.
Verse 9 And the displeasure of Yahweh burned against them.
Verse 10 And the cloud turned away from above the Tent, and look, Miriam was leprous, as white as snow.
Verse 11 Aaron says “Please do not hold against us the sin in which we have done foolishly and in which we have sinned”. They realized that they had wrongly accused Moses.
The following excerpt from our article “Creation to Abraham” is an explanation of why the descendants of Ham were cursed by Yahweh
Bereshith (Genesis) 9: 18 says that the sons of Noah were Shem, Ham and Yepheth, and the point is made that Ham was the father of Canaan. Why was this so important? As we will see it becomes very significant.
The time of the following verses is after the flood.
Verses 19 - 21 Noah became drunk on wine and became uncovered in his tent.
22 “And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside”.
* Ref. Wayyiqra (Leviticus) 18: 5 - 8 These scriptures in Leviticus show clearly that “his father’s nakedness” is his father’s wife, Ham’s mother. He must have “uncovered” his mother resulting in a curse on his offspring (Canaan) from then on.
23 “So Shem and Yapheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father, but their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father’s nakedness”.
* Shem and Yapheth were carefully covering their mother without looking at her. They would not have needed to walk backwards and avert their eyes if it had been their father they were covering, but they honoured their mother and respected her body which had been violated by their brother Ham.
Canaan was the father of Tsidon, his first born and Heth from whence came the Hittites, Yebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, Hiwwites, Arqites, Sinites, Arwadites, Tsemarites and the Hamathites. These are the inhabitants of the country of Canaan which Yehoshua (Joshua) was instructed by Yahweh to eradicate as they were heathens and enemies of Yisrael.
* It is clear that Ham did much more than see his father with his clothing disarranged, as Noah cursed him and his descendants from that time.
(End of excerpt from our article “Creation to Abraham”)
Notes on Bereshith 10: 6 - 12 The sons of Ham are named and Cush and Canaan are notable here. The son of Cush is evil Nimrod who built cities of Babel, Erek, Accad and Calneh in the land of Shinar. These cities are all in the Mesopotamia region along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, so there is absolutely no reason to place the land of Cush in any part of Africa. The man Cush would have been fair skinned as Ham was a brother of Shem and Yepheth and we know from scripture that all living creatures, including man, reproduce “after their kind”.
Noah and his wife, who was a daughter of Enoch as quoted in the Book of Yahshar, and their three sons were all fair skinned and in the direct line from Adam.
Bereshith 10: 29 and 1 Chr 1: 23 names the family of Shem and includes Yoqtan, Havilah and Sheba.
Bereshith 10: 7 and 1 Chr 1: 9 names the family of Ham and includes Cush, Havilah, Sheba and Nimrod. Would the Queen of Sheba have come from this cursed line?
Note - obviously a translater’s error here unless there was a Havilah and a Sheba in both families which is most unlikely. The lands of Havilah and Sheba that we are concerned with are certainly between Israel and Egypt, and the people descend from Shem, not Ham.
Bereshith 25: 18 tells us that Havilah is between Egypt and Assyria, not in Africa or Ethiopia.
1 Shemuel (Samuel) 15: 7 tells us that King Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah and Shur before Egypt. This places Havilah south of the land of Israel (Beer-sheba) and next to the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. The Midianites dwelt in this area. Havilah and Sheba are in the line of Shem and the Queen of Sheba would probably have come from this line.
Shemoth (Exodus) 2: 12 - 22 is about Reuel, or Raguel. These might be titles as his name was Jethro, a Midianite from Midian, a grandson of Abraham and Keturah. He gives his daughter Zipporah to Moses to wife. This beautiful story is told in the Book of Yahshar chapters 76 and 77 which we have already quoted.
Therefore, to even consider that Ham was black, that Cush was black, that Moses’s wife was black is completely erroneous. Moses’s wife came from the line of Abraham and his wife Keturah. The wrong line of thought by which the land of Cush has been confused with Ethiopia has led to the Africans being considered to be an inferior race because of being the cursed “sons of Ham”. This has led to gross injustices throughout the ages. Africans and Ethiopians are amongst the gentile peoples created and placed in their countries throughout the world by Yahweh Elohim in Bereshith (Genesis) 1: 26, 27, but the Cushites are one of the gentile descendants of Noah. It was intended by Yahweh Elohim that the original gentile peoples of the earth should be led into a knowledge of the Creator, and to the truth of the Torah, by the example of the chosen people of Yahweh, particularly the lost ten tribes, not to be exploited and cruelly treated as “cursed” people as they have been for hundreds of years.
It is paganism that is the problem, not nationality or colour of skin.
As an interesting extra we will now touch on the story of the “Ethiopian eunuch” in
Acts 8: 27, 28 He (Philip) arose and went and saw a man of Cush, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the sovereigness of the Cushites who was in charge of all her treasury, and had come to Yerushalayim to worship, and was returning. And sitting in his chariot he was reading the prophet Yeshayahu (Isaiah).
29 And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and join him in that chariot”.
30 And running up, Philip heard him reading the prophet Yeshayahu and said, “Do you know what you are reading”?
31 And he said “How am I able unless someone guides me”? And he called Philip near to come up and sit with him.
32 And the passage of the scripture which he was reading was this, “He was led as a sheep to slaughter, and like a lamb silent before its shearer, so He opened not His mouth.
33 In His humiliation he was deprived of right-ruling. And who shall declare His generation? Because His life was taken from the earth”.
34 And the eunuch answering Philip said, “I ask you about whom does the prophet say this, about Himself or about some other”?
35 And Philip opening his mouth and beginning at this Scripture brought to him the Good News: Yahshua!
* Philip went on to explain fully what the man was reading in the scroll and when he received the Word with gladness they proceeded on the way and came to some water and he asked Philip to immerse him. The man was reading a Hebrew scroll which would have been handwritten on parchment by a Scribe. He was obviously an educated Cushite man of the royal court of Candace and able to read Hebrew.
In many versions of the bible he is called an Ethiopian, but it seems he was neither an Ethiopian nor castrated. People of Cush are descended from Noah’s son Ham and came from Mesopotamia (Iraq today) and in appearance were like the Arabs who are also descendants of Ham.
In Matthew 19 Yahshua is speaking -
Matt 19: 12 “For there are eunuchs who were so born from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the reign of the heavens. He who is able to receive it, let him receive it.”
It seems fairly sure that this man came into the last-mentioned category of eunuchs who were men devoting their lives to studying and living for the kingdom of heaven.
Neville and June Shaw