Black history and Black royalty in the Bible?

CREDIT: TINNAKORN JORRUANG
Absolutely, Black people appear in the Bible. Some of them are royalty.

The first two thirds of the Christian Bible tells the story of the Israelites or Jewish people up to the time of Jesus Christ. The last third tells about his activities and the beginnings of the Jewish, Gentile-inclusive movement called Christianity (non-Jewish people are called Gentiles in the Bible).

The Bible writers identify many different groups living in the Middle East and surrounding regions from very roughly 2,000 BC (BCE) to about 100 AD (CE). One noteworthy listing is found early – in the first two thirds. It lists 70 “nations” or people groups (Genesis 10). Many commentators refer to this list as “mythological.” Often they do this without defining “myth.” They don’t show the differences between biblical “myth,” Greek myth, far Eastern sacred stories, or stories from Canada’s First Nations. They also don’t seem to notice that the list of the 70 grounds the various people groups in geographic locations. Part of the list reads this way:

Canaan was the father of Sidon his firstborn, and of the Hittites, the Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, Arvadites, Zemarites and Hamathites. Later the Canaanite clans scattered and the borders of Canaan reached from Sidon toward Gerar as far as Gaza, and then toward Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboyim, as far as Lasha.

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Some of these groups, such as the Hittites, are also known from non-biblical sources, and some of the locations named exist up to our own time.

Much further along and later – in the last third of the biblical records – another list appears (Acts 2). This list reveals where many Jewish communities had been established and where faith in the Jewish Jesus Christ was taking root.

…Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs…

These groups were located in or near the Middle East. However, we notice that Libya is named, which brings us to North Africa, and presumably to people who were darker skinned than the Israelite-Jewish authors of these texts.

The search for Black people in the Bible doesn’t end here. It is possible that the wife of the famous Moses in the Bible was Black since she is identified as a Cushite, and scholars note that Cush is the ancient name for a region of Africa, likely Ethiopia or Sudan. Some other possibilities include the Queen of Sheba (1 Kings 10:1), Simon of Cyrene (Matthew 27:32), and “Simeon called Niger” (Acts 13:1; “niger” or “nigreos” is Latin for black). Sheba is possibly another name for Ethiopia.

In Acts chapter 8, an Ethiopian “court official” appears and joins the Christian movement. He was a “eunuch” which means that he had been castrated so he could be left in charge of women in the royal court. He served “Candace, queen of the Ethiopians,” which brings us directly into the royal house of his people.

So, absolutely, Black people appear in the Bible. Some of them are royalty.

It is interesting to notice that while Black converts to the Jewish and Christian faith appear in the Bible, there is no mention of people from Asia, or the Americas (to use modern names). Greeks and Romans are mentioned in the parts of the Bible written post-Jesus. But White Central and Northern Europeans are completely absent.

In modern times, biblical faith includes people from virtually every nation and race. But looking beyond the Middle East, you could say that after the Jews, Black people were the first in.

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