Category Archives: Ethiopian history

From Babylon to Timbuktu full audio

The first audio covers the background information however after an hour and 40 minutes ish it goes back to the beginning. Once it starts repeating you can go to part 2 audio clip. These audios are not the best quality however the information is detailed and useful.

Here is the book for cross referencing


African places named in the bible

 Below from
Strong’s Concordance
adom: red

Original Word: אָדֹם
Part of Speech: Adjective
Transliteration: adom
Phonetic Spelling: (aw-dome’)
Short Definition: red

NAS Exhaustive Concordance

Word Origin
from the same as adom
NASB Translation
red (7), ruddy (1).


Adamawa is a state in northeastern Nigeria, with its capital at Yola. In 1991, when Taraba State was carved out from Gongola State, the geographical entity Gongola State was renamed Adamawa State, with four administrative divisions: Adamawa, Ganye, Mubi and Numan. It is the home of the American University of Nigeria in Yola and Modibbo Adama University of Technology Yola. It is one of the thirty-six states that constitute the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Before it became a state in Nigeria, Adamawa was a subordinate kingdom of the Sultanate of Sokoto which also included much of northern Cameroon. The rulers bear the title of emir (“lamido” in the local language, Fulfulde).

The name “Adamawa” came from the founder of the kingdom, Modibbo Adama, a regional leader of the Fulani Jihad organized by Usumaanu dan Fodio of Sokoto in 1804. Modibbo Adama came from the region of Gurin (now just a small village) and in 1806 received a green flag for leading the jihad in his native country. In the following years Adama conquered many lands and tribes. In 1838 he moved his capital to Ribadu, and in 1839 to Joboliwo. In 1841 he founded Yola, where he died in 1848. After the European colonization (first by Germany and then by Britain) the rulers remained as emirs, and the line of succession has continued to the present day.

Strong’s Concordance
Adamah: a city in Naphtali

Original Word: אֲדָמָה
Part of Speech: Proper Name Location
Transliteration: Adamah
Phonetic Spelling: (ad-aw-maw’)
Short Definition: Adamah

NAS Exhaustive Concordance

Word Origin
from the same as adam
a city in Naphtali
NASB Translation
Adamah (1).

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance


The same as ‘adamah; Adamah, a place in Palestine — Adamah.

Strong’s Concordance
adamah: ground, land

Original Word: אֲדָמָה
Part of Speech: Noun Feminine
Transliteration: adamah
Phonetic Spelling: (ad-aw-maw’)
Short Definition: land

Adama (OromoAdaamaa or HadaamaaAmharicአዳማÄdamaĀdama), also known[1] as Nazret or Nazreth (AmharicናዝሬትNazret), is a city in central Ethiopia and the previous capital of the Oromia Region.[2][3] Adama forms a Special Zone of Oromia and is surrounded by Misraq Shewa Zone. It is located at 8.54°N 39.27°E at an elevation of 1712 meters, 99 km southeast of Addis Ababa. The city sits between the base of an escarpment to the west, and the Great Rift Valley to the east.

Following World War IIEmperor Haile Selassie renamed the town after Biblical Nazareth, and this name was used for the remainder of the twentieth century.[5] In 2000, the city officially reverted to its original Oromo language name, Adama,[5][10] though “Nazareth” is still widely used.[11]


King James Bible
The children of Ezer are these; Bilhan, and Zaavan, and Akan.

Strong’s Concordance

Akan: an Israelite name

Original Word: עָכָן
Part of Speech: Proper Name Masculine
Transliteration: Akan
Phonetic Spelling: (aw-kawn’)
Short Definition: Achan

The Akan /əˈkæn/ are a meta-ethnicity predominantly speaking Central Tano languages and residing in the southern regions of the former Gold Coast region in what is today the nation of Ghana. Akans also make up a plurality of the populace in the Ivory Coast.

Akan and Judah tribe below on West African map


Strong’s Concordance
Yehudah: probably “praised,” a son of Jacob, also his desc., the S. kingdom, also four Israelites

Original Word: יְהוּדָה
Part of Speech: Proper Name Masculine
Transliteration: Yehudah
Phonetic Spelling: (yeh-hoo-daw’)
Short Definition: Judah

NAS Exhaustive Concordance

Word Origin
probably from yadah
probably “praised,” a son of Jacob, also his desc., the S. kingdom, also four Isr.
NASB Translation
Jews (1), Judah (815), Judah’s (2).


Strong’s Concordance
Hadar: an Edomite king

Original Word: הֲדַר
Part of Speech: Proper Name Masculine
Transliteration: Hadar
Phonetic Spelling: (had-ar’)
Short Definition: Hadar

NAS Exhaustive Concordance

Word Origin
from hadar
an Edomite king
NASB Translation
Hadar (1).



See Idah Idoma and Edo on the map of Nigeria below


Strong’s Concordance
Iddo: “timely,” the name of several Israelites

Original Word: עִדּוֹ
Part of Speech: Proper Name Masculine
Transliteration: Iddo
Phonetic Spelling: (id-do’)
Short Definition: Iddo

NAS Exhaustive Concordance

Word Origin
from the same as iddah
“timely,” the name of several Isr.
NASB Translation*
Iddo (10).


King James Bible
And from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea, and from beyond Jordan; and they about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they had heard what great things he did, came unto him.


Edo, Edomite, Idoma and Idumea are related words. The Greeks called the inhabitants of this region “Idumeans” (people with a reddish skin tone, like the Igbo of Benin). The ancient name of Edo is Idu. Idu was the progenitor of the Edo or Idoma.  Hence the expression: “Iduh the father of Idoma.” The royal lines of the Edo have been orally transmitted. Iduh begot six sons: Ananawoogeno who begot the children of Igwumale;Olinaogwu who begot the people of Ugboju; Idum who begot the people of AdokaAgabi who begot the people of Otukpo; Eje who begot the people of Oglewu; Ebeibi who begot the people of Umogidi in Adoka, and Ode who begot the people of Yala. 
From link The Edo and the Edomites are related genetically. These are among Abraham’s ancestors who came out of Africa. These were originally river peoples who moved along river systems and mountain ridges (the “high places”). They dispersed rather widely and settled in different regions including the Tigris-Euphrates River Valley and Southern Europe. Some lived in the red city of Petra, the capital of the Nabataean territory in Edom (modern Jordan).

The Greeks called the Edomites the “Idumea” or red people. Esau of Edom was described as having a red skin tone in Genesis 25:25. He was also described as hairy. Abraham’s Ainu ancestors also were hairy and had a red skin tone. Abraham’s father was called Tera (Terah) a royal name associated with the Ainu of the Upper Nile. These spread as far as Japan where only about 300 pure-blooded Ainu still remain on the island of Hokkaido. The original name of Tokyo was Edo. Among the Ainu the word “Tera” (Terah) means priest. Abraham’s father was Terah, a ruler-priest whose territory along the Tigris River extending between Ur and Haran.

The Edomites of the Bible are related to the Edo or Idu of Nigeria and Benin. The title of their rulers is further evidence. The ruler of the Edo is called “Oba” and the first ruler of Petra was thedeified Nabataean King Obodas.

… also

The biblical Edomites are associated with the color red. Edom means red and Genesis 25:25 links Esau to the Edomites. Esau was the name of at least two Edomite rulers. Isaac’s sons were not Jews, but Horites like their father and grandfather Abraham. That is why Esau the Elder married into the line associated with Seir the Horite (Gen. 36) and why Jacob married into the Horite line of Na-Hor. See diagram and note that there are 2 named Esau.  Esau the Elder married Adah, the daughter of the Horite ruler Elon.  Esau the Younger was Esau the Elder’s grandson.  Esau the Younger married Oholibamah, a high-ranking Horite maiden.

The Edomites, along with the Jebusites, appear to have belonged to the Horite Confederation which originated in the Upper Nile region.  This is the homeland of Abraham’s ancestors and is called Kush in Genesis 10. From ancient Kush, the peoples spread in many directions. Some live today in Nigeria and Benin as the Edo or Idu.




On the below map we can see Kanem also Borno which means land of Noah, and Adamawa.



Analysis of the genealogical data in Genesis 4 and 5 reveals that Cain and his brother Seth married the daughters of a chief named Enoch. This is the reason for the similarity, indeed the linguistic equivalence of their firstborn sons’ names: Enoch/Enosh. The names are the Hebraicized form of the African word anochie, which refers to an heir to the throne. Enoch was a royal title.

Strong’s Concordance
Enosh: “man,” a son of Seth

Original Word: אֱנוֹשׁ
Part of Speech: Proper Name Masculine
Transliteration: Enosh
Phonetic Spelling: (en-ohsh’)
Short Definition: Enosh

NAS Exhaustive Concordance

Word Origin
from an unused word
“man,” a son of Seth
NASB Translation
Enosh (7).


Deserts of Seth on old map in Biafra Benin below


The land to which Cain went is called Nod, which is intended to mean “wandering.”  Here we have a play on words. The words Nod נוד and Nok נוך are almost identical. This was recognized in 1984 by the Nigerian philologist Modupe Oduyoye. Oduyoye saw a connection between Cain and the ancient metal workers of Nok in the Jos Plateau of Nigeria. (The Sons of the Gods and the Daughters of Men: An Afro-Asiatic Interpretation of Genesis 1-11, NY, Orbis Books, 1984, p. 21.) They appear to be relatives of the metal-working Sudanese Beja.

The evidence suggests that Cain’s father-in-law Enoch lived in what is today northeastern Nigeria. Not surprisingly there are places in Nigeria that reference both Kain and Nok.  Kano is a major city and Nok is both a preshistoric site and a recognized cultural sphere of influence. The Nok civilization is dated to about 1200 years ago but has earlier antecedents as evidenced by discoveries in an “increasingly larger area” of Nok influence that includes the Middle Niger Valley and the Lower Benue Valley.

Nod (נוד) is an etymological etiology intended to explain the apparent peripatetic lifestyle of Cain and his metal-working descendants, the Kenites. This sort of play on words is typical of rabbinic writings and suggests that this a later interpretation. It might have been inserted to suggest that Cain’s descendants were without territory, but a deeper look reveals that they were associated with rulers over territories from west central Africa to Central Asia.  They worked for influential rulers in the days when the Sahara was much wetter between 8000 and 4500 years ago. At various periods water systems connected the Nile and Central Africa and these river routes were their trade routes.

This places Cain close to Bor’No (Land of Noah) in the region of Lake Chad. This is where Noah probably lived between B.C. 2415-2490 when the Sahara experienced a wet period (Karl W. Butzer 1966). Cain and Seth would have lived between 200 and 300 years before Noah. Noah was a descendant of Seth and Cain, since the lines of Seth and Cain exclusively intermarried. The rulers of their lines are listed in the Genesis 4 and 5 King Lists.

“And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.” (Genesis 4:16)




Genesis 2:13
The name of the second river is Gihon; it flows around the whole land of Cush.
 Here is more proof
click the below






The Queen of sheba

The Queen of Sheba from Ethiopian fresco (c.1100s-1200s), Lalibela, Ethiopia. Zagwe dynasty.
The Queen of Sheba
(also known as Makeda, Makebah-Tamar, Malikat Saba;
Ge’ez: Nigist Saba; Hebrew: מלכת שבא‎;
Malkat Shva; Arabic: ملكة سبأ‎)
The Queen of Sheba descends through the biblical lineage/lines of Ham/Cush & Shem/Joktan. She was part of the Afro Asiatic & Nilotic race.

Nilotic people are people indigenous to the Nile Valley who speak Nilotic languages, which constitute a large sub-group of the Nilo-Saharan languages spoken in South SudanUganda,Kenya, and northern Tanzania.[1]

In a more general sense, the Nilotic peoples include all descendants of the original Nilo-Saharan speakers. Among these are the LuoSaraMaasai, KalenjinDinkaNuerShillukAteker, and the Maa-speaking peoples, each of which is a cluster of several ethnic groups.[2]

Regions with significant populations
Nile ValleyAfrican Great LakesLake Chad, southwestern Ethiopia
Nilo-Saharan languages
Traditional faiths (Dinka religion), Christianity

The Nilotes constitute the majority of the population in South Sudan, an area that is believed to be their original point of dispersal. After the Bantu peoples, they constitute the second-most numerous group of peoples inhabiting the African Great Lakes region around the Eastern Great Rift.[2] They make up a notable part of the population of southwestern Ethiopia as well.

The Nilote peoples primarily adhere to Christianity and traditional faiths, including the Dinka religion.

The Queen of Sheba is a Biblical and Quranic figure. The tale of her visit to King Solomon has undergone extensive Jewish, Islamic, and Ethiopian elaborations, and has become the subject of one of the … Wikipedia
Born: Agame
Children: Menelik I
  • David (Hebrew) and Bathsheba (Gilonite – Hamite)
  • Solomon (Hebrew) and Pharoah’s Daughter (Egyptian – Hamite)


The United Monarchy (Hebrewהמלוכה המאוחדת‬) is the name given to the Israelite kingdom of Israel and Judah,[1][2][3][4] during the reigns of SaulDavid and Solomon, as depicted in the Hebrew Bible.


This is traditionally dated between 1050 and 930 BCE. On the succession of Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, around 930 BCE, the biblical account reports that the country split into two kingdoms; 


the Kingdom of Israel (including the cities of Shechem and Samariain the north and the Kingdom of Judah (containing Jerusalem) in the south.


According to the biblical account, it was David who, following a civil war with Saul, created a strong and unified Israelite monarchy, reigning c. 1000–961 BCE.[14] Solomon, David’s successor, maintained the unified monarchy, c. 961–922.[14]


David, the Second King of Israel, established Jerusalem as its national capital in 1006 BCE.[15]Before then, Hebron had been the capital of David’s Judah and Mahanaim of Ish-baal’s Israel, and before that Gibeah had been the capital of the United Monarchy under Saul. Earlier parts of the Bible indicate that Shiloh had been seen as the national capital; which, from an archaeological standpoint, is considered plausible, as far as it being the religious capital.In the biblical account, David finally succeeds in truly unifying Judah and Israel. Some modern archaeologists believe there was a continued and uninterrupted existence of two distinct cultures and geographic entities, one being Judah, the other Israel, and if there was a political union it



be-er-she’-ba (be’er shebha`; Bersabee):

Allotted originally to Simeon (Joshua 19:2), one of “the uttermost cities of the tribe of the children of Judah” (Joshua 15:28)


Bath-sheba – ‘Bet-Tav-Sheen-Bet-Ayin’ – ‘daughter of Sheba’.

The black daughter of Sheba, whose line goes back to Sheba the son of Cush who produced the Nilotic black races.

Ber. 10:6 And the sons of Ham; Kush, and Mitzrayim, and Phut, and Kanaan.7 And the sons of Kush; Seba, and Havilah, and Savtah, and Raamah, and Savtecha: and the sons of Raamah; Sheba, and Dedan.

    • Cush, a Benjaminite (heading to Psalm 7). He is identified as Saul in the Talmud.
    • Nimrod, son of Cush, “the first on earth to become a mighty warrior.” Nimrod is also credited with founding and ruling the principal cities of Mesopotamia (Genesis 10:8-12).


There is more than 1 Sheba in the bible

through Shem and through Ham.



BATHSHEBA   בַּת־שֶׁבַע   f   Biblical

Means “daughter of the oath” in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of a woman married to Uriahthe Hittite. King David seduced her and made her pregnant, so he arranged to have her husband killed in battle and then married her. She was the mother of Solomon.



she’-ba (shebha’; Saba):

(1) Sheba and Dedan are the two sons of Raamah son of Cush (Genesis 10:7).

(2) Sheba and Dedan are the two sons of Jokshan the son of Abraham and Keturah (Genesis 25:3).

(3) Sheba is a son of Joktan son of Eber who was a descendant of Shem (Genesis 10:28).

From the above statements it would appear that Sheba was the name of an Arab tribe, and consequently of Semitic descent. The fact that Sheba and Dedan are represented as Cushite (Genesis 10:7) would point to a migration of part of these tribes to Ethiopia.


Similarly their derivation from Abraham (Genesis 25:3) would indicate that some families were located in Syria.

The Danites

 Rabbinical viewsEdit

Public appeal of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel to save the Jews of Ethiopia, 1921, signed by Chief Rabbis Abraham Isaac Kook and Jacob Meir.

The 9th-century Jewish traveler Eldad ha-Dani claimed the Beta Israel descended from the tribe of Dan. He also reported other Jewish kingdoms around his own or in East Africa during this time. His writings probably represent the first mention of the Beta Israel in Rabbinic literature. Despite some skeptical critics, his authenticity has been generally accepted in current scholarship. His descriptions were consistent and even the originally doubtful rabbis of his time were finally persuaded.[46] Specific details may be uncertain; one critic has noted Eldad’s lack of detailed reference to Ethiopia’s geography and any Ethiopian language, although he claimed the area as his homeland.[47]

Eldad’s was not the only medieval testimony about Jewish communities living far to the south of Egypt, which strengthens the credibility of his account. Obadiah ben Abraham Bartenura wrote in a letter from Jerusalem in 1488:

I myself saw two of them in Egypt. They are dark-skinned…and one could not tell whether they keep the teaching of the Karaites, or of the Rabbis, for some of their practices resemble the Karaite teaching…but in other things they appear to follow the instruction of the Rabbis; and they say they are related to the tribe of Dan.[48]


In point of fact Sheba was a South-Arabian or Joktanite tribe (Genesis 10:28), and his own name and that of some of his brothers (e.g. Hazarmaveth = Hadhramaut) are place-names in Southern Arabia.


The Haggadah (Hebrewהַגָּדָה‎, “telling”; plural: Haggadot) is a Jewish text that sets forth the order of the Passover Seder. Reading the Haggadah at the Seder table is a fulfillment of the Scriptural commandment to each Jew to “tell your son” of the Jewish liberation from slavery in Egypt as described in the Book of Exodus in theTorah (“And thou shalt tell thy son in that day, saying: It is because of that which the LORD did for me when I came forth out of Egypt.”).

Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews also apply the term Haggadah to the service itself, as it constitutes the act of “telling your son.”

According to the Torah, the tribe consisted of the descendants of Dan, a son of Jacob and BilhahRachel‘s maidservant (Genesis). In the biblical account, Dan is one of the two children ofBilhah, the handmaid of Jacob’s wife Rachel, the other child of Bilhah being Naphtali. Scholars see this as indicating that the authors saw Dan and Naphtali as being not of entirely Israelite origin (being descendants of handmaids rather than of full wives).[1]

Some have noted that the territory of the handmaid tribes happens to be the territory closest to the north and eastern borders of Canaan, thus exposing them to Assyria and Aram.[2] However, other tribes born to wives, including the firstborn Reuben, were also included on the eastern outskirts, and immediately adjacent to Israel’s more traditional enemies at the time of their entry to Canaan, the Moabites and Ammonites.



she’-ba (1 Kings 10:1-132 Chronicles 9:1-12, called in Matthew 12:42; Luke 11:31, “the queen of the south” (basilissa notou):



American King James Version
Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say to you, Are you come to take a spoil? have you gathered your company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?


14Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog, Thus says the Lord GOD; In that day when my people of Israel dwell safely, shall you not know it?

15And you shall come from your place out of the north parts, you, and many people with you, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army:

16And you shall come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring you against my land, that the nations may know me, when I shall be sanctified in you, O Gog, before their eyes.

17Thus says the Lord GOD; Are you he of whom I have spoken in former times by my servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied in those days for many years that I would bring you against them?

18And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, says the Lord GOD, that my fury shall come up in my face.

19For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel;

20So that the fish of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.



Back to Queen of Sheba and Solomon




A somewhat nebulous figure, the Queen of Sheba (fl. 10th century BCE)—known also as Bilqis and as Makeda—figures prominently in Judaic, Islamic, and Ethiopian traditions. Her legendary voyage to meet Solomon, King of Israel, has inspired centuries of speculation about her kingdom and influence in the ancient world. Modern-day Ethiopians believe her, as the mother of their first Emperor, Menilek I, to be the ultimate maternal ancestor of the dominant Ethiopian royal dynasty.


The most widespread story of the Queen of Sheba stems from an Old Testament passage describing her journey to Jerusalem to meet with the Jewish king, Solomon, renowned for his wisdom. An account of her stay at Solomon’s court appears in I Kings 10:1–14 and in a nearly word-for-word repetition, 2 Chronicles 9:1–12. Both passages begin: “The queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s fame, and she traveled to Jerusalem to test him with difficult questions. She brought with her a large group of attendants, as well as camels loaded with spices, jewels, and a large amount of gold. When she and Solomon met, she asked him all the questions that she could think of. He answered them all; there was nothing too difficult for him to explain.” The rest of the tale describes the Queen’s awe of Solomon’s wisdom, riches, and relationship with God, as well as the two monarchs’ exchange of gifts. This brief text forms the basis for later embellishments of the queen’s voyage.

An Islamic Convert

The Islamic legend of the Queen of Sheba, or Bilqis (alternatively, Balkis) as she is known in the Arabian tradition, stems from these short Jewish narratives. The story of the Queen’s appearance at Solomon’s court in the Islamic holy text, The Qu’ran, follows a thread similar to that of the Book of Esther. In Chapter 27 of the Qu’ran, a messenger bird declared: “I have come to thee from Saba with sure tidings. I found a woman ruling over all of them; she has been granted everything and she has a wondrous throne. I found her and her worshipping the sun, instead of Allah.” The passage further explains that Satan has led the queen and her subjects away from Allah, and Solomon, thinking to test this assertion, sends the bird back to the queen with a letter requesting confirmation of the bird’s tale. Upon receiving the queen’s response of extravagant gifts, Solomon is not satisfied and writes again, requesting her presence. The queen visits Solomon and, awed by his court, converts to the worship of Allah.

Arabian legends based on the Qu’ran embellish this story to include some speculation about the queen’s descent from demons and later, her possible marriage to Solomon.


The Narrative:

The narrative tells of the queen of Sheba, on hearing of Solomon’s great wisdom, coming to test him with perplexing questions or riddles (compare Judges 14:12). She brought presents to the king, and interviewed him: “And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built” (i.e. the palace, not the temple) as well as its arrangements, “and his burnt-offering which he offered in the house of Yahweh (so read and translate with the Revised Version margin in 1 Kings 10:5, and also in 2 Chronicles 9:4); there was no more spirit in her”: the half of Solomon’s wisdom had not been told her. “Happy,” she said to him, “are thy wives (so read with Septuagint, Syriac and Old Latin versions), happy are these thy servants.” She then exchanged gifts with him and returned to her own land.

The narrative is a complement of that in 1 Kings 3:16-28, where the king’s justice is exemplified; here his wisdom.


 Hazarmaveth = Hadhramaut = Hadar = South Arabia Sheba Saba 


(1.) A son of Ishmael (Genesis 25:15); in 1 Chronicles 1:30 written Hadad.

(2.) One of the Edomitish kings (Genesis 36:39) about the time of Saul. Called also Hadad (1 Chronicles 1:50, 51).

It is probable that in these cases Hadar may be an error simply of transcription for Hadad.

Strong’s Concordance
Hadar: an Edomite king

Original Word: הֲדַר
Part of Speech: Proper Name Masculine
Transliteration: Hadar
Phonetic Spelling: (had-ar’)
Short Definition: Hadar

Edom (/ˈdəm, –dʌm/;[1][2] HebrewאֱדוֹםModern ʼEdōm Tiberian ʼEd’hōm, , lit.: “red”; Assyrian:UdumiSyriac: ܐܕܘܡ) was an ancient kingdom in Transjordan located between Moab to the northeast, the Arabah to the west and the Arabian Desert to the south and east.[3] Most of its former territory is now divided between Israel and Jordan. Edom appears in written sources relating to the late Bronze Age and to the Iron Age in the Levant, such as the Hebrew Bible and Egyptian and Mesopotamian records. In classical antiquity, the cognate name Idumea was used for a smaller area in the same general region.


The Edomites first established a kingdom (“Edom”) in the southern area of modern Jordan and later migrated into southern parts of the Kingdom of Judah(“Idumea”, or modern southern Israel/Negev) when Judah was first weakened and then destroyed by the Babylonians, in the 6th century BC.

Edom is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible but also in a list of the Egyptian pharaoh Seti I from c. 1215 BC and in the chronicle of a campaign by Ramses III (r. 1186–1155 BC).[3] The Edomites, who have been identified archaeologically, were a Semitic people who probably arrived in the region around the 14th century BC.[3]


The Sabaean people were South Arabian people. Each of these peoples had regional kingdoms in ancient Yemen, with the Minaeans in the north in Wādī al-Jawf, the Sabeans on the south western tip, stretching from the highlands to the sea; the Qatabānians to the east of them, and the Ḥaḑramites east of them.

The Sabaeans, like the other Yemenite kingdoms of the same period, were involved in the extremely lucrative spice trade, especially frankincense and myrrh.[15]


The Sabeans or people of Saba or Sheba, are referred to as traders in gold and spices, and as inhabiting a country remote from Palestine (1 Kings 10:1 Isaiah 60:6 Jeremiah 6:20 Ezekiel 27:22Psalm 72:15 Matthew 12:42), also as slave-traders (Joel 3:8), or even desert-rangers (Job 1:15;Job 6:19; compare CIS 84 3).

By the Arab genealogists Saba is represented as great-grandson of Qachtan (= Joktan) and ancestor of all the South-Arabian tribes. He is the father of Chimyar and Kahlan. He is said to have been named Saba because he was the first to take prisoners (shabhah) in war. He founded the capital of Saba and built its citadel Marib (Mariaba), famous for its mighty barrage.

1. History: The authentic history of the Sabeans, so far as known, and the topography of their country are derived from South-Arabian inscriptions, which began to be discovered about the middle of the last century, and from coins dating from about 150 B.C. to 150 A.D., the first collection of which was published in 1880, and from the South-Arabian geographer Hamdani, who was later made known to European scholars. One of the Sabean kings is mentioned on Assyrian inscriptions of the year 715 B.C.; and he is apparently not the earliest. The native monuments are scattered over the period extending from before that time until the 6th century A.D., when the

Sabean state came to an end, being most numerous about the commencement of our era. Saba was the name of the nation of which Marib was the usual capital. The Sabeans at first shared the sovereignty of South Arabia with Himyar and one or two other nations, but gradually absorbed the territories of these some time after the Christian era. The form of government seems to have been that of a republic or oligarchy, the chief magistracy going by a kind of rotation, and more than one “king” holding office simultaneously (similarly Deuteronomy 4:47 and often in the Old Testament). The people seem to have been divided into patricians and plebeians, the former of whom had the right to build castles and to share in the government.

2. Religion:

A number of deities are mentioned on the inscriptions, two chief being Il-Maqqih and Ta`lab. Others are Athtar (masculine form of the Biblical `ashtaroth), Rammon (the Biblical Rimmon), the Sun, and others. The Sun and Athtar were further defined by the addition of the name of a place or tribe, just as Baal in the Old Testament. Worship took the form of gifts to the temples, of sacrifices, especially incense, of pilgrimages and prayers. Ceremonial ablution, and abstinence from certain things, as well as formal dedication of the worshipper and his household and goods to the deity, were also religious acts. In return the deity took charge of his worshipper’s castle, wells, and belongings, and supplied him with cereals, vegetables and fruits, as well as granted him male issue.

3. Civilization:

(1) The chief occupations of the Sabeans were raiding and trade. The chief products of their country are enumerated in Isaiah 60:6, which agrees with the Assyrian inscriptions. The most important of all commodities was incense, and it is significant that the same word which in the other Semitic languages means “gold,” in Sabean means “perfume” (and also “gold”). To judge, however, from the number of times they are mentioned upon the inscriptions, agriculture bulked much more largely in the thoughts of the Sabean than commerce, and was of equal importance with religion.

(2) The high position occupied by women among the Sabeans is reflected in the story of the Queen of Sheba and Solomon. In almost all respects women appear to have been considered the equal of men, and to have discharged the same civil, religious and even military functions. Polygamy does not seem to have been practiced. The Sabean inscriptions do not go back far enough to throw any light upon the queen who was contemporary with Solomon, and the Arabic identification of her with Bilqis is merely due to the latter being the only Sabean queen known to them. Bilqis must have lived several centuries later than the Hebrew monarch.

(3) The alphabet used in the Sabean inscriptions is considered by Professor Margoliouth to be the original Semitic alphabet, from which the others are derived. In other respects Sabean art seems to be dependent on that of Assyria, Persia and Greece. The coins are Greek and Roman in style, while the system of weights employed is Persian.


The Kebra Nagast (var.Kebra NegastGe’ezክብረ ነገሥት,kəbrä nägäśt) is a 14th-century[1]account written in Ge’ez, an ancient South Semitic language that originated in modern-day Ethiopia and Eritrea.Wallis Budge, an English EgyptologistOrientalist, and philologist who worked for the British Museum created an English translation called The Glory of the Kings. It is considered to hold the genealogy of the new Solomonic dynasty, which followed the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

It contains an account of how the Queen of Sheba (Queen Makeda of Ethiopia) met King Solomon and about how the Ark of the Covenant came to Ethiopia with Menelik I(Menyelek). It also discusses the conversion of the Ethiopians from the worship of the Sun, Moon and stars to that of the “Lord God of Israel”. As the Ethiopianist Edward Ullendorff explained in the 1967 Schweich Lectures, “The Kebra Nagast is not merely a literary work, but it is the repository of Ethiopian national and religious feelings.”[2]




 The queen of Sheba (מַלְכַּת־שְׁבָא‬,[2] “malkat-šəḇā” in the Hebrew Bible, βασίλισσα Σαβὰ in the Septuagint,[3] Syriac ܡܠܟܬ ܫܒܐ,[4] Ethiopicንግሥተ፡ሳባእ፡[5]) came to Jerusalem “with a very great retinue, with camels bearing spices, and very much gold, and precious stones” (I Kings10:2). “Never again came such an abundance of spices” (10:10; II Chron. 9:1–9) as those she gave to Solomon. She came “to prove him with hard questions,” which Solomon answered to her satisfaction. They exchanged gifts, after which she returned to her land.[6][7]

The use of the term ḥiddot or “riddles” (I Kings10:1), an Aramaic loanword whose shape points to a sound shift no earlier than the sixth century B.C., indicates a late origin for the text.[6] Since there is no mention of the fall of Babylon in 539 BC, Martin Noth has held that the Book of Kings received a definitive redaction around 550 BC[8]

Virtually all modern scholars agree that Sheba was the South Arabian kingdom of Saba, centered around the oasis of Marib, in present-day Yemen. Sheba was quite known in the classical world, and its country was called Arabia Felix.[7] Around the middle of the first millennium B.C., there were Sabaeans also in the Horn of Africa, in the area that later became the realm of Aksum.[9]There are five places in the Bible where the writer distinguishes Sheba (שׁבא), i. e. the Yemenite Sabaeans, from Seba (סבא), i. e. the African Sabaeans. In Ps. 72:10 they are mentioned together: “the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts”.[10] This spelling differentiation, however, may be purely factitious; the indigenous inscriptions make no such difference, and both Yemenite and African Sabaeans are there spelt in exactly the same way.[9]

The alphabetic inscriptions from South Arabia furnish no evidence for women rulers, but Assyrian inscriptions repeatedly mention Arab queens in the north.[11] Queens are well attested in Arabia, though according to Kitchen, not after 690 B.C.[6] Furthermore, Sabaean tribes knew the title ofmqtwyt (high official). Makada or Makueda, the personal name of the queen in Ethiopian legend, might be interpreted as a popular rendering of the title of mqtwyt.[12] This title may be derived from Ancient Egyptian m’kit “protectress, housewife”.[13]

The queen’s visit could have been a trade mission.[7][9] Early South Arabian trade with Mesopotamia involving wood and spices transported by camels is attested in the early ninth century B.C. and may have begun as early as the tenth.[6]

The ancient Sabaic Awwām Temple, known in folklore as Maḥram (the Sanctuary of) Bilqīs, was recently excavated by archaeologists, but no trace of Queen of Sheba has been discovered so far in the many inscriptions found there.[7]


Bible stories of the Queen of Sheba and the ships of Ophir served as a basis for legends about the Israelites traveling in the Queen of Sheba’s entourage when she returned to her country to bring up her child by Solomon.[14]


OPHIR   אוֹפִיר   m   Biblical
Meaning unknown. This is the name of a son of Joktan in the Old Testament (where it is also used as a place name).

Afar, Ophir and the Mists of History – Orville Jenkins › peoples › afar…

The relationship between the Afar people of today and the ancient references to the mysterious Ophir. … They are mentioned by Muhammad in the Quran as one of the People of the Book, along with Jews and Christians …Afar, Ophir and the Mists of History – Orville Jenkins


According to Josephus (Ant. 8:165–73), the queen of Sheba

was the queen of Egypt and Ethiopia, and brought to Israel

the first specimens of the balsam,

which grew in the Holy Land in the historian’s time.[7][21]



Jewish (Ashkenazic): ornamental name from German Balsam or Yiddish balzam ‘balm’, ‘balsam‘. German: occupational name for a seller of spices and perfumes, from Latin balsamum ‘balsam‘, ‘aromatic resin’.
Legend has it that the trees that were grown on Mount Gilead were given to King Solomon by the Queen of Sheba, and also grew in the oases around the Dead Sea basin, in En Geddi and Jericho (also famous for its roses).Archaeologists found this dire warning on the mosaic floor of a synagogue at En Geddi: “Whoever reveals the secret of the village to the gentiles, the One whose eyes roam over the entire earth and see what is concealed will uproot this person and his seeds from under the sun.” The village was as highly fortified to guard the secret of the precious balm. It was really much more valuable than gold. This makes it likely that it was this golden balm that was given by the three Magi to the baby Jesus, as it grew in much the same areas as the frankincense and myrrh that were also gifts.
  Balm of Gilead of whatever kind has been used for centuries, for coughs, colds, sore throats, laryngitis, and applied externally to relieve the inflammation caused by arthritis and rheumatism. It is still used for labour pains and the dried bark of the trees is used for healing wounds. The Balsam of Mecca-bearing plants grow in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen and Somalia.
    The Balm of Gilead trees in the US orPopulus candicans or the Cottonwood which is a member of theSalicaceaefamily has many uses and even the buds can be used to treat ailments. In folk remedies the buds are used for a facial wash and for a tisane for coughs, colds and bronchial problems. The inner bark makes a tisane for eyewash and a blood tonic, while the roots can be boiled and used as a wash for headaches. If you inhale the steam from the boiled buds, this is good to clear nasal and bronchial congestion.
Link to full post click
Gilead below
Josephus (Antiquities 2.5-2.10) represents Cambyses as conquering the capital of Aethiopia, and changing its name from Seba to Meroe.[22] Josephus affirms that the Queen of Sheba or Saba came from this region, and that it bore the name of Saba before it was known by that of Meroe. There seems also some affinity between the word Saba and the name or title of the kings of the Aethiopians, Sabaco.[23]

The Talmud (Bava Batra 15b) insists that it was not a woman but a kingdom of Sheba (based on varying interpretations of Hebrew mlkt) that came to Jerusalem, obviously intended to discredit existing stories about the relations between Solomon and the Queen.[1] Baba Bathra 15b: “Whoever says malkath Sheba (I Kings X, 1) means a woman is mistaken; … it means the kingdom (מַלְכֻת) of Sheba”.[24]

The most elaborate account of the queen’s visit to Solomon is given in the 8th century (?) Targum Sheni to Esther (see: Colloquy of the Queen of Sheba). A hoopoe informed Solomon that the kingdom of Sheba was the only kingdom on earth not subject to him and that its queen was a sun worshiper. He thereupon sent it to Kitor in the land of Sheba with a letter attached to its wing commanding its queen to come to him as a subject. She thereupon sent him all the ships of the sea loaded with precious gifts and 6,000 youths of equal size, all born at the same hour and clothed in purple garments. They carried a letter declaring that she could arrive in Jerusalem within three years although the journey normally took seven years. When the queen arrived and came to Solomon’s palace, thinking that the glass floor was a pool of water, she lifted the hem of her dress, uncovering her legs. Solomon informed her of her mistake and reprimanded her for her hairy legs. She asked him three (Targ. Sheni to Esther 1:3) or, according to the Midrash (Prov. ii. 6;Yalḳ. ii., § 1085, Midrash ha-Hefez), more riddles to test his wisdom.[1][6][7][21]

A Yemenite manuscript entitled “Midrash ha-Hefez” (published by S. Schechter in “Folk-Lore”, 1890, pp. 353 et seq.) gives nineteen riddles, most of which are found scattered through the Talmud and the Midrash, which the author of the “Midrash ha-Hefez” attributes to the Queen of Sheba.[25] Most of these riddles are simply Bible questions, some not of a very edifying character. The two that are genuine riddles are: “Without movement while living, it moves when its head is cut off,” and “Produced from the ground, man produces it, while its food is the fruit of the ground.” The answer to the former is, “a tree, which, when its top is removed, can be made into a moving ship”; the answer to the latter is, “a wick.”[26]

The rabbis who denounce Solomon interpret I Kings 10:13 as meaning that Solomon had criminal intercourse with the Queen of Sheba, the offspring of which was Nebuchadnezzar, who destroyed the Temple (comp. Rashi ad loc.). According to others, the sin ascribed to Solomon in I Kings 11:7 et seq. is only figurative: it is not meant that Solomon fell into idolatry, but that he was guilty of failing to restrain his wives from idolatrous practises (Shab. 56b).[25]

The Alphabet of Sirach avers that Nebuchadnezzar was the fruit of the union between Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.[1]


Bilqis reclining in a garden, Persian miniature (ca. 1595), tinted drawing on paper

Illustration in a Hafez Frontispiece Depicting Queen Sheba, Walters manuscript W.631, around 1539

In the Quran, the story is essentially similar to the Bible and other Jewish sources.[7] Solomon commanded the Queen of Sheba to come to him as a subject, whereupon she appeared before him (XXVII, 30–31, 45). Before the queen had arrived, Solomon had moved her throne to his palace with the help of a wise man, who was able to move the throne faster than a Jinn. She recognized the throne, which had been disguised, and finally accepted the faith of Solomon.

Muslim commentators such as al-Tabarial-Zamakhsharial-Baydawi supplement the story at various points. The Queen’s name is given as Bilqīs (Arabicبلقيس‎), probably derived from Greek παλλακίς (pallakis) or the Hebraised pilegesh, “concubine”.[29] According to some he then married the Queen, while other traditions assert that he gave her in marriage to a tubba of Hamdan.[1] According to the Islamic tradition as represented by al-Hamdani, the queen of Sheba was the daughter of Ilsharah Yahdib, the Himyarite king of Najran.[12]

The Quran and its commentators have preserved the earliest literary reflection of the complete Bilkis legend, which among scholars complements the narrative that is derived from a Jewish Midrash.[1]

The Quran Story of Sheba

” And that which she used to worship besides Allah has prevented her (from Islam), for she was ofa disbelieving people. “


“I have grasped (the knowledge of a thing) which you have not grasped and I have come to you from Saba’ (Sheba) with true news.” “I found a woman ruling over them: she has been given all things that could be possessed by any ruler of the earth, and she has a great throne. I found her and her people worshipping the sun instead of Allah, and Shaitan (Satan) has made their deeds fair-seeming to them, and has barred them from (Allah’s) Way: so they have no guidance.” [As Shaitan (Satan) has barred them from Allah’s Way] so they do not worship (prostrate themselves before) Allah, Who brings to light what is hidden in the heavens and the earth, and knows what you conceal and what you reveal. Allah, La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the Lord of the Supreme Throne! [Sulaiman (Solomon)] said: “We shall see whether you speak the truth or you are (one) of the liars.”Go you with this letter of mine, and deliver it to them, then draw back from them, and see what (answer) they return.” She said: “O chiefs! Verily! Here is delivered to me a noble letter. “Verily it is from Sulaiman (Solomon), and verily, it (reads): In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful: “Be you not exalted against me, but come to me as Muslims (true believers who submit to Allah with full submission). She said: “O chiefs! Advise me in (this) case of mine. I decide no case till you are present with me (and give me your opinions).” They said: “We have great strength, and great ability for war, but it is for you to command: so think over what you will command.” She said: “Verily kings, when they enter a town (country), they despoil it and make the most honorable amongst its people the lowest. And thus they do. “But verily! I am going to send him a present, and see with what (answer) the Messengers return.”


The Kebra Negast

32. How the Queen brought forth and came to her own Country

   And the Queen departed and came into the country of BÂL ZADÎSÂRĔY nine months and five days after she p. 38 had separated from King SOLOMON. And the pains of childbirth laid hold upon her, and she brought forth a man child, and she gave it to the nurse with great pride and delight. And she tarried until the days of her purification were ended, and then she came to her own country with great pomp and ceremony. And her officers who had remained there brought gifts to their mistress, and made obeisance to her, and did homage to her, and all the borders of the country rejoiced at her coming. Those who were nobles among them she arrayed in splendid apparel, and to some she gave gold and silver, and hyacinthine and purple robes; and she gave them all manner of things that could be desired. And she ordered her kingdom aright, and none disobeyed her command; for she loved wisdom and God strengthened her kingdom.

   And the child grew and she called his name BAYNA-LEḤKEM. And the child reached the age of twelve years, and he asked his friends among the boys who were being educated with him, and said unto them, “Who is my father?” And they said unto him, “SOLOMON the King.” And he went to the Queen his mother, and said unto her, “O Queen, make me to know who is my father.” And the Queen spake unto him angrily, wishing to frighten him so that he might not desire to go [to his father] saying, “Why dost thou ask me about thy father? I am thy father and thy mother; seek not to know any more.” And the boy went forth from her presence, and sat down. And a second time, and a third time he asked her, and he importuned her to tell him. One day, however, she told him, saying, “His country is far away, and the road thither is very difficult; wouldst thou not rather be here?” And the youth BAYNA-LEḤKEM was handsome, and his whole body and his members, and the bearing of his shoulders resembled those of King SOLOMON his father, and his eyes, and his legs, and his p. 39 whole gait resembled those of SOLOMON the King. And when he was two and twenty years old he was skilled in the whole art of war and of horsemanship, and in the hunting and trapping of wild beasts, and in everything that young men are wont to learn. And he said unto the Queen, “I will go and look upon the face of my father, and I will come back here by the Will of God, the Lord of ISRAEL.”

39. How they made the Son of SOLOMON King


   And they made ready the ointment of the oil of kingship, and the sounds of the large horn, and the small horn, and the flute and the pipes, and the harp and the drum filled the air; and the city resounded with cries of joy and gladness. And they brought the young man into the Holy of Holies, and he laid hold upon the horns of the altar, and sovereignty was given unto him by the mouth of ZADOK the priest, and by the mouth of JOAS (BENAIAH) the priest, the commander of the army of King SOLOMON, and he anointed him with the holy oil of the ointment of kingship. And he went out from the house of the Lord, and they called his name DAVID, for the name of a king came to him by the law. And they made him to ride upon the mule of King SOLOMON, and they led him round about the city, and said, “We have appointed thee from this moment”; and then they cried out to him, “Bâḥ [Long] live the royal father!” And there were some who said, “It is meet and right that thy dominion ofETHIOPIA shall be from the River of EGYPT to the west of the sun (i.e., to the setting sun); blessed be thy seed upon the earth!—and from SHOA to the east of INDIA, for thou wilt please [the people of these lands]. And the Lord God ofISRAEL shall be unto thee a guide, and the Tabernacle of the Law of God shall be with all that thou lookest upon. And all thine enemies and foes shall be overthrown before thee, and completion and finish shall be p. 54 unto thee and unto thy seed after thee; thou shalt judge many nations and none shall judge thee.” And again his father blessed him and said unto him, “The blessing of heaven and earth shall be thy blessing,” and all the congregation of ISRAEL said, “Amen.” And his father also said unto ZADOK the priest, “Make him to know and tell him concerning the judgment and decree of God which he shall observe there” [in ETHIOPIA].


The story of Solomon and the queen was popular among Copts, as shown by fragments of a Coptic legend preserved in a Berlin papyrus. The queen, having been subdued by deceit, gives Solomon a pillar on which all earthly science is inscribed. Solomon sends one of his demons to fetch the pillar from Ethiopia, whence it instantly arrives. In a Coptic poem, queen Yesaba of Cush asks riddles of Solomon.[30]


Solomon and the Queen of Sheba,Konrad Witz

The fullest and most significant version of the legend appears in the Kebra Nagast (Glory of the Kings), the Ethiopian national saga, translated from Arabic in 1322.[31][32][33] Here Menelik I is the child of Solomon and Makeda (the Ethiopic name of Bilkis) from whom the Ethiopian dynasty claims descent to the present day. While the Abyssinian story offers much greater detail, it omits any mention of the Queen’s hairy legs or any other element that might reflect on her unfavourably.[1][34]

Based on the Gospels of Matthew (12:42) and Luke (11:31), the “queen of the South” is claimed to be the queen of Ethiopia. In those times, King Solomon sought merchants from all over the world, in order to buy materials for the building of the Temple. Among them was Tamrin, great merchant of Queen Makeda of Ethiopia. Having returned to Ethiopia, Tamrin told the queen of the wonderful things he had seen in Jerusalem, and of Solomon’s wisdom and generosity, whereupon she decided to visit Solomon. She was warmly welcomed, given a palace for dwelling, and received great gifts every day. Solomon and Makeda spoke with great wisdom, and instructed by him, she converted to Judaism. Before she left, there was a great feast in the king’s palace. Makeda stayed in the palace overnight, after Solomon had sworn that he would not do her any harm, while she swore in return that she would not steal from him. As the meals had been spicy, Makeda awoke thirsty at night, and went to drink some water, when Solomon appeared, reminding her of her oath. She answered: “Ignore your oath, just let me drink water.” That same night, Solomon had a dream about the sun rising over Israel, but being mistreated and despised by the Jews, the sun moved to shine over Ethiopia and Rome (i. e. the Byzantine empire). Solomon gave Makeda a ring as a token of faith, and then she left. On her way home, she gave birth to a son, whom she named Baina-leḥkem (i. e. bin al-ḥakīm, “Son of the Wise Man”, later called Menilek). After the boy had grown up in Ethiopia, he went to Jerusalem carrying the ring, and was received with great honors. The king and the people tried in vain to persuade him to stay. Solomon gathered his nobles and announced that he would send his first-born son to Ethiopia together with their first-borns. He added that he was expecting a third son, who would marry the king of Rome’s daughter and reign over Rome, so that the entire world would be ruled by David’s descendants. Then Baina-leḥkem was anointed king by Zadok the high priest, and he took the name David. The first-born nobles who followed him are named, and even today some Ethiopian families claim their ancestry from them. Prior to leaving, the priests’ sons had stolen the Ark of the Covenant, after their leader Azaryas had offered a sacrifice as commanded by one God’s angel. With much wailing, the procession left Jerusalem on a wind cart lead and carried by the archangel Michael. Having arrived at the Red Sea, Azaryas revealed to the people that the Ark is with them. David prayed to the Ark and the people rejoiced, singing, dancing, blowing horns and flutes, and beating drums. The Ark showed its miraculous powers during the crossing of the stormy Sea, and all arrived unscathed. When Solomon learned that the Ark had been stolen, he sent a horseman after the thieves, and even gave chase himself, but neither could catch them. Solomon returned to Jerusalem, and gave orders to the priests to remain silent about the theft and to place a copy of the Ark in the Temple, so that the foreign nations could not say that Israel had lost its fame.[35][36]

According to some sources, Queen Makeda was part of the dynasty founded by Za Besi Angabo in 1370 B.C., with her grandfather and father being the last male rulers of the royal line. The family’s intended choice to rule Aksum was Makeda’s brother, Prince Nourad, but his early death led to her succession to the throne. She apparently ruled the Ethiopian kingdom for more than 50 years.[37]

In the Ethiopian Book of Aksum, Makeda is described as establishing a new capital city at Azeba.

Edward Ullendorff holds that Makeda is a corruption of Candace, the name or title of several Ethiopian queens from Meroe or Seba. Candace was the name of that queen of the Ethiopians whose chamberlain was converted to Christianity under the preaching of Philip the Evangelist(Acts 8:27) in 30 A.D. In the 14th century (?) Ethiopic version of the Alexander romanceAlexander the Great of Macedonia (Ethiopic Meqédon) is said to have met a queen Kandake of Nubia.[38]

Historians believe that the Solomonic dynasty actually began in 1270 with the emperor Yekuno Amlak, who, with the support of the Ethiopian Church, overthrew the Zagwe Dynasty, which had ruled Ethiopia since sometime during the 10th century. The link to King Solomon provided a strong foundation for Ethiopian national unity. Despite the fact that the dynasty officially ended in 1769 with Emperor Iyaos, Ethiopian rulers continued to trace their connection to it, right up to the last 20th-century emperor, Haile Selassie.[34]

According to one tradition, the Ethiopian Jews (Beta Israel, “Falashas”) also trace their ancestry to Menelik I, son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.[39] An opinion that appears more historical is that the Falashas descend from those Jews who settled in Egypt after the first exile, and who, upon the fall of the Persian domination (539–333 B.C.) on the borders of the Nile, penetrated into the Sudan, whence they went into the western parts of Abyssinia.[40]


The Yoruba Ijebu clan of Ijebu-OdeNigeria, claim that she was a noblewoman of theirs known as Oloye Bilikisu Sungbo, which is similar to the queen’s name mentioned in the Quran. They also assert that a medieval system of walls and ditches, built sometime around the 10th century, was dedicated to her.

After excavations in 1999 the archaeologist Patrick Darling was quoted as saying, “I don’t want to overplay the Sheba theory, but it cannot be discounted… The local people believe it and that’s what is important… The most cogent argument against it at the moment is the dating.”[41]



See also

DNA of the Pharaoh Ramses III

 Niger Congo & Subsaharan Bantu DNA


DNA Genesis – The Children Of Adam – National Geographic Documentary Films – Full HD Documentaries

This documentary covers the history of Humans and world civilisation. The migration from Subsaharan Africa to the Middle East,  Central Asia America and the entire world.


DNA of the Pharaoh Ramses III


The researchers say that there was probably a pulse of sub-Saharan African DNA into Egypt roughly 700 years ago. The mixing of ancient Egyptians and Africans from further south means that modern Egyptians can trace 8% more of their ancestry to sub-Saharan Africans than can the mummies from Abusir el-Meleq.


A 2012 study done on the mummified remains of Ramesses III and his son determined that both y-chromosomes belonged to Haplogroup E1b1a (Y-DNA). The pharaoh’s y-chromosome belongs to the most frequent haplogroup among contemporary Sub-Saharan y-chromosomes.[22] -Wikipedia



The pictures above are of the Pharoah skeleton and modern lookalikes.

Below is a collage of East Africans, descendants of the Pharoahs by blood look at the similarity and bone structure. The Afro Asiatic nation. In West Africa they are the Housa, Fula, Fulani to name a few.  When they find the mummies of these ancestors some make claims that they are Caucasian no the Caucasians came from them. These East Africans like Ramses III are part of the Subsaharan Nilotic Afro Asiatic race.


DNA Ancient Egypt Pharoah’s

The Afroasiatic family (Afro-Asiatic), also known as Afrasian and traditionally as Hamito-Semitic (Chamito-Semitic),[3] is a large language family of about 300 languages and dialects.[4] It includes languages spoken predominantly in West AsiaNorth Africa, the Horn of Africa and parts of the Sahel.


The above shows exactly what is proven by the bible and the people of Africa. The Afro Asiatic race is a mix of Ham and Shem. They are African and Asian and originated in Africa before Israel was cut off as the middle east. Hamito-Semitic (Chamito-Semitic), Israel was and is North Africa. The Suez  Canal is man made to separate the land from Africa.  

Read more:






Haplogroup E-V38 is a human Y-chromosome DNA haplogroup. It is primarily distributed in Africa. E-V38 has two basal branches, E-M329 (formerly E1b1c) and E-M2 (formerly E1b1a). The E-M329 subclade is today almost exclusively found in Ethiopia. E-M2 is the predominant subclade in Western AfricaCentral AfricaSouthern Africa and the African Great Lakes, and occurs at moderate frequencies in North Africa and Middle East. E-M2 has several subclades, but many of these subhaplogroups are included in either E-L485 or E-U175.



Below Tutsi Jews and King Tutankhamun









The Semitic languages[2][3] are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East.

  1. a member of any of the peoples who speak or spoke a Semitic language, including in particular the Jews and Arabs.
    noun: Hebrew; plural noun: Hebrews
    1. 1.
      a member of an ancient people living in what is now Israel and Palestine and, according to biblical tradition, descended from the patriarch Jacob, grandson of Abraham. After the Exodus (c.1300 BC) they established the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, and their scriptures and traditions form the basis of the Jewish religion.
      • datedoffensive
        a Jew.
    2. 2.
      the Semitic language spoken by the Hebrews, in its ancient or modern form.
    adjective: Hebrew
    1. 1.
      of or in Hebrew.
    2. 2.
      of the Hebrews or the Jews.
    from Old French Ebreu, via Latin from late Greek Hebraios, from Aramaic ‘iḇray, based on Hebrew ‘iḇrî understood to mean ‘one from the other side (of the river)’.





    one of a scattered group of people that traces its descent from the Biblical Hebrews or from post exilicadherents of Judaism; Israelite.


    a person whose religion is Judaism.


    a subject of the ancient kingdom of Judah.


    There was a mix of cultures in Egypt




A Description of the Afro-Asiatic (Hamito-Semitic) Language FamilyCory D. Crawford
Linguistics 450
Dr. HallenIn contrast to the Indo-European Language Family, about which much research has been done over the past two centuries, relatively little is known about the former Hamito-Semitic Language Family, now known as the Afro-Asiatic Family. (While much research has been accomplished with the Semitic Languages because of Arabic and Hebraic religious ties, little has been done with the Afro-Asiatic family as a whole.) This paper will describe this language family as is current with modern scholarly thought, and will also acknowledge current research having to do with the Afro-Asiatic Family.This family spreads itself over the northern third of Africa and into western Asia (also known as the Near East), and 175 million people speak languages that belong to this family (Ruhlen 1987:86). It is thought to be the parent of at least 250 languages (Bomhard and Kearns 1994:24). The name Hamito-Semitic was applied to describe the two main phyla (Hamitic and Semitic) that philologists of African languages connected in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Hamitic branch included Ancient Egyptian (an extinct language known as Coptic in its final stages), Berber, and Cushitic, while the Semitic branch included the well-documented Arabic, Hebrew, and Akkadian. (More will be said about these phyla shortly.) In 1949 American linguist Joseph H. Greenberg drew different lines in Afro-Asiatic classification. He showed that the Hamitic languages did not bear enough resemblance to be classified as one subgroup, but that each of the three (Egyptian, Berber, and Cushitic) constituted its own subgroup. Thus the name ‘Hamitic’ was no longer valid and possibly racist (Ruhlen 1987:82). He therefore coined “Afro-Asiatic” as the name for this family. It included the six groups Ancient Egyptian, Omotic, Cushitic, Semitic, Berber, and Chadic, found on the following map:

Fig. 1 Afro-Asiatic Language Family. Adapted from Ruhlen 1987.

Bomhard postulates that from Proto-Afroasiatic (henceforth PAA), Chadic was the first to break off. Omotic and Cushitic followed the example and split together, as did Egyptian, Berber, and Semitic in another group. Next, Egyptian followed by Berber split from the Semitic languages (Bomhard and Kearns 1994:24). Before we seek to describe each subgroup, we will describe their mother, PAA.





Below Jews Exiled in Africa map


Consider Ramses bloodline a mix of Hamitic and Semetic Africans. African and Middle Eastern blood.



a member of a Semitic people inhabiting Arabia andother  countries of the Middle East.


a member of any Arabic-speaking people.


                    See the below images of Arab descendants.




The above mixed with the below



Creating the different sects of the Afro Asiatic family



Some Africans such as the Bantu and Khoisan carry Asian genes developed in Africa. The people then migrated out of Africa to the East.

Somalian results below North African Bantu and Middle Eastern mix










Bantu peoples is used as a general label for the 300–600 ethnic groups in Africa who speak Bantu languages.[1] They inhabit a geographical area stretching east and southward from Central Africa across the African Great Lakes region down to Southern Africa.[1] Bantu is a major branch of the Niger–Congo language family spoken by most populations in Africa. There are about 650 Bantu languages by the criterion of mutual intelligibility,[2] though the distinction between language and dialect is often unclear, and Ethnologue counts 535 languages.[3] Bantu peoples is used as a general label for the 300–600 ethnic groups in Africa who speakBantu languages.[1] They inhabit a geographical area stretching east and southward from Central Africa across the African Great Lakes region down to Southern Africa.[1] Bantu is a major branch of the Niger–Congo language family spoken by most populations in Africa. There are about 650 Bantu languages by the criterion of mutual intelligibility,[2] though the distinction between language and dialect is often unclear, and Ethnologue counts 535 languages.[3]

Around 3,000 years ago, speakers of the Proto-Bantu language group began a millennia-long series of migrations eastward from their homeland between West Africa and Central Africa, at the border of eastern Nigeria and Cameroon.[4] This Bantu expansion first introduced Bantu peoples to central, southern and southeastern Africa, regions they had previously been absent from. The proto-Bantu migrants in the process assimilated and/or displaced a number of earlier inhabitants that they came across, such as Pygmy and Khoisan populations in the centre and south, respectively. They also encountered some Afro-Asiatic outlier groups in the southeast who had been there for centuries, having migrated from Northeast Africa.[5][6]Around 3,000 years ago, speakers of the Proto-Bantu language group began a millennia-long series of migrations eastward from their homeland between West Africa and Central Africa, at the border of eastern Nigeria and Cameroon.[4] This Bantu expansion first introduced Bantu peoples to central, southern and southeastern Africa, regions they had previously been absent from. The proto-Bantu migrants in the process assimilated and/or displaced a number of earlier inhabitants that they came across, such as Pygmy and Khoisan populations in the centre and south, respectively. They also encountered some Afro-Asiatic outlier groups in the southeast who had been there for centuries, having migrated fromNortheast Africa.[5][6]


In the above picture lines 1 & 2  are clearly East Africans Semetic. Pictures 7 8 9 are West African and would have been classed as non Semetic as their religions were possibly ancestor worship or other polytheistic religions. 3 & 7  are possible Semetic West Africans from Ghanian and Congo region. 9 possibly a Bantu descendant. My opinion based on various categorisations of 17th-19th Century literature. The above picture states that the non Semetic African Negroes are improperly called Bantu.  Bantu migrated from West Africa and this could be the reason why they had been in incorrectly all named Bantu from the West African region.  There are some descendants of Bantu in West Africa. The Bantu are clear about their migrations through West African and modern Sudan to South Africa.





Above  East Africans & West Africans.


Human origins & migrations

You’ve probably heard the claim that Africa is ‘the birthplace of humanity’. But before there were humans, or even apes, or even ape ancestors, there was…rock. Africa is the oldest and most enduring landmass in the world. When you stand on African soil, 97% of what’s under your feet has been in place for more than 300 million years. During that time, Africa has seen pretty much everything – from proto-bacteria to dinosaurs and finally, around five to 10 million years ago, a special kind of ape called Australopithecines, that branched off (or rather let go of the branch), and walked on two legs down a separate evolutionary track.

This radical move led to the development of various hairy, dim-witted hominids (early men) – Homo habilis around 2.4 million years ago, Homo erectus some 1.8 million years ago and finally Homo sapiens (modern humans) around 200,000 years ago. Around 50,000 years later, somewhere in Tanzania or Ethiopia, a woman was born who has become known as ‘mitochondrial Eve’. We don’t know what she looked like, or how she lived her life, but we do know that every single human being alive today (yup, that’s EVERYONE) is descended from her. So at a deep genetic level, we’re all still Africans.

The break from Africa into the wider world occurred around 100,000 years ago, when a group numbering perhaps as few as 50 people migrated out of North Africa, along the shores of the Mediterranean and into the Middle East. From this inauspicious start came a population that would one day cover almost every landmass on the globe.

Around the time that people were first venturing outside the continent, hunting and gathering was still the lifestyle of choice; humans lived in communities that rarely exceeded a couple of hundred individuals, and social bonds were formed to enable these small bands of people to share food resources and hunt co-operatively. With the evolution of language, these bonds blossomed into the beginnings of society and culture as we know it today.

The first moves away from the nomadic hunter–gatherer way of life came between 14,000 BC and 9500 BC, a time when rainfall was high and the Sahara and North Africa became verdant. It was in these green and pleasant lands that the first farmers were born, and mankind learned to cultivate crops rather than following prey animals from place to place.

By 2500 BC the rains began to fail and the sandy barrier between North and West Africa became the Sahara we know today. People began to move southwest into the rainforests of Central Africa. By this time a group of people speaking the same kind of languages had come to dominate the landscape in Africa south of the Sahara. Known as the Bantu, their populations grew as they discovered iron-smelting technology and developed new agricultural techniques. By 100 BC, Bantu peoples had reached East Africa; by AD 300 they were living in southern Africa, and the age of the African empires had begun.

See also this

Recent research published in the October 2017 issue of American Journal of Human Genetics found that genomes of modern human groups originating outside Africa contain between 1.8 and 2.6 percent Neanderthal DNA. “Neandertal DNA is one source of variation for many traits in modern humans,” study lead author Michael Dannemann, a computational biologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, told Live Science. [Your Hair Color and Sleep Habits May Come from Neanderthals]

Another 2017 study by author Kay Prüfer, a paleogeneticist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, found that modern-human DNA entered the Neanderthal gene pool between 130,000 and 145,000 years ago. [You May Be More ‘Neanderthal’ Than You Thought]


Neanderthals lived during the Ice Age. They often took shelter from the ice, snow and otherwise unpleasant weather in Eurasia’s plentiful limestone caves. Many of their fossils have been found in caves, leading to the popular idea of them as “cave men.”

Like other humans, Neanderthals originated in Africa but migrated to Eurasia long before other humans did. Neanderthals lived across Eurasia, as far north and west as the Britain, through part of the Middle East, to Uzbekistan. Popular estimates put the peak Neanderthal population around 70,000, though some scientists put the number drastically lower, at around 3,500 females.


Now some try to claim North and East African and Middle Eastern people are a Caucasian race and the Egyptians were white. No! The first humans were black. The European looking Egyptians arrived later. Those ancient white Egyptian bodies that have been found are from the descendants of African’s who left black and populated the world some mixing with neanderthals and moving to cold countries. When the Asyrians Turks, Romans entered or re entered Egypt they returned caucasian and are not the original inhabitants of the land. The first people to populate the Mediteranian and America’s were black.  Civilisation started in Africa and Egypt was part of Afri Ka. Africa is the Spirit of the blacks. The black land has been targeted due to the wisdom and knowledge within it. The world refuses to admit that black people, the first on earth, could possibly create all that they did. Some would prefer to think Caucasians or Aliens made the Pyramids than to admit that it was Africans in their own land.


The head has become the tail.

The Negro by W.E.B. Du Bois

The Negro, by W.E.B. Du Bois, [1915], at

p. 17

The below article is from

It only looks at Egypt Ethiopia and Sudan and information on Negroland can be found by doing a search on the Hebrew Israelites or Transatlantic slave trade on this blog.


The valleys of the Nile and of the Congo, the borders of the great Gulf of Guinea, the Sudan, and South Africa. These divisions do not cover all of Negro Africa, but they take in the main areas and the main lines in development.

First, we turn to the valley of the Nile, perhaps the most ancient of known seats of civilization in the world, and certainly the oldest in Africa, with a culture reaching back six or eight thousand years. Like all civilizations it drew largely from without and undoubtedly arose in the valley of the Nile, because that valley was so easily made a center for the meeting of men of all types and from all parts of the world. At the same time Egyptian civilization seems to have been African in its beginnings and in its main line of development, despite strong influences from all parts of Asia. Of what race, then, were the Egyptians? They certainly were not white in any sense of the modern use of that word–neither in color nor physical measurement, in hair nor countenance, in language nor social customs. They stood in relationship nearest the Negro race in earliest times, and then gradually through the infiltration of Mediterranean and Semitic elements became what would be described in America as a light mulatto stock of Octoroons or Quadroons. This stock was varied continually: now by new infiltration of Negro blood from the south, now by Negroid and Semitic blood from the east, now by Berber types from the north and west.

Egyptian monuments show distinctly Negro and mulatto faces. Herodotus, in an incontrovertible passage, alludes to the Egyptians as “black and curly-haired” 1–a peculiarly significant statement from

p. 18

one used to the brunette Mediterranean type; in another passage, concerning the fable of the Dodonian Oracle, he again alludes to the swarthy color of the Egyptians as exceedingly dark and even black. Æschylus, mentioning a boat seen from the shore, declares that its crew are Egyptians, because of their black complexions.

Modern measurements, with all their admitted limitations, show that in the Thebaid from one-seventh to one-third of the Egyptian population were Negroes, and that of the predynastic Egyptians less than half could be classed as non-Negroid. Judging from measurements in the tombs of nobles as late as the eighteenth dynasty, Negroes form at least one-sixth of the higher class. 1

Such measurements are by no means conclusive, but they are apt to be under rather than over statements of the prevalence of Negro blood. Head measurements of Negro Americans would probably place most of them in the category of whites. The evidence of language also connects Egypt with Africa and the Negro race rather than with Asia, while religious ceremonies and social customs all go to strengthen this evidence.

The ethnic history of Northeast Africa would seem, therefore, to have been this: predynastic Egypt was settled by Negroes from Ethiopia. They were of varied type: the broad-nosed, woolly-haired type to which the word “Negro” is sometimes confined; the black, curly-haired, sharper featured type, which must be considered an equally Negroid variation. These Negroes met and mingled with the invading Mediterranean race from North Africa and Asia. Thus the blood of the sallower race spread south and that of the darker race north. Black priests appear in Crete three thousand years before Christ, and Arabia is to this day thoroughly permeated with Negro blood. Perhaps, as Chamberlain says, “one of the prime reasons why no civilization of the type of that of the Nile arose in other parts of the continent, if such a thing were at all possible, was that Egypt acted as a sort of channel by which the genius of Negro-land was drafted off into the service of Mediterranean and Asiatic culture.” 2

To one familiar with the striking and beautiful types arising from the mingling of Negro with Latin and Germanic types in America, the puzzle of the Egyptian type is easily solved. It was unlike any of its neighbors and a unique type until one views the modern mulatto; then the faces of Rahotep and Nefert, of Khafra and Amenemhat I,

p. 19

of Aahmes and Nefertari, and even of the great Ramessu II, become curiously familiar.

The history of Egypt is a science in itself. Before the reign of the first recorded king, five thousand years or more before Christ, there had already existed in Egypt a culture and art arising by long evolution from the days of paleolithic man, among a distinctly Negroid people. About 4777 B.C. Aha-Mena began the first of three successive Egyptian empires. This lasted two thousand years, with many Pharaohs, like Khafra of the Fourth Dynasty, of a strongly Negroid cast of countenance.

At the end of the period the empire fell apart into Egyptian and Ethiopian halves, and a silence of three centuries ensued. It is quite possible that an incursion of conquering black men from the south poured over the land in these years and dotted Egypt in the next centuries with monuments on which the full-blooded Negro type is strongly and triumphantly impressed. The great Sphinx at Gizeh, so familiar to all the world, the Sphinxes of Tanis, the statue from the Fayum, the statue of the Esquiline at Rome, and the Colossi of Bubastis all represent black, full-blooded Negroes and are described by Petrie as “having high cheek bones, flat checks, both in one plane, a massive nose, firm projecting lips, and thick hair, with an austere and almost savage expression of power.” 1

Blyden, the great modern black leader of West Africa, said of the Sphinx at Gizeh: “Her features are decidedly of the African or Negro type, with ‘expanded nostrils.’ If, then, the Sphinx was placed here–looking out in majestic and mysterious silence over the empty plain where once stood the great city of Memphis in all its pride and glory, as an ’emblematic representation of the king’–is not the inference clear as to the peculiar type or race to which that king belonged?” 2

The middle empire arose 3064 B.C. and lasted nearly twenty-four centuries. Under Pharaohs whose Negro descent is plainly evident, like Amenemhat I and III and Usertesen I, the ancient glories of Egypt were restored and surpassed. At the same time there is strong continuous pressure from the wild and unruly Negro tribes of the upper Nile valley, and we get some idea of the fear which they inspired throughout Egypt when we read of the great national rejoicing which followed the triumph of Usertesen III (c. 2660-22) over

p. 20

these hordes. He drove them back and attempted to confine them to the edge of the Nubian Desert above the Second Cataract. Hemmed in here, they set up a state about this time and founded Nepata.

Notwithstanding this repulse of black men, less than one hundred years later a full-blooded Negro from the south, Ra Nehesi, was seated on the throne of the Pharaohs and was called “The king’s eldest son.” This may mean that an incursion from the far south had placed a black conqueror on the throne. At any rate, the whole empire was in some way shaken, and two hundred years later the invasion of the Hyksos began. The domination of Hyksos kings who may have been Negroids from Asia 1 lasted for five hundred years.

The redemption of Egypt from these barbarians came from Upper Egypt, led by the mulatto Aahmes. He founded in 1703 B.C. the new empire, which lasted fifteen hundred years. His queen, Nefertari, “the most venerated figure of Egyptian history,” 2 was a Negress of great beauty, strong personality, and of unusual administrative force. She was for many years joint ruler with her son, Amenhotep I, who succeeded his father. 3

The new empire was a period of foreign conquest and internal splendor and finally of religious dispute and overthrow. Syria was conquered in these reigns and Asiatic civilization and influences poured in upon Egypt. The great Tahutmes, III, whose reign was “one of the grandest and most eventful in Egyptian history,” 4 had a strong Negroid countenance, as had also Queen Hatshepsut, who sent the celebrated expedition to reopen ancient trade with the Hottentots of Punt. A new strain of Negro blood came to the royal line through Queen Mutemua about 1420 B.C., whose son, Amenhotep III, built a great temple at Luqsor and the Colossi at Memnon.

The whole of the period in a sense culminated in the great Ramessu II, the oppressor of the Hebrews, who with his Egyptian, Libyan, and Negro armies fought half the world. His reign, however, was the beginning of decline, and foes began to press Egypt from the white north and the black south. The priests transferred their power at Thebes, while the Assyrians under Nimrod overran

p. 21

[paragraph continues]Lower Egypt. The center of interest is now transferred to Ethiopia, and we pass to the more shadowy history of that land.

The most perfect example of Egyptian poetry left to us is a celebration of the prowess of Usertesen III in confining the turbulent Negro tribes to the territory below the Second Cataract of the Nile. The Egyptians called this territory Kush, and in the farthest confines of Kush lay Punt, the cradle of their race. To the ancient Mediterranean world Ethiopia (i.e., the Land of the Black-faced) was a region of gods and fairies. Zeus and Poseidon feasted each year among the “blameless Ethiopians,” and Black Memnon, King of Ethiopia, was one of the greatest of heroes.

“The Ethiopians conceive themselves,” says Diodorus Siculus (Lib. III), “to be of greater antiquity than any other nation; and it is probable that, born under the sun’s path, its warmth may have ripened them earlier than other men. They suppose themselves also to be the inventors of divine worship, of festivals, of solemn assemblies, of sacrifices, and every religious practice. They affirm that the Egyptians are one of their colonies.”

The Egyptians themselves, in later days, affirmed that they and their civilization came from the south and from the black tribes of Punt, and certainly “at the earliest period in which human remains have been recovered Egypt and Lower Nubia appear to have formed culturally and racially one land.” 1

The forging ahead of Egypt in culture was mainly from economic causes. Ethiopia, living in a much poorer land with limited agricultural facilities, held to the old arts and customs, and at the same time lost the best elements of its population to Egypt, absorbing meantime the oncoming and wilder Negro tribes from the south and west. Under the old empire, therefore, Ethiopia remained in comparative poverty, except as some of its tribes invaded Egypt with their handicrafts.

As soon as the civilization below the Second Cataract reached a height noticeably above that of Ethiopia, there was continued effort to protect that civilization against the incursion of barbarians. Hundreds of campaigns through thousands of years repeatedly subdued or checked the blacks and brought them in as captives to mingle their blood with the Egyptian nation; but the Egyptian frontier was not advanced.

A separate and independent Ethiopian culture finally began to

p. 22

arise during the middle empire of Egypt and centered at Nepata and Meroe. Widespread trade in gold, ivory, precious stones, skins, wood, and works of handicraft arose. 1 The Negro began to figure as the great trader of Egypt.

This new wealth of Ethiopia excited the cupidity of the Pharaohs and led to aggression and larger intercourse, until at last, when the dread Hyksos appeared, Ethiopia became both a physical and cultural refuge for conquered Egypt. The legitimate Pharaohs moved to Thebes, nearer the boundaries of Ethiopia, and from here, under Negroid rulers, Lower Egypt was redeemed.

The ensuing new empire witnessed the gradual incorporation of Ethiopia into Egypt, although the darker kingdom continued to resist. Both mulatto Pharaohs, Aahmes and Amenhotep I, sent expeditions into Ethiopia, and in the latter’s day sons of the reigning Pharaoh began to assume the title of “Royal Son of Kush” in some such way as the son of the King of England becomes the Prince of Wales.

Trade relations were renewed with Punt under circumstances which lead us to place that land in the region of the African lakes. The Sudanese tribes were aroused by these and other incursions, until the revolts became formidable in the fourteenth century before Christ.

Egyptian culture, however, gradually conquered Ethiopia where her armies could not, and Egyptian religion and civil rule began to center in the darker kingdom. When, therefore, Shesheng I, the Libyan, usurped the throne of the Pharaohs in the tenth century B.C., the Egyptian legitimate dynasty went to Nepata as king priests and established a theocratic monarchy. Gathering strength, the Ethiopian kingdom under this dynasty expanded north about 750 B.C. and for a century ruled all Egypt.

The first king, Pankhy, was Egyptian bred and not noticeably Negroid, but his successors showed more and more evidence of Negro blood–Kashta the Kushite, Shabaka, Tarharqa, and Tanutamen. During the century of Ethiopian rule a royal son was appointed to rule Egypt, just as formerly a royal Egyptian had ruled Kush. In many ways this Ethiopian kingdom showed its Negro peculiarities: first, in its worship of distinctly Sudanese gods; secondly, in the rigid custom of female succession in the kingdom, and thirdly, by the election of kings from the various royal claimants to the throne. “It

p. 23

was the heyday of the Negro. For the greater part of the century. . . . Egypt itself was subject to the blacks, just as in the new empire the Sudan had been subject to Egypt.” 1

Egypt now began to fall into the hands of Asia and was conquered first by the Assyrians and then by the Persians, but the Ethiopian kings kept their independence. Aspeluta, whose mother and sister are represented as full-blooded Negroes, ruled from 630 to 600 B.C. Horsiatef (560-525 B.C.) made nine expeditions against the warlike tribes south of Meroe, and his successor, Nastosenen (525-500 B.C.) was the one who repelled Cambyses. He also removed the capital from Nepata to Meroe, although Nepata continued to be the religious capital and the Ethiopian kings were still crowned on its golden throne.

From the fifth to the second century B.C. we find the wild Sudanese tribes pressing in from the west and Greek culture penetrating from the east. King Arg-Amen (Ergamenes) showed strong Greek influences and at the same time began to employ the Ethiopian speech in writing and used a new Ethiopian alphabet.

While the Ethiopian kings were still crowned at Nepata, Meroe gradually became the real capital and supported at one time four thousand artisans and two hundred thousand soldiers. It was here that the famous Candaces reigned as queens. Pliny tells us that one Candace of the time of Nero had had forty-four predecessors on the throne, while another Candace figures in the New Testament. 2

It was probably this latter Candace who warred against Rome at the time of Augustus and received unusual consideration from her formidable foe. The prestige of Ethiopia at this time was considerable throughout the world. Pseudo-Callisthenes tells an evidently fabulous story of the visit of Alexander the Great to Candace, Queen of Meroe, which nevertheless illustrates her fame: Candace will not let him enter Ethiopia and says he is not to scorn her people because they are black, for they are whiter in soul than his white folk. She sent him gold, maidens, parrots, sphinxes, and a crown of emeralds and pearls. She ruled eighty tribes, who were ready to punish those who attacked her.

The Romans continued to have so much trouble with their Ethiopian frontier that finally, when Semitic mulattoes appeared in the east, the Emperor Diocletian invited the wild Sudanese tribe of

p. 24

[paragraph continues]Nubians (Nobadæ) from the west to repel them. These Nubians eventually embraced Christianity, and northern Ethiopia came to be known in time as Nubia.

The Semitic mulattoes from the east came from the highlands bordering the Red Sea and Asia. On both sides of this sea Negro blood is strongly in evidence, predominant in Africa and influential in Asia. Ludolphus, writing in the seventeenth century, says that the Abyssinians “are generally black, which [color] they most admire.” Trade and war united the two shores, and merchants have passed to and fro for thirty centuries.

In this way Arabian, Jewish, Egyptian, Greek, and Roman influences spread slowly upon the Negro foundation. Early legendary history declares that a queen, Maqueda, or Nikaula of Sheba, a state of Central Abyssinia, visited Solomon in 1050 B.C. and had her son Menelik educated in Jerusalem. This was the supposed beginning of the Axumite kingdom, the capital of which, Axume, was a flourishing center of trade. Ptolemy Evergetes and his successors did much to open Abyssinia to the world, but most of the population of that day was nomadic. In the fourth century Byzantine influences began to be felt, and in 330 St. Athanasius of Alexandria consecrated Fromentius as Bishop of Ethiopia. He tutored the heir to the Abyssinian kingdom and began its gradual christianization. By the early part of the sixth century Abyssinia was trading with India and Byzantium and was so far recognized as a Christian country that the Emperor Justinian appealed to King Kaleb to protect the Christians in southwestern Arabia. Kaleb conquered Yemen in 525 and held it fifty years.

Eventually a Jewish princess, Judith, usurped the Axumite throne; the Abyssinians were expelled from Arabia, and a long period begins when as Gibbon says, “encompassed by the enemies of their religion, the Ethiopians slept for nearly a thousand years, forgetful of the world by whom they were forgotten.” Throughout the middle ages, however, the legend of a great Christian kingdom hidden away in Africa persisted, and the search for Prester John became one of the world quests.

It was the expanding power of Abyssinia that led Rome to call in the Nubians from the western desert. The Nubians had formed a strong league of tribes, and as the ancient kingdom of Ethiopia declined they drove back the Abyssinians, who had already established themselves at Meroe.

p. 25

In the sixth century the Nubians were converted to Christianity by a Byzantine priest, and they immediately began to develop. A new capital, Dongola, replaced Nepata and Meroe, and by the twelfth century churches and brick dwellings had appeared. As the Mohammedan flood pressed up the Nile valley it was the Nubians that held it back for two centuries.

Farther south other wild tribes pushed out of the Sudan and began a similar development. Chief among these were the Fung, who fixed their capital at Senaar, at the junction of the White and Blue Nile. When the Mohammedan flood finally passed over Nubia, the Fung diverted it by declaring themselves Moslems. This left the Fung as the dominant power in the fifteenth century from the Three Cataracts to Fazogli and from the Red Sea at Suakin to the White Nile. Islam then swept on south in a great circle, skirted the Great Lakes, and then curled back to Somaliland, completely isolating Abyssinia.

Between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries the Egyptian Sudan became a congeries of Mohammedan kingdoms with Arab, mulatto, and Negro kings. Far to the west, near Lake Chad, arose in 1520 the sultanate of Baghirmi, which reached its highest power in the seventh century. This dynasty was overthrown by the Negroid Mabas, who established Wadai to the eastward about 1640. South of Wadai lay the heathen and cannibals of the Congo valley, against which Islam never prevailed. East of Wadai and nearer the Nile lay the kindred state of Darfur, a Nubian nation whose sultans reigned over two hundred years and which reached great prosperity in the early seventeenth century under Soliman Solon.

Before the Mohammedan power reached Abyssinia the Portuguese pioneers had entered the country from the east and begun to open the country again to European knowledge. Without doubt, in the centuries of silence, a civilization of some height had flourished in Abyssinia, but all authentic records were destroyed by fire in the tenth century. When the Portuguese came, the older Axumite kingdom had fallen and had been succeeded by a number of petty states.

The Sudanese kingdoms of the Sudan resisted the power of the Mameluke beys in Egypt, and later the power of the Turks until the nineteenth century, when the Sudan was made nominally a part of Egypt. Continuous upheaval, war, and conquest had by this time done their work, and little of ancient Ethiopian culture survived except the slave trade.

The entrance of England into Egypt, after the building of the

p. 26

Suez Canal, stirred up eventually revolt in the Sudan, for political, economic, and religious reasons. Led by a Sudanese Negro, Mohammed Ahmad, who claimed to be the Messiah (Mahdi), the Sudan arose in revolt in 1881, determined to resist a hated religion, foreign rule, and interference with their chief commerce, the trade in slaves. The Sudan was soon aflame, and the able mulatto general, Osman Digna, aided by revolt among the heathen Dinka, drove Egypt and England out of the Sudan for sixteen years. It was not until 1898 that England reëntered the Sudan and in petty revenge desecrated the bones of the brave, even if misguided, prophet.

Meantime this Mahdist revolt had delayed England’s designs on Abyssinia, and the Italians, replacing her, attempted a protectorate. Menelik of Shoa, one of the smaller kingdoms of Abyssinia, was a shrewd man of predominantly Negro blood, and had been induced to make a treaty with the Italians after King John had been killed by the Mahdists. The exact terms of the treaty were disputed, but undoubtedly the Italians tried by this means to reduce Menelik to vassalage. Menelik stoutly resisted, and at the great battle of Adua, one of the decisive battles of the modern world, the Abyssinians on March 1, 1896, inflicted a crushing defeat on the Italians, killing four thousand of them and capturing two thousand prisoners. The empress, Taitou, a full-blooded Negress, led some of the charges. By this battle Abyssinia became independent.

Such in vague and general outline is the strange story of the valley of the Nile–of Egypt, the motherland of human culture


p. 27


The Arabian expression “Bilad es Sudan” (Land of the Blacks) was applied to the whole region south of the Sahara, from the Atlantic to the Nile. It is a territory some thirty-five hundred miles by six hundred miles, containing two million square miles, and has to-day a population of perhaps eighty million. It is thus two-thirds the size of the United States and quite as thickly settled. In the western Sudan the Niger plays the same role as the Nile in the east. In this chapter we follow the history of the Niger.

The history of this part of Africa was probably something as follows: primitive man, entering Africa from Arabia, found the Great Lakes, spread in the Nile valley, and wandered westward to the Niger. Herodotus tells of certain youths who penetrated the desert to the Niger and found there a city of black dwarfs. Succeeding migrations of Negroes and Negroids pushed the dwarfs gradually into the inhospitable forests and occupied the Sudan, pushing on to the Atlantic. Here the newcomers, curling northward, met the Mediterranean race coming down across the western desert, while to the southward the Negro came to the Gulf of Guinea and the thick forests of the Congo valley. Indigenous civilizations arose on the west coast in Yoruba and Benin, and contact of these with the Mediterranean race in the desert, and with Egyptian and Arab from the east, gave rise to centers of Negro culture in the Sudan at Ghana and Melle and in Songhay, Nupe, the Hausa states, and Bornu.

The history of the Sudan thus leads us back again to Ethiopia, that strange and ancient center of world civilization whose inhabitants in the ancient world were considered to be the most pious and the oldest of men. From this center the black originators of African culture, and to a large degree of world culture, wandered not simply down the Nile, but also westward. These Negroes developed the

p. 28

original substratum of culture which later influences modified but never displaced.

We know that Egyptian Pharaohs in several cases ventured into the western Sudan and that Egyptian influences are distinctly traceable, Greek and Byzantine culture and Phœnician and Carthaginian trade also penetrated, while Islam finally made this whole land her own. Behind all these influences, however, stood from the first an indigenous Negro culture. The stone figures of Sherbro, the megaliths of Gambia, the art and industry of the west coast are all too deep and original evidences of civilization to be merely importations from abroad.

Nor was the Sudan the inert recipient of foreign influence when it came. According to credible legend, the “Great King” at Byzantium imported glass, tin, silver, bronze, cut stones, and other treasure from the Sudan. Embassies were sent and states like Nupe recognized the suzerainty of the Byzantine emperor. The people of Nupe especially were filled with pride when the Byzantine people learned certain kinds of work in bronze and glass from them, and this intercourse was only interrupted by the Mohammedan conquest.

To this ancient culture, modified somewhat by Byzantine and Christian influences, came Islam. It approached from the northwest, coming stealthily and slowly and being banded on particularly by the Mandingo Negroes. About 1000-1200 A.D. the situation was this: Ghana was on the edge of the desert in the north, Mandingoland between the Niger and the Senegal in the south and the western Sahara, Djolof was in the west on the Senegal, and the Songhay on the Niger in the center. The Mohammedans came chiefly as traders and found a trade already established. Here and there in the great cities were districts set aside for these new merchants, and the Mohammedans gave frequent evidence of their respect for these black nations.

Islam did not found new states, but modified and united Negro states already ancient; it did not initiate new commerce, but developed a widespread trade already established. It is, as Frobenius says, “easily proved from chronicles written in Arabic that Islam was only effective in fact as a fertilizer and stimulant. The essential point is the resuscitative and invigorative concentration of Negro power in the service of a new era and a Moslem propaganda, as well as the reaction thereby produced.” 1

p. 29

Early in the eighth century Islam had conquered North Africa and converted the Berbers. Aided by black soldiers, the Moslems crossed into Spain; in the following century Berber and Arab armies crossed the west end of the Sahara and came to Negroland. Later in the eleventh century Arabs penetrated the Sudan and Central Africa from the east, filtering through the Negro tribes of Darfur, Kanem, and neighboring regions. The Arabs were too nearly akin to Negroes to draw an absolute color line. Antar, one of the great pre-Islamic poets of Arabia, was the son of a black woman, and one of the great poets at the court of Haroun al Raschid was black. In the twelfth century a learned Negro poet resided at Seville, and Sidjilmessa, the last town in Lower Morocco toward the desert, was founded in 757 by a Negro who ruled over the Berber inhabitants. Indeed, many towns in the Sudan and the desert were thus ruled, and felt no incongruity in this arrangement. They say, to be sure, that the Moors destroyed Audhoghast because it paid tribute to the black town of Ghana, but this was because the town was heathen and not because it was black. On the other hand, there is a story that a Berber king overthrew one of the cities of the Sudan and all the black women committed suicide, being too proud to allow themselves to fall into the hands of white men.

In the west the Moslems first came into touch with the Negro kingdom of Ghana. Here large quantities of gold were gathered in early days, and we have names of seventy-four rulers before 300 A.D. running through twenty-one generations. This would take us back approximately a thousand years to 700 B.C., or about the time that Pharaoh Necho of Egypt sent out the Phœnician expedition which circumnavigated Africa, and possibly before the time when Hanno, the Carthaginian, explored the west coast of Africa.

By the middle of the eleventh century Ghana was the principal kingdom in the western Sudan. Already the town had a native and a Mussulman quarter, and was built of wood and stone with surrounding gardens. The king had an army of two hundred thousand and the wealth of the country was great. A century later the king had become Mohammedan in faith and had a palace with sculptures and glass windows. The great reason for this development was the desert trade. Gold, skins, ivory, kola nuts, gums, honey, wheat, and cotton were exported, and the whole Mediterranean coast traded in the Sudan. Other and lesser black kingdoms like Tekrou, Silla, and Masina surrounded Ghana.

p. 30

In the early part of the thirteenth century the prestige of Ghana began to fall before the rising Mandingan kingdom to the west. Melle, as it was called, was founded in 1235 and formed an open door for Moslem and Moorish traders. The new kingdom, helped by its expanding trade, began to grow, and Islam slowly surrounded the older Negro culture west, north, and east. However, a great mass of the older heathen culture, pushing itself upward from the Guinea coast, stood firmly against Islam down to the nineteenth century.

Steadily Mohammedanism triumphed in the growing states which almost encircled the protagonists of ancient Atlantic culture. Mandingan Melle eventually supplanted Ghana in prestige and power after Ghana had been overthrown by the heathen Su Su from the south.

The territory of Melle lay southeast of Ghana and some five hundred miles north of the Gulf of Guinea. Its kings were known by the title of Mansa, and from the middle of the thirteenth century to the middle of the fourteenth the Mellestine, as its dominion was called, was the leading power in the land of the blacks. Its greatest king, Mari Jalak (Mansa Musa), made his pilgrimage to Mecca in 1324, with a caravan of sixty thousand persons, including twelve thousand young slaves gowned in figured cotton and Persian silk. He took eighty camel loads of gold dust (worth about five million dollars) to defray his expenses, and greatly impressed the people of the East with his magnificence.

On his return he found that Timbuktu had been sacked by the Mossi, but he rebuilt the town and filled the new mosque with learned blacks from the University of Fez. Mansa Musa reigned twenty-five years and “was distinguished by his ability and by the holiness of his life. The justice of his administration was such that the memory of it still lives.” 1 The Mellestine preserved its preëminence until the beginning of the sixteenth century, when the rod of Sudanese empire passed to Songhay, the largest and most famous of the black empires.

The known history of Songhay covers a thousand years and three dynasties and centers in the great bend of the Niger. There were thirty kings of the First Dynasty, reigning from 700 to 1335. During the reign of one of these the Songhay kingdom became the vassal kingdom of Melle, then at the height of its glory. In addition to this the Mossi crossed the valley, plundered Timbuktu in 1339, and

p. 31

separated Jenne, the original seat of the Songhay, from the main empire. The sixteenth king was converted to Mohammedanism in 1009, and after that all the Songhay princes were Mohammedans. Mansa Musa took two young Songhay princes to the court of Melle to be educated in 1326. These boys when grown ran away and founded a new dynasty in Songhay, that of the Sonnis, in 1355. Seventeen of these kings reigned, the last and greatest being Sonni Ali, who ascended the throne in 1464. Melle was at this time declining, other cities like Jenne, with its seven thousand villages, were rising, and the Tuaregs (Berbers with Negro blood) had captured Timbuktu.

Sonni Ali was a soldier and began his career with the conquest of Timbuktu in 1469. He also succeeded in capturing Jenne and attacked the Mossi and other enemies on all sides. Finally he concentrated his forces for the destruction of Melle and subdued nearly the whole empire on the west bend of the Niger. In summing up Sonni Ali’s military career the chronicle says of him, “He surpassed all his predecessors in the numbers and valor of his soldiery. His conquests were many and his renown extended from the rising to the setting of the sun. If it is the will of God, he will be long spoken of.” 1

Sonni Ali was a Songhay Negro whose father was a Berber. He was succeeded by a full-blooded black, Mohammed Abou Bekr, who had been his prime minister. Mohammed was bailed as “Askia” (usurper) and is best known as Mohammed Askia. He was strictly orthodox where Ali was rather a scoffer, and an organizer where Ali was a warrior. On his pilgrimage to Mecca in 1495 there was nothing of the barbaric splendor of Mansa Musa, but a brilliant group of scholars and holy men with a small escort of fifteen hundred soldiers and nine hundred thousand dollars in gold. He stopped and consulted with scholars and politicians and studied matters of taxation, weights and measures, trade, religious tolerance, and manners. In Cairo, where he was invested by the reigning caliph of Egypt, he may have heard of the struggle of Europe for the trade of the Indies, and perhaps of the parceling of the new world between Portugal and Spain. He returned to the Sudan in 1497, instituted a standing army of slaves, undertook a holy war against the indomitable Mossi, and finally marched against the Hausa. He subdued these cities and even imposed the rule of black men on the Berber town of Agades,

p. 32

a rich city of merchants and artificers with stately mansions. In fine Askia, during his reign, conquered and consolidated an empire two thousand miles long by one thousand wide at its greatest diameters; a territory as large as all Europe. The territory was divided into four vice royalties, and the system of Melle, with its semi-independent native dynasties, was carried out. His empire extended from the Atlantic to Lake Chad and from the salt mines of Tegazza and the town of Augila in the north to the 10th degree of north latitude toward the south.

It was a six months’ journey across the empire and, it is said, “he was obeyed with as much docility on the farthest limits of the empire as he was in his own palace, and there reigned everywhere great plenty and absolute peace.” 1 The University of Sankore became a center of learning in correspondence with Egypt and North Africa and had a swarm of black Sudanese students. Law, literature, grammar, geography and surgery were studied. Askia the Great reigned thirty-six years and his dynasty continued on the throne until after the Moorish conquest in 1591.

Meanwhile, to the eastward, two powerful states appeared. They never disputed the military supremacy of Songhay, but their industrial development was marvelous. The Hausa states were formed by seven original cities, of which Kano was the oldest and Katsena the most famous. Their greatest leaders, Mohammed Rimpa and Ahmadu Kesoke, arose in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. The land was subject to the Songhay, but the cities became industrious centers of smelting, weaving, and dyeing. Katsena especially, in the middle of the sixteenth century, is described as a place thirteen or fourteen miles in circumference, divided into quarters for strangers, for visitors from various other states, and for the different trades and industries, as saddlers, shoemakers, dyers, etc.

Beyond the Hausa states and bordering on Lake Chad was Bornu. The people of Bornu had a large infiltration of Berber blood, but were predominantly Negro. Berber mulattoes had been kings in early days, but they were soon replaced by black men. Under the early kings, who can be traced back to the third century, these people had ruled nearly all the territory between the Nile and Lake Chad. The country was known as Kanem, and the pagan dynasty of Dugu reigned there from the middle of the ninth to the end of the eleventh century. Mohammedanism was introduced from Egypt

p. 33

at the end of the eleventh century, and under the Mohammedan kings Kanem became one of the first powers of the Sudan. By the end of the twelfth century the armies of Kanem were very powerful and its rulers were known as “Kings of Kanem and Lords of Bornu.” In the thirteenth century the kings even dared to invade the southern country down toward the valley of the Congo.

Meantime great things were happening in the world beyond the desert, the ocean, and the Nile. Arabian Mohammedanism had succumbed to the wild fanaticism of the Seljukian Turks. These new conquerors were not only firmly planted at the gates of Vienna, but had swept the shores of the Mediterranean and sent all Europe scouring the seas for their lost trade connections with the riches of India. Religious zeal, fear of conquest, and commercial greed inflamed Europe against the Mohammedan and led to the discovery of a new world, the riches of which poured first on Spain. Oppression of the Moors followed, and in 1502 they were driven back into Africa, despoiled and humbled. Here the Spaniards followed and harassed them and here the Turks, fighting the Christians, captured the Mediterranean ports and cut the Moors off permanently from Europe. In the slow years that followed, huddled in Northwest Africa, they became a decadent people and finally cast their eyes toward Negroland.

The Moors in Morocco had come to look upon the Sudan as a gold mine, and knew that the Sudan was especially dependent upon salt. In 1545 Morocco claimed the principal salt mines at Tegazza, but the reigning Askia refused to recognize the claim.

When the Sultan Elmansour came to the throne of Morocco, he increased the efficiency of his army by supplying it with fire arms and cannon. Elmansour determined to attack the Sudan and sent four hundred men under Pasha Djouder, who left Morocco in 1590. The Songhay, with their bows and arrows, were helpless against powder and shot, and they were defeated at Tenkadibou April 12, 1591, Askia Ishak, the king, offered terms, and Djouder Pasha referred them to Morocco. The sultan, angry with his general’s delay, deposed him and sent another, who crushed and treacherously murdered the king and set up a puppet. Thereafter there were two Askias, one under the Moors at Timbuktu and one who maintained himself in the Hausa states, which the Moors could not subdue. Anarchy reigned in Songhay. The Moors tried to put down disorder with a high hand, drove out and murdered the distinguished men of

p. 34

[paragraph continues]Timbuktu, and as a result let loose a riot of robbery and decadence throughout the Sudan. Pasha now succeeded Pasha with revolt and misrule until in 1612 the soldiers elected their own Pasha and deliberately shut themselves up in the Sudan by cutting off approach from the north.

Hausaland and Bornu were still open to Turkish and Mohammedan influence from the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the slave trade from the south, but the face of the finest Negro civilization the modern world had ever produced was veiled from Europe and given to the defilement of wild Moorish soldiers. In 1623 it is written “excesses of every kind are now committed unchecked by the soldiery,” and “the country is profoundly convulsed and oppressed.” 1 The Tuaregs marched down from the desert and deprived the Moors of many of the principal towns. The rest of the empire of the Songhay was by the end of the eighteenth century divided among separate Moorish chiefs, who bought supplies from the Negro peasantry and were “at once the vainest, proudest, and perhaps the most bigoted, ferocious, and intolerant of all the nations of the south.” 2 They lived a nomadic life, plundering the Negroes. To such depths did the mighty Songhay fall.

As the Songhay declined a new power arose in the nineteenth century, the Fula. The Fula, who vary in race from Berber mulattoes to full-blooded Negroes, may be the result of a westward migration of some people like the “Leukoæthiopi” of Pliny, or they may have arisen from the migration of Berber mulattoes in the western oases, driven south by Romans and Arabs.

These wandering herdsmen lived on the Senegal River and the ocean in very early times and were not heard of until the nineteenth century. By this time they had changed to a Negro or dark mulatto people and lived scattered in small communities between the Atlantic and Darfur. They were without political union or national sentiment, but were all Mohammedans. Then came a sudden change, and led by a religious fanatic, these despised and persecuted people became masters of the central Sudan. They were the ones who at last broke down that great wedge of resisting Atlantic culture, after it had been undermined and disintegrated by the American slave trade.

Thus Islam finally triumphed in the Sudan and the ancient culture

p. 35

combined with the new. In the Sudan to-day one may find evidences of the union of two classes of people. The representatives of the older civilization dwell as peasants in small communities, carrying on industries and speaking a large number of different languages. With them or above them is the ruling Mohammedan caste, speaking four main languages: Mandingo, Hausa, Fula, and Arabic. These latter form the state builders. Negro blood predominates among both classes, but naturally there is more Berber blood among the Mohammedan invaders.

Europe during the middle ages had some knowledge of these movements in the Sudan and Africa. Melle and Songhay appear on medieval maps. In literature we have many allusions: the mulatto king, Feirifis, was one of Wolfram von Eschenbach’s heroes; Prester John furnished endless lore; Othello, the warrior, and the black king represented by medieval art as among the three wise men, and the various black Virgin Marys’ all show legendary knowledge of what African civilization was at that time doing.

It is a curious commentary on modern prejudice that most of this splendid history of civilization and uplift is unknown to-day, and men confidently assert that Negroes have no history.



See also

Overview of Sudan 


The Migration of Judah

Egyptians, E-thi-o’-pi-ans, Nubians and Hebrews are the Same Ethnic People: NILE VALLEY: North Africa / Sahara / Horn of Africa and West Asia..

Dr Yosef Ben Yochannan – Black America & Black Indian African Orgins

Israel’s Covenant Renewal Deuteronomy

The Book of Deuteronomy134

Our Lord resisted and refuted Satan’s temptations by citing the truths of Deuteronomy (see Matthew 4:1-11Luke 4:1-12). In many ways, his testing in the wilderness paralleled Israel’s testing in the wilderness for 40 years. Our Lord, however, came through His testing without failing, as He entrusted Himself to the faithful care of the Father.

The Book of Deuteronomy records several important transitions. It records the transition from the first generation of Israelites, who died in the wilderness (the Book of Numbers), to the second generation of Israelites, who would possess the land of Canaan (the Book of Joshua). It marks the transition of Israel from a nation that dwelt in tents to one that possessed land and houses, from a people who ate manna and water to a people who ate “milk and honey.”

Deuteronomy marks the end of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament written by Moses). In this book, Moses hands the torch of leading the nation Israel to Joshua. Moses knows that he cannot enter the land and that he is soon to die. These are the last words of Moses, written to the Israelites who are on the verge of entering the Promised Land. It is almost as though Moses were preaching his own funeral. Kenneth Boa and Bruce Wilkinson appropriately call this book “Moses’ Upper Desert Discourse.”136

Deuteronomy is the account of this generation of Israelites embracing the covenant of God with their fathers as their own, of their entering into a covenant relationship with God. This is the renewal of the covenant:

16 Today the Lord your God is commanding you to keep these statutes and ordinances, something you must do with all your heart and being. 17 Today you have declared the Lord to be your God, and that you will walk in his ways, keep his statutes, commandments, ordinances, and obey him. 18 And today the Lord has declared you to be his special people (as he already promised you) so that you may keep all his commandments, 19 so that he may elevate you above all the nations he has made as a cause of praise, as a name, and as an honor, and so that you may be a holy people to the Lord your God, as he has said (Deuteronomy 26:16-19, emphasis mine).

9 “Therefore, keep the terms of this covenant and obey them so that you may be successful in everything you do. 10 You are standing today, all of you, before theLord your God—the heads of your tribes, your elders, your officials, every Israelite, 11 your infants, your wives, and the foreigners living in your encampment, those who chop wood and those who carry water—12 so that you may enter into the covenant of the Lord your God and into the benefits of the oath that the Lord is making with you today, 13 to affirm you today as his people and himself as your God just as he said to you and already swore to your ancestors, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 14 And it is not with you alone that I am making this covenant and oath, 15 but with whoever stands with us here today before the Lord your God as well as those not with us here today” (Deuteronomy 29:2-15, emphasis mine).

None of this generation has been circumcised, which was the sign of the covenant God made with Abraham (see Genesis 17:9-14, 23-27; compareExodus 4:24-26). In only a few days, this whole generation will undergo circumcision and observe the Passover before they attack Jericho (Joshua 5:2-12). This is further confirmation that they have now entered into covenant with the God of their fathers.

At the age of 120, Moses made his way to the top of Mount Nebo, where God allowed him to look across the Jordan Valley and into the Promised Land. It was as close as he would ever get to entering the land. Deuteronomy is certainly the high ground of the Pentateuch. It is one of those high points in the Bible from which we may look back in time, and by means of which we can look far ahead in Israel’s history. Several times in this book, God lays out the broad scheme of Israel’s future. An early indication of Israel’s future is found as early as chapter 4, in this brief statement of blessings and cursings:

25 After you have produced children and grandchildren and have been in the land a long time, if you become corrupted and make an image of any kind and do other evil things before the Lord your God that enrage him, 26 I invoke heaven and earth as witnesses against you today that you will surely and swiftly be destroyed from the very land you are about to cross the Jordan to possess. You will not last long there because you will be totally devastated. 27 Then the Lord will scatter you among the peoples and there will be very few of you in the nations where the Lord will drive you. 28 There you will worship gods made by human hands—wood and stone that can neither see, hear, eat, nor smell. 29 But if you seek the Lord your God from there, you will find him, if, indeed, you seek him with all your heart and soul. 30 In your distress when all these things happen to you in the latter days, if you return to the Lord your God and listen to him 31 (for he is a merciful God), he will not let you down or destroy you, for he cannot forget the covenant with your ancestors that he swore to them (Deuteronomy 4:25-31).

At the end of the book, very clear statements are made regarding Israel’s future, both by God and by Moses:

15 The Lord appeared in the tent in a pillar of cloud that stood above the door of the tent. 16 And the Lord said to Moses, “You are about to die, and then these people will begin to prostitute themselves with the foreign gods of the land into which they are going. They will leave me and break my covenant that I have made with them. 17 On that day my anger will flare up against them and I will leave them and hide myself from them until they are devoured. Many hurts and distresses will overcome them so that they will say at that time, ‘Have not these difficulties overcome us because God is not among us?’ 18 But I will certainly hide myself on that day because of all the wickedness they will have done by turning to other gods. 19 Now compose for yourselves the following song and teach it to the Israelites—put it into their very mouths!—so that this song may serve me as a witness against the Israelites. 20 For after I have brought them to the land I promised to their ancestors—one flowing with milk and honey—and they eat and become satisfied and fat, then they will turn to other gods to worship them and will reject me and break my covenant. 21 Then when many hurts and distresses overcome them this song will become a witness against them, for their descendants will not forget it. I know the intentions they have in mind today, even before I bring them to the land I have promised.” 22 Therefore on that day Moses wrote this song and taught it to the Israelites, 23 and the Lord commissioned Joshua son of Nun, “Be strong and courageous, for you will take the Israelites to the land I have promised them, and I will be with you.” 24 When Moses finished writing on a scroll the words of this law in their entirety, 25 he commanded the Levites who carried the ark of the Lord’s covenant, 26 “Take this scroll of the law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God. It will be there as a witness against you, 27 for I know about your rebellion and stubbornness. Indeed, even while I have been alive among you, you have been rebellious against the Lord; how much more will you be so after my death? 28 Gather to me all your tribal elders and officials so I can speak to them directly of these things and call the heavens and the earth to witness against them. 29 For I know that after I die you will totally corrupt yourselves and turn away from the path I have commanded you to walk. Disaster will confront you in the days to come because you will act wickedly before the Lord, inciting him to wrath because of your works.” 30 Then Moses recited the words of this song from start to finish in the hearing of the whole assembly of Israel (Deuteronomy 31:15-23).

A fuller description of Israel’s sins and their consequences is given inDeuteronomy 28:15-68. It is not all bad news, as we shall point out later in the lesson. What we should recognize at the beginning of this study is that Deuteronomy is a crucial book because it does lay out in broad terms the history of Israel. The Old Testament prophets will frequently return to Deuteronomy as their point of reference. Deuteronomy provides the major outline of the history of Israel, and as such, it is foundational to God’s “unfolding plan of redemption.” Let us listen well to the words of this book. Not only do I say this, but Moses does also:

8 Now pay attention to the whole commandment I am giving you today, so that you may be strong enough to enter and possess the land where you are headed, 9 and that you may enjoy long life in the land the Lord swore to give to your ancestors and their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey (Deuteronomy 11:8-9).

26 Take note—I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: 27 the blessing if you take to heart the commandments of the Lord your God that I am giving you today, 28 and the curse if you pay no attention to his commandments and turn from the way I am setting before you today to pursue other gods you have not known (Deuteronomy 11:26-28).

You must be careful to do everything I am commanding you. Do not add to it or subtract from it! (Deuteronomy 12:32)

15 “Look! I have set before you today life and prosperity on the one hand, and death and disaster on the other. 16 What I am commanding you today is to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to obey his commandments, his statutes, and his ordinances. Then you will live and become numerous and the Lord your God will bless you in the land where you are going to take possession of it. 17 However, if you turn aside and do not obey, but are lured away to worship and serve other gods, 18 I declare to you this very day that you will certainly perish! You will not extend your time in the land you are crossing the Jordan River to possess” (Deuteronomy 30:15-18).

My Approach in this Lesson

It is generally accepted that Moses’ sermons in the Book of Deuteronomy were delivered over a period of about a week and that they fall into three major divisions. These divisions are essentially chronological: the first chapters look back in time; the middle chapters look to the near future; and the final chapters look into Israel’s more distant future. The more I have studied this book, however, the more intertwined I see the past, present, and future. Consequently, I will focus on some of the issues that Moses raises because Israel is very soon going to be entering the Promised Land. I will attempt to show how Moses draws upon the past to buttress his instructions regarding the near future. Then we shall address the subject of the later chapters, which speak of Israel’s more distant future long after this generation of Israelites has died.

Israel’s Response to What Lies Ahead

THE FIRST ISSUE: HOW WILL THIS NEW GENERATION OF ISRAELITES RESPOND TO THE DIFFICULTY OF TAKING THE PROMISED LAND FROM THE CANAANITES? This issue was the turning point for the first generation of Israelites, who were terrified by the strength and size of their adversaries (Numbers 13:26—14:35). Moses knows full well that the difficulty of their task will be an issue the second generation must deal with as well:

17 If you think, “These nations are more numerous than I—how can I dispossess them?,” 18 you must not fear them (Deuteronomy 7:17-18a, emphasis mine).

1 Listen, Israel: Today you are about to cross the Jordan River so you can dispossess the nations there, people greater and stronger than you, large cities with extremely high fortifications2 the Anakites, a numerous and tall people whom you know about and of whom it is said, “Who is able to withstand the Anakites?” (Deuteronomy 9:1-2, emphasis mine)

Moses turns to the history of God’s previous dealings with Israel to show that He will fulfill His promise to give them the land of Canaan.

First, Moses reminds this generation that their fathers refused to possess the land and rebelled against Moses in the wilderness, consequently losing their opportunity to enter into God’s blessings (Deuteronomy 1:18-46).

Second, Moses commands the Israelites not to fear by reiterating God’s promise that He will most certainly give them the land He promised their fathers under the leadership of Joshua:

18 I instructed you at that time as follows, “The Lord your God has given you this land for your possession. You are to cross over before your fellow Israelites, all the warriors, equipped for battle. 19 But your wives, children, and livestock (of which I know you have many) must remain in the cities I have given you 20 until the Lord helps your fellow countrymen prevail as you have, and allows them to possess the land that he is giving them on the other side of the Jordan River. Then each of you may return to his own territory which I have given you.” 21 I also commanded Joshua at the same time, “You have seen everything the Lord your God did to these two kings; he will do the same to the kingdoms where you are going. 22 Do not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God will personally fight for you” (Deuteronomy 3:18-22, emphasis mine).

Third, Moses reminds the Israelites of what God had already done for the Israelites while they were slaves in Egypt, and while they were in the wilderness:

32 Indeed, ask about earlier days that have preceded you, from the day God created mankind on the earth and from one end of heaven to the other, whether there has ever been such a great thing as this, or even a rumor of it. 33 Have a people ever heard the voice of God speaking from fire, as you yourselves have, and lived to tell about it? 34 Or has God ever before tried to deliver a nation to himself from the middle of another nation, accompanied by testings, signs, wonders, war, strength, power, and other very terrifying things like the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes? 35 You have been made to understand that the Lord alone is God—there is no other besides him. 36 From heaven he spoke to you in order to teach you, and on earth showed you his great fire from which you also heard him. 37 Moreover, because he loved your ancestors he chose their descendants who followed them, and personally brought you out of Egypt with great power 38to dispossess nations greater and more powerful than you and brought you in to give you their land as an inheritance—just as it has taken place today. 39 May you understand today and take it to heart that the Lord is God in heaven above and on earth below—there is no other! 40 And may you keep his statutes and commandments that I am setting forth today so that it may go well with you and your descendants and that you might enjoy longevity in the land that the Lord your God is about to give you forever” (Deuteronomy 4:32-40, emphasis mine).

You must carefully recall what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and all Egypt, 19 the great afflictions you saw, the signs and wonders, the strong hand and extended arm by which he brought you out—thus the Lord your God will do to all the people you fear. 20 Furthermore, he will release the hornet among them until the very last ones who hide from you perish. 21 You must not tremble in their presence, for the Lord your God, who is present among you, is a great and awesome God. 22 He, the God who leads you, will expel the nations little by little. You must not overcome them all at once lest the wild animals overrun you. 23 The Lord your God will give them over to you; he will trouble them with great difficulty until they are destroyed. 24 He will hand over their kings to you and you will erase their very names from memory. Nobody will be able to stand before you until you annihilate them” (Deuteronomy 7:18b-24, emphasis mine)

1 Therefore, love the Lord your God and keep his obligations, that is, his statutes, ordinances, and commandments forever. 2 Bear in mind today that I am not speaking to your children who have not known or seen the instruction of the Lord your God, his greatness, strength, and power, 3 or his signs and works that he did in the midst of Egypt to Pharaoh king of Egypt and his whole land; 4 what he did to the army of Egypt, their horses and chariots, when he made the waters of the Red Sea overwhelm them when they were pursuing you, and how he destroyed them to this very day; 5 what he did to you in the desert until you reached this place, 6 and what he did to Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab the Reubenite, when the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, their children, their tents, and everything that followed them, in the middle of all Israel— 7 but it is your very eyes that saw all the great deeds of the Lord! (Deuteronomy 11:1-7, emphasis mine)

Fourth, Moses reminds the Israelites of God’s intervention in the more recent past:

2:24 Get up, make your way across Wadi Arnon. Look! I have already delivered over to you Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land. Go ahead! Take it! Engage him in war! 25 This very day I will begin to fill all the people of the earth with dread and to terrify them when they hear about you. They will shiver and shake in anticipation of your coming.” 26 Then I sent messengers from the Kedemoth Desert to King Sihon of Heshbon with words of peace, 27 “Let me pass through your land; I will keep strictly to the roadway. I will not turn aside to the right or the left. 28 Sell me food for cash so that I can eat and give me water to drink. Just allow me to go through on foot, 29 just as the descendants of Esau at Seir and the Moabites of Ar did for me until I cross the Jordan to the land the Lord our God is giving us.” 30 But King Sihon of Heshbon was unwilling to allow us to pass over near him because the Lord our God had given him a resistant spirit and stubborn determination so that he might deliver him over to you this very day. 31 Surely enough, the Lord said to me, “Look! I have already begun to give over Sihon and his land to you. Start right now to take his land as your possession.” 32 When Sihon and all his troops emerged to encounter us in battle at Jahaz, 33 the Lord our God delivered him over to us and we struck him down, along with his son and everyone else. 34 At that time we seized all his cities and put every one of them that was inhabited under the divine curse, even the women and children; there was not a single survivor. 35 Only the livestock and plunder from the cities did we keep for ourselves. 36 From Aroer, which is at the edge of Wadi Arnon, and the city in the wadi, all the way to Gilead there was not a city too inaccessible to us—the Lord our God gave them all to us. 37 However, you did not approach the land of the Ammonites, the Wadi Jabbok valley, the cities of the hill country, or any place else forbidden by the Lord our God.

3:1 Next we set out on the route to Bashan, but King Og of Bashan and his whole army came out to meet us in battle at Edrei. 2 The Lord, however, said to me, “Don’t be afraid of him because I have already given him, his army, and his land to you. You will do to him exactly what you did to King Sihon of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon.” 3 So the Lord our God did indeed give over King Og of Bashan and all his people to us and we rained blows on him until not a single survivor was left. 4 We took all his cities at that time—there was not a one we did not capture from them—sixty cities, all the region of Argob, the dominion of Og in Bashan. 5 All of these cities were fortified by high walls, gates, and bars; in addition there were a great many open villages. 6 We put all of these under the divine curse just as we had done to King Sihon of Heshbon—every occupied city, including women and children. 7 But all the livestock and urban plunder we appropriated to ourselves. 8 Thus at that time we took the land of the two Amorite kings in the Transjordan from Wadi Arnon to Mount Hermon 9 (the Sidonians call Hermon Sirion and the Amorites call it Senir), 10 all the cities of the plateau, all of Gilead and Bashan as far as Salecah and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan. 11 Only King Og of Bashan was left of the remaining Rephaites. (It is noteworthy that his sarcophagus was made of iron. Does it not, indeed, still remain in Rabbath of the Ammonites? It is thirteen and a half feet long and six feet wide according to standard measure.) (Deuteronomy 2:24—3:11)

Based upon God’s faithfulness to Israel in the past, God assures the Israelites of victory in the future, as they obey Him:

18 I instructed you at that time as follows, “The Lord your God has given you this land for your possession. You are to cross over before your fellow Israelites, all the warriors, equipped for battle. 19 But your wives, children, and livestock (of which I know you have many) must remain in the cities I have given you 20 until the Lord helps your fellow countrymen prevail as you have, and allows them to possess the land that he is giving them on the other side of the Jordan River. Then each of you may return to his own territory which I have given you.” 21 I also commanded Joshua at the same time, “You have seen everything the Lord your God did to these two kings; he will do the same to the kingdoms where you are going. 22 Do not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God will personally fight for you” (Deuteronomy 3:18-22, emphasis mine).

THE SECOND ISSUE: THE DANGERS OF CANAANITE IDOLATRY AND IMMORALITYThe second issue facing the Israelites as they are preparing to enter the Promised Land is the temptation posed by the Canaanites’ immorality and idolatry.

We should recall that it was the danger posed by Canaanite idolatry and immorality that necessitated Israel’s sojourn in Egypt. In Genesis 38, we read that Judah separated from his kinsmen and married a Canaanite woman. After his wife died, he had a sexual relationship with a woman whom he thought was a Canaanite cult prostitute (Genesis 38:21-22), though this woman turned out to be his own daughter-in-law. God ordained Israel’s sojourn in Egypt for two reasons: (1) Because the sin of the Canaanite people had not reached maturity, and thus the time for divine judgment (Genesis 15:12-16); and (2) because the Egyptians loathed the Hebrews and would, generally speaking,138 The Canaanites worshipped fertility gods, and so it is little wonder that sexual immorality would be involved in their “worship.”

Israel is repeatedly warned against the evils of idolatry in the Book of Deuteronomy (4:25-26; 5:8-10; 11:16-17; 29:17-20). They are informed that they will turn to idolatry in the future (31:16, 20; 32:15-23). The cure is to take drastic preventative action with regard to the temptations of idolatry and immorality in the land of Canaan.

1 “When the Lord your God brings you to the land that you are going to occupy and forces out many nations before you—Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, seven nations more numerous and powerful than you—2 and he delivers them over to you and you attack them, you must utterly annihilate them. Make no covenant with them nor show them compassion! 3 You must not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons nor take their daughters for your sons, 4 for they will turn your sons away from me to worship other gods. Then the wrath of the Lord will erupt against you and he will soon destroy you. 5 Instead, this is what you must do to them: You must tear down their altars, shatter their sacred pillars, cut down their sacred Asherah poles, and burn up their images. 6 For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. He has chosen you to be a people prized above all others on the face of the earth” (Deuteronomy 7:1-6).

25 “You must burn the images of their gods, but do not covet the silver and gold that covers them so much that you take it for yourself and thus become ensnared by it; for it is abhorrent to the Lord your God. 26 You must not bring any detestable thing into your house and thereby become an object of divine annihilation like it is. You must absolutely abhor and detest it, for it is an object of divine annihilation” (Deuteronomy 7:25-26).

12 “If it should come to your attention in one of your cities that the Lord your God is giving you as a place to live that 13 some evil people have departed from among you to entice the inhabitants of their cities, saying, “Let’s go and serve other gods whom you have not known before,” 14 you must investigate thoroughly and inquire carefully. If it is true and certain that this abomination is being done among you, 15 you must by all means slaughter the inhabitants of that city with the sword; put under the divine curse everyone in it, even the livestock, by the sword. 16 You must collect all of its spoil into the middle of the plaza and burn the city and all its spoil as a whole burnt offering to the Lord your God. It will be an abandoned ruin forever—it must never be rebuilt again. 17 You must not take for yourself anything of that which has been cursed, so that the Lord might relent of his intense wrath and show you compassion, that he might have mercy on you and multiply you as he promised your ancestors. 18 Thus you must obey the voice of the Lord your God, keeping all his commandments that I am presenting you today and doing the thing that is right before him” (Deuteronomy 13:12-18).

These texts were crucial to Israel’s well being in the land of Canaan, where the temptations for idolatry and immorality were many. They were commanded to completely annihilate the Canaanites, destroying every living thing. They were to show no pity or fear (7:16). When they defeated the Canaanites, they were not to keep any of the spoils (7:25-26). This is where Achan would soon go wrong (Joshua 7). God clearly spelled out the consequences for failing to obey His commands concerning Israel’s separation from the pagan practices of the Canaanites (11:16-17). Any Israelite who sought to lead the Israelites away from God to follow other gods was to be put to death (13:1-18).

Let Israel give heed to the lessons of the past and to God’s warnings regarding the future so far as idolatry and immorality are concerned. This is a time when sin must be dealt with decisively. I am reminded of our Lord’s words in the New Testament:

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to desire her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into hell. 30 If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into hell” (Matthew 5:27-30).

THE THIRD ISSUE: THE DANGERS OF APATHY, PRIDE, AND SELF-SUFFICIENCY. There is yet another serious danger for the Israelites as they prepare to possess the Promised Land of Canaan – that they become smug, arrogant, and self-sufficient. In other words, in their prosperity they will be tempted to forget that God is the source of their blessings and begin to take credit themselves:

10 Then when the Lord your God brings you to the land he swore to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—to give you large, excellent cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with choice things you did not provide, hewn out cisterns you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—and you eat to your satisfaction, 12 be careful lest you forget the Lord who brought you out of Egypt, the place of slavery” (Deuteronomy 6:10-12).

11 “Be very careful lest you forget the Lord your God, not keeping his commandments, ordinances, and statutes that I am giving you today. 12 When you eat to your satisfaction, when you build and occupy good houses, 13 when your cattle and flocks increase, when you have plenty of silver and gold, and when you have abundance of everything, 14 be careful lest you feel self-important and forget the Lord your God who brought you from the land of Egypt, the place of slavery, 15 and who brought you through the great, fearful desert of venomous serpents and scorpions, a thirsty place of no water, bringing forth for you water from flint rock and 16 feeding you in the desert with manna (which your ancestors had never before known) so that he might test you and eventually bring good to you. 17 Be careful lest you say, “My own ability has gotten me this wealth.” 18 You must remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives ability to get wealth; if you do this he will confirm his covenant that he swore to your ancestors, even as he has to this day. 19 Now it will come about that if you forget the Lord your God at all and run after other gods, worshiping and prostrating yourselves before them, I testify to you today that you will be utterly destroyed. 20 Just like the nations the Lord is about to decimate from your sight, so he will do to you because you would not pay attention to him” (Deuteronomy 8:11-20).

Up to this point in time, the Israelites had not experienced what we might call “the good life.” They had come out of slavery in Egypt. They had to live in tents in the desert. They were dependent upon God for their food and water. Their “menu” was almost always the same – manna. They could not settle down to plant crops but were always on the move. They were often threatened by other nations who opposed them. But soon the Israelites would enter the land of Canaan and possess it. They would enjoy vineyards and orchards they did not plant. They would experience God’s material blessings in many new ways. The very real danger was that they would begin to take the credit for these blessings, rather than to be grateful to God, who gave them.

God graciously built in some protective elements. He did not make farming so easy for His people that they would not have to trust and obey Him. God put the Israelites in a land that was dependent upon Him for its rains:

8 Now pay attention to the whole commandment I am giving you today, so that you may be strong enough to enter and possess the land where you are headed, 9 and that you may enjoy long life in the land the Lord swore to give to your ancestors and their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10 For the land where you are headed as your possession is not like the land of Egypt from which you came, a land where you sowed seed and which you irrigated by hand like a vegetable garden. 11 Rather, the land where you are going as your possession is one of hills and valleys, a land that drinks water from the rains, 12 one the Lord your God looks after. He is constantly attentive to it from the beginning to the end of the year. 13 Now, if you conscientiously attend to my commandment that I am giving you today, that is, to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your mind and being, 14 then, he says, “I will send the rain of your land in its season, the autumn and the spring rains, so that you may gather in your wheat, new wine, and olive oil. 15 I will provide pasturage for your livestock and you yourself will eat until you are satisfied.” 16 Watch yourselves lest you become deceived and turn to serve and worship other gods! 17 Then the anger of the Lord will boil up against you and he will close up the sky so that it does not rain, the land will not yield its produce, and you will soon die off from the good land that he is about to give you” (Deuteronomy 11:8-17).

Israel was to learn from its past as it looked toward the future. They were reminded that God did not choose them because of their greatness, but because of His sovereign grace:

7 It is not because you were more numerous than all the other peoples that the Lord considered and chose you—for in fact you were the smallest of all peoples— 8 but because of his love for you and his faithfulness to the oath he swore to your ancestors the Lord brought you out with great power, redeeming you from the place of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9 Therefore, take note that it is the Lord your God who is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant faithfully with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations” (Deuteronomy 7:7-9).

The Israelites were reminded of the humble circumstances from (and through) which God brought them to the Promised Land:

20 “When your children ask you later on, ‘What are the stipulations, statutes, and ordinances that the Lord our God commanded you?,’ 21 you must say to them, ‘We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt in a powerful way. 22 And he brought signs and great, devastating wonders on Egypt, on Pharaoh, and on his whole family before our very eyes. 23 He delivered us from there so that he could enable us to have the land he had promised our ancestors’” (Deuteronomy 6:20-23).

1 “When the time comes for you to enter the land that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, and you occupy it and live in it, 2 you must take the first of all the ground’s produce you harvest from the land the Lord your God is giving you, place it in a basket, and go to the place where he has chosen to locate his name. 3 You must go to the priest in office at that time and say to him, “I declare today to the Lord your God that I have come into the land that the Lord swore to our ancestors to give us.” 4 The priest will then take the basket from you and set it before the altar of the Lord your God. 5 And you must affirm before the Lord, “A wandering Aramean was my ancestor, and he went down to Egypt and lived there as a foreigner with a household few in number; but there he became a great, powerful, and numerous people. 6 But the Egyptians mistreated and oppressed us, assigning us burdensome labor” (Deuteronomy 26:1-6).

The Israelites were to remember how God brought them through adversity and need, in order to teach them to trust and obey:

1 “You must keep carefully the entire commandment I am giving you today so that you may live, multiply, and go in and occupy the land that the Lord promised to your ancestors. 2 Remember the whole way by which he has brought you these forty years through the desert so that he might, by humbling you, test to see whether deep within yourselves you would keep his commandments or not. 3 So he humbled you by making you hungry and feeding you with unfamiliar manna to make you understand that mankind cannot live by food alone, but also by everything that comes from the Lord’s mouth. 4 Your clothing did not wear out nor did your feet swell all these forty years. 5 Be keenly aware that just as a human being disciplines his child, the Lord your God disciplines you. 6 Thus, you must keep his commandments, that is, walk according to his ways and revere him. 7 For the Lord your God is bringing you to a good land, a land of brooks, springs, and fountains flowing forth in valleys and hills, 8 a land of wheat, barley, vines, fig trees, and pomegranates, of olive trees and honey, 9 a land where you may eat food in plenty and find no lack of anything, a land whose stones are iron and from whose hills you can mine copper. 10 You will eat and drink and then bless the Lord your God because of the good land he will have given you” (Deuteronomy 8:1-10).

Israel’s blessings were not the result of her faithfulness to God, but the result of God’s faithfulness to His people, as He kept His covenant promises:

4 “Do not think to yourself after the Lord your God has run them out before you, ‘Because of my own righteousness the Lord has enabled me to possess this land, and because of the wickedness of these nations he is dispossessing them from before me.’ 5 It is not because of your righteousness, or even your inner uprightness, that you have come to possess their land. Instead, because of the wickedness of these nations the Lord your God is expelling them before you in order to confirm the promise he swore to your ancestors, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 6 Understand, therefore, that it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is about to give you this good land as a possession, for you are a stubborn people!” (Deuteronomy 9:4-6)

To help the Israelites remember their past and the wondrous ways that God blessed them, God gave them a number of memorials. The annual celebration of the Passover reminded the Israelites of the way God had delivered them from their slavery in Egypt. The Feast of Booths (or Temporary Shelters) reminded the Israelites of the years they (or their forefathers) spent in the wilderness, dependent on God for their every need (16:13-17; 31:10-13). They were never to forget their humble beginnings and the true source of their blessings and prosperity.

It is true to say that the blessings the Israelites experienced from the hand of God were in spite of Israel’s sins. Time after time the Israelites provoked the Lord to anger:

6 Understand, therefore, that it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is about to give you this good land as a possession, for you are a stubborn people! 7 Remember—don’t ever forget—how you provoked the Lord your God in the desert; from the time you left Egypt until you came to this place you were constantly rebelling against him” (Deuteronomy 9:6-7; see also 9:8—10:11).

In spite of all these lessons from the past, the Israelites will disregard them and become smugly self-sufficient and arrogant. Through Moses, God warns the Israelites about the future, assuring them that they will fail to heed these words of warning and instruction, spelling out the consequences for their sin. The first warning is found in Leviticus 26. The first warning about the future in Deuteronomy is found in chapter 4:

25 “After you have produced children and grandchildren and have been in the land a long time, if you become corrupted and make an image of any kind and do other evil things before the Lord your God that enrage him, 26 I invoke heaven and earth as witnesses against you today that you will surely and swiftly be destroyed from the very land you are about to cross the Jordan to possess. You will not last long there because you will be totally devastated. 27 Then the Lord will scatter you among the peoples and there will be very few of you in the nations where the Lord will drive you. 28 There you will worship gods made by human hands—wood and stone that can neither see, hear, eat, nor smell. 29 But if you seek the Lord your God from there, you will find him, if, indeed, you seek him with all your heart and soul. 30 In your distress when all these things happen to you in the latter days, if you return to the Lord your God and listen to him 31 (for he is a merciful God), he will not let you down or destroy you, for he cannot forget the covenant with your ancestors that he swore to them” (Deuteronomy 4:25-31).

There is a lengthy pronouncement of blessings and cursings in the closing chapters of Deuteronomy. In chapter 27, the Israelites erect stones on which the law was inscribed. Half of the people gathered on Mount Gerizim, where they proclaimed God’s covenant blessings. The other half gathered on Mount Ebal, where the curses of the covenant were proclaimed by the Levites, and all must acknowledge them by saying, “Amen.” (Notice that in 27:14-26 only the cursings are enumerated specifically.)

In chapter 28, the first 14 verses outline the blessings that God will shower upon His people if they obey the Lord by keeping His commandments. The remaining verses (54 of them) describe the curses which will come upon the Israelites for disobeying God’s commandments. The proportions certainly reflect the fact that the Israelites will not obey God’s commandments and will experience these curses. Israel’s disobedience is a certainty, as is its outcome:

47 “Because you have not served the Lord your God joyfully and wholeheartedly with the abundance of everything you have, 48 instead in hunger, thirst, nakedness, and lack of everything you will serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you. They will place an iron yoke on your neck until they have destroyed you. 49 The Lord will raise up a distant nation against you, one from the other side of the earth as the eagle flies, a nation whose language you will not understand, 50 a nation of stern appearance that will have no regard for the elderly or consideration for the young. 51 They will devour the offspring of your cattle and the produce of your soil until you are destroyed. They will not leave you with grain, new wine, olive oil, increased herds, or larger flocks until they have demolished you. 52 They will besiege all of your villages until all of your high and fortified walls collapse—those in which you put your confidence throughout the land. They will put under siege all your gates in all parts of the land the Lord your God has given you. 53 You will then eat your own offspring, the flesh of the sons and daughters the Lord your God has given you, because of the stressful siege in which your enemies will constrict you… . 64 The Lord will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship other gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, gods of wood and stone. 65 Among those nations you will have no rest nor will there be a place of peaceful rest for the soles of your feet, for there the Lord will give you an anxious heart, failing eyesight, and a spirit of despair. 66 Your life will hang in doubt before you; you will be terrified by night and day and will have no certainty of surviving from one day to the next. 67 In the morning you will say, ‘If only it were evening!’ And in the evening you will say, ‘I wish it were morning!’ because of the things you will fear and the things you will see. 68 Then the Lord will make you return to Egypt by ship, over a route I said to you that you would never see again. There you will sell yourselves to your enemies as male and female slaves, but no one will buy you” (Deuteronomy 28:47-53, 64-68).

Chapters 28-30 of Deuteronomy are the key to understanding the history of Israel from the time they enter the land of Canaan. It outlines the consequences for disregarding God and His commandments. It also prescribes the cure for these curses:

1 “Now when all these things happen to you—the blessing and the curse I have set before you—and you remember them in all the nations where the Lord your God has exiled you, 2 if you turn to the Lord your God and listen to him just as I am commanding you today—you and your descendants—with your whole mind and being, 3 then the Lord your God will reverse your captivity and have pity on you. He will turn and gather you from all the peoples among whom he has scattered you. 4 Even if any of your dispersed are under the most distant skies, from there the Lord your God will gather and bring you back. 5 Then he will bring you to the land your ancestors possessed and you also will possess it; he will do better for you and multiply you more than he did your ancestors. 6 The Lord your God will also cleanse your heart and the hearts of your d