Cush is the dark-skinned race of Eastern Africa (south of Egypt) and of South Arabia (Gen. 10:6–7; 1 Chr. 1:8–10). Also the name of a country (Ethiopia) (Isa. 11:11; Ezek. 38:5).

Cush, (also spelled as Kush) (/kʊʃ, kʌʃ/; Biblical: כּוּשׁ Kûš), was, according to the Bible, the eldest son of Ham, who was a son of Noah. The father of the Biblical Nimrod mentioned in the "Table of Nations" in the Genesis 10:6 and I Chronicles 1:8. Cush is traditionally considered the eponymous ancestor of the people of the "land of Cush," an ancient territory that is believed to have been located on either side or both sides of the Red Sea. As such, "Cush" is alternately identified in Scripture with the Kingdom of Kush, ancient Sudan, and/or the Arabian Peninsula.[1]

Genesis Narrative

6 And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan.
7 And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtecha: and the sons of Raamah; Sheba, and Dedan.
8 And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth.
9 He was a mighty hunter before the Lord: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord.
10 And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.
11 Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah,
12 And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city.

Hebrew Narratives

A page from Elia Levita's 16th century Yiddish–Hebrew–Latin–German dictionary contains a list of nations, including the word "כושי" Cushite or Cushi, translated to Latin as "Aethiops" and into German as "Mor". According to Genesis, Cush's other sons were Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabtechah.

The Book of Numbers 12:1 calls the wife of Moses "an Ethiopian woman", whereas Moses's wife Zipporah is usually described as hailing from Midian. Ezekiel the Tragedian's Exagoge 60-65 (fragments reproduced in Eusebius) has Zipporah describe herself as a stranger in Midian, and proceeds to describe the inhabitants of her ancestral lands in North Africa:

"Stranger, this land is called Libya. It is inhabited by tribes of various peoples, Ethiopians, dark men. One man is the ruler of the land: he is both king and general. He rules the state, judges the people, and is priest. This man is my father and theirs."

The rhetorical question "Can the Cushite change his skin?" in Jeremiah 13:23 implies brown skin color, of most likely a Nubian people; also, the Septuagint uniformly translates Cush as Αἰθιοπία "Aithiopia."

Another person named Cush in the Hebrew Bible is a Benjamite who is mentioned only in Psalm 7, and is believed to be a follower of Saul.

Historical Map

Canaan map.jpg

Tribes of Cush

  1. Seba ben Cush - no further mention
  2. Havilah ben Cush - no further mention
  3. Sabtah ben Cush - no further mention
  4. Raamah ben Cush - settled in Southwest portion of Arabian peninsula near present-day Yemen. The Table of Nations lists two prominent sons:
    1. Sheba ben Raamah - was a South Arabian speaking kingdom believed to be in modern day Yemen mentioned in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and the Quran.
    2. Dedan ben Raamah
  5. Sabteca ben Cush
  6. Nimrod ben Cush - described in the Genesis Table of Nations as a great hunter before the Lord.


Offspring of Cush and unknown parent
Name Birth Death Joined with
Seba ben Cush 9999 Mesopotamia
Havilah ben Cush 9999 Mesopotamia
Sabtah ben Cush 9999 Mesopotamia
Raamah ben Cush 9999 Mesopotamia
Sabteca ben Cush 9999 Mesopotamia
Nimrod ben Cush 9999 Mesopotamia


Offspring of Ham ben Noah and Egyptus, wife of Ham
Name Birth Death Joined with
Cush ben Ham 9999 Mesopotamia
Mizraim ben Ham 9999 Mesopotamia 9999 Egypt
Phut 9999 Mesopotamia 9999 Libya
Canaan ben Ham 9999 Mesopotamia 9999 Land of Canaan
Egyptus, daughter of Ham 9999 Mesopotamia 9999 Egypt


Footnotes (including sources)

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