One of the great kingdoms in Africa, frequently mentioned in Scripture under the name of Cush, the various significations of which in the Old Testament have been mentioned under the article CUSH, which see. Ethiopia proper lay south of Egypt, on the Nile; and was bounded north by Egypt, at the cataracts near Syene; east by the Red Sea, and perhaps a part of the Indian ocean; south by unknown regions of the interior of Africa; and west by Libya and deserts. It comprehended of course the modern countries of Nubia or Sennaar, and Abyssinia. The chief city in it was the ancient Meroe, situated on the island or tract of the same name, between the Nile and the Astaboras, now the Tacazze, not far from the modern Shendi, Isaiah 18:1-7 Zephaniah 3:10.
The name of Seba was given to the northern part of Ethiopia, afterwards Meroe, but the eldest son of Cush, Genesis 10:7. This country was in some parts mountainous, and in others sandy; but was to a great extent well watered and fertile. Ebony, ivory, spices, gold, and precious stones were among its articles of traffic. Its history is much involved with that of Egypt, and the two countries are often mentioned together in Bible, Isaiah 20:3-6 43:3 45:15 Ezekiel 30:1-26 Daniel 11:43.
Zerah "the Ethiopian" who invaded Judah in the reign of Asa, B. C. 944, 2 Chronicles 14:9-15, is thought by some to have been an Egyptian king of an Ethiopia on both sides of the Red Sea; that is, of the Arabian as well as African Cush. This would explain how he could obtain access to the land of Palestine without passing through Egypt. But the whole question is involved in uncertainty. The Ethiopian queen Candace, whose treasurer is mentioned in Acts 8:27, was probably queen of Meroe, where a succession of females reigned who all bore this name. As this courtier is said to have gone up to Jerusalem "to worship," he was probably a Jew by religion, if not by birth. There appear to have been many Jews in that country. The gospel gained adherents among them; and early in the forth century the entire Bible was translated into the ancient Ethiopic language, from the Greek.