(cuhssh) 1. A member of the tribe of Benjamin about whom the psalmist sang (Psalms 7:1). Nothing else is known of him. 2. Son of Ham and grandson of Noah (Genesis 10:8). Thus in this Table of Nations he is seen as the original ancestor of inhabitants of Cush, the land.
3. A nation situated south of Egypt with differing boundaries and perhaps including differing dark-skinned tribes (Jeremiah 13:23) at different periods of history. The Hebrew word Cush has been traditionally translated Ethiopia, following the Septuagint, or earliest Greek translation, but Cush was not identical with Ethiopia as presently known. Moses' wife came from Cush (Numbers 12:1), probably a woman distinct from Zipporah (Exodus 2:21). Cush was an enemy of Egypt for centuries, being controlled by strong pharaohs but gaining independence under weak pharaohs. Zerah, a general from Cush, fought against Asa, king of Judah (910-869) (2 Chronicles 14:9). Finally, Pi-ankhi of Cush conquered Egypt and established the twenty-fifth dynasty of Egyptian rulers (716-656) with their capital at Napata above the fourth cataract.
Isaiah 18:1 may describe some of the political activity involved in Cush's establishing their power in Egypt. Tirhakah (2 Kings 19:9) was one of the last of the pharaohs from Cush. Isaiah promised that people who fled from Judah and were exiled in Cush would see God's deliverance (Isaiah 11:11; compare
Zephaniah 3:10). Isaiah acted out judgment against Cush, probably as the rulers of Egypt (Isaiah 20:3-5; compare
Ezekiel 30:4-5,Ezekiel 30:9). In Ezekiel's day Cush represented the southern limit of Egyptian territory (Ezekiel 29:10). Cush's strength could not help Thebes escape from Ashurbanipal, king of Assyria, in 663 B.C. Nahum used this historical example to pronounce doom on Nineveh, the capital of Assyria (Nahum 3:9). Ezekiel listed Cush as one of the allies of Gog and Magog in the great climatic battle (Ezekiel 38:5). The psalmist proclaimed that God's reputation had reached even unto Cush (Psalms 87:4). Job saw Cush as a rich source of minerals, especially topaz (Job 28:19).
By the time of Esther, Cush represented the southwestern limits of Persian power (Esther 1:1). Cambyses (530-522) conquered Cush for Persia.
Cush is mentioned in
Genesis 2:13 as surrounded by the Gihon River. The Gihon is usually associated with Jerusalem as a spring (1 Kings 1:33). Some Bible students identify Cush here with the Kassites, the successors to the old Babylonian empire, who controlled Babylon between about 1530 and 1151 B.C. Such students connect this with
Genesis 10:8, where Cush is associated with Nimrod, whose kingdom centered in Babylon (Genesis 10:10). Other Bible students would see Gihon here as another name for the Nile River and Cush as referring to the land south of Egypt. A clear solution to this problem has not been found.