|Easton's Bible Dictionary|
The chief officer or prime minister of state of Candace (q.v.), queen of Ethiopia. He was converted to Christianity through the instrumentality of Philip (Acts 8:27). The northern portion of Ethiopia formed the kingdom of Meroe, which for a long period was ruled over by queens, and it was probably from this kingdom that the eunuch came.
The wife of Moses (Numbers 12:1). It is supposed that Zipporah, Moses' first wife (Exodus 2:21), was now dead. His marriage of this "woman" descended from Ham gave offence to Aaron and Miriam.
Noah Webster's Dictionary
1. (n.) A native or inhabitant of Ethiopia; also, in a general sense, a negro or black man.
2. (a.) Alt. of Ethiopic.
Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia
CUSHITE WOMAN; ETHIOPIAN WOMAN
kush'-it: In Numbers 12:1 Moses is condemned by his sister Miriam and his brother Aaron "because of the Cushite woman ha-'ishshah ha-kushith whom he had married"; and the narrator immediately adds by way of needed explanation, "for he had married a Cushite woman" ('ishshah khushith). Views regarding this person have been of two general classes:
(1) She is to be identified with Zipporah (Exodus 2:21 and elsewhere), Moses' Midianite wife, who is here called "the Gushite," either in scorn of her dark complexion (compare Jeremiah 13:23) and foreign origin (so most older exegetes), or as a consequence of an erroneous notion of the late age when this apocryphal addition, "because of the Cushite," etc., was inserted in the narrative (so Wellhansen).
(2) She is a woman whom Moses took to wife after the death of Zipporah, really a Cushite (Ethiopian) by race, whether the princess of Meroe of whom Josephus (Ant., II, x, 2) romances (so Targum of Jonathan), or one of the "mixed multitude" (Exodus 12:38; compare Numbers 11:4) that accompanied the Hebrews on their wanderings (so Ewald and most). Dillmann suggests a compromise between the two classes of views, namely, that this woman is a mere "variation in the saga" from the wife elsewhere represented as Midianite, yet because of this variation she was understood by the author as distinct from Zipporah. The implication of the passage, in any case, is clearly that this connection of Moses tended to injure his prestige in the eyes of race-proud Hebrews, and, equally, that in the author's opinion such a view of the matter was obnoxious to God.
J. Oscar Boyd
e-thi-o'-pi-an u'-nuk eunouchos:
A man who occupied a leading position as treasurer at the court of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, and who was converted and baptized by Philip the deacon (Acts 8:27-39). Being a eunuch, he was not in the full Jewish communion (compare Deuteronomy 23:1), but had gone up to Jerusalem to worship, probably as a proselyte at the gate. During his return journey he spent the time in studying Isaiah, the text which he used being that of the Septuagint (compare Professor Margoliouth, article "Ethiopian Eunuch" in HDB). On meeting with Philip the deacon, who was on his way to Gaza, he besought of him to shed light upon the difficulties of the Scripture he was reading, and through this was converted. The place of his baptism, according to Jerome and Eusebius, was Bethsura: by some modern authorities, eg. G A. Smith, it has been located at or near Gaza. The verse containing the confession of the eunuch, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God," is omitted either in whole or in part by some texts, but Hilgenfeld, Knowling, etc., regard it as quite in keeping with the context. Tischendorf, Westcott and Hort, Revised Version (British and American) text, etc., uphold the omission. The verse occurs in the body of the King James Version, but is given only as a footnote in the Revised Version (British and American) and the American Standard Revised Version. The diligence with which the eunuch pursued his reading, the earnestness with which he inquired of Philip, and the promptness with which he asked for baptism-all testify to the lofty nature of his character.
C. M. Kerr
ZERAH (THE ETHIOPIAN)
(zerach ha-kushi (2 Chronicles 14:9); Zare): A generation ago the entire story of Zerah's conquest of Asa, coming as it did from a late source (2 Chronicles 14:9-15), was regarded as "apocryphal": "If the incredibilities are deducted nothing at all is left" (Wellhausen, Prolegomena to the History of Israel, 207, 208); but most modern scholars, while accepting certain textual mistakes and making allowance for customary oriental hyperbole in description; accept this as an honest historical narrative, "nothing" in the Egyptian inscriptions being "inconsistent" with it (Nicol in BD; and compare Sayce, HCM, 362-64). The name "Zerah" is a "very likely corruption" of "Usarkon" (U-Serak-on), which it closely resembles (see Petrie, Egypt and Israel, 74), and most writers now identify Zerah with Usarkon II, though the Egyptian records of this particular era are deficient and some competent scholars still hold to Usarkon I (Wiedemann, Petrie, McCurdy, etc.). The publication by Naville (1891) of an inscription in which Usarkon II claims to have invaded "Lower and Upper Palestine" seemed to favor this Pharaoh as the victor over Asa; but the chronological question is difficult (Eighth Memoir of the Egyptian Exploration Fund, 51). The title "the Cushite" (Hebrew) is hard to understand. There are several explanations possible.
(1) Wiedemann holds that this may refer to a real Ethiopian prince, who, though unrecorded in the monuments, may have been reigning at the Asa era. There is so little known from this era "that it is not beyond the bounds of probability for an Ethiopian invader to have made himself master of the Nile Valley for a time" (Geschichte von Alt-Aegypten, 155).
(2) Recently it has been the fashion to refer this term "Cushite" to some unknown ruler in South or North Arabia (Winckler, Cheyne, etc.). The term "Cushite" permits this, for although it ordinarily corresponds to ETHIOPIA (which see), yet sometimes it designates the tract of Arabia which must be passed over in order to reach Ethiopia (Jeremias, The Old Testament in the Light of Ancient East, I, 280) or perhaps a much larger district (see BD; EB; Hommel, Ancient Hebrew Tradition; Winckler, KAT, etc.). This view, however, is forced to explain the geographical and racial terms in the narrative differently from the ordinary Biblical usage (see Cheyne, EB). Dr. W. M. Flinders Petrie points out that, according to the natural sense of the narrative, this army must have been Egyptian for
(a) after the defeat it fled toward Egypt, not eastward toward Arabia;
(b) the cities around Gerar (probably Egyptian towns on the frontier of Palestine), toward which they naturally fled when defeated, were plundered;
(c) the invaders were Cushim and Lubim (Libyans), and this could only be the case in an Egyptian army; (d) Mareshah is a well-known town close to the Egyptian frontier (History of Egypt, III, 242-43; compare Konig, Funf neue arab. Landschaftsnamen im Altes Testament, 53-57).
(3) One of the Usarkons might be called a "Cushite" in an anticipatory sense, since in the next dynasty (XXIII) Egypt was ruled by Ethiopian kings.
Camden M. Cobern
See CUSHITE WOMAN.
Ethiopian (11 Occurrences)
Acts 8:27 He arose and went; and behold, there was a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was over all her treasure, who had come to Jerusalem to worship. (Root in WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Acts 8:34 And the Ethiopian said to Philip, About whom are these words said by the prophet? about himself, or some other? (BBE)
Acts 8:36 And while they were going on their way, they came to some water, and the Ethiopian said, See, here is water; why may I not have baptism? (BBE)
Acts 8:39 And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord took Philip away; and the Ethiopian saw him no more, for he went on his way full of joy. (BBE)
Numbers 12:1 And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman. (KJV DBY)
2 Chronicles 14:9 There came out against them Zerah the Ethiopian with an army of a million troops, and three hundred chariots; and he came to Mareshah. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY NAS RSV)
Jeremiah 13:23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may you also do good, who are accustomed to do evil. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS NAS RSV NIV)
Jeremiah 38:7 Now when Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, a eunuch, who was in the king's house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon (the king then sitting in the gate of Benjamin), (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY NAS RSV)
Jeremiah 38:10 Then the king commanded Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, saying, Take from hence thirty men with you, and take up Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon, before he dies. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY NAS RSV)
Jeremiah 38:12 Ebedmelech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, Put now these rags and worn-out garments under your armpits under the cords. Jeremiah did so. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY NAS RSV)
Jeremiah 39:16 Go, and speak to Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, saying, Thus says Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel: Behold, I will bring my words on this city for evil, and not for good; and they shall be accomplished before you in that day. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY NAS RSV)