Ethiopia in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Hebrew; Cush. (See CUSH; BABYLON.) Isaiah 11:11. S. of Egypt. Now Nubia, Sennaar, Kordofan, and N. Abyssinia. In a stricter sense the kingdom of Meroe from the junction of the Blue and the White Nile to the border of Egypt. Syene on the N. marked the boundary from Egypt (Ezekiel 29:10; Ezekiel 30:6). The Red Sea was on the Ethiopia, the Libyan desert on the W. The native name was Ethaush; the Greek "Ethiopia" means the land of the sunburnt. Compare Jeremiah 13:23, "can the Ethiopian change his skin?" "The rivers of Ethiopia" (Zephaniah 3:10) are the two branches of the Nile and the Astabbras (Tacazze). The Nile forms a series of cataracts here. The dispersed Israelites shall be brought as an offering by the nations to the Lord (Zephaniah 3:8-9; Isaiah 66:20; Isaiah 60:9), from both the African and the Babylonian Cush, where the ten tribes were scattered in Peter's time (1 Peter 1:1; 1 Peter 5:13; Isaiah 11:11, "from Cush and from Shinar".) The Falashas of Abyssinia are probably of the ten tribes. In Isaiah 18:1, "the land shadowing with wings" is Ethiopia shadowing (protecting) with its two wings (Egyptian and Ethiopian forces) the Jews, "a nation scattered and peeled" (loaded with indignity, made bald) though once "terrible" when God put a terror of them into surrounding nations (Exodus 23:27; Joshua 2:9), "a nation meted out and trodden down whose land the (Assyrian) rivers (i.e. armies, Isaiah 8:7-8) have spoiled"; the Jews, not the Ethiopians. Ethiopia had sent her ambassadors to Jerusalem where they now were (Isaiah 18:2), Tirhakah their king shortly afterward being the ally whose diversion in that city's favor saved it from Sennacherib (Isaiah 36:37). Isaiah announces Sennacherib's coming overthrow to the Ethiopian ambassadors and desires them to carry the tidings to their own land (compare Isaiah 17:12-14; not "woe" but "ho," calling attention (Isaiah 18:1-2); go, take back the tidings of what God is about, to do against Assyria, the common foe of both Ethiopia and Judah. Queen Candace reigned in this Nile-formed is land region; the name is the official designation of a female dynasty shortly before our Lord's time (Acts 8:27). The "vessels of bulrushes" or papyrus boats are peculiarly suited to the Upper Nile, as being capable of carriage on the shoulders at the rocks and cataracts. Ethiopia" is often used when Upper Egypt and Ethiopia are meant. It is the Thebaid or Upper Egypt, not Ethiopia by itself, that was peopled and cultivated, when most of Lower Egypt was a marsh. Thus Ethiopia and Egypt are said (Nahum 3:9) to be the "strength" of "populous No" or Thebes. Zerah the Ethiopian who attacked Asa at Mareshah on the S. of Israel, and Tirhakah the Ethiopian who advanced toward Judah against Sennacherib, were doubtless rulers of Upper Egypt and Ethiopia combined. Tirhakah's name is found only on a Theban temple, and his connection with Ethiopia is marked by several monuments there being ascribed to him. An Azerch-Amen reigned in Ethiopia, we know from the monuments; perhaps = Zerah (Rawlinson). Hincks identifies him with Osorkon I, king of Egypt, second of the 22nd dynasty (See ASA) (2 Chronicles 14:9). Tirhakah was third of the 25th dynasty of Egypt, an Ethiopian dynasty. So or Sevechus or Sabacho was another of this dynasty; the ally of Hoshea king of Israel against Shalmaneser (2 Kings 17:3-4). Osirtasin I (Sesostris, Herodotus, 2:110), of the 12th dynasty, was the first Egyptian king who ruled Ethiopia. While the shepherd kings ruled Lower Egypt the 13th native dynasty retired to the Ethiopian capital Napara. Shishak's army was largely composed of Ethiopians (2 Chronicles 12:3). The monuments confirm Isaiah 20:4; Nahum 3:5; Nahum 3:8-9, by representing Sargon as warring with Egypt and making the Pharaoh tributary; they also make Ethiopia closely united to Egypt. Probably he was provoked by the help which So had given to his rebel tributary Hoshea. The inscriptions tell us Sargon destroyed No-Amon or Thebes in part, which was the capital of Upper Egypt, with which Ethiopia was joined. Esarhaddon, according to the monuments, conquered Egypt and Ethiopia Meroe was the emporium where the produce of the distant S. was gathered for transport either by the Nile or by caravans to northern Africa; compare Isaiah 45:14.

Read More