Black Nations in Scripture: The Family of Mizraim or Egypt

The Family of Mizraim: His Father, Ham

Egypt is Mizraim.[i] The bible has a great deal to say about the Egyptians, both their origin and their destiny. It is most important to remember that Mizraim was a part of a family. His father was Ham,[ii] was a black man.[iii] His brother was Cush[iv], also a black person [Gen 10.6, 8]. The following is the verdict of some bible scholars on the meaning of the name Ham, the father of many of the Black nations and the name of Cush, one of his sons.

Easton’s Bible Dictionary

Ham: warm, hot, and hence the south; also an Egyptian word meaning “Black” … One of the most important facts recorded in Genesis 10 is the foundation of the earliest monarchy in Babylonia by Nimrod the grandson of Ham (6, 8, 10). The primitive Babylonian empire was thus Hamitic, and of a cognate race with the primitive inhabitants of Arabia and of Ethiopia. (See ACCAD.)[v]” [emphasis mine]

Fausset’s Bible Dictionary

HAM = “hot”. 1.  The Egyptian KEM (Egypt is singularly the land of Ham, Ps 78:51; 105:23), “black”; the sun-burnt and those whose soil is black,[vi] as Ethiopia means. Father (i.e. ancestor) of Cush (Ethiopia), Mizraim (EGYPT) (which see), Phut (Libya), and Canaan. … Egypt being the first civilized was singled out as the chief country of Hamite settlements. (On the Hamitic or Cushite origin of Babylon, alleged by Scripture and confirmed by the vocabulary in ancient remains, see CUSH and BABEL). Solid grandeur characterizes the Hamitic architecture, as in the earliest of Egypt, Babylonia, and S. Arabia. The first steps in the arts and sciences seemingly are due to the Hamites. The earliest empires were theirs, their power of organization being great.[vii] [emphasis mine]

McClintock and Strong Encylopedia

HAM The general opinion is that all the southern nations derive their origin from Ham (to which the Hebrew root …, to be hot, not unlike the Greek… This meaning seems to be confirmed by that of the Egyptian word KEM (Egypt), which is believed to be the Egyptian equivalent of Ham, and which, as an adjective, signifies “black,” probably implying warmth as well as blackness. See EGYPT. If the Hebrew and Egyptian words be the same, Ham must mean the swarthy or sun-burnt…Ham may therefore have been so named as progenitor of the sunburnt Egyptians and Cushites. Cush is supposed to have been the progenitor of the nations of East and South Asia, more especially of South Arabia, and also of Ethiopia; Mizraim, of the African nations, including the Philistines and some other tribes which Greek fable and tradition connect with Egypt; Phut, likewise of some African nations; and Cancan, of the inhabitants of Palestine and Phoenicia. On the Arabian traditions concerning Ham, see D’Herbelot (Bibl. Orient. s.v.). [viii]

International Standard Bible Encylopedia


Skin tones seen in Palestine covered a wide range of colors with darker shades predominating. The biblical references accent the noteworthy extremes, such as brown-black from over-exposure to the sun (Job 30:28,30), black (associated with the “sons of Ham,” including Libyans, Egyptians, and Ethiopians [Amos 9:7; Jer 13:23, where J. Bright translates Ethiopians as “Negro”])[ix]

The Family of Mizraim: His Brother Cush[x]

Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon To the Old Testament

Cush: “3568-…a people descended from Ham (Genesis 10.7-8) whose country was surrounded by the river Gihon (Genesis 2.13 comp. Isaiah 18.1 Zephaniah 3.10); inhabited by Black men (Jeremiah 13.23); and very rich (Isaiah 42.3; 45:14) very often joined with Egypt (Isaiah 20.3-5; 37.9…2 Kings 19.9; 2 Chronicles 14.11 sq; Psalms 68.32; 87.4; Jeremiah 46.9; Ezekiel 30.4 sq; Dan 11.43; Am 9.7; Job 28.19 …”[xi] [emphasis mine]

Easton’s Bible Dictionary

Cush— black. (1.) A son, probably the eldest, of Ham, and the father of Nimrod (Gen 10:8; 1 Chron 1:10). From him the land of Cush seems to have derived its name.[xii] [emphasis mine]

Ethiopia— country of burnt faces; the Greek word by which the Hebrew Cush  is rendered (Gen 2:13; 2 Kings 19:9; Est 1:1; Job 28:19; Ps 68:31; 87:4), a country which lay to the south of Egypt, beginning at Syene on the First Cataract (Ezek 29:10; 30:6), and extending to beyond the confluence of the White and Blue Nile. It corresponds generally with what is now known as the Soudan (i.e., the land of the blacks). This country was known to the Hebrews, and is described in Isa 18:1; Zeph 3:10. They carried on some commercial intercourse with it (Isa 45:14).

Its inhabitants were descendants of Ham (Gen 10:6; Jer 13:23; Isa 18:2, “scattered and peeled,” A.V.; but in R.V., “tall and smooth”). Herodotus, the Greek historian, describes them as “the tallest and handsomest of men.” They are frequently represented on Egyptian monuments, and they are all of the type of the true negro. As might be expected, the history of this country is interwoven with that of Egypt.[xiii]

Fausset’s Bible Dictionary

CUSH Gen 10:6-8; 1 Chron 1:8-10. Oldest son of Ham; his descendants were Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, Sabtechah; Raamah’s sons, Sheba and Dedan; Nimrod, mentioned after the rest as Cush’s son, was probably a more remote descendant: Cush ethnologically includes not only Ethiopia (meaning the sunburnt, Nubia and N. Abyssinia.) in Africa, its chief representative, but the Cush of Asia, watered by the Gihon river of paradise (Gen 2:13). Isaiah couples it with Elam (Isa 40:11), Ezekiel with Persia (Ezek 38:5). Also part of Arabia (Gen 10:7; Isa 43:3, especially 2 Chron 21:16), Mesopotamia (Gen 10:8-10), and still further E. Chuzistan in the region of Susiana, in S. Asia, was their first home. Thence the main body crossed over to Ethiopia. Cush’s connection with Midian appears in Hab 3:7, where Cush-an is joined to Midi-an. But the Cushan there may be Israel’s first oppressor, CHUSHAN-RISHATHAIM (see); the name however shows a Cushite origin. The Babylonian inscriptions of the mounds of Chaldaea proper, the primitive seat of the Babylonian empire close to the Persian gulf, prove there was a Cush on the E. or Asiatic side of the Arabia, gulf, as well as on the W. or African side. So Homer (Odys., 1:23) speaks of the Ethiopians as divided, part towards the E., part toward the W. Nimrod’s kingdom began with Babel or Babylon, from whence “he went forth into Assyria and builded Nineveh” (Gen 10:11 margin).

Two streams of Hamitic migration appear to have taken place: (1) an earlier one of Nigritians [Blacks rw] through the Malayan region, the Mizraites [Egyptian-rw] spreading along the S. and E. coasts of the Mediterranean resembled the modern seafaring Malays. (2) A later one of Cushites through Arabia, Babylonia, Susiana, eastward to W. of India. Meroe of Ethiopia is called in the Assyrian inscriptions by the name Nimrod, which must therefore be a Cushite name. The writing and vocabulary at Ur or Umqueir, near the Persian gulf, is Hamitic rather than Semitic. Ideographic rather than phonetic writing characterizes the Turanian [Black-rw] races. Massive architectural remains, and a religion of nature worship from the highest to the lowest (fetish) kind, are found in all the Mizraite and Cushite settlements; and the language is partly Turanian, partly Semitic.[xiv] [emphasis mine]

McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia


LAND OF CUSH. — From the eldest son of Ham (Gen 10:6; 1 Chron 1:8) seems to have been derived the name of the land of Cush, which is commonly rendered by the Sept. Ai)qiopi/a , and by the Vulgate Aethiopia; in which they have been followed by almost all other versions, ancient and modern. The German translation of Luther has Mohrenland, which is equivalent to Negroland, or the Country of the Blacks[xv]. [emphasis mine]


In all of the references above we have not scratched the surface of the information available confirming the racial identity of the Hamites and Cushites based upon biblical and verifiable historical information.[xvi] With a black father and brother what else would we expect Mizraim to be? Mizraim [Egypt] was a part of a black family. He was an immediate relative to both Ham and Cush.

In fact Egypt is called the “land of Ham” [Psalms 105:23; 106:22; Psalms78.51]. Historians would have us believe that Ham had two Black sons (Cush and Put) and two white sons (Canaan and Mizraim), Of course, this is ridiculous. According to Gesenius, Egyptians called their own land Ham, and the word Ham corresponds to the word Egyptians called themselves which meant Black.[xvii] This Blackness refers not to the soil but to the people. The Egyptians identified themselves as black people and saw themselves as descendants of a black man, Ham. Because of the immense influence of Egypt upon the history and culture of Europe, it became unacceptable to acknowledge Egypt as a black nation and a civilized nation at the same time.[xviii]

Cheikh Anta Diop

“Whence came the name Ham? (Cham, Kam)? Where could Moses have found it? Right in Egypt where Moses was born, grew up, and lived until the Exodus. In fact, we know that the Egyptians called their country Kemit, which means “Black” in their language. The interpretation according to which Kemit designates the Black soil of Egypt, rather than the Black man and by extension, the Black race of the country of the Blacks, stems from a gratuitous distortion by minds aware of what an exact interpretation of this word imply. Hence, it is natural to find Kam in Hebrew, meaning heat, Black, burned.” [xix]


[i] “Mizraim

— the dual form of matzor, meaning a “mound” or “fortress,” the name of a people descended from Ham (Gen 10:6,13; 1 Chron 1:8,11). It was the name generally given by the Hebrews to the land of Egypt (q.v.), and may denote the two Egypts, the Upper and the Lower. The modern Arabic name for Egypt is Muzr.” Easton’s Bible Dictionary, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

[ii] HAM or CHAM.

The first of the terms here specified is Ham; at different times, and in different places, expressed Cham, Chom, [8]Chamus. Many places were from him denominated Cham Ar, Cham Ur, Chomana, Comara, Camarina. Ham, by the Egyptians, was compounded Am-On, Αμων and Αμμων [Ammon-RW]. He is to be found under this name among many nations in the east; which was by the Greeks expressed Amanus, and [9]Omanus. Ham, and Cham are words, which imply heat, and the consequences of heat; and from them many words in other languages, such as [10]Καυμα Caminus, Camera, were derived. Ham, as a Deity, was esteemed the [11]Sun: and his priests were styled Chamin, Chaminim, and Chamerim. His name is often found compounded with other terms, as in Cham El, Cham Ees, Cam Ait: and was in this manner conferred both on persons and places. From hence Camillus, Camilla, Camella Sacra, Comates, Camisium, [12]Camirus, Chemmis, with numberless other words, are derived. Chamma was the title of the hereditary [13]priestess of Diana: and the Puratheia, where the rites of fire were carried on, were called Chamina, and Chaminim, whence came the Caminus of the Latines. They were sacred hearths, on which was preserved a perpetual fire in honour of Cham. The idols of the Sun called by the same [14]name: for it is said of the good king Josiah, that _they brake down the altars of Baalim–in his presence; and the Chaminim_ (or images of Cham) _that were on high above them, he cut down_. They were also styled Chamerim, as we learn from the prophet [15]Zephaniah. Ham was esteemed the Zeus of Greece, and Jupiter of Latium. [16]Αμμους, ὁ Ζευς, Αριστοτελει. [17]Αμμουν γαρ Αιγυπτιοι καλεουσι τον Δια. Plutarch says, that, of all the Egyptian names which seemed to have any correspondence with the Zeus of Greece, Amoun or Ammon was the most peculiar and adequate. Jacob Bryant, A New System; or, an Analysis of Antient Mythology. Volume I. (LONDON: PRINTED FOR J. WALKER; W.J. AND J. RICHARDSON; R. FAULDER AND SON; R. LEA; J. NUNN; CUTHELL AND MARTIN; H.D. SYMONDS; VERNOR, HOOD, AND SHARPE; E. JEFFERY; LACKINGTON, ALLEN, AND CO.; J. BOOKER; BLACK, PARRY, AND KINGSBURY; J. ASPERNE; J. MURRAY; AND J. HARRIS., 1807.

[iii] The African Origins of Civilization , Myth or Reality, Cheikh Anta Diop, Trans. by Mercer Cook, Lawrence Hill Books 1974 pg 9

[iv] Regarding the definition of Cush: “3568-…a people descended from Ham Genesis 10.7-8 whose country was surrounded by the river Gihon (Genesis 2.13 comp. Isaiah 18.1 Zephaniah 3.10); inhabited by Black men (Jeremiah 13.23); and very rich (Isaiah 42.3; 45:14) very often joined with Egypt (Isaiah 20.3-5; 37.9…2 Kings 19.9; 2 Chronicles 14.11 sq; Psalms 68.32; 87.4; Jeremiah 46.9; Ezekiel 30.4 sq; Dan 11.43; Am 9.7; Job 28.19 ) (emphasis added rw)…” Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon To the Old Testament Trans S.P. Tregelles LL.D. Baker 1979,  389

[v] “Easton’s Bible Dictionary” Easton, M.G., article: Ham

[vi] The common reference to the Black soil rather than the Black people by scholars is refuted by the use of the Egyptians themselves. See Diop’s comment on page 91 [footnote 95 below]

[vii] Fausset’s Bible Dictionary, Electronic Database Copyright © 1998, 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved. art. Ham

[viii] McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved. art. Ham

[ix] International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, revised edition, Copyright © 1979 by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. All rights reserved. art Color

[x] CHUS.

Chus was rendered by the Greeks Χυσος, Chusus; but, more commonly, Χρυσος:and the places denominated from him were changed to Χρυσε, Chruse; and to Chrusopolis. His name was often compounded [20]Chus-Or, rendered by the Greeks Χρυσωρ, Chrusor, and Chrusaor; which, among the Poets, became a favourite epithet, continually bestowed upon Apollo. Hence there were temples dedicated to him, called Chrusaoria. Chus, in the Babylonish dialect, seems to have been called Cuth; and many places, where his posterity settled, were styled [21]Cutha, Cuthaia, Cutaia, Ceuta, Cotha, compounded [22]Cothon. He was sometimes expressed Casus, Cessus, Casius; and was still farther diversified.

Chus was the father of all those nations, styled [23]Ethiopians, who were more truly called Cuthites and Cuseans. They were more in number, and far more widely extended, than has been imagined. The history of this family will be the principal part of my inquiry. Jacob Bryant pg. 21

[xi] Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon To the Old Testament Trans S.P. Tregelles LL.D. Baker 1979,  389

[xii] Easton’s Bible Dictionary, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved. art. Cush

[xiii] Ibid art. Ethiopia

[xiv] Fausset’s Bible Dictionary, Electronic Database Copyright © 1998, 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved. art. Cush

[xv] McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved. art. Cush

[xvi] This wealth of information should not lead the reader to believe that the biblical historians were not biased against the Blacks of scripture. Strong racism is found in these same books, as well as irrational assumptions and outright falsehoods. Insight into these ideas and motivations may be found in Appendices 3 and 12. See also Appendix 7  “The Curse of Noah”.

[xvii] If Egypt is the “land of Ham” then it is associated with the name which the Egyptians called themselves KMT=kemit=Blacks or the Negroes=Ham. see Gesenius #2526 (below) who claims that kmt=Ham (rw)

Regarding the definition of Ham “2526- a name of Egypt; properly its domestic name amongst the Egyptians themselves, …The name of Egypt in the most recent Coptic tongue is written…words which signify Blackness and heat, as Plutarch observed, De Iside et Osir vii page 437, [“In the Hieroglyphic language it is written with two letters KM] Egypt is so named likewise in the Rosetta inscription in which this word appears more than ten times…” “Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament” Trans. S.P.Tregelles LL.D. Baker 1979 pg. 

[xviii] See Appendix 3 The Origins of Modern Racism


“Another way of looking at these changes is to assume that after the rise of black slavery and racism, European thinkers were concerned to keep black Africans as far as possible from European civilization. Where men and women in the Middle Ages and Renaissance were uncertain about the colour of the Egyptians, the Egyptophil Masons tended to see them as white. Next the Hellenomaniacs of the early 19th century began to doubt their whiteness and to deny that the Egyptians had been civilized. It was only at the end of the 19th century, when Egypt had been entirely stripped of its philosophic reputation, that its African affinities could be re-established. Notice that in each case the necessary divide between Blacks and civilization was clearly demarcated.” [emphasis in the original] Bernal, Martin “Black Athena, The AfroAsiatic Roots of Classical Civilization, Volume I (1987, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, New Jersey) pg 30

[xix] “The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality”, Cheikh Anta Diop, Lawrence Hill Books, 1974 Trans. By Mercer Cook  pg. 7

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