The Kushites are the Nilo-Saharan peoples who contributed their binary worldview to the ancient Afro-Asiatic world. They include red, black and brown Nubians, pre-dynastic lower Nilotes, and the Ainu/Annu. Among them were Abraham's Horites ancestors who descended from Kush, the grandson of the great Proto-Saharan ruler Noah. The Horites were a caste of ruler-priests who were devotees of Hor/Horus. Jews call their ancestors Horim which is "Horite" in the English Bibles. Some Jews have Horite blood and some Arabs have Horite blood.
Abraham is a descendant of the Proto-Saharan rulers Ham and Shem as the lines of Ham and Shem intermarried (endogamy). Endogamy is a trait of castes and ruling families. Abraham ruled in Edom, though his father ruled in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley.
To understand the significance of the Kushites and their trade relations with their neighbors, see Angelika Lohwasser, Kush and Her Neighbours Beyond the Nile. For information on the Kushite king list tradition, see Matthew Adams, Manetho's 23rd Dynasty and the Legitimization of Kushite Rule Over Egypt
Alice C. Linsley
Beginning in Nubia and Sudan about 10,000 years ago, the Kushites spread across the Levant and Mesopotamia, going as far as Central Asia. They also spread into the interior of Africa along the Shari and the Benue rivers, establishing kingdoms and chieftains as far at Lagos in Nigeria and into the southern Kordafan. They also went west. The Ashante of Ghana were Kushites. Nte means "people of" and Asha is a proper name. The Ashante are the people of Asha, a Kushite ruler who established a kingdom in West Africa.
The name Asha is a priestly name in the Bible. One of Jesse's grandsons was named Asah-el, which means "made by God." The priest Elkanah had a son named Am-asi (I Chron. 2:25, 35), and a Jerusalem priest was named Am-ashai (Neh. 11:13). This suggests that the origins of the priesthood of Israel are to be traced to the older Kushite civilization. This makes sense since Abraham's ancestors came from Kush.
The various regions of ancient Kush later came to be called by different names. Nubia, the land of gold (nu (means gold) was later called Aithiopia by the Greeks. Aithiopia means black. When the Arabs arrived, they translated aithiopia into the Arabic equivalent soudan (Sudan) which means black.
Before the naming of modern nations, the Kushite territories were ruled by tribal chiefs and overlords of larger territories. Biblical Kush included southern Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, the Horn of Africa and the western and eastern coastal areas of the Red Sea. Later, in the time of Sargon the Great (Nimrod), they controlled commerce on the Tigris River and then the Euphrates River. Kushite rulers controlled the water systems such as oases and wells, and built shrines and temples on the Nile, Jordan, Euphrates and Tigris Rivers.
Linguistic and archaeological evidence supports the biblical picture of Abraham's ancestors coming from the Upper Nile region that was part of Kush and spreading their culture and religious beliefs by the great water systems across what I've termed the ancient "Afro-Asiatic Dominion." During this period the Sahara was a much wetter region.
In ancient inscriptions from Africa and Central Asia the Kushites were called many names including Kush, and Ethiopian. In Sumerian inscriptions they are called Meluha-Kasi. There is historical evidence that the word Meluha was a geographical designation for peoples who lived in the area of Nubia, Arabia and Northern Africa. "The Babylonian designation for Arabia is 'Magan and Meluha' and the two expressions are used distinctively, the one (Magan) to denote the eastern and southern part - that situated nearest to Babylonia, the other (Meluha) to denote the N. and W. The district of Sinai would thus form part of Meluha." (From here.) A term that is used today for the peoples of this region is "Afro-Arabian."
Genesis tells us that Abraham was a descendant of Kush and of the great Kushite kingdom-builder, Nimrod. Abraham lived after the time of the "division" that took place between Peleg and his brother Joktan. This division had to do with territory, but did not change the marriage pattern of these people. The priest lines of the Horite caste continued to intermarry according to the unique pattern of their people.
The Kushite marriage and ascendancy structure speaks of the promised Son to whom God the Father will deliver the eternal kingdom.
The Kushites traded with many surrounding people and kingdoms. There is evidence that the clans herded cattle from the grasslands to a communal gathering place at the Nile each year. (In 1986, cattle burials were found at Qustul, south of Abul Simbel, in the heart of Kush.)
During the Chalcolithic Period, Kushites settled on the edges of the Beersheba Valley where they lived in subterranean dwellings carved out of the limestone with metal tools. An ivory workshop was discovered in one of these houses at Bir es-Safadi. The Bible refers to these cave-dwellers as Dedanites. Dedan, Tema and Buz comprized a Horite confederation. The oldest Arabic texts have been found around the North Arabian oases of Tema and Dedan. Tema, known by Arabs as Taima, lies about 70 miles north-east of Dedan. Tema, Dedan and Dumah were caravan stops along the trade route from Babylon to Sheba.
The term "Horite" can't be taken anachronistically when speaking of Abraham's ancestors, who were devotees of Horus, who they regarded as the “Son of God.” This is the origin of Messianic expectation, and some of Abraham's Jewish descendants recognized Jesus as the fulfillment of the prophetic pattern articulated by their Horite ancestors from Kush. This was apparently true of Nicodemus and Joseph of Har-Mathea, both disciples of Jesus and men in the priestly lines.
The men of Dedan shaved their heads (Jeremiah 25:23), as did Joseph and the Horite priests. This suggests that a confederation of Horite families lived in the Beersheba Valley. Genesis 36 confirms this, listing Dedan as a Horite ruler. Genesis 10 tells us that Dedan's father was Raamah, son of Kush. Raamah and Nimrod were the first-born sons of Kush by different wives. From Raamah and Dedan come the Afro-Arabians and from Nimrod come the Afro-Asiatic Arameans. Genesis tells us that the separation between the two groups took place in the time of Peleg and Joktan and was a territorial separation, possibly due to climate change. However, the ruling lines of the Kushites and Horites continued to intermarry according to the long-standing custom of their people.
"Of particular significance is archaeologist B. B. Lal's contention that the Dravidians probably came from Nubia, Upper Egypt. This theory would give them among other things their Mediterranean features and dark complexion. Lal writes: "At Timos the Indian team dug up several megalithic sites of ancient Nubians which bear an uncanny resemblance to the cemeteries of early Dravidians which are found all over Western India from Kathiawar to Cape Comorin. The intriguing similarity extends from the subterranean structure found near them. Even the earthenware ring-stands used by the Dravidians and Nubians to hold pots were identical." According to Lal, the Nubian megaliths date from around 1000 B.C." (From here.)
The word "sudra" means Sudanese. Herodotus referred to the Sudra/Dravidians as the “eastern Ethiopians” and described them thus: “The Eastern Ethiopians differed in nothing from the other Ethiopians, save in their language, and the character of their hair. For the Eastern Ethiopians have straight hair, while they of Libya are more woolly-haired…” (Herodotus VI.70, The History, trans. George Rawlinson, Dutton)
The Sudra buried their dead in wooden coffins with the head toward the north. This distinguished the Sudra from other Indians who cremate their dead. This is how Joseph was buried in Egypt. His body would have been mummified and wrapped in cloth before being placed in the coffin (Gen. 50:26).
In Goshen/Avaris, a city built on a series of sandy hillocks to avoid the annual Nile floods, Joseph had an Egyptian-style palace built over Jacob's dwelling. The magnificent palace enclosure had a garden tomb, the largest sepulcher found in Avaris, dating to the 13th Dynasty. Avaris was uncovered by Manfred Bietak and his Austrian team. This attests to the antiquity of the Joseph story because royal burials were later in cemetaries far removed from residences. Avaris pottery fragments of Canaanite origin indicate that the people who lived in Avaris were Canaanites (peoples descended from Ham and Shem).
The most conclusive evidence of Saharan antecedents (Kushite origins) is the work of the Canadian archaeologist, Mary McDonald. She has shown that the ancient Pharaonic civilization built upon the culture of Saharan peoples. Comparing ostrich eggshell excavated from the Bashendi circles with those found in Egypt, she found that nearly all of the shared artifacts showed up in Dakhleh, in the southwestern desert of Egypt, 500 to 2000 years before they appeared in the Nile Valley. Additionally, cattle domestication took place in the Sahara long before it appeared in the Nile Valley. No solid evidence has been found for cattle domestication in the Nile Valley before 6000 years ago.
Fekri Hassan, Petrie Professor of Archaeology at University College London, believes that “Mary’s work has been an outstanding contribution to our understanding of the origins of Egyptian civilization.” Hassan says, “Her work confirmed that one of the main strands in the early civilization of the Nile Valley was the contribution from the inhabitants of the Sahara."
Linguistically, the Kushites are in the Proto-Saharan group. A comparison of the lexicons and grammatical categories demonstrates that the languages of Saharan Africa, old Arabic, and Dravidian are cognate languages. (Arabic is older than Hebrew.)
These languages were spoken across a vast Afro-Asiatic Dominion that extended from the northern Nigeria to the Indus River valley around 10,000 years ago. Consider the linguistic correspondences between these words:
- The Semitic word "wadi" = river corresponds to the Sanskrit "nadi" = river.
- The Semitic root “mgn” = to give, is the same as the Sanskrit “mgn” = to give.
- The Semitic “svam” or “Sam-yim” = sky or heaven corresponds to the Sanskrit “svah” = sky or heaven. Both are likely dreived from the Proto-Dravidian word "van" = heaven.
- The Sanskrit “Sakti” = harvest moon celebration, is the linguistic equivalent of the Falasha word “Sarki” = harvest moon festival.
- The Semitic "yasuah" = salvation, corresponds to the Sanskrit words “asvah”, “asuah” or “yasuah” = salvation.
- The Semitic root "thr" = to be pure, corresponds to the Hausa/Hahm "toro" = clean, and to the Tamil "tiru" = holy. All are related to the proto-Dravidian "tor" = blood.
- Sarki live in Orissa, India and as ‘Haruwa’ in the Tarai region of Nepal. The word "haruwa" is equivalent to the ancient Egyptian word ‘har-wa”, meaning priest. In Nigeria the sarki are called "Kano Kings."
Prof. Bator Vamos Toth has identified hundreds of place names that link the Sudan and Central Asia. For example, the places names Orissa and Kar-nak are found in Egypt and in Central Asia. The temples at Karnak in Egypt and at Karnak in Orissa, India, are sun temples associated with the cult of Horus, who the Horite ruler-priests regarded as the "son of God", miraculously begotten according to an ancient promise. This Kushite migration has been confirmed also by DNA studies.
Clyde A. Winters has shown that the "Elamites, Dravidians, Sumerians and Manding are all of Proto-Saharan origin. In the history of mankind they were called the Kushites. Testimony of the great heritage of the Kushites, resulted from their boldness in trade and seafaring expeditions. The authors of ancient Indian literature claimed that the Kushites ruled the world for 7000 years. According to Epiphanies, the age of the Kushites extended from the Flood to the age of Terah, the father of Abraham, the prophet of the Jews and Muslims.
The Egyptian term for these people was K-'-sh and K-'-sh-i. The Hebrews called them Kush, which is the biblical name for a people and a region. In the cuneiform inscriptions the Sudanese were called "Kushiya." (From here.)
The Horites were a caste of ruler-priests who were devotees of Horus who was called "son of God." They were ethnically Kushites or Afro-Arabians. They appear to be the key to understanding the origins of Messianic expectation.
Related reading: Kushites in Mindanao; The Kushite-Kushan Connection; Kushite Wives, Kushite Gold; The Christ in Nilotic Mythology; Who Were the Horites?; The Saharan Origin of Pharaonic Egypt; Genesis and Climate Change; Pharaonic Survivals Between Lake Chad and the West Coast; Afro-Asiatic Metalworkers