Alice C. Linsley
The name Seth (Set) is associated with ancient Kush in the Upper Nile in what is today southern Egypt and Sudan. In Egyptian writings this land was called Ta-Seti, meaning "Land of the Bow," referring to the weapon used by warriors and hunters of that part of Africa. Khaem-wa-set, the brother of King Seti I (1302-1290 B.C.), was the Chief of the bowmen of Kush.
Pharaoh Seti I was likely named for an earlier Seti. While it may not be possible to trace him back to Seth, Kain’s brother, it is possible to trace Seti's Kushite origins.
In Genesis 5 we read the list of rulers who descended from Seth. The tenth from Seth is Kush, a son of Ham. African story tellers (griots) generally recount lists of rulers and ancestors to the depth of 10, so the line of Seth would look like this:
Kain (Kenan), grandson of Kain
Jared (Irad or Yared)
Lamech the Younger, son of Naamah and Methuselah
The Kushites began to achieve greatness around 5,000 B.C., about 2,000 years before Noah, whose homeland is called Bor-No (Land of Noah). The oldest Kushite culture to have undergone extensive excavation is that at Kerma. A funerary temple in Kerma illustrates Kush’s connections to kingdoms at its northern/Egyptian and southern/Nigerian boundaries. One interior wall depicted Egyptian fishing boats, bullfights, and an enormous crocodile. Another wall showed rows of giraffes and hippopotamuses, wildlife characteristic of the territories to the southwest of Kush/Nubia. Naqada pottery dating to about 4000 B.C. is adorned with realistic images of ostriches and ibexes, animals not found near the Nile.
The Kushites traded with kingdoms to the north and to the south. There is evidence that the clans herded cattle from the grasslands to a communal gathering place at the Nile each year.  Some settled during the Chalcolithic Period on the edges of the Beersheba Valley where they lived in subterranean dwellings carved out of the limestone wth metal tools. An ivory workshop was discovered in one of these houses at Bir es-Safadi. The Bible refers to these as Dedanites. The men shaved their heads (Jeremiah 25:23), as did 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. His brother was Nimrod who established a vast kingdom in the Tigris-Euphrates River Valley.
There is still much to discover about ancient Kush. Unfortunately, many Kushite artifacts were destroyed when the Aswan Dam was built. Over 45 Nubian villages were washed away along the banks of the Nile south of Aswan. Twenty-four monuments were dismantled and relocated and many others were documented before the area was flooded.
This makes the biblical record even more valuable as a tool to reconstruct a picture of ancient Kush. And that biblical record is proving to be reliable. For example, Genesis 11:3 tells us that the towers in Mesopotamia were built of fired brick, an innovation which began in Kush around 2500 B.C. Fired bricks were not used for royal buildings which were always made of stone, but was used for common houses and to build walls. The use of fired brick to build towers in Mesopotamia suggests that this advancement moved eastward from Kush into the land of Shinar. All the Mesopotamian ziggurats were built with a core of mud brick and an exterior covered with baked brick. Ziggurats were stepped temples built in Sumer, Babylon and Assyria from about 2200 until 500 BC.
Kush was the father of Nimrod. Between 1100 and 800 B.C. the name Nimrod was a popular name in Egypt, according to Chaldean Genesis. (Jesus was baptized at an ancient Egyptian river shrine on teh Jordan. The place was called Nim-rah, meaning the waters of God.) Nimrod built cities in Mesopotamia and he probably introduced the use of fired brick. We meet Nimrod’s descendents later in the persons of Nahor and Terah, Abraham’s father. Ramaah settled in the Arabian Peninsula, south of Dedan. We meet Ramaah’s descendents later in the person of Seir the Horite.
What we have here is further evidence that the lines of Ham and Shem intermarried so that the ancestors of Christ our God were Nilotic peoples.
Related reading: Who Were the Kushites?; Who Were the Horites?; The Christ in Nilotic Mythology
1. Kerma was excavated by the Swiss archaeologist Charles Bonnet. To read Bonnet's chronology of Kerma, go here.
2. In 1986, cattle burials were found at Qustul, south of Abul Simbel, in the heart of Kush.
3. Dedan, Tema and Buz comprized a Horite confederation. The oldest Arabic texts have been found around the Afro-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.
4. 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.”
Related reading: Biblical Anthropology and Antecedents; Who Were the Kushites?; The Christ in Nilotic Mythology; Who Were the Horites?