Friday, October 2, 2009

Ethiopia in the Bible

Just thought I would share what Chuck had gathered in his studies on Ethiopia in the Bible. If you are FB friends with him, he posted this a few days ago, but I found it quite interesting. Below is a copy of his notes. He must have shared this with the girls because they were able to tell me all about it at the dinner table last night. Oh, I wish I could retain knowledge like they do.




Since we are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia I wanted to do a little research on mentions of Ethiopia in the BIble. I had no idea what a rich Biblical history Ethiopia has! It is mentioned more than 45 times in Scripture! Here is a short overview of several of them. (NOTE: I did not write this!!! The following is a compilation of notes & excerpts taken from from several websites.)

CREATION
Ethiopia is first mentioned in the Creation account itself. The river that watered the Garden of Eden (Gen 2:10) split into four giant rivers: "The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold... the name of the second river is Gihon: that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia." (Gen 2:11, 13). God's "Garden" was quite colossal, actually - more like a giant preserve, a country or a continent. His "Garden" had to be watered by a mighty river! That river split into four other mighty rivers, two of which flowed in Ethiopia.

THE PROPHET ZEPHANIAH
The prophet Zephaniah was at least half Ethiopian (he had an Ethiopian father, no info about his mother). This Israelite prophet was a direct descendant of King Hezekiah: "The word of the LORD which came unto Zephaniah the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hizkiah, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah." (Zep 1:1). "Cushi" means "man of Ethiopia". There are three men named Cushi in scripture, all very prominent: Joab's runner (2 Samuel 18:21-32), the great-grandfather of Jehudi the scribe (Jer 36:14), and Zephaniah the prophet's father (Zep 1:1).

MOSES WIFE
Moses had an Ethiopian wife. He married her after his first wife died. Moses' only children were through his first wife, Zipporah (1 Chr 23:15). God punished Moses' sister Miriam with leprosy after she and his brother Aaron spoke against Moses for marrying her (see Numbers 12:1-15).

JEREMIAH'S RESCUER
Another Ethiopian saved Jeremiah's life. Jer 38:4-15 records: "Therefore the princes said unto the king, let this man be put to death..." Zedekiah the king said, "Behold, he is in your hand..." "Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah the son of Hammelech, that was in the court of the prison: and they let down Jeremiah with cords. And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire: so Jeremiah sunk in the mire. Now when Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, one of the eunuchs which was in the king's house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon; Ebed-melech went and spoke to the king, saying, My lord the king, these men have done evil to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the dungeon; and he is likely to die for hunger in the place where he is: for there is no more bread in the city.

Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, Take thirty men with thee, and take up Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon, before he die. So Ebed-melech took the men with him, and went into the house of the king under the treasury, and took old rotten rags, and let them down by cords into the dungeon to Jeremiah. And Ebed-melech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, Put these under your arms. And Jeremiah did. So they drew up Jeremiah with cords, and took him up out of the dungeon: and Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison.

Jer 39:15-18 says, "Now the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah, while he was shut up in the court of the prison, saying, Go and speak to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring my words upon this city for evil, and not for good; and they shall be accomplished in that day before thee. But I will deliver you in that day, saith the LORD: and you shall not be given into the hand of the men of whom you are afraid... because thou hast put thy trust in me, saith the LORD."
God used this Ethiopian man to save the life of the prophet Jeremiah, then God blessed Ebed-melech by saving his life in return.

A RUMOR SAVES JERUSALEM
God also used a rumor about an Ethiopian king to save Jerusalem during one of the most famous battles in the Bible. The Bible talks about this battle in 2 Kings 18 and Isaiah 37. There was a king named Rab-shakeh who had Jerusalem surrounded. It looked like God's people were doomed. He had conquered other mighty nations before attacking Jerusalem. But he got so proud and cocky that he started blaspheming God. Isaiah 37:7-9 is God's reply to Rab-shakeh: "...he shall hear a rumor, and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land. So Rab-shakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah: for he had heard that he was departed from Lachish. And he heard say concerning Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, He is come forth to make war with you...." -- God sent Rab-shakeh back to his own country and killed him. And He used a rumor about Tirhakah, king of Ethiopia, to get Rab-shakeh back there.

1 MILLION-MAN ARMY
Of the nations that Israel went to war against in her history, Ethiopia had the largest army. Its size is mentioned in 2Ch 14:9 "And there came out against them Zerah the Ethiopian with a host of a thousand thousand, and three hundred chariots; and came unto Mareshah." A thousand thousand is a million. Zerah the Ethiopian led a 1 million man army, the largest numbered army that Israel ever fought. Zerah the Ethiopian went to war against Asa king of Judah, whose army was much smaller. Without God on their side, any army of any size can be defeated. 2Chronicles 14:10-12 continues "Then Asa went out against him, and they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. And Asa cried to the LORD his God, and said, LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou [art] our God; let not man prevail against thee. So the LORD smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled."

PHILIP & THE ETHIOPIAN EUNUCH
Another Ethiopian (the Ethiopian Eunuch) is mentioned in Acts chapter 8. We know he had traveled over 1,000 miles, from Ethiopia to Jerusalem, to worship God (Acts 8:27). It would be hard to believe any man would travel that far across the desert by chariot, but he did.
In Acts 8:28, we find him "reading Isaiah the prophet" as he traveled. When Philip drew near the chariot he asked the Ethiopian if he understood what he was reading. He replied, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" (Acts 8:31). After this, Philip got up into the chariot and "preached Jesus to him" (Acts 8:35). In the course of preaching Jesus, Philip spoke of water baptism. We know this because the Ethiopian said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" (Acts 8:36). Philip responded "If you believe with all your heart you may" (Acts 9:37). The man then confessed, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." His confession was an acknowledgment of the Lordship of Christ. After his confession, "he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him" (Acts 8:38).

Pretty cool, huh?
~chuck

6 comments:

Lee and Bev said...

Wow - I'll have to look at this again later and take it all in. What a great idea! Bless you for your effort to learn more about the country where this precious child will come from.

Tim and Susan said...

Thanks for sharing this. Very cool.

Sandee said...

Awesome~! Thanks for doing this. I am going to copy it (giving credit of course!)

fourhineys said...

Cris I saw your mom and Susan this morning at school! Your mom told me about your blog. I am so excited to be able to reconnect with you and hear all of your exciting news! Wow! I can't wait to read it all!
Luanne

Luanne said...

Cris! I saw your mom and Susan at school this morning. Your mom told me about your blog. I am so excited to be in touch with you this way and able to get caught up on your family. This adoption sounds incredible! Wow! May God Bless your family! I'm excited to read more of your blogs!
Take care!
Luanne

Becky said...

Very Cool...I'm about to go back and read!