The tents and curtains (Hab 3:7-3:7)

“I saw the tents

Of Cushan

Under affliction.

I saw the curtains

Of the land of Midian

Tremble.”

Habakkuk said that he saw the afflicted tents of Cushan.  Where is this Cushan?  It is probably not Cush in Ethiopia.  However, it could be a tribe next to the Midians in the Sinai area.  In Midian, the curtains on their tents were shaking or trembling.  This might be a vague allusion to the route from Egypt to the promised land.

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The allies of Gog (Ezek 38:5-38:6)

“Persia,

Cush,

Put,

Are with them.

All of them

Have shields

With helmets.

Gomer

With all its troops

Are with them.

Beth-togarmah,

From the remotest parts

Of the north,

Are with them,

With all its troops.

Many people

Are with you.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, listed the allies of Gog. Ezekiel seemed to remind Gog who was on his side. Persia was an ally. Cush or Ethiopia was also on his side. Put or Libya was also with him. Of course, they all had their shields and helmets. Also with Gog were the people of Gomer, who was the biblical son of Japheth, the son of Noah, with his army. Beth-togarmah, the horse traders with Tyre from chapter 27, from the remote north, was also with Gog. Once again, these northern countries had lots of people in their armies.

The descendents of Ham (1 Chr 1:8-1:8)

“The descendents of Ham were Cush, Egypt, Put, and Canaan.”

Once again, either depending on Genesis, chapter 10, or as a contemporary work of this priestly description, we have the 4 sons of Ham. There will be more information about their children because these are going to be close neighbors of the Israelites. Ham was associated with Africa and parts of Asia. His sons will all become important and have their sons listed, except for Put, who has been associated with Libya and perhaps the Copts. Once again, a source for some folklore about the family of Ham would be the Book of Jubilees (60-150 BCE)

The tower of Babel (Gen 11:1-11:9)

“Now the whole earth had one language and few words. As they migrated from the east, they came upon a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. They said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.’  They had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar.  Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves.  Otherwise we shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.’”

Since everyone was descended from Noah, they all spoke the same language. Notice the idea of simplicity with ‘one language with few words.’ Everyone ended up in Shimar, somewhere in the Tigris and Euphrates area in Babylon.  So now they made bricks and mortar, as they built a city with a big tower in it.  It seems that this must have been the place that Nimrod, the son of Cush built.  However, the preceding paragraph about the children of Noah seems to indicate that they scattered around the area.

“Yahweh came down to see the city and the tower, which mortal men had built.  Yahweh said, ‘Look, they are one people, and they have all one language.  This is only the beginning of what they will do.  Nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.  Come, let us go down, and there confuse their language there, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.’  So Yahweh scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city.  Therefore it was called Babel, because there Yahweh confused the language of all the earth.   From there Yahweh scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.”

Now Yahweh saw this and said that these humans could do anything.  He decided to confuse their language so that they could not understand each other.  Notice the use of “us.”  Thus they scattered and did not build their city.  They called this place Babel, because Yahweh confused them here. It is interesting to note that Yahweh does not want humans to reach their potential because he did not want them to know good and evil in chapter two and here he does not want them to build a city. In each case he scatters them after creating them like Adam and or saving them like Noah.  Of course, this nice little story really explains why there are different languages.  The question is did we come from one unity or were we originally scattered and are now coming to one unity.