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Cush was the eldest son of Ham, brother of Canaan and the father of Nimrod, in the Bible.

The Land of Cush, also spelt Kush or Koosh, seems to have been derived the name of this biblical character. The locality of this area has been questioned with some believing it refers to countries south of the Israelites and other stating it refers to part of Africa, such as Ethiopia, which in ancient inscriptions was written as Kesh. Samuel Bochart maintained that it was exclusively in Arabia; Friedrich Schulthess and Heinrich Gesenius held that it should be sought in Africa. Others again, like Johann Michaelis and Rosenmuller, have supposed that the name Cush was applied to tracts of country both in Arabia and in Africa.

The existence of an African Cush cannot reasonably be questioned, though the term is employed in the Old Testament with some latitude. The African Cush covers Upper Egypt, and extends southwards from the first cataract. That the term was also applied to parts of Arabia is evident from Genesis where Cush is the father of certain tribal and ethnical designations, all of which point very clearly to Arabia, with the very doubtful exception of Seba. Even in the 5th century A.D. the Himyarites, in the south of Arabia, were styled by Syrian writers Cushaeans and Ethiopians. Moreover, the Babylonian inscriptions mention the Kashshi, an Elamite race, whose name has been equated with the classical KoaociZot, Kto-crux, and it has been held that this affords a more appropriate explanation of Cush (perhaps rather Kash), the ancestor of Nimrod in Genesis chapter 8. Although decisive evidence is lacking, it, seems extremely probable that several references to Cush in the Old Testament cannot refer to Ethiopia, despite the likelihood that considerable confusion existed in, the minds of early writers. The Cushite invasion described in Bible in the book 2 Chronicles is intelligible if the historical foundation for the story be a raid by Arabians, but in a later chapter the inclusion of Libyans shows that the enemy was subsequently supposed to be African. In several passages the interpretation is bound up with that of Mizraim, and depends in general upon the question whether Ethiopia at a given time enjoyed the prominence given to it.

See also: Kush, Kushites

Another person named Cush in the Bible was a Benjamite, mentioned only in Psalm 7, and believed to be a follower of Saul.

Part of this article is based on text from the public domain 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica. Please update as needed.