Miscellaneous Bible Questions: Are there any black people mentioned in the Bible?

The Bible does not specifically identify any person as being black-skinned. The Bible also does not specifically identify any person as being white-skinned. The vast majority of the Bible took place in the Middle East, in and around Israel. Neither “black” nor “white” people are common in these regions. The vast majority of the people in the Bible were “Semitic,” light to dark brown in complexion. Ultimately, it does not matter what skin color the people in the Bible were. Skin color is meaningless in the message of the Bible. We all need to take our eyes off of the skin and focus on the soul.

Some scholars guess that Moses’ wife Zipporah might have been black since she was a Cushite (Numbers 12:1). Cush is an ancient name for an area of Africa. Some propose that Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:3) was black. Some believe that the Queen of Sheba who visited Solomon (1 Kings 10:1) was black. The Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:37 may have been a black man. Ethiopians are mentioned around 40 times in the Bible, and the Prophet Jeremiah asked, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin …” (Jeremiah 13:23). The “Simeon called Niger” in Acts 13:1 may have been black.

The Bible, though, does not specifically say that any of these people were black. Most Bible teachers believe that black people are descendants of Noah’s son Ham (Genesis 10:6–20), but we cannot be sure since the Bible does not specifically say. Why aren’t there more black people in the Bible? The vast majority of events in the Bible took place in the land of Israel. Although black people were common in many regions nearby Israel, Israel has never been an area where many black people have settled.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

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