Cush, the name of the eldest son of Ham, as well as of a southern region of the Scriptural world, which is rendered Ethiopia by the Sep-tuagint, the Vulgate, and almost all other versions of the Hebrew Bible, and Mohre?iland, or land of the blacks, by Luther. There can be no rational doubt that Ethiopia, in its more common and limited sense, was designated by that appellation in Hebrew, though Bochart has contended for its meaning exclusively southern Arabia. Ezekiel (xxix. 10) speaks of it as lying beyond Syene, which perfectly agrees with the classical definition of the boundaries of Ethiopia. Mizraim (Egypt) and Cush are often connected by the prophets, and mentioned together in the Psalms (lxviii. 31). The Cushites appear together with other African nations in historical relations; their black complexion is alluded to in the Bible as well as in the Mishnah. But whether Cush included any other region in the world known to the Hebrews, especially southern Arabia, is a question which has elicited a great deal of ethnological controversy. Michaelis and other critics defend the affirmative; Gesenius maintains the negative.
The former opinion is strengthened by a number of Scriptural passages in which Cush appears together with Arabian tribes, by its being rendered Arabia in the Chaldee paraphrase of Jonathan, and by the existence of a tribe called Beni Khusi in Yemen, according to Niebuhr. We find, besides, the land of Cush compassed by the river Gihon (Gen. ii. 13), and.Cush the father of Nimrod, who founded empires in Asia. The same name is connected by Ezekiel with Elam or Susiana, which again agrees with the classical names of Cissi-ans and Cossaeans given to the inhabitants of the latter country, and with its modern name, Khusistan. The Himyarites, an ancient people of southern Arabia, are styled by Syrian writers both Cushaeans and Ethiopians. The classical term Ethiopia, too, comprised many distant and distinct nations, having in common only their sun-burnt complexion. Homer calls them " a divided race, the last of men, some of them at the extreme west, and others at the extreme east." Strabo says nearly the same.
Herodotus speaks of an eastern or Asiatic, and a western or African Ethiopia. The prevalent opinion of the latest ethnological and Biblical scholars is, therefore, that Cush in its limited meaning designates Ethiopia, but is also the name of several Asiatic regions situated along the shores of the southern ocean, and inhabited by people of the Hamitic family. "Recent linguistic discovery," says George Rawlinson ("Herodotus," book i., essay xi.), "tends to show that a Cushite or Ethiopian race did in the earliest times extend itself along the shores of the southern ocean from Abyssinia to India. The whole jjeninsula of India was peopled by a race of this character, before the influx of the Aryans; it extended from the Indus along the seacoast through the modern Beloochistan and Kerman, which was the proper country of the Asiatic Ethiopians; the cities on the northern shores of the Persian gulf are shown by the brick inscriptions found among their ruins to have belonged to this race; it was dominant in Susiana and Babylonia, until overpowered in the one country by Aryan, in the other by Semitic intrusion; it can be traced, both by dialect and tradition, throughout the whole south coast of the Arabian peninsula; and it still exists in Abyssinia." The early power and culture of the Cushite race, in the widest sense of this term, are the principal theme of J. D. Baldwin's "Prehistoric Nations" (New York, 1869).