Cushite (Ethiopian) Woman

See also Cushite Woman

CUSHITE (ETHIOPIAN) WOMAN. Moses married an Ethiopian woman (Num 12:1). Ethiopia, or Cush, was the region S of the first cataract of the Nile, a region to which Moses never traveled, according to the Biblical records. The ancient LXX and Vul. VSS consider the woman to be from Ethiopia, but ancient Jewish tradition identified her with Zipporah, identifying Cush with Cushan (cf. Hab 3:7). Martin Noth thinks of Cushan as a tribe or a confederacy of tribes allied to, but different from Midian. This wife would have to be distinguished from the Midianite Zipporah. Legend suggests that during the years before he fled to the desert, Moses was commander-in-chief of a campaign against Ethiopia. Tharbis, the king’s daughter saw him, fell in love with him, and helped him capture the city. Finally, according to the legend, she married him.