Tuesday, February 17, 2015

#BlackBiblicalHistory: King David and King Solomon, African Descendants Who Loved African Women and Culture

Picture Source:
Painting of Askia Muhammaed Toure King of Songhay, used here to depict King Solomon

It's already been established that Noah's son Ham was the father of African peoples. Explicitly, the ancient people who are credited as African came from the nations that Ham and his sons founded, such as Egypt, Libya and Sheba. Therefore, the nations that descended from Noah's other sons are often presumed to have been populated by non-Africans, such as Israel (which descends from Noah's son Shem) and Greece (which is presumed to have come from Japheth). But if we consider Ham to be the father of African nations, then it becomes clear (with a deeper study of the Bible) that Israel's most famous kings, King David and King Solomon, were in fact of African descent. 
      In Matthew 1, when listing the genealogy of Jesus, two women who descended from Ham are mentioned as ancestors of King David: Rahab, the Canaanite who was David's great-great-grandmother; and Tamar, the Canaanite woman who was a more distant ancestor. In addition, David's great-grandmother Ruth was a Moabitess. Though she was probably not a Hamitic woman [the Moabite people were Shemites through Abraham's nephew Lot, while their founding mother might have been a Canaanite], she is worth mentioning because of how these three non-Israelite women probably influenced David's life and choices. 
      David descended from women who were not only non-Israelites, but were also descended from the people that the ancient Israelites often looked down on (Canaanites and Moabites), because of their reputation for idol-worship, paganism, and sin. This probably caused David to be the victim of derision and judgment at least a few times in his life. Such mistreatment based on his lineage could have easily influenced him to be more drawn to people of other nationalities, people who were like some of his ancestors. 
      Proof of David's open-mindedness towards other nationalities can be seen in I Samuel 22. In this section of the Bible, David has recently gone on the run, after King Saul's repeated attempts to assassinate him. Though many people from Israel loved him, he still worried about the safety of his parents, so he implored the King of Moab to allow his mother and father to stay in Moab until he knew his next move. 
      In addition to making him less judgmental about people from other nations, David's lineage allowed him to be more considerate of marrying outside of Israel. In fact, he seemed to prefer non-Israelite women the most. Though David's first wife Michal was an Israelite princess, the wives he married after her were mostly Canaanite women he met while in the Canaanite city of Hebron: Ahinoam, Maakah, Haggith, Abital, and Eglah. But there was one particular woman (from another Hamitic nation) that caught his eye the most.

David's Most Beloved Wife, an African Queen of Israel

Bathsheba, the apparantly favored wife of King David, as she was chosen to be
the Queen Mother, through the anointing of her son Solomon as successor to David's throne. 
      She was a beautiful woman, with a beautiful figure he wasn't meant to see, because she was the wife of another. Her being forbidden to him probably made his attraction to her greater. This woman who captivated King David the most was an African woman who was so enchanting, he was moved to ignore the fact that she was married to another man. Her name was Bathsheba, wife of Uriah, the Canaanite soldier in David's army (see 2 Samuel 11 for the full story). This name Bathsheba -- which means daughter of Sheba -- is the only verbal testament of her lineage given in the Bible, but this future Queen of Israel and her connection to the African kingdom of Sheba is probably why her son Solomon, would more strongly demonstrate his father's fascination with African women.
      Queen Bathsheba's beauty made an impression on King David (since he did eventually marry and father a child with her), but it apparently made an impression on King Solomon as well, as seen in the women he would later marry. In addition, her African legacy can be seen in the fact that Solomon is the king of Israel most likely to be portrayed as a dark skinned man, as seen in the Russian icon below. 
Russian Icon of Solomon
Once Solomon became King, his first wife would further prove his fascination with Hamitic women: she was an Egyptian princess, the daughter of a Pharaoh who descended from Ham as well (I Kings 3:1). But the most famous African woman who held King Solomon's fascination, like his mother, was from the land of Sheba. In fact, she was the Queen of Sheba. In I Kings 10, the Bible tells of how she came to visit him after hearing of his renowned wisdom, to see if it was as great as reported. This Queen of Sheba ended up being so impressed by Solomon's wisdom that she sang praises to his God, the God of Israel, and gifted him with many riches. Ultimately though, she chose to leave Israel, in order to return to Sheba as queen. 
Queen of Sheba

Solomon Loved Ancient African Culture & Religion More than His Own

      Solomon's father David had been able to balance his love for African women with his love for the God of Israel, as he converted them to his religion and not the other way around. Solomon was not so successful. Though his interaction with the Queen of Sheba had resulted in her acknowledging the God of Israel, this practice did not follow him into the relationships he had with his 700 wives and concubines (including many Hamitic/African women, such as the Sidonians and Hittites). Instead of converting them to Judaism, he converted to their non-Israelite religion . The Bible specifically states that he worshiped Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, but it also says that he worshiped the gods of all of his wives (I Kings 11: 1-8), so he presumably worshiped Egyptian and Canaanite gods/goddesses as well.


      So we see in these accounts that not only were David and Solomon of African heritage, they both loved and respected ancient African culture and ancient African women. While David was able to demonstrate this respect and continue to hold tightly to his Shemitic religion, Solomon was not so strong. Some may attribute this to the power of ancient Hamitic culture and beliefs, which included the religions of Babylon, Canaan, Egypt, and Sheba (to name a few). Then again, Solomon might have been a man highly moved by the power of feminine wiles,  simply demonstrating a weakness for women in general. After all, this is the man who had 700 concubines and wives, and his love for them was probably the biggest source of his inability to stay true to his birth religion

Friday, February 6, 2015

#PoetryCorner: Courting or Hunting?

I wrote this poem awhile ago, as a three part poem. But I've recently updated/edited it, to not have so many parts. Here is the final result: three poems that discuss the two types of dating - courting and hunting.



#PoetryCorner: "Too Bad You Don't Know" by Alison Caddell

I wrote this poem, because I noticed that a lot of women tend to accept treatment that is less than what they deserve. At the time that I wrote this, I was single and observing what a lot of young ladies were going through, but later I went through this myself -- allowing a man to treat me with less respect than I deserved. 

#PoetryCorner: "My Brother...the King" by Alison Caddell

After I wrote the poem "Too Bad" about women who allow men to treat them with less respect than they deserve, I thought about the many men I noticed who did the same...allow women to mistreat them, as if they actually thought they deserved such abuse. 

#PoetryCorner: "Infatuation & Lies" by Alison Caddell

This is another poem that I wrote for myself, about my tendency to over-think a guy or crush into a fantasy of what I wanted him to be, instead of the man he actually was. 

#PoetryCorner: "Giving Too Much Away" by Alison Caddell

Back in the day, I used to write poems voraciously. I found some of them on an old jump drive a few years ago, and decided to turn them into photos, to share on my personal facebook. Well, I found those pictures and have decided to post them here. Here is the first post/poem, about the emptiness you can feel when you give too much of yourself to someone who doesn't actually want to love you, or only wants to use you.

#BlackBiblicalHistory: Moses Was Criticized for Marrying a Dark-Skinned Woman

Biblical Background:  Exodus 2, Numbers 12

While Moses is today known as one of Israel's greatest prophets and a powerful man of God, his early life was that of a pampered prince. He was raised by an Egyptian princess, who had secretly saved him from the harsh life of a Hebrew slave by claiming him as her Egyptian son. Still, Moses could not run from his Hebrew heritage and things came crashing down when he tried to save a fellow Hebrew from being beaten by an Egyptian overseer. 
      The resulting death of this overseer at Moses' hands caused Moses to be fully exposed as loyal to the Hebrews. Pharaoh heard about this and wanted Moses dead for his treachery against Egypt, so ran away, becoming an exile on the run for his life. In leaving his life as a prince, he decided to live as a shepherd in the land of Midian, which had been founded by Abraham's son through his third wife, Keturah.

#BlackBiblicalHistory: Bithiah, the Egyptian Mother of the Prophet Moses

Biblical Reference: Exodus 2 & I Chronicles 4

Because of the relationship forged through the marriage of  Israel's son Joseph with the Egyptian courtier Asenath, it initially seemed as if the Egyptians and the Israelites would get along for ages. Because of this perception, it's no surprise that Israel's sons, grandsons, granddaughters, and the many wives involved all ended up moving to Egypt and settling in the Egyptian territory of Goshen. They presumably intermarried with Egyptian men and women and all seemed peaceful. But after a few generations, things took a turn, and the Israelites began to no longer live peaceably in Egypt. 
      A new Pharaoh arose, one who forgot about the long-passed Grand Vizier Joseph, the Israelite who had saved Egypt from famine and destruction.  Instead, this new Pharaoh feared the Israelites because of large numbers, and he doubted their loyalty to Egypt. So he enslaved them, as a way of oppressing their strength and, therefore, their potential power to rise against his country.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

#BlackBiblicalHistory: Asenath, Joseph's Egyptian Wife

Screenshot of the Animated Movie Joseph: King of Dreams. Asenath is the woman in the middle.
Biblical Reference: Genesis 41, Genesis 48:5

The Israelite trajectory that is shared in the Bible is one which was very often tied in to Egyptian history as well. For example, Father Abraham depended on the Egyptians when his land was struck with a famine. And of course, there is the famous story of the Egyptians enslaving the Israelites for many centuries, out of fear that they could overtake them in a rebellion (if they ever chose to do so). But before all of this happened, Israel and Egypt lived as one, through the union of Israel's favorite son Joseph to one of Pharaoh's favorite courtiers, Asenath. She was the daughter of Pharoah's priest to the Egyptian city of Heliopolis, which the Hebrews referred to as On (Genesis 41:37-45). 
      Though Asenath had been raised as a follower of Egyptian idols, she found herself married to a man who worshiped a God unlike any of the gods she had heard of. Joseph's God was invisible, not represented in sculptures formed by the hands of men, but understood as simply being everywhere at once...omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent.

Monday, February 2, 2015

#BlackBiblicalHistory: Ham, Father of African Nations

Image Source: yangzeninja on DeviantArt.Com
Biblical Reference: Genesis 9, Genesis 10

According to the Bible, the beginning of African History (if we begin with the founding of African civilizations) can be credited to the man known as Ham or Cham, Noah's second born son, the Father of African Nations. The biblical story of Ham is a famous or infamous story, full of notoriety and intrigue, one that has been (wrongly) used for a long time to justify the oppression of black people. 
      Ham's notoriety begins soon after Noah and his family exits the ark that had protected them from the flood God had sent to cover the earth and therefore remove most of humanity from it (because of their overwhelming sin). Now that Noah and his family (his wife, and his three sons Shem, Ham and Japheth and their wives) were the sole humans left on earth, it was up to them to re-populate it. 
      But before they could really get into focusing on that mission alone, a scandal occurred which caused tension in Noah's family. Noah planted a grape vineyard, from which he was able to create wine. Inevitably, Noah got drunk and (as often happens when people get drunk) found himself in dishabille and unconsciousness - basically, he was knocked out and naked. Ham discovered him in this state and told his brothers Shem and Japheth, who chose to cover their father without actually seeing him as well. When Noah woke up, he figured out somehow what had happened, and was so angry that he decided to curse Ham's youngest son, Canaan, into servitude towards Shem and Japheth. 

#BlackBiblicalHistory: Africans/Blacks in the Bible

One of the most important parts of my life is my Christian faith. No matter what I accomplish or fail at, I pray to always be a child of God, a disciple of Jesus Christ. But as an African American who believes in Jesus Christ, my faith gets challenged sometimes by people (from a variety of races) who feel that Christianity should NOT be the religion of black people. 
      One of the most consistent arguments in this regard comes from the large number of black people who think that Christianity is "the white man's religion" and something created and used for the sole purpose of oppressing African people. While I do acknowledge that Christianity has been falsely used to justify many acts of oppression, I sincerely believe that (in its pure form) it is a faith of love and justice for all who would believe in Jesus Christ.