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


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  2. Nice Post!
    Interesting perspective on black biblical history.
    Check out my page studythebiblenotthesermon.blogspot.com and it's subsequent YouTube channel for some exhaustive/comprehensive studies on African American ancestors contained within the pages of the Bible.

  3. king solomon was A HEBREW NOT AFRICAN