My people perish...
Look what finally arrived in the mail! It’s the book I ordered for Black History month, “The Black Presence in the Bible,” by Rev. Walter Arthur McCray. I had the bright idea on February 1st to write about Black people in Biblical history. While this book was taking forever to get here, I started reading the electronic versions of two other books, “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” by Ronald Dalton, Jr. and “The Ancient Black Hebrews,” by Gert Muller. The introductions of these books made me realize that my task will be too monumental to confine to just one month. I also realized that this will require more study than I anticipated. Not wanting to give this important topic short shrift, I must take my time and do it right. I don’t want to rely on just one source of information because I take this very seriously. But I am beyond intrigued by what I’ve read already. For instance, according to these books, everyone I’ve read about so far this year must have been Black. That’s eye-opening for me. Not because I thought they were blond with blue eyes. I’m not THAT uninformed. But, I did think the ancient people from Northern Africa and the Middle East looked more like people in those regions now. The introduction in “Hebrews to Negroes” lays out a pretty solid case that everyone from that region during Biblical times had brown skin. Not light skin, but brown skin. Why? Apparently the region was taken over by Arabs from the east around 600 A.D. That’s 600 years after Jesus. Before then, the people’s skin color in that region was darker. Whether the Arabs drove out the darker skinned people or mixed with them, the result is what we see now, a lighter skinned race of people. Perhaps we can compare this to the skin color of Africans that arrived in this country on slave ships versus the skin color of their descendants 400 years later. Much transformation has occurred in that amount of time due to the mixing of the races. So, my original intention of writing about Black historical figures in the Bible this month has taken a more revelatory turn. And, I’m excited about it! I’ve always been a seeker of the truth with no filters. When embarking on this year-long journey through the Scriptures, I didn’t expect to learn that everyone I’ve read about so far, from Adam to Noah to Moses, had skin color like mine. Now when I imagine the Israelites standing on the banks of the Red Sea waiting for Pharaoh to catch up to them and kill them all, I see them with Black faces. As I continue to read, I’ll now have a different picture in my mind for what the people looked like.
Why does it matter? In my opinion, the truth matters. Knowledge matters. I wouldn’t want someone telling my story 300 years from now, and describing me as a light-skinned curly haired Black girl, nor as a green-eyed Irish girl. My brown skin and kinky hair are as much a part of my physical make-up as my height and weight. And I would want the truth of who I am to endure over time. Wouldn't you? So, if a Hebrew Moses was able to blend into Pharaoh’s Egyptian household because he had the same dark skin color that they did, then that’s an important fact in his story. If it’s true that every single person we read about in both the Old and New Testaments had darker skin, that’s an important fact for all to know.
By the way, it's...
If you have any comments about Blacks in the Bible or about today's reading in Numbers and Psalms, feel free to leave your comments below, or by visiting my Facebook page.
*Welcome to my one-year trip around the world of Scripture. You’re invited to take this journey with me, as I meditate on God’s Word day and night. Each morning, you’ll find a post on my Facebook page encouraging my new #Biblebuddies along the way. And each night, I’ll be writing my impressions right here at listen2leslie.com. I’d love it if you’d share your comments, to spark some fruitful discussion. The only passport you’ll need for this journey is the Read Scripture app which provides us with our daily itinerary. You’ll love this app because it contains videos by The Bible Project that serve as our tour guide. Traveling is so much better when you have someone to share the experience with, so please join me, will you?
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