Did Moses have a black wife? In the latest issue of the Criswell Theological Review J. Daniel Hays argues that “the case is extremely strong that Moses married a black Cushite woman from the Cushite civilization south of Egypt.”
What would normally be of minor historical interest can have important theological ramifications for a country in which black-white interracial marriages are still viewed with suspicion or actively discouraged—even by Christians who should know better.
As Hays explains in his introduction:
[T]he interracial marriage issue lies at the very heart of racial prejudice within the church. Church historian Elizabeth Isichei writes, “Inter-ethnic marriage is the litmus test of racial prejudice.” Many of our church members would affirm racial equality and view themselves as being accepting of other races. They would not consider themselves as being prejudiced or racist at all. However, many of these same Christians strongly oppose the marriage of anyone in their family to someone of another race or ethnicity. They often assume that the Bible supports them on this. But does the Bible actually oppose interracial marriage? What is the biblical view towards interracial or inter-ethnic marriage?
Hays notes that the theology derived from the marriage of Moses to a black woman corresponds well with the rest of biblical theology: ” Marrying outside the family is forbidden, but the clear biblical definition of family is based on faith in Christ and not on race or descent.” He also makes a powerful point about the misplaced priorities and hidden racism in our views on interracial relationships:
White families frequently rise up in arms when their children want to marry blacks, regardless of how strong their Christian faith is. On the other hand, white Christian young adults can marry other whites with little opposition even if the faith of their selected mate is virtually non-existent. Such behavior reflects the church’s weak theological understanding of Scripture on this subject. Furthermore, the common cultural ban on intermarriage lies at the heart of the racial division in the church. White Christians who say that they are not prejudiced but who vehemently oppose interracial marriages are not being honest. They are still prejudiced, and I would suggest that they are out of line with the biblical teaching on this subject.
Read the rest of the article, available as a free PDF download.
(Via: Justin Taylor)