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Sudan's ongoing civil war is more than 20 years old. While there have been continuous efforts to stop the war between the Muslim north and Christian and animist south, the Arab government has launched new attacks against blacks in the country's western Darfur region.

This region of Africa, just south of Egypt, has significant ties to the Bible. From Moses' wife to the Ethiopian eunuch, people from the Sudan interacted with Biblical characters. In Africa and the Bible, Edwin Yamauchi traces the sometimes tenuous links between the African continent and biblical stories. Yamauchi is professor of history at Miami University, Ohio, and consulting editor for Christianity Today

You say Moses' Egyptian wife may not be from Egypt but from the land south, Cush, which is modern Sudan. How did they get confused?

The word Cush is an Egyptian word, which was borrowed into Hebrew to designate the area south of Egypt. Specifically it was an area that was from the second cataract [rocky formations along the Nile]. The Egyptians have another word for what was Lower Nubia, or northern Nubia. But in general it came to mean the area which is the Sudan, the area south of Egypt, especially remarkable for the black complexion of its inhabitants. That ethnic makeup is reflected in the modern name of the country, Sudan, which comes from the Arabic phrase for "the country of the blacks."

There are two wives mentioned in the Bible for Moses. Some scholars wish to combine the two on the basis of a text that seems to use a parallelism between the area of Midian and Cushan. Cushan, however is not the same as Cush—this is in Habakkuk 3:7. I think it's better to keep the two wives separate. And there's every reason to believe that the Cushite wife was a wife ...

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