Yesterday, I discussed the connection between the descendants of Noah's three sons and the three men who I believe were saved at the cross of Christ: the Jewish thief, the Roman Centurion, and the Black Simon of Cyrene who carried the cross for Jesus. Normally I wouldn't point out that Simon was a black man, but the majority of Christians I know seem to be totally oblivious to the fact that God used Blacks in the Bible. Ham, who settled in Northern Africa, produced Noah's grandson whose name was Cush, which means "black" in Hebrew (Gen. 10:6).The wife of Moses was a black woman from Ethiopia (Num. 12:1). It is not clear from Scripture whether this black wife was Zipporah (his wife from Midian), or if Moses had married a second wife after sending Zipporah back to her father (Ex. 18:2).
Just to prove God has a great sense of humor, one need only look at the irony involving the criticism of Aaron and Miriam concerning the black wife of Moses (Num. 12:1-16). God's punishment for their sin of prejudice was to turn Miriam's skin "as white as snow" from leprosy. If you wonder why it only happened to Miriam, perhaps the answer lies in the role Aaron played as the father of the Aaronic priesthood (Ex. 28:3). According to the teaching of Jesus, lepers were to get the priest's approval before being accepted back into society (Lk. 17:12-19). Aaron was forced to intercede for his sister to the Lord which I am sure made him have to face his own guilt in the offense. I am not certain what all of the moral of the story is, but it must have something to do with "If you like being white so much, I will make you really white."
Solomon wrote Song of Solomon about one of his wives who happened to be black (1:5-6). Ebedmelech, the Ethiopian eunuch, interceded for Jeremiah with the king, and was given command of thirty men to fight if necessary for Jeremiah's release (Jer. 38:5-10). King Zedekiah had ordered Jeremiah imprisoned and then told Ebedmelech to free him. Later, when Jeremiah was asked by the king to prophecy concerning him, the king again had Jeremiah imprisoned, where he would remain until freed by the Babylonians (Jer. 38:14-28).
The only other New Testament reference to a black person of which I am aware, is that of the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:26-39. This man had come to Jerusalem to worship and was obviously a Jew. When Philip explained the Gospel to him, he placed his trust in Jesus Christ. As with every conversion, he went away rejoicing! Perhaps the reason there are not more Blacks referenced in the Bible is because it is mainly about the Jews, who were the lineage from which the Messiah would come (Lk. 3:36). Noah's son Shem's descendants wrote the Bible; it is about their experience with the Living God.
One side note: The languages used on the sign above our crucified Lord's head was written in the language of the Roman Centurion (Latin), the thief (Hebrew), and the Black, cross-bearer Simon (Greek). The reason we know it was Greek was because Northern Africa produced the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament.