Original Research

A silent unheard voice in the Old Testament: The Cushite woman whom Moses married in Numbers 12:1–10

David T. Adamo
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 52, No 1 | a2370 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v52i1.2370 | © 2018 David T. Adamo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 April 2018 | Published: 17 October 2018

About the author(s)

David T. Adamo, Department of Old Testament and New Testament, University of South Africa, South Africa


Most of the time, women’s names are not mentioned, words are not put in their mouths or they are not allowed to say a word, and their achievements are behind the scene in the narratives. Passages that mention the presence and contribution of African women in the Bible are especially neglected, perhaps because there are few African women biblical scholars and also deep prejudices against women. References to the African wife of Moses (Numbers 12) are so scanty in the Bible that very few critical biblical scholars noticed them. The purpose of this article is to discuss critically the narrative of the Cushite woman whom Moses married and her marginalisation by the author of the story in Numbers 12:1-10. The narrator of the text did not only refuse to give her a name, there is no single word put in her mouth despite the dominant and significant role her presence played in the narrative. Why is she silent and what does her silence mean? The answers to these questions are discussed in this article.


Old Testament; African woman; Cushite; silence; Moses; book of Numbers; marriage


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