At the turn of the eighth century B.C., a mighty Assyrian army entered Judah and fought its way to the very gates of Jerusalem, poised, the prophet Isaiah warned, to "smash the city as easily as someone hurling a clay pot against the wall." But the assault never came; instead, the Assyrian army turned and fled, an event that has been called the Deliverance of Jerusalem. Whereas biblical accounts attribute the Assyrian retreat to divine intervention, journalist Henry Aubin offers an explanation that is miraculous in its own light: the siege was broken by the arrival of an army from Kushite Egypt--an army, that is, made up of black Africans. These Kushites figured in historical texts, Aubin continues, until the late 19th century, when racist scholars expunged them from the record--a process that, Aubin observes, coincided with the European conquest and colonization of Africa. The Kushite intervention assured the survival of the Hebrew people, Aubin asserts, and it deserves to be acknowledged anew. Well-written and carefully developed, Aubin's argument will doubtless excite discussion.
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