Cup A wine-cup (Gen 40:11, Gen 40:21), various forms of which are found on Assyrian and Egyptian monuments. All Solomon's drinking vessels were of gold (Kg1 10:21). The cups mentioned in the New Testament were made after Roman and Greek models, and were sometimes of gold (Rev 17:4). The art of divining by means of a cup was practiced in Egypt (Gen. 44:2-17), and in the East generally. The "cup of salvation" (Psa 116:13) is the cup of thanksgiving for the great salvation. The "cup of consolation" (Jer 16:7) refers to the custom of friends sending viands and wine to console relatives in mourning (Pro 31:6). In Co1 10:16, the "cup of blessing" is contrasted with the "cup of devils" (Co1 10:21). The sacramental cup is the "cup of blessing," because of blessing pronounced over it (Mat 26:27; Luk 22:17). The "portion of the cup" (Psa 11:6; Psa 16:5) denotes one's condition of life, prosperous or adverse. A "cup" is also a type of sensual allurement (Jer 51:7; Pro 23:31; Rev 17:4). We read also of the "cup of astonishment," the "cup of trembling," and the "cup of God's wrath" (Psa 75:8; Isa 51:17; Jer 25:15; Lam 4:21; Eze 23:32; Rev 16:19; compare Mat 26:39, Mat 26:42; Joh 18:11). The cup is also the symbol of death (Mat 16:28; Mar 9:1; Heb 2:9).
Cup-bearer An officer of high rank with Egyptian, Persian, Assyrian, and Jewish monarchs. The cup-bearer of the king of Egypt is mentioned in connection with Joseph's history (Gen. 40:1-21; Gen 41:9). Rabshakeh (q.v.) was cup-bearer in the Assyrian court (Kg2 18:17). Nehemiah filled this office to the king of Persia (Neh 1:11). We read also of Solomon's cup-bearers (Kg1 10:5; Ch2 9:4).
Curious arts (Act 19:19), magical arts; jugglery practiced by the Ephesian conjurers. Ephesus was noted for its wizard and the "Ephesian spells;" i.e., charms or scraps of parchment written over with certain formulae, which were worn as a safeguard against all manner of evils. The more important and powerful of these charms were written out in books which circulated among the exorcists, and were sold at a great price.
Curse Denounced by God against the serpent (Gen 3:14), and against Cain (Gen 4:11). These divine maledictions carried their effect with them. Prophetical curses were sometimes pronounced by holy men (Gen 9:25; Gen 49:7; Deu 27:15; Jos 6:26). Such curses are not the consequence of passion or revenge, they are predictions. No one on pain of death shall curse father or mother (Exo 21:17), nor the prince of his people (Exo 22:28), nor the deaf (Lev 19:14). Cursing God or blaspheming was punishable by death (Lev 24:10). The words "curse God and die" (R.V., "renounce God and die"), used by Job's wife (Job 2:9), have been variously interpreted. Perhaps they simply mean that as nothing but death was expected, God would by this cursing at once interpose and destroy Job, and so put an end to his sufferings.
Curtain (1.) Ten curtains, each twenty-eight cubits long and four wide, made of fine linen, also eleven made of goat's hair, covered the tabernacle (Exo 26:1; Exo 36:8). (2.) The sacred curtain, separating the holy of holies from the sanctuary, is designated by a different Hebrew word (peroketh). It is described as a "veil of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen of cunning work" (Exo 26:31; Lev 16:2; Num 18:7). (3.) "Stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain" (Isa 40:22), is an expression used with reference to the veil or awning which Orientals spread for a screen over their courts in summer. According to the prophet, the heavens are spread over our heads as such an awning. Similar expressions are found in Psa 104:2; compare Isa 44:24; Job 9:8.
Cush Black. (1.) A son, probably the eldest, of Ham, and the father of Nimrod (Gen 10:8; Ch1 1:10). From him the land of Cush seems to have derived its name. The question of the precise locality of the land of Cush has given rise to not a little controversy. The second river of Paradise surrounded the whole land of Cush (Gen 2:13, R.V.). The term Cush is in the Old Testament generally applied to the countries south of the Israelites. It was the southern limit of Egypt (Eze 29:10, A.V. "Ethiopia," Heb. Cush ), with which it is generally associated (Psa 68:31; Isa 18:1; Jer 46:9, etc.). It stands also associated with Elam (Isa 11:11), with Persia (Eze 38:5), and with the Sabeans (Isa 45:14). From these facts it has been inferred that Cush included Arabia and the country on the west coast of the Red Sea. Rawlinson takes it to be the country still known as Khuzi-stan, on the east side of the Lower Tigris. But there are intimations which warrant the conclusion that there was also a Cush in Africa, the Ethiopia (so called by the Greeks) of Africa. Ezekiel speaks (Eze 29:10; compare Eze 30:4) of it as lying south of Egypt. It was the country now known to us as Nubia and Abyssinia (Isa 18:1; Zep 3:10, Heb. Cush ). In ancient Egyptian inscriptions Ethiopia is termed Kesh. The Cushites appear to have spread along extensive tracts, stretching from the Upper Nile to the Euphrates and Tigris. At an early period there was a stream of migration of Cushites "from Ethiopia, properly so called, through Arabia, Babylonia, and Persia, to Western India." The Hamite races, soon after their arrival in Africa, began to spread north, east, and west. Three branches of the Cushite or Ethiopian stock, moving from Western Asia, settled in the regions contiguous to the Persian Gulf. One branch, called the Cossaeans, settled in the mountainous district on the east of the Tigris, known afterwards as Susiana; another occupied the lower regions of the Euphrates and the Tigris; while a third colonized the southern shores and islands of the gulf, whence they afterwards emigrated to the Mediterranean and settled on the coast of Palestine as the Phoenicians. Nimrod was a great Cushite chief. He conquered the Accadians, a Tauranian race, already settled in Mesopotamia, and founded his kingdom, the Cushites mingling with the Accads, and so forming the Chaldean nation. (2.) A Benjamite of this name is mentioned in the title of Ps. 7. "Cush was probably a follower of Saul, the head of his tribe, and had sought the friendship of David for the purpose of 'rewarding evil to him that was at peace with him.'"
Cushan Probably a poetic or prolonged name of the land of Cush - the Arabian Cush (Hab 3:7). Some have, however, supposed this to be the same as Chushan-rishathaim (Jdg 3:8, Jdg 3:10) - i.e., taking the latter part of the name as a title or local appellation, Chushan "of the two iniquities" (=oppressing Israel, and provoking them to idolatry) - a Mesopotamian king, identified by Rawlinson with Asshur-ris-ilim (the father of Tiglathpileser I.); but incorrectly, for the empire of Assyria was not yet founded. He held Israel in bondage for eight years.
Cushite (1.) The messenger sent by Joab to David to announce his victory over Absalom (Sa2 18:32). (2.) The father of Shelemiah (Jer 36:14). (3.) Son of Gedaliah, and father of the prophet Zephaniah (Zep 1:1). (4.) Moses married a Cushite woman (Num 12:1). From this circumstance some have supposed that Zipporah was meant, and hence that Midian was Cush.
Custom A tax imposed by the Romans. The tax-gatherers were termed publicans (q.v.), who had their stations at the gates of cities, and in the public highways, and at the place set apart for that purpose, called the "receipt of custom" (Mat 9:9; Mar 2:14), where they collected the money that was to be paid on certain goods (Mat 17:25). These publicans were tempted to exact more from the people than was lawful, and were, in consequence of their extortions, objects of great hatred. The Pharisees would have no intercourse with them (Mat 5:46, Mat 5:47; Mat 9:10, Mat 9:11). A tax or tribute (q.v.) of half a shekel was annually paid by every adult Jew for the temple. It had to be paid in Jewish coin (Mat 22:17; Mar 12:14, Mar 12:15). Money-changers (q.v.) were necessary, to enable the Jews who came up to Jerusalem at the feasts to exchange their foreign coin for Jewish money; but as it was forbidden by the law to carry on such a traffic for emolument (Deu 23:19, Deu 23:20), our Lord drove them from the temple (Mat 21:12; Mar 11:15).
Cuthah One of the Babylonian cities or districts from which Shalmaneser transplanted certain colonists to Samaria (Kg2 17:24). Some have conjectured that the "Cutheans" were identical with the "Cossaeans" who inhabited the hill-country to the north of the river Choaspes. Cuthah is now identified with Tell Ibrahim, 15 miles north-east of Babylon.