Jeremiah 13:23, Can a leopard change its spots?

Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.

//Can’t say I ever paid much attention to this verse before. An Ethiopian (Hebrew: Cushite) is a black-skinned person, probably from the upper Nile region. As many times as I’ve heard the popular saying about a leopard changing its spots, I’ve never heard anyone mention the first half of this verse, about whether a black person can change the color of his or her skin skin.

Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.

OK, I don’t really think the Bible is being racist, here. Elsewhere in the Bible, the Cushites are treated with respect; particularly, the lovely lady of Solomon’s affection in Song of Solomon. Still, I hope the first part of the cliché never catches on.


  1. I’ve read this verse many times in relation to the meaning of the Ethiopian in the Bible. That if it was made clearer in the King James version that the Ethiopian held an esteemed place among the ancient people in the Bible, there would be much less racism today.

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