|A CAMEL FOR YOUR THOUGHTS
New research purports to show that the camel was domesticated only 1000 years before Christ. This
calls into question all the mentions of camels in Abraham's time, because the camel appears in Genesis
about 2000 years before Christ. Here is what Yahoo News has to say:
"Biblical scholars have long been aware many of the stories and accounts in the sacred book were not
written by eyewitnesses, and according to new research, further evidence of that historical distance
has appeared in the form of a hump-backed camel.
"New research using radioactive-carbon dating techniques shows the animals weren't domesticated
until hundreds of years after the events documented in the Book of Genesis. The research was
published by Erez Ben-Yosef and Lidar Sapir-Hen, archaeologists from Tel Aviv University in Israel. They
believe camels were not domesticated in the eastern Mediterranean until the 10th century B.C." (Mike
Krumboltz, "Appearance of camels in Genesis called sign of authors' distance from history," Yahoo
News, February 12, 2014).
Actually, a close review of the "new research" shows its conclusions to be based on an illogical
assumption. The research assumes that all domesticated camels were forced to carry extremely heavy
loads. As we used to say in computer programming, "Garbage In, Garbage Out."
"The archaeologists, Erez Ben-Yosef and Lidar Sapir-Hen, used radiocarbon dating to pinpoint the
earliest known domesticated camels in Israel to the last third of the 10th century B.C. — centuries after
the patriarchs lived and decades after the kingdom of David, according to the Bible. Some bones in
deeper sediments, they said, probably belonged to wild camels that people hunted for their meat. Dr.
Sapir-Hen could identify a domesticated animal by signs in leg bones that it had carried heavy loads."
("Science shows that camels weren’t domesticated as early as The Bible states," its-interesting.com,
February 12, 2014).
The wealth of the miners was their copper. They saw both animals and slaves as replaceable and did not
spare those who were failing. The mines and smelting camp were terrible places where both animals
and slaves were forced to labor until they died.
"Ben-Yosef’s excavation area is known as Slave’s Hill, named by American archaeologist Nelson Glick,
who suggested that a hill was built around the mine so the slaves working there couldn’t escape. It was
previously untouched and served as a massive smelting camp." (http://mfa.gov.
Unlike the miners, the nomadic herdsmen who domesticated the camel cared for their animals. Their
animals were their wealth and they traveled continuously to find good pasture for their herds. While the
miners forced camels to carry bulky loads of copper ore or copper ingots, the nomads used their camels
to move bulky but light items: their tents and housewares and trade goods. The nomad's camels carried
less than half the weight that the miner's camels carried.
The earliest domestic camels were probably baby camels captured from wild herds. Before long camels
were being bred, trained and sold. Camels to be sold were not abused, because marks of abuse
indicated a bad tempered animal.
When a nomad's camel became worn out, it was freed to graze with the rest of the herds. As camels
aged, they eventually fell behind the moving herds and were taken down by predators. Their bones
were scattered across the vast semi-arid grasslands that the nomads roamed each year, lost to history
under the dust of time.
While it is certainly true that camels with lesions on their leg bones carried heavy loads, it is simply not
true that no camels had kinder masters than the miners. So the camel bones found in deeper sediments
can not be ruled out as the remains of humanely treated domestic camels, some, as the Bible records,
from the time of Abraham.
Abraham was exactly the type of man who would be offered the newly domesticated camels. Abraham
was a friend of kings and maintained a private army to protect his possessions.
"With Chedorlaomer the king of Elam, and with Tidal king of nations, and Amraphel king of Shinar, and
Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings with five. And the vale of Siddim was full of slimepits; and the kings of
Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there; and they that remained fled to the mountain. And they took all
the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way. And they took Lot, Abram’s
brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed. And there came one that had escaped,
and told Abram the Hebrew (later renamed Abraham by God); for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the
Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these were confederate with Abram. And when
Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he (Abraham) armed his trained servants, born in his
own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan. And he divided himself against
them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left
hand of Damascus. And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his
goods, and the women also, and the people. And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his
return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh,
which is the king’s dale. And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the
priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God,
possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies
into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all." (Gen. 14:9-20).
Abraham was also very rich. "And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold." (Gen. 13:2).
Because Abraham dwelt in one area, his maid servants could weave blankets and cloth and make
cheese and other trade goods which caused merchants to bring him merchandise for barter. "Abram
dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward
Sodom." (Gen. 13:12).
Yes, the Bible was passed down by oral historians before it was written. But such men would not forget
the poignant details of Rebekah's agreement to marry Isaac sight unseen. Ten camels are an integral
part of the story.
"And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee,
thy hand under my thigh: and I will make thee swear by the Lord, the God of heaven, and the God of the
earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I
dwell: but thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac. And the
servant took ten camels of the camels of his master, and departed; for all the goods of his master were
in his hand: and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia, unto the city of Nahor. And he made his camels to
kneel down without the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go
out to draw water. And he said, O Lord God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this
day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham. Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the
daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water: and let it come to pass, that the damsel to
whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will
give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and
thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master. And it came to pass, before he had
done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of
Nahor, Abraham’s brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder. And the damsel was very fair to look
upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher,
and came up. And the servant ran to meet her, and said, Let me, I pray thee, drink a little water of thy
pitcher. And she said, Drink, my lord: and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave
him drink. And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also, until
they have done drinking. And it came to pass, as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a
golden earring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold;
and said, Whose daughter art thou? tell me, I pray thee: is there room in thy father’s house for us to
lodge in? And she said unto him, I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, which she bare unto
Nahor. She said moreover unto him, We have both straw and provender enough, and room to lodge in.
And the man came into the house: and he ungirded his camels, and gave straw and provender for the
camels, and water to wash his feet, and the men’s feet that were with him. And there was set meat
before him to eat: but he said, I will not eat, until I have told mine errand. And he said, Speak on. And he
said, I am Abraham’s servant. And the Lord hath blessed my master greatly; and he is become great: and
he hath given him flocks, and herds, and silver, and gold, and menservants, and maidservants, and
camels, and asses. And Sarah my master’s wife bare a son to my master when she was old: and unto him
hath he given all that he hath. And my master made me swear, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife to my
son of the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I dwell: but thou shalt go unto my father’s house,
and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son. And I came this day unto the well, and said, O Lord God
of my master Abraham, if now thou do prosper my way which I go: behold, I stand by the well of water;
and it shall come to pass, that when the virgin cometh forth to draw water, and I say to her, Give me, I
pray thee, a little water of thy pitcher to drink; and she say to me, Both drink thou, and I will also draw for
thy camels: let the same be the woman whom the Lord hath appointed out for my master’s son. And
before I had done speaking in mine heart, behold, Rebekah came forth with her pitcher on her shoulder;
and she went down unto the well, and drew water: and I said unto her, Let me drink, I pray thee. And she
made haste, and let down her pitcher from her shoulder, and said, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink
also: so I drank, and she made the camels drink also. And I asked her, and said, Whose daughter art
thou? And she said, The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bare unto him: and I put the
earring upon her face, and the bracelets upon her hands. And I bowed down my head, and worshipped
the Lord, and blessed the Lord God of my master Abraham, which had led me in the right way to take my
master’s brother’s daughter unto his son. And now if ye will deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me:
and if not, tell me; that I may turn to the right hand, or to the left. Then Laban and Bethuel answered and
said, The thing proceedeth from the Lord: we cannot speak unto thee bad or good. Behold, Rebekah is
before thee, take her, and go, and let her be thy master’s son’s wife, as the Lord hath spoken. And it
came to pass, that, when Abraham’s servant heard their words, he worshipped the Lord, bowing himself
to the earth. And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, and gave
them to Rebekah: he gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things. And they called
Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go. And they sent away
Rebekah their sister, and her nurse, and Abraham’s servant, and his men. And they blessed Rebekah,
and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed
possess the gate of those which hate them. And Rebekah arose, and her damsels, and they rode upon
the camels, and followed the man: and the servant took Rebekah, and went his way. And Isaac came
from the way of the well Lahairoi; for he dwelt in the south country. And Isaac went out to meditate in the
field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming. And
Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel. For she had said unto
the servant, What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us? And the servant had said, It is my
master: therefore she took a vail, and covered herself. And the servant told Isaac all things that he had
done. And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife;
and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death." (Gen. 24:2-4, 10-19, 22-25, 32-38, 42-
The Bible is the revealed Word of God, don't let anyone tell you different, no matter what their
credentials. They may never have taken a course in mathematical logic.
Amo Paul Bishop Roden