John T. Willis

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


When Evelyn and I spent different times in Israel, we often saw camels. Some of our students had opportunities to ride on the backs of camels on the Mount of Olives. Camels are very interesting creatures. The Bible often refers to camels.

There are two types of camels: the one-humped camel or dromedary (Camelus dromedarius] and the two-humped camel or Bactrian (Calemus bactrianus). Various peoples in the ancient Near East domesticated camels as early as the third millennium B. C. Genesis 37:25 shows that people traveled overland by camels in the time of the patriarchs. The Midianites attacked Gideon and the Israelites using camels--Judges 6-7.

The camel's anatomy requires a special harness with straps, known as a withers-strap, that goes between or aroundt he humps or is supported by a saddle over one hump--see Genesis 31:34. The Ishmaelites (Genesis 37:25) and the Amalekites (Judges 6:5; 1 Samuel 15:3) used camels as pack animals. Hazael, king of Aram [Syria], carried loads of produces on camels--2 Kings 8:9. David had large herds of camels under the charge of an individual from Arabia--1 Chronicles 27:30.

Camels were susceptible to diseases--Zechariah 14:15. Leviticus 11:4 and Deuteronomy 14:7 prohibit eating the meat of camels, but the Bible says nothing against drinking the milk of camels. In the ancient Near East, it was common to drink the milk of camels.

Sennacherib, king of Assyria, declares that he captured and carried into exile many people and possessions, including camels. See Sennacherib's Annals concerning the siege of Jerusalem in 701 B. C. A relief from Lachish depicts Judean refugees leaving to Babylon with a loaded camel. Skeletons of camels have found at various sites by archaeologists through several centuries in Old Testament times.

Camels are another creatures of God. Each creature of God has its own characteristics and purposes. All of God's beings are marvelous and intriguing. What do YOU think about camels? Study camels in the Bible. Study camels in history. Study camels in modern times. Give us some of YOUR insights. Share your thoughts with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


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