camel

camel

A large, humped ruminant. The camel is frequently described in the Bible as a beast of burden and a riding animal, often in association with nomadic tribes. There is no archaeological corroboration for the camel being known in Palestine or Egypt at the beginning of the second millennium BCE. Still, the book of Genesis offers seventeen references to camels in the area at that time (Gen 12:16; Gen 24:10; Gen 31:17; Gen 32:15). (Gen 24) also furnishes information on the care of camels, including watering them (Gen 24:14, Gen 24:19-20), feeding them (Gen 24:25, Gen 24:32), and making them kneel (Gen 24:11). In the twelfth or eleventh century BCE, Palestine was invaded by nomadic Arab tribes (“Midianites”) riding on camels (Judg 6:5). After this time, the use of camels in Israel became common (1Chr 12:40; 1Chr 27:30). Although camels chew the cud, they do not have cloven hooves, so their meat was forbidden to the Israelites to eat (Lev 11:4; Deut 14:7). In NT times the camel continued to be used as a beast of burden. Jesus noted that “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God” (Matt 19:24; Luke 18:25). Jesus condemned and belittled the Pharisees for striving to strain out a gnat yet being willing to swallow a camel (Matt 23:24). John the Baptist wore clothing made of camel’s hair (Mark 1:6).

Gen 12:16

16And for her sake he dealt well with Abram; and he had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male and female slaves, female donkeys, and camels.

Gen 24:10

10Then the servant took ten of his master's camels and departed, taking all kinds of choice gifts from his master; and he set out and went to Aram-naharaim, to ... View more

Gen 31:17

17So Jacob arose, and set his children and his wives on camels;

Gen 32:15

15thirty milch camels and their colts, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys.

Gen 24

The Marriage of Isaac and Rebekah
1Now Abraham was old, well advanced in years; and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things.2Abraham said to his servant, the ... View more

Gen 24:14

14Let the girl to whom I shall say, ‘Please offer your jar that I may drink,’ and who shall say, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels’—let her be the one whom y ... View more

Gen 24:19-20

19When she had finished giving him a drink, she said, “I will draw for your camels also, until they have finished drinking.”20So she quickly emptied her jar int ... View more

Gen 24:25

25She added, “We have plenty of straw and fodder and a place to spend the night.”

Gen 24:32

32So the man came into the house; and Laban unloaded the camels, and gave him straw and fodder for the camels, and water to wash his feet and the feet of the me ... View more

Gen 24:11

11He made the camels kneel down outside the city by the well of water; it was toward evening, the time when women go out to draw water.

Judg 6:5

5For they and their livestock would come up, and they would even bring their tents, as thick as locusts; neither they nor their camels could be counted; so they ... View more

1Chr 12:40

40And also their neighbors, from as far away as Issachar and Zebulun and Naphtali, came bringing food on donkeys, camels, mules, and oxen—abundant provisions of ... View more

1Chr 27:30

30Over the camels was Obil the Ishmaelite. Over the donkeys was Jehdeiah the Meronothite. Over the flocks was Jaziz the Hagrite.

Lev 11:4

4But among those that chew the cud or have divided hoofs, you shall not eat the following: the camel, for even though it chews the cud, it does not have divided ... View more

Deut 14:7

7Yet of those that chew the cud or have the hoof cleft you shall not eat these: the camel, the hare, and the rock badger, because they chew the cud but do not d ... View more

Matt 19:24

24Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

Luke 18:25

25Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

Matt 23:24

24You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!

Mark 1:6

6Now John was clothed with camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.

 NEH Logo
Bible Odyssey has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.