- But a Concordance check for “camel” or “camels” shows the term in accounts of events supposedly a millenium prior. Looking at a Concordance, in Genesis 34, Rachel even mentions a saddle. Camel saddles start appearing somewhere in central Asia around 1200 BC.
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Jan 06, 2022 · Did camels exist in Biblical times? Some Biblical texts, such as Genesis 12 and 24, claim that Abraham owned camels. Yet archaeological research shows that camels were not domesticated in the land of Canaan until the 10th century B.C.E.—about a thousand years after the time of Abraham.
- The Camel Question
- Camels—Ships of The Desert
- carbon-dated Camel Bones
- Considering The Challenge
- Camels Here, Camels There, But Necessarily Camels Everywhere
- Anachronistic Camels?
Tel Aviv University archaeologists Lidar Sapir-Hen and Erez Ben-Yosef, who have been exploring ancient Aravah Valley copper mines between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea, decided to take a crack at the camel question. The camel question is not a new one, and they are not the first to dispute the Bible’s historical accounts of camels. Sapir-Hen and Ben-Yosef are the first, however, to publish a study dogmatically drawing down the numerical power of carbon dating upon the biblical accounts. Even though the Bible describes the use of camels by Abraham, Joseph, and Jacob, some modern liberal scholars insist the camel did not achieve importance as a pack animal until the early Iron Age and not before the 12th century BC.1 According to a press release from the American Friends of Tel Aviv University (AFTAU), “Archaeologists have shown that camels were not domesticated in the Land of Israel until centuries after the Age of the Patriarchs (2000–1500 BCE). In addition to challenging the Bible’s...
The Aravah Valley was an important place in the economy of the Middle East by the time of King Solomon, and trade routes naturally traversed the area. The copper mines of the valley are thought to have been on trade routes between the Arabian Peninsula and the settled lands nearer the Mediterranean. Camels would probably have been better able to meet mine-related transport demands than donkeys or mules. Camels were well-suited to handle the rigors of long journeys along Middle Eastern trade routes. They became a vital part of the economic strength of the region described in the Old Testament. But when did they begin making their contribution to the economic health of the lands at the crossroads of three great continents?
“The introduction of the camel to our region was a very important economic and social development,” Ben-Yosef says. “By analyzing archaeological evidence from the copper production sites of the Aravah Valley, we were able to estimate the date of this event in terms of decades rather than centuries.” Because carbon-dated camel bones abruptly appear in the strata of the ancient copper mines in the region, Sapir-Hen and Ben-Yosef report they “have used radiocarbon dating to pinpoint the moment when domesticated camels arrived in the southern Levant, pushing the estimate from the 12th to the 9th century BCE. The findings,” according to the AFTAU, “further emphasize the disagreements between Biblical texts and verifiable history.” The carbon dates assigned to the Aravah Valley camel bones—the late 900s BC—are decades too late to have been left there during the time of Kings David and Solomon, according to Sapir-Hen and Ben-Yosef, and they are centuries too late to confirm a domesticated...
In examining the challenge based on these copper-mined carbon dates, we need to consider both the calibration of the technique and the historical context of the claims. Clearly the AFTAU assumes the Bible’s history is neither historically accurate nor verifiable. In this instance, they are defining “verifiable” as that which can be assigned a scientifically trustworthy date. So how trustworthy are carbon dates for the times encompassed by the Old Testament? Like all clocks, the “clock of carbon-dating” must be calibrated. Unfortunately, carbon dating for the times described in the Old Testament was calibrated in accordance with dates drawn from Egyptian history. Even most secular Egyptologists now agree that the traditional timeline of ancient Egypt history is in disarray. Traditional Egyptian chronology was developed in the 19th century, and for a long time it was the only archaeological yardstick available to date the history of other ancient near eastern people. However, later da...
Yet even beyond the technical issues with the dating methods, could there be other reasons that might allow for the presence of domestic camels in the herds of Abraham while they were not yet a prominent feature between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba? A look at the map should make the answer clear. There is no reason to assume that the abrupt appearance of camel bones at a certain level in the copper mining region of the southern Aravah Valley precludes their use as pack animals by Abraham and his nomadic neighbors. Abraham entered the Levant from a northerly route, visited Egypt, and returned to the Levant where he remained the rest of his life. Whether or not camel-dependent trade routes across the Aravah Valley into the Arabian Peninsula were yet established has no bearing on the use of camels by people in the more westerly portions of the Levant. And while Egypt’s domination of the region after the time of Solomon could well have resulted in more intensive use of camels thro...
When quizzing the past for its historical secrets, historians must rely on written accounts recorded by people who were there. So-called “higher critics” of the Bible, however, have since the 19th century claimed that the history of the Old Testament was written centuries after the writers claim to have written down God’s Word under His inspiration. This was the only way those critics who did (and do) not believe in God’s power to prophesy of coming events could explain away the accuracy of God’s historical predictions. The claim by the AFTAU that these carbon-dated camel bones prove the Hebrew writers were just trying to create a great history for their nation is just more of the same. But, as we can see from the history of carbon dating’s fallible calibration as well as the historical geography evident from a quick look at a map, there is no reason to question the reliability of God’s Word.
- Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell
Bible Animals: Camel Camel in Wikipedia Camel, a prominent domestic animal of the East without the existence of which life in the Arabian deserts would be impossible. It was perhaps the first beast of burden applied to the service of man. It is mentioned as such in the Biblical records as early as the time of Abraham.
Feb 10, 2014 · Domesticated Camels Came to Israel in 930 B.C., Centuries Later Than Bible Says. The camels appear suddenly, following major changes in copper production throughout the region.
Feb 11, 2014 · February 11, 2014 4:19 PM EST. O nce upon a time, Abraham owned a camel. According to the Book of Genesis, he probably owned lots of camels. The Bible says that Abraham, along with other ...