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Morrish Bible Dictionary

Camel

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The well-known domestic animal of the East was the gamal with one hump; the word 'bunches' in Isaiah 30:6 seems to refer to the humps. Camels are very suited in their construction for the country in which they are used, their feet being especially fitted for the deserts, and their powers of endurance enabling them to travel without frequently drinking. They need as much water as other animals, but God has given them receptacles in which they stow away the water they drink, and use it as they need it. Cases have been known of a camel being killed for the sake of the water that could be found in it when its owner was dying of thirst. They feed upon the coarse and prickly shrubs of the desert.

They form an important item in Eastern riches. Job had 3,000 camels. They are used for riding as well as for beasts of burden, a lighter breed being used for riding and for carrying the mails. Genesis 24:10-64 . In Isaiah 21:7 we read of a 'chariot of camels.' Camels were not thus used in Palestine, but the prophecy refers to messengers coming from Babylon and there another species of camel was common, called the Bactrian Camel, with two humps; these were at times linked in pairs to rude chariots. Perhaps the same species is alluded to in Esther 8:10-14 , that occurrence being also in the far East: the Hebrew word there is achashteranim. The camel was by the Levitical law an unclean animal.

The DROMEDARY may be said to be the same animal as the camel, the former name being applied to those of a lighter and more valuable breed. They are used for the same purposes as the camel. 1 Kings 4:28 ; Esther 8:10 ; Isaiah 60:6 ; Jeremiah 2:23 .

The proverb of a camel being swallowed when a gnat was scrupulously strained out, Matthew 23:24 , is to show how the weightier precepts of God may be neglected along with great attention to trivial things. Another proverb is that "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." Matthew 19:24 . This has been thought to refer to the camel squeezing through a small gate, which it could do with difficulty; but the Lord's explanation refers it to what was impossible in the nature of things, yet was possible with God. In grace the new creation overcomes all difficulties.


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Bibliography Information
Morrish, George. Entry for 'Camel '. Morrish Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/mbd/c/camel.html. 1897.

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