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People's Dictionary of the Bible


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Camel. Genesis 12:16. There are two species: the Bactrian and the Arabian camel. The latter was used by the Israelites, and is the one commonly referred to in Scripture. It was used both for riding and for carrying loads, as at present. Genesis 24:64; 2 Kings 8:9. Camel's furniture is mentioned, Genesis 31:34, perhaps a kind of litter or canopied seat; and it is not improbable that the panniers or baskets, which are suspended on both sides of the animal, were employed anciently as now. The dromedary, Isaiah 60:6, was the same species, but of a finer breed. The camel is ill-tempered, vindictive, and obstinate; but its value to man may be estimated by what has been said. The ordinary strong working animal will go 24 miles a day, while the higher-bred and better-trained, or dromedary, will it is said, travel 200 miles in 24 hours. This quadruped was forbidden as food to the Hebrews, Leviticus 11:4; Deuteronomy 14:7; the flesh, however, especially the hump, is now liked by the Arabs; the milk is considered a cooling, nutritious drink, and the dung is much used for fuel. The camel was well known in early ages. Genesis 12:16; Genesis 24:64; Genesis 37:25. It was used in war, at least by predatory bands, Judges 6:6; 1 Samuel 30:17; and coarse garments were made of its hair. Matthew 3:4; Mark 1:6. The word occurs in various proverbial expressions, as in Matthew 19:24; similar to which are some used in the Talmud; also in 23:24, where the early English versions and the R. V. have very properly "strain out."

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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Camel'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. 1893.

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