Smith's Bible DictionaryCamel
The species of camel which was in common use among the Jews and the heathen nations of Palestine was the Arabian or one-humped camel, Camelus arabicus . The dromedary is a swifter animal than the baggage-camel, and is used chiefly for riding purposes; it is merely a finer breed than the other. The Arabs call it the heirie . The speed, of the dromedary has been greatly exaggerated, the Arabs asserting that it is swifter than the horse. Eight or nine miles an hour is the utmost it is able to perform; this pace, however, it is able to keep up for hours together. The Arabian camel carries about 500 pounds. "The hump on the camel's back is chiefly a store of fat, from which the animal draws as the wants of his system require; and the Arab is careful to see that the hump is in good condition before a long journey. Another interesting adaptation is the thick sole which protects the foot of the camel from the burning sand. The nostrils may be closed by valves against blasts of sand. Most interesting is the provision for drought made by providing the second stomach with great cells in which water is long retained. Sight and smell is exceedingly acute in the camel." --Johnson's Encyc. It is clear from (Genesis 12:16) that camels were early known to the Egyptians. The importance of the camel is shown by (Genesis 24:64; 37:25; Judges 7:12; 1 Samuel 27:9; 1 Kings 19:2; 2 Chronicles 14:15; Job 1:3; Jeremiah 49:29,32) and many other texts. John the Baptist wore a garment made of camel hair, (Matthew 3:4; Mark 1:6) the coarser hairs of the camel; and some have supposed that Elijah was clad in a dress of the same stuff.
Scripture Alphabet Of AnimalsCamel
There are two or three varieties of the camel, but they do not differ from each other much more than our horses, some of which, the stout and strong, we use to draw heavy loads; others, more slender and graceful, we use for riding. The swift camel is called a Dromedary; it will carry its rider a hundred miles a day. Dromedaries are mentioned in the book of Esther, where messages were to be sent in haste to all parts of a vast kingdom; the messengers rode "on mules, and camels, and young dromedaries."
This is a very large animal and is mentioned a great many times in the Bible. I think you will like to find all these places, and see what is said about the camel. It seems as though God made it to live in just such countries as it does, for it can go a great many days without drinking any water; and if it were not for this, it would die of thirst, because the wells and springs are so far apart. If the people of those countries had not the camel they could not travel; so you see how kind God is to them.
The foot of the camel is curious. It is very broad, having two divisions with a horny tip at the end of each; and underneath is a sort of elastic cushion, like a sponge, on which the animal treads. It is very strange to see a dozen or twenty large and heavy camels pass along almost without any noise; so still that you would hardly know they were coming if you did not look up.
There is a very beautiful story in the twenty-fourth chapter of Genesis, Genesis 24 in which there is something about camels. I will tell you part of it. In the country where it happened a man does not generally choose a wife for himself, but his father or some other friend chooses for him. You have heard about Abraham, and know that he was a good man and a friend of God. When his son Isaac was forty years old, Abraham wished to find a wife for him, but he was not willing to take one from among the people where he lived, because they were very wicked. So he called a good old servant that he had-a gray-headed man-and told him that he wished him to go to a distant country and bring a wife for Isaac from there. Then Eliezer, the servant, took several other servants, and ten of his master's camels, and many presents, and started on his journey. After they had travelled a great many days, they came near to the city where Abraham had told them to go. It was just before night, and that was the time when the young women used to go out of the city to draw water. I have told you that there are not many wells in that country, so that a great many persons draw water at one place. It is the custom for females to go for it, and they usually carry it in pitchers on their heads.
Eliezer made his camels lie down by this well, because they had come to the end of their journey and were very tired. But how was he to know who would be a good wife for Isaac, among all the women of this large city? He did not know; but he was a good man, and he prayed to God to choose one for him, and let him know which she was. And he asked God to let him know in this way which I will tell you. When the young women came out to the well, he was going to ask them for some water, and he prayed that the one who answered him kindly, and gave him drink, might be the right one for Isaac's wife. Pretty soon he saw a young woman coming with her pitcher on her head, and she was very fair and handsome; but this alone did not satisfy Eliezer. He waited till she had drawn some water and placed it upon her head. Then he said to her, "I pray thee let me drink a little water from they pitcher;" -and she took it down and resting it on her hand, answered very pleasantly and kindly, " Drink, my lord." While he was drinking, she saw that he looked like a stranger, and that his camels seemed tired with the journey, and she was sorry from them. So she said, "I will draw water for the camels too;" - and she did draw enough for all the ten camels, though she must have been pretty tired when it was done, for these animals drink a great deal. From all these circumstances Eliezer felt sure that God had heard his prayer; and it gave him pleasure to think that if this young woman was willing to take so much trouble for a traveller whom she did not know, she would be a very kind and good wife.
I cannot tell you all; but Eliezer found that the young woman, whose name was Rebekah, was willing to go with him to be Isaac's wife. When all was ready for the journey she was seated upon one of the ten camels, and her nurse upon another, and some of her female servants upon others. After they had been riding some days, they came, just at evening, near the place where Isaac lived, and saw him walking in the field. He came to meet Rebekah, and was very glad to see her, and when she became his wife he loved her very much.
ATS Bible DictionaryCamel
Carrier, A beast of burden very common in the East, where it is called "the land-ship," and "the carrier of the desert." It is six or seven feet high, and is exceedingly strong, tough, and enduring of labor. The feet are constructed with a tough elastic sole, which prevents the animal from sinking in the sand; and on all sorts of ground it is very sure-footed. The Arabian species, most commonly referred to in Scripture, has but one hump on the back; while the Bactrian camel, found in central Asia, has two. While the animal is well fed, these humps swell with accumulated fat, which is gradually absorbed under scarcity and toil, to supply the lack of food. The dromedary is a lighter and swifter variety, otherwise not distinguishable from the common camel, Jeremiah 2:23. Within the cavity of the stomach is a sort of paunch, provided with membranous cells to contain an extra provision of water: the supply with which this is filled will last for many days while he traverses the desert. His food is coarse leaves, twigs, thistles, which he prefers to the tenderest grass, and on which he performs the longest journeys. But generally, on a march, about a pound weight of dates, beans, or barley, will serve for twenty-four hours. The camel kneels to receive its load, which varies from 500 to 1,000 or 1,200 pounds. Meanwhile it is wont to utter loud cries or growls of anger and impatience. It is often obstinate and stupid, and at times ferocious; the young are as dull and ungainly as the old. Its average rate of travel is about two and one third miles an hour; and it jogs on with a sullen pertinacity hour after hour without fatigue, seeming as fresh at night as in the morning. No other animal could endure the severe and continual hardships of the camel, his rough usage, and his coarse and scanty food. The Arabians well say of him, "Job's beast is a monument of God's mercy."
This useful animal has been much employed in the East, from a very early period. The merchants of those sultry climes have found it the only means of exchanging the products of different lands, and from time immemorial long caravans have traversed year after year the almost pathless deserts, Genesis 37:25. The number of one's camels was a token of his wealth. Job had 3,000, and the Midianites' camels were like the sand of the sea,
Jud 7:12; 1 Chronicles 5:21; Job 1:3. Rebekah came to Isaac riding upon a camel, Genesis 24:64; the queen of Sheba brought them to Solomon, and Hazael to Elisha, laden with the choicest gifts, 1 Kings 10:2; 2 Kings 8:9; and they were even made serviceable in war, 1 Samuel 30:17. The camel was to the Hebrews an unclean animal, Le 11:4; yet its milk has ever been to the Arabs an important article of food, and is highly prized as a cooling and healthy drink. Indeed, no animal is more useful to the Arabs, while living or after death. Out of its skin they make for corn. Of its skin they make huge water bottles and leather sacks, also sandals, ropes, and thongs. Its dung, dried in the sun, serves them for fuel.
CAMELs' HAIR was woven into cloth in the East, some of it exceedingly fine and soft, but usually coarse and rough, used for making the coats of shepherds and camel-drivers, and for covering tents. It was this that John the Baptist wore, and not "soft raiment," Matthew 11:8. Modern dervishes wear garments of this kind and this appears to be meant in 2 Kings 1:8.
The expression, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle," etc., Matthew 19:24, was a proverb to describe an impossibility. The same phrase occurs in the Koran; and a similar one in the Talmud, respecting an elephant's going through a needle's eye. See also the proverb in Matthew 23:24, which illustrates the hypocrisy of the Pharisees by the custom of passing wine through a strainer. The old versions of the New Testament, instead of, "strain at" a gnat, have, "strain out," which conveys the true meaning.
International Standard Bible EncyclopediaCAMEL
kam'-el (gamal; kamelos; bekher, and bikhrah (Isaiah 60:6 Jeremiah 2:23 "dromedary," the American Revised Version, margin "young camel"), rekhesh (1 Kings 4:28; see HORSE), kirkaroth (Isaiah 66:20, "swift beasts," the American Standard Revised ersion. "dromedaries"); bene ha-rammakhim (Esther 8:10, "young dromedaries," the American Standard Revised Version "bred of the stud"); achashteranim (Esther 8:10, 14, the King James Version "camels," the American Standard Revised Version "that were used in the king's service")): There are two species of camel, the Arabian or one-humped camel or dromedary, Camelus dromedarius, and the Bactrian or two-humped camel, Camelus bactrianus. The latter inhabits the temperate and cold parts of central Asia and is not likely to have been known to Biblical writers. The Arabian camel inhabits southwestern Asia and northern Africa and has recently been introduced into parts of America and Australia. Its hoofs are not typical of ungulates but are rather like great claws. The toes are not completely separated and the main part of the foot which is applied to the ground is a large pad which underlies the proximal joints of the digits. It may be that this incomplete separation of the two toes is a sufficient explanation of the words "parteth not the hoof," in Leviticus 11:4 and Deuteronomy 14:7. Otherwise these words present a difficulty, because the hoofs are completely separated though the toes are not. The camel is a ruminant and chews the cud like a sheep or ox, but the stomach possesses only three compartments instead of four, as in other ruminants. The first two compartments contain in their walls small pouches, each of which can be closed by a sphincter muscle. The fluid retained in these pouches may account in part for the power of the camel to go for a relatively long time without drinking.
The Arabian camel is often compared with justice to the reindeer of the Esquimaux. It furnishes hair for spinning and weaving, milk, flesh and leather, as well as being an of invaluable means of transportation in the arid desert. There are many Arabic names for the camel, the commonest of which is jamal (in Egypt gamal), the root being common to Arabic, Hebrew and other Semitic languages. From it the names in Latin, Greek, English and various European languages are derived. There are various breeds camels, as there are of horses. The riding camels or dromedaries, commonly called hajin, can go, even at a walk, much faster than the pack camels. The males are mostly used for carrying burdens, the females being kept with the herds. Camels are used to a surprising extent on the rough roads of the mountains, and one finds in the possession of fellachin in the mountains and on the littoral plain larger and stronger pack camels than are often found among the Bedouin. Camels were apparently not much used by the Israelites after the time of the patriarchs. They were taken as spoil of war from the Amalekites and other tribes, but nearly the only reference to their use by the later Israelites was when David was made king over all Israel at Hebron, when camels are mentioned among the animals used for bringing food for the celebration (1 Chronicles 12:40). David had a herd of camels, but the herdsman was Obil, an Ishmaelite (1 Chronicles 27:30). Nearly all the other Biblical references to camels are to those possessed by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Ishmaelites, Amalekites, Midianites, Hagrites and the "children of the East" (see EAST). Two references to camels (Genesis 12:16 Exodus 9:3) are regarded as puzzling because the testimony of the Egyptian monuments is said to be against the presence of camels in ancient Egypt. For this reason, Genesis 12-16, in connection with Abram's visit to Egypt, is turned to account by Canon Cheyne to substantiate his theory that the Israelites were not in Egypt but in a north Arabian land of Mucri (Encyclopaedia Biblica under the word "Camel," 4). While the flesh of the camel was forbidden to the Israelites, it is freely eaten by the Arabs. There are three references to the camel in New Testament:
(1) to John's raiment of camel's hair (Matthew 3:4 Mark 1:6);
(2) the words of Jesus that "it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God" (Matthew 19:24 Mark 10:25 Luke 18:25);
(3) the proverb applied to the Pharisees as blind guides, "that strain out the gnat, and swallow the camel" (Matthew 23:24). Some manuscripts read ho kamilos, "a cable," in Matthew 19:24 and Luke 18:25.
There are a few unusual words which have been translated "camel" in text or margin of one or the other version. (See list of words at beginning of the article) Bekher and bikhrah clearly mean a young animal, and the Arabic root word and derivatives are used similarly to the Hebrew. Rakhash, the root of rekhesh, is compared with the Arabic rakad, "to run," and, in the Revised Version (British and American), rekhesh is translated "swift steeds." Kirkaroth, rammakhim and 'achashteranim must be admitted to be of doubtful etymology and uncertain meaning.
Alfred Ely Day
Easton's Bible Dictionary
From the Hebrew gamal, "to repay" or "requite," as the camel does the care of its master. There are two distinct species of camels, having, however, the common characteristics of being "ruminants without horns, without muzzle, with nostrils forming oblique slits, the upper lip divided and separately movable and extensile, the soles of the feet horny, with two toes covered by claws, the limbs long, the abdomen drawn up, while the neck, long and slender, is bent up and down, the reverse of that of a horse, which is arched."
(1.) The Bactrian camel is distinguished by two humps. It is a native of the high table-lands of Central Asia.
(2.) The Arabian camel or dromedary, from the Greek dromos, "a runner" (Isaiah 60:6; Jeremiah 2:23), has but one hump, and is a native of Western Asia or Africa.
The camel was early used both for riding and as a beast of burden (Genesis 24:64; 37:25), and in war (1 Samuel 30:17; Isaiah 21:7). Mention is made of the camel among the cattle given by Pharaoh to Abraham (Genesis 12:16). Its flesh was not to be eaten, as it was ranked among unclean animals (Leviticus 11:4; Deuteronomy 14:7). Abraham's servant rode on a camel when he went to fetch a wife for Isaac (Genesis 24:10, 11). Jacob had camels as a portion of his wealth (30:43), as Abraham also had (24:35). He sent a present of thirty milch camels to his brother Esau (32:15). It appears to have been little in use among the Jews after the conquest. It is, however, mentioned in the history of David (1 Chronicles 27:30), and after the Exile (Ezra 2:67; Nehemiah 7:69). Camels were much in use among other nations in the East. The queen of Sheba came with a caravan of camels when she came to see the wisdom of Solomon (1 Kings 10:2; 2 Chronicles 9:1). Benhadad of Damascus also sent a present to Elisha, "forty camels' burden" (2 Kings 8:9).
To show the difficulty in the way of a rich man's entering into the kingdom, our Lord uses the proverbial expression that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle (Matthew 19:24).
To strain at (rather, out) a gnat and swallow a camel was also a proverbial expression (Matthew 23:24), used with reference to those who were careful to avoid small faults, and yet did not hesitate to commit the greatest sins. The Jews carefully filtered their wine before drinking it, for fear of swallowing along with it some insect forbidden in the law as unclean, and yet they omitted openly the "weightier matters" of the law.
The raiment worn by John the Baptist was made of camel's hair (Matthew 3:4; Mark 1:6), by which he was distinguished from those who resided in royal palaces and wore soft raiment. This was also the case with Elijah (2 Kings 1:8), who is called "a hairy man," from his wearing such raiment. "This is one of the most admirable materials for clothing; it keeps out the heat, cold, and rain." The "sackcloth" so often alluded to (2 Kings 1:8; Isaiah 15:3; Zechariah 13:4, etc.) was probably made of camel's hair.
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
) A large ruminant used in Asia and Africa for carrying burdens and for riding. The camel is remarkable for its ability to go a long time without drinking. Its hoofs are small, and situated at the extremities of the toes, and the weight of the animal rests on the callous. The dromedary (Camelus dromedarius) has one bunch on the back, while the Bactrian camel (C. Bactrianus) has two. The llama, alpaca, and vicua, of South America, belong to a related genus (Auchenia).
2. (n.) A water-tight structure (as a large box or boxes) used to assist a vessel in passing over a shoal or bar or in navigating shallow water. By admitting water, the camel or camels may be sunk and attached beneath or at the sides of a vessel, and when the water is pumped out the vessel is lifted.
Strong's Hebrew1581. gamal -- a camel...
<< 1580, 1581. gamal. 1582 >>. a camel
. Transliteration: gamal Phonetic Spelling:
(gaw-mawl') Short Definition: camels. Word Origin from ... /hebrew/1581.htm - 6k
1072. bikrah -- a young camel, dromedary
... << 1071, 1072. bikrah. 1073 >>. a young camel, dromedary. Transliteration:
bikrah Phonetic Spelling: (bik-raw') Short Definition: camel. ...
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1071. Beker -- "young camel," two Israelites
... << 1070, 1071. Beker. 1072 >>. "young camel," two Israelites. Transliteration:
Beker Phonetic Spelling: (beh'-ker) Short Definition: Becher. ...
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1707. dabbesheth -- a hump
... hunch of a camel. Intensive from the same as dbash; a sticky mass, ie The hump of
a camel -- hunch (of a camel). see HEBREW dbash. << 1706, 1707. ...
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327. achashteran -- royal
... Word Origin of foreign origin Definition royal NASB Word Usage royal (1). camel.
Of Persian origin; a mule -- camel. << 326, 327. achashteran. 328 >>. ...
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1070. beker -- dromedary
... dromedary. Transliteration: beker Phonetic Spelling: (beh'-ker) Short Definition:
camel. ... From bakar (in the sense of youth); a young camel -- dromedary. ...
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1582. Gemalli -- a Danite
... Gemalli. Probably from gamal; camel-driver; Gemalli, an Israelite -- Gemalli. see
HEBREW gamal. << 1581, 1582. Gemalli. 1583 >>. Strong's Numbers.
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3733. kar -- basket-saddle
... the sense of plumpness; a ram (as full-grown and fat), including a battering-ram
(as butting); hence, a meadow (as for sheep); also a pad or camel's saddle (as ...
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