Getting Over the Hump

Do Camels Disprove The Bible?

A team of small animals and a team of large animals decided to play football one against the other.  During the first half of the game, the large animals were winning. But during the second half, a centipede scored so many touchdowns that the small animals came out on top. When the contest was over, the chipmunk asked the centipede, “Where were you during the first half?” The centipede replied, “I was putting on my shoes!”

There is an old saying, “By the time truth gets its boots on, a lie has already gone around the world.”  This  was never truer than the news from Israel at the start of this month.  There, two Israeli archaeologists (Lidar Sapir-Hen and Erez Ben-Yosef) announced their findings from studying buried camel bones in the ancient Aravah Valley (Solomon’s mineral mines).  Using radio-carbon dating on camel leg bones that clearly showed stress from carrying heavy loads, the two Tel Aviv University professors announced that the earliest that camels were domesticated in Israel as pack animals was in the year 1100 B.C.  So what?  You ask.  Well, the Bible speaks of those same camels being used for this same purpose by Abraham back in 2100 B.C.; a full one-thousand years earlier than what the Israeli archaeologists say.  Immediately, the headlines went around the world  – Camel Study Proves The Bible Is Wrong.  And the story was picked up by every major media outlet: radio, television, and newspaper.  It even occupied the top spot on the websites of the CBC, Fox, and CNN.

So who is telling the truth?

Genesis 12:16
And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels.
Yes, the Bible does speak of Abraham having camels.  And yes, the Bible does say the patriarch used them as domesticated beasts of burdens. And yes, this was 1,000 years before Israel as a nation ever domesticated them, just like the archaeologists say.

But what wasn’t stated is that when you find camels in the early part of the Bible, they were brought in from  outside of Israel, not ones already present in the land.  Abram brought his own camels into Canaan from Mesopotamia, where he had grown up and where camels had already been domesticated and in use for over 500 years. And other early biblical references to camels are again always of people related to Abraham (Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, etc,)  never of Israelites in general owning them as domesticated dromedary.  It was not until the days of Solomon (a thousand years later) that Israelis began using camels en masse to carry the mined (gold, silver, bronze, copper, etc.) minerals to take to ships for export.

I Kings 10:22
For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tharshish, bringing gold and silver…

The bottom line?  These Israeli archaeologists may know  their bones, but they sure don’t know their Bibles.


If you ever doubted that God exists, meet the
very technical, highly engineered, camel …

“As a camel, when I am hungry, I’ll eat just about anything – a piece of robe, a pair of shoes, a leather bridle, even my master’s tent.  And I especially love to chow down plants that grow in the desert.  My mouth is so tough, even a thorny cactus doesn’t bother it.

“As a camel, my hump, all eighty pounds of it, is filled with fat (which is my body fuel, not water, as most people believe).  This is critical when I travel across the hot desert sands as food is not always available.  And when I don’t come upon something to eat, my body then automatically takes fat from the hump, feeding me, and keeping me going strong.  Now, if I still can’t find any plants to munch on, my body will eventually use up all that is in my hump, making it get smaller and smaller until it tips to one side empty.  But when I get to a nice oasis to eat again, it will soon right itself back up.”

“As a camel, I’ve been known to drink 75 gallons of water in 10 minutes.  And within half an hour  that water will travel to the billions of microscopic cells in my body.  So in an 8 hour day I can carry a 400 pound load, 100 miles across a hot desert, and not once need to stop for a drink.  In fact, I can go a whole week before getting thirsty.  Now, I’ll look a wreck, having lost about 200  pounds and my ribs showing through my skin.  But after I find a water hole and drink for ten minutes or so, my body will change almost immediately back to what it was, regaining the 200 pounds it had lost.

“As a camel, my blood contains 94% water, just like yours.  Now if you lose 5% of the water in your blood you’ll go blind, lose 10% and you’ll go deaf, lose 12%

and you’ll go insane, lose anymore and you’ll die (as your blood becomes thick as molasses).  But my blood cells are different than yours.  I can lose 50% of the water in my blood and still function.  And that’s important, spending as much time in the sun as I do.

“As a camel, I love to travel the sand dunes and it’s easy for me as I have specially-engineered sand shoes for feet.  My hooves are wide and they get wider when I step, so they don’t let me sink into the soft sand, which is good, for often I am asked to carry very heavy loads.”

“As I camel, I have special head features.  My nostrils contain unique membranes that keep the sand out of my nose, but still letting air in.  And my nostril system acts as an air conditioning unit with my nose always being 20% cooler than the rest of my body.  My eyes have bushy eyelashes that are arched like screens, making me lift my head as I walk to see and thus acting as shades to keep the sun out of my vision.  And if a grain of sand does slip through and a speck gets in my eye, I have an inner eyelid that acts like a windshield wiper.

“As a camel, I have really thick knee pads.  They help to lower my 1,000 pound weight to the ground.  If I didn’t have them, my knees would soon become sore and infected, meaning I could never lie down and I’d eventually die of exhaustion.”

“As a camel, desert people depend upon me for many things.  Not only am I their best form of transportation, but I’m also their grocery store.  I give very rich milk that people make into butter and cheese.  And once a year I shed my thick fur coat that can then be woven into cloth.  Also, a few of the younger ones are used for beef, but I don’t like to talk about that.”

“Whoever made me, sure knew what they were doing.”