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Monday, May 30 2011

Camel Trains

Camels come in two major types, as generally distinguished by the fatty humps on their backs. The Arabian camels (or dromedary) have one hump, while the Bactrian camels have two humps. Arabian camels, as their name implies, are native to a wide area from India to north Africa, including Israel. Bactrian camels are usually found just in central Asia.

The English word "camel" originated from a Greek word, pronounced kam-el-os, that itself originated from a Hebrew word for camel, pronounced gaw-mawl, which itself developed from a Hebrew root word meaning labour or load bearing. Camels were used as "beasts of burden" since very early in Bible History, sometimes in great numbers that formed trains (i.e. single file "trailings" that followed a path, or the tracks, of others) crossing the desert.

After his experience with the Egyptian Pharaoh, Abraham came out of Egypt with much livestock - and many camels.

"12:14 And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair. 12:15 The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house. 12:16 And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels.

12:17 And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram's wife [see Abram and Sarai]. 12:18 And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife? 12:19 Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way. 12:20 And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had [see also The Exodus Prophecy]" (Genesis 12:14-20 KJV)

"She came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones"

After Sarah died (Sarah never met her daughter-in-law Rebekah; they are however today buried together in the family tomb at Hebron along with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob/Israel, and Jacob's wife Leah; see The Tombs Of Hebron), Abraham sent a servant to find a wife for Isaac from among Abraham's own homeland people back in Iraq ("24:4 But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac" Genesis 24:4 KJV; see Israel's Iraqi Roots). The journey was a success, and Rebekah agreed to return to marry Isaac. The journey was completed on a camel train i.e. "Rebekah arose, and her damsels, and they rode upon the camels."

A Camel Train

"24:57 And they said, We will call the damsel, and inquire at her mouth. 24:58 And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man?

And she said, I will go.

24:59 And they sent away Rebekah their sister, and her nurse, and Abraham's servant, and his men. 24:60 And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them.

24:61 And Rebekah arose, and her damsels, and they rode upon the camels, and followed the man: and the servant took Rebekah, and went his way.

24:62 And Isaac came from the way of the well Lahairoi; for he dwelt in the south country. 24:63 And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming. 24:64 And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel. 24:65 For she had said unto the servant, What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us?

And the servant had said, It is my master: therefore she took a veil, and covered herself.

24:66 And the servant told Isaac all things that he had done. 24:67 And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother's death." (Genesis 24:57-67 KJV)

Later, when her children Jacob/Israel and Esau got themselves into a potentially lethal quarrel (see also Peace With Esau), Rebekah sent Jacob back to her own people in Iraq. Jacob lived and worked there for his uncle Laban, during which Jacob took two wives and two concubines, who produced eleven of Jacob's twelve sons, who became the progenitors of the twelve tribes of Israel, and Jacob's only recorded daughter, Dinah (see Jacob's Family). When the time came for Jacob to return home, he and his family did so by means of a camel train i.e. "Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon camels."

"31:17 Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon camels; 31:18 And he carried away all his cattle, and all his goods which he had gotten, the cattle of his getting, which he had gotten in Padanaram, for to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan." (Genesis 31:17-18 KJV)

After having settled in the land for some time, Jacob's sons became jealous of their younger brother Joseph. They concocted a plan to make it seem that Joseph had been killed and eaten by wild animals, while they actually bound and sold their brother to merchants who took Joseph to Egypt, on their camel train, where he was sold as a slave (but that changed - see Joseph, Prime Minister Of Egypt).

"37:23 And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stripped Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him; 37:24 And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.

37:25 And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt.

37:26 And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? 37:27 Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content.

37:28 Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt." (Genesis 37:23-28 KJV)

During the time of King David's wars with the Amalekites, camel trains were still widely used, as they had been for centuries, for carrying cargo and people.

"30:17 And David smote them from the twilight even unto the evening of the next day: and there escaped not a man of them, save four hundred young men, which rode upon camels, and fled. 30:18 And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives. 30:19 And there was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great, neither sons nor daughters, neither spoil, nor any thing that they had taken to them: David recovered all." (1 Samuel 30:17-19 KJV)

One of the most magnificent camel trains recorded in the Holy Scriptures was that of the Queen of Sheba when she came to Jerusalem to visit King Solomon.

"10:1 And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions. 10:2 And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart." (1 Kings 10:1-2 KJV)

In the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, the people of Judah returned to Jerusalem from their Babylonian exile (see Jeremiah's Field) on camel trains, along with large numbers of horses and donkeys.

"2:64 The whole congregation together was forty and two thousand three hundred and threescore, 2:65 Beside their servants and their maids, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty and seven: and there were among them two hundred singing men and singing women. 2:66 Their horses were seven hundred thirty and six; their mules, two hundred forty and five; 2:67 Their camels, four hundred thirty and five; their asses, six thousand seven hundred and twenty." (Ezra 2:64-67 KJV)

"7:66 The whole congregation together was forty and two thousand three hundred and threescore, 7:67 Beside their manservants and their maidservants, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty and seven: and they had two hundred forty and five singing men and singing women. 7:68 Their horses, seven hundred thirty and six: their mules, two hundred forty and five: 7:69 Their camels, four hundred thirty and five: six thousand seven hundred and twenty asses." (Nehemiah 7:66-69 KJV)

Job doubled his number of camels from three thousand, at the time of the start of his troubles, to six thousand, after "the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning."

"1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. 1:2 And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. 1:3 His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east." (Job 1:1-3 KJV)

"42:12 So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses." (Job 42:12 KJV)

Fact Finder: Were camels still very prevalent in the New Testament era? Did the Messiah use a camel in His teaching about keeping God's Ten Commandments? Did John the Baptist wear a garment of camel leather?
Matthew 19:17-24; see also Friends Of Jesus and The By-The-Book Messiah
Matthew 3:1-6; see also The Prophets: John The Baptist

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This Day In History, May 30

70: As prophesied by Jesus Christ about 40 years earlier, the Roman legions (under Titus Vespasianus) breached the wall of Jerusalem.

1416: Jerome of Prague was burned as a heretic at the Council of Constance (convened by the Emperor Sigismund, and Antipope John XXIII; see The Struggle For The Papacy).

1498: Christopher Columbus left Spain with six ships on his third voyage of exploration to the New World.

1536: King Henry VIII married Jane Seymour, his third wife (who had been "a lady-in-waiting," in more ways than one, to his first two wives), 11 days after his second wife, Anne Boleyn (who Henry defied the Pope and created the Church of England to marry), was beheaded for alleged adultery.

1539: Hernando de Soto landed in Florida with 600 hundred soldiers in search of gold.

1631: La Gazette, the first newspaper of France, began publishing.

1832: The Rideau Canal, linking the Ottawa River at Ottawa (Canada's capital city) with Lake Ontario at Kingston, was opened to traffic.

1848: Under an end-of-war treaty signed in February 1848 and ratified on this day by Mexico, the USA received New Mexico and California as well as parts of Nevada, Utah, Arizona and Colorado from Mexico in return for the negligible sum $15 million.

1859: The bell known as "Big Ben" rang for the first time in London.

1876: The Ottoman sultan Abd-ul-Aziz was deposed and replaced by his nephew Murat V (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire).

1913: In a treaty signed in London to end the first Balkan War between the Balkan League (Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece and Montenegro) and the Ottoman Empire, the Ottoman Empire lost almost all of its European territory.

1942: 1,047 Royal Air Force bombers set off to bomb Cologne in the R.A.F.'s first "thousand plane raid" of the Second World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars).

1962: Adolph Eichmann, 56, Nazi war criminal, was hanged at the Ramla Prison in Israel after being found guilty of 1961 war crimes trial. Israeli agents captured and returned him from Argentina in 1960. His body was incinerated (just as were millions of holocaust victims that Eichmann and the other Nazis were responsible for; see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion) and the ashes were dumped at sea.

1972: The Lod Airport Massacre in Tel Aviv by the "Japanese Red Army," on behalf of the "Popular Front For The Liberation of Palestine," killed 24 people and wounded 78.

1989: A 33-foot "Goddess of Democracy" statue was unveiled in Tiananmen Square by student demonstrators.

1998: 5,000 people were killed by a magnitude 6.6 earthquake in northern Afghanistan.


Copyright © Wayne Blank