camels in the bible

Scholars have dealt yet another blow to those who still believe that every single word in the Bible is true with the news that it’s really, really unlikely that Abraham ever owned a camel — despite the fact that domesticated camels are mentioned more than 20 times in stories about Abraham, Jacob and Joseph. Not to mention the thousands of camels that appeared in the grand Biblical epics of old Hollywood.

Two archaeologists from Tel Aviv University, Erez Ben-Yosef and Lidar Sapir-Hen, used radiocarbon dating of fossilized camel skeletons in Israel to find that the earliest known domesticated camels were from the 10th century B.C. — centuries after Abraham was supposedly kicking around. They did find older camel bones, but identified these as belonging to wild animals, since their leg bones didn’t show signs of carrying heavy loads.

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Noam Mizrahi, a biblical scholar, compared the anachronism to a description of “how people in the Middle Ages used semitrailers in order to transport goods from one European kingdom to another,” adding that this was evidence that the stories including camels “should be viewed as back-projections from a much later period.” Essentially, that’s further confirmation (to the surprise of only a few) that much of the Bible was inaccurately transcribed centuries after the events in question took place.

So much for the infallible word of God, then.

The good news, as the New York Times points out, is that nativity plays should remain unaffected – domesticated camels were very common by the time the Three Wise Men hit the scene, so there’s no anachronism in their turning up astride camels.

But probably not in the time of Esther. You can watch an interpretation of the story on FilmOn’s On Demand section. Watch One Night with the King:

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