From BiblePortal Wikipedia

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [1]

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,

  Judges 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,  Leviticus 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.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [2]

Camel . The bones of camels are found among the remains of the earliest Semitic civilization at Gezer, b.c. 3000 or earlier, and to-day camels are among the most common and important of domesticated animals in Palestine. They have thus been associated with every era of history in the land. Two species are known: the one-humped Camelus dromedarius , by far the more common in Bible lands; and the Bactrian, two-humped Camelus bactrianus , which comes from the plateau of Central Asia. This latter is to-day kept in considerable numbers by Turkomans settled in the Jaulan , and long caravans of these magnificent beasts may sometimes be encountered coming across the Jordan into Galilee or on the Jericho-Jerusalem road. The C. dromedarius is kept chiefly for burden-bearing, and enormous are the loads of corn, wood, charcoal, stone, furniture, etc., which these patient animals carry: 600 to 800 lbs. are quite average loads. Their owners often ride on the top of the load, or on the empty baggage-saddle when returning; Moslem women and children are carried in a kind of palanquin the camel’s furniture of   Genesis 31:34 . For swift travelling a different breed of camel known as hajîn is employed. Such a camel will get over the ground at eight to ten miles an hour, and keep going eighteen hours in the twenty-four. These animals are employed near Beersheha, and also regularly to carry the mails across the desert from Damascus to Baghdad. They may be the ‘dromedaries’ of   Esther 8:10 .

Camels are bred by countless thousands in the lands to the E. of the Jordan, where they form the most valuable possessions of the Bedouin, as they did of the Midianites and Amalekites of old ( Judges 7:12 ). The Bedouin live largely upon the milk of camels (  Genesis 32:15 ) and also occasionally eat their flesh, which was forbidden to the Israelites (  Deuteronomy 14:17 ,   Leviticus 11:4 ). They also ride them on their raids, and endeavour to capture the camels of hostile clans. The fellahin use camels for ploughing and harrowing.

The camel is a stupid and long-enduring animal, but at times, especially in certain months, he occasionally ‘runs amok,’ and then he is very dangerous. His bite is almost always fatal. The camel’s hair which is used for weaving ( Mark 1:6 ,   Matthew 3:4 ) is specially taken from the back, neck, and neighbourhood of the hump: over the rest of the body the ordinary camel has his hair worn short. His skin is kept anointed with a peculiar smelling composition to keep off parasites. The special adaptation of the camel to its surroundings lies in its compound stomach, two compartments of which, the rumen and the reticulum , are especially constructed for the storage of a reserve supply of water; its hump, which though useful to man for attachment of burdens and saddles, is primarily a reserve store of fat; and its wonderful fibrous padded feet adapted to the softest sandy soil. The camel is thus able to go longer without food and drink than any other burden-bearing animal, and is able to traverse deserts quite unadapted to the slender foot of the horse and the ass. On slippery soil, rock or mud, the camel is, however, a helpless flounderer. The camel’s food is chiefly tibn (chopped straw), kursenneh , beans, oil-cake, and occasionally some grain. There seems, however, to be no thorn too sharp for its relish.

In the NT references to the camel it is more satisfactory to take the expressions ‘swallow a camel’ ( Matthew 23:24 ) and ‘It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle,’ etc. (  Matthew 19:24 ||), as types of ordinary Oriental proverbs (cf. the Talmudic expression ‘an elephant through a needle’s eye’) than to weave fancied and laboured explanations. The present writer agrees with Post that the gate called the ‘needle’s eye’ is a fabrication.

E. W. G. Masterman.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [3]

  • 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.

    Copyright Statement These dictionary topics are from M.G. Easton M.A., DD Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain.

    Bibliography Information Easton, Matthew George. Entry for 'Camel'. Easton's Bible Dictionary. 1897.

  • Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [4]

    גמל . This animal is called in ancient Arabic, gimel; and in modern, diammel; in Greek, καμηλος . With very little variation, the name is retained in modern languages. The camel is very common in Arabia, Judea, and the neighbouring countries; and is often mentioned in Scripture, and reckoned among the most valuable property,  1 Chronicles 5:21;  Job 1:3 , &c. "No creature," says Volney, "seems so peculiarly fitted to the climate in which he exists as the camel. Designing this animal to dwell in a country where he can find little nourishment, nature has been sparing of her materials in the whole of his formation. She has not bestowed upon him the fleshiness of the ox, horse, or elephant; but limiting herself to what is strictly necessary, has given him a long head, without ears, at the end of a long neck without flesh; has taken from his legs and thighs every muscle not immediately requisite for motion; and, in short, bestowed upon his withered body only the vessels and tendons necessary to connect its frame together. She has furnished him with a strong jaw, that he may grind the hardest aliments; but, lest he should consume too much, has straitened his stomach, and obliged him to chew the cud; has lined his foot with a lump of flesh, which sliding in the mud, and being no way adapted to climbing, fits him only for a dry, level, and sandy soil, like that of Arabia. So great, in short, is the importance of the camel to the desert, that, were it deprived of that useful animal, it must infallibly lose every inhabitant." The chief use of the camel has always been as a beast of burden, and for performing journeys across the deserts. They have sometimes been used in war, to carry the baggage of an oriental army, and mingle in the tumult of the battle. Many of the Amalekite warriors, who burnt Ziklag in the time of David, were mounted on camels; for the sacred historian remarks, that of the whole army not a man escaped the furious onset of that heroic and exasperated leader, "save four hundred young men, which rode upon camels, and fled,"  1 Samuel 30:17 .

    The passage of Scripture in which our Lord says, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven,"  Matthew 19:24 , has been the occasion of much criticism. Some assert that near Jerusalem was a low gate called "the needle's eye," through which a camel could not pass unless his load was taken off. Others conjecture that καμιλος should be read καβιλος , a cable. But there are no ancient manuscripts to support the reading. In the Jewish Talmud, there is, however, a similar proverb respecting an elephant: "Rabbi Shesheth answered Rabbi Amram, who had advanced an absurdity, ‘Perhaps thou art one of the Pambidithians, who can make an elephant pass through the eye of a needle;'" that as, says the Aruch, "who speak things impossible." There is also a saying of the same kind in the Koran: "The impious, who in his arrogancy shall accuse our doctrine of falsity, shall find the gates of heaven shut; nor shall he enter there, till a camel shall pass through the eye of a needle. It is thus that we shall recompense the wicked," Surat. v. 37. Indeed, Grotius, Lightfoot, Wetstein, and Michaelis, join in opinion, that the comparison is so much in the figurative style of the oriental nations and of the rabbins, that the text is sufficiently authentic.

    Morrish Bible Dictionary [5]

    The well-known domestic animal of the East was the gamal with one hump; the word 'bunches' in  Isaiah 30:6 seems to refer to the humps. Camels are very suited in their construction for the country in which they are used, their feet being especially fitted for the deserts, and their powers of endurance enabling them to travel without frequently drinking. They need as much water as other animals, but God has given them receptacles in which they stow away the water they drink, and use it as they need it. Cases have been known of a camel being killed for the sake of the water that could be found in it when its owner was dying of thirst. They feed upon the coarse and prickly shrubs of the desert.

    They form an important item in Eastern riches. Job had 3,000 camels. They are used for riding as well as for beasts of burden, a lighter breed being used for riding and for carrying the mails.  Genesis 24:10-64 . In  Isaiah 21:7 we read of a 'chariot of camels.' Camels were not thus used in Palestine, but the prophecy refers to messengers coming from Babylon and there another species of camel was common, called the Bactrian Camel, with two humps; these were at times linked in pairs to rude chariots. Perhaps the same species is alluded to in   Esther 8:10-14 , that occurrence being also in the far East: the Hebrew word there is achashteranim. The camel was by the Levitical law an unclean animal.

    The Dromedary may be said to be the same animal as the camel, the former name being applied to those of a lighter and more valuable breed. They are used for the same purposes as the camel.  1 Kings 4:28;  Esther 8:10;  Isaiah 60:6;  Jeremiah 2:23 .

    The proverb of a camel being swallowed when a gnat was scrupulously strained out,  Matthew 23:24 , is to show how the weightier precepts of God may be neglected along with great attention to trivial things. Another proverb is that "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."  Matthew 19:24 . This has been thought to refer to the camel squeezing through a small gate, which it could do with difficulty; but the Lord's explanation refers it to what was impossible in the nature of things, yet was possible with God. In grace the new creation overcomes all difficulties.

    Fausset's Bible Dictionary [6]

    Gamal . A ruminant animal, the chief means of communication between places separated by sandy deserts in Asia, owing to its amazing powers of endurance. The "ship of the desert," able to go without food, and water for days, the cellular stomach containing a reservoir for water, and its fatty hump a supply of nourishment; and content with such coarse, prickly shrubs as the desert yields and its incisor teeth enable it to divide. Their natural posture of rest is lying down on the breast; on which, as well as on the joints of the legs, are callosities. Thus, Providence by their formation adapts them for carriers; and their broad, cushioned, elastic feet enable them to tread sure-footedly upon the sinking sands and gravel. They can close their nostrils against the drifting sand of the parching simoom. Their habitat is Arabia, Syria, Asia Minor, S. Tartary, and part of India; in Africa from the Mediterranean to Senegal, and from Egypt and Abyssinia to Algiers and Morocco.

    The dromedary ( Beeker ) is from a better breed, and swifter; from the Greek Dromas , a runner; going often at a pace of nine miles an hour ( Esther 8:10;  Esther 8:14). The Bactrian two-humped camel is a variety. Used in Abraham's time for riding and burdens ( Genesis 24:64;  Genesis 37:25); also in war ( 1 Samuel 30:17;  Isaiah 21:7). Camel's hair was woven into coarse cloth, such as what John the Baptist wore ( Matthew 3:4). The Hebrew Gamal is from a root "to revenge," because of its remembrance of injuries and vindictiveness, or else "to carry." In  Isaiah 60:6 and  Jeremiah 2:23 Beeker should be translated not "dromedary," but "young camel." In  Isaiah 66:20 Kirkaroth , from Karar to bound, "swift beasts," i.e. dromedaries. Its milk is used for drink as that of the goats and sheep for butter.

    Smith's Bible Dictionary [7]

    Camel. 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 Encyclopedia.

    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;  Genesis 37:25;  Judges 7:12;  1 Samuel 27:9;  1 Kings 19:2;  2 Chronicles 14:15;  Job 1:3;  Jeremiah 49:29;  Jeremiah 49:32, 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.

    People's Dictionary of the Bible [8]

    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."

    Holman Bible Dictionary [9]

    Old Testament The camel is adapted for desert travel with padded feet, a muscular body, and a hump of fat to sustain life on long journeys. A young camel can walk one hundred miles in a day. Wealth was measured by many things including camels ( Genesis 24:35 ). The Jews were forbidden to eat the ceremonially unclean camel, which chews the cud, but does not have a split hoof ( Leviticus 11:4 ). An ill-tempered camel in an unhampered rampage could quickly trample down the tents of a family or clan. Jeremiah thus described the sins of Israel saying they were as a swift she-camel, running wild ( Jeremiah 2:23 ). The wise men who worshiped Jesus are traditionally pictured as riding camels ( Matthew 1:1 ). This may be a prophecy of  Isaiah 60:6 which describes camel riders from Sheba coming to bring gold, incense, and praises of the Lord.

    New Testament John the Baptist, a desert preacher, wore the rough and plain clothes of camel's hair. His clothing and diet were revolutionary and consistent with his role as a forerunner of Jesus. A proverb picturing things impossible to accomplish was quoted by Jesus when he said it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. A traditional but non-biblical illustration describes an unburdened camel kneeling to creep under a low gate in a Jerusalem wall. This means that if a rich man will rid himself of pride and humble himself (kneel) he can get into heaven. Jesus describes hypocrites as persons who are very careful to strain out a gnat from a cup of drink, but swallow a camel without notice. They tithe the leaves of a small household herb, but omit judgment, mercy, and faith.

    Lawson Hatfield

    Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types [10]

     Isaiah 60:6 (b) This animal is used to describe in picture the business, the activity, the merchandising and the prosperity that should come upon Israel when that nation is restored again to her place in the world.

     Ezekiel 25:5 (a) This is a type of the destruction and desolation which would come upon the Ammonites under the wrath of GOD. Their busiest city was to become a place for stabling animals on their journey and a grazing place for flocks.

     Matthew 19:24 (a) The camel is a literal one and the eye of the needle is a literal eye of a literal needle. This is no figure of speech. The parable reveals the impossibility of a sinner to enter into Heaven by any works or wealth of his own.

     Matthew 23:24 (a) Our Lord compares a small, insignificant story to a gnat, and a great and preposterous yarn to a camel. People doubt and question the truth of GOD, but will readily believe any kind of a statement by any kind of religious teacher no matter how absurd the statement is. Jacob readily believed the lie told to him by his ten sons about the death of Joseph. He refused to believe the truth that these same men brought to him informing him that Joseph was alive. (See also  Mark 10:25;  Luke 18:25).

    King James Dictionary [11]

    CAMEL, n.

    1. A large quadruped used in Asia and Africa for carrying burdens, and for riders. As genus, the camel belongs to the order of Pecora. The characteristics are it has no horns it has six fore teeth in the under jaw the canine teeth are wide set, three in the upper and two in the lower jaw and there is a fissure in the upper lip. The dromedary of Arabian camel, has one bunch on the back, four callous protuberances on the fore legs and two on the hind legs. The Bactrian camel has two bunches on the back. The Llama of South America is a smaller animal, with a smooth back, small head, fine black eyes, and very long neck. The Pacos or sheep of Chili his no bunch. Camels constitute the riches of an Arabian, without which he could neither subsist, carry on trade nor travel over sandy desarts. Their milk is his common food. By the camels power of sustaining abstinence rom drink, for many days, and of subsisting on a few coarse shrubs, he is peculiarly fitted for the parched and barren lands of Asia and Africa. 2. In Holland, Camel, or Kameel, as Coxe writes it, is a machine for lifting ships, and bearing them over the Pampus, at the mouth of the river Y, or over other bars. It is also used in other places, and particularly at the dock in Petersburg, to bear vessels over a bar to Cronstadt.

    Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [12]

    1: Κάμηλος (Strong'S #2574 — Noun — kamelos — kam'-ay-los )

    from a Hebrew word signifying "a bearer, carrier," is used in proverbs to indicate (a) "something almost or altogether impossible,"  Matthew 19:24 , and parallel passages, (b) "the acts of a person who is careful not to sin in trivial details, but pays no heed to more important matters,"  Matthew 23:24 .

    Webster's Dictionary [13]

    (1): (n.) 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 vicu?a, 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.

    Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [14]

    Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [15]

    Copyright StatementThese files are public domain. Bibliography InformationMcClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Camel'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

    International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [16]

    kam´el ( גּמל , gāmāl  ; κάμηλος , kámēlos  ; בּכר , bekher , and בּכרה , bikhrāh ( Isaiah 60:6;  Jeremiah 2:23 "dromedary," the American Revised Version, margin "young camel"), רכשׁ , rekhesh ( 1 Kings 4:28; see Horse ), כּרכּרות , kirkārōth ( Isaiah 66:20 , "swift beasts," the American Standard Revised ersion. "dromedaries"); בּני הרמּכים , benē hā - rammākhı̄m ( Esther 8:10 , "young dromedaries," the American Standard Revised Version "bred of the stud"); אחשׁתּרנים , 'ăḥashterānı̄m ( Esther 8:10 ,  Esther 8:14 , 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 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 of camels, as there are of horses. The riding camels or dromedaries, commonly called hajı̄n , 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 fellāḥı̄n 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, Gen 12 through 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 Muṣri ( 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 kámilos , "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 bikhrāh clearly mean a young animal, and the Arabic root word and derivatives are used similarly to the Hebrew. Rākhash , the root of rekhesh , is compared with the Arabic rakaḍ , "to run," and, in the Revised Version (British and American), rekhesh is translated "swift steeds." Kirkārōth , rammākhı̄m and 'ăḥashterānı̄m must be admitted to be of doubtful etymology and uncertain meaning.