Camels are an animal that carries or represents the truth in relation to gentiles. Even as the cherubim were vehicles of representation, from a root rechab to ride, and indicated in the invitation of Jehu to join a chariot, the camel represents the truth in gentile or apostate conveyance. It was after the refusal to preach the truth by Simeon and Levi to the gentiles [Gen 34], that it appears that it was Simeon who was to send Joseph to Egypt. This is apparent from the imprisonment of Simeon by Joseph in Gen 42:24. On his refusal to preach to Gentiles in Shechem, and refusal to bow to the spirit of his brother, Joseph was sent to Egypt with the Midianites Gen 37:25-28. (The deceitful spirit of Simeon and Levi reflected in a spirit of Judaism, and also a native form of Humanism that men had to keep laws (and be circumcised) became a biblical tradition carried into the first century ecclesia and beyond Acts 15:5 and styled the circumcision party Acts 10:45 RSV)
When the patriarchs were travelling to or from Haran there is frequent mention of camels see Gen 24; 30:43; 31:17,34; 32:7,15 etc.
The spirit of refusing to represent the truth to others was seen again in the apostacy of Simeon in Num 25, where again Simeon gave to the Midianites but on this occasion through the opposite form of humanism: licentiousness, Num 25:14-18. It is interesting to note that there were no camels in the booty of the conquest against the Midianites in Num 31, Simeon had not represented the truth! God’s response to this apostacy is noteworthy:
- God will avenge His saints 31:3 rewarding those that cause trouble 25:6,14f Rev 18:20; Ps 149; Rev 6::10; Deut 33:43; Isa 49:25,26
- There will be no one with the spirit of Midian left Num 31:13-18; Isa 9:4
- Those who remain with be the purified Num 31:21-24; 1Cor 3:13-15 (purified by fire) Ephesian 5:26 (purified by water)
The following nations were noted for their camels:
- Midianites were particularly noted for their use of camels Judges 6:5; 7:12 and the killing of their leaders was noted to be the taking of ornaments from camel’s necks, Judges 8:21. Ornaments were taken off the (stiff-necks) of the children of Israel at Sinai, indicating that personal garments and ornaments were of no value when it came to covenant making, Ex 33:3-7. But when men accept the words of Yahweh they are made into His ornaments, and are clothed in garments of salvation.
- The Amalekites, a nation with whom Yahweh has war for ever Ex 17:16, were also camel-keepers 1Sam 15:3; 27:9; cf 1Chron 4:42; 1Sam 30
- The Queen of Sheba 1Kings 10:2
- The Syrians 2Kings 8:9
- The sons of Ishmael 1Chron 5:19,21; 27:30
- The Ethiopians 2Chron 14:15
- Job’s family, living in the land of the east Job 1:3,17; 42:12
In the time of Asa there was a reform of the tribe of Simeon. The tribe had watched with amazement the lesson of Asa (healing) that Yahweh will work in circumstances that are humanly impossible (The largest opposing army in the bible 1,000,000 men!) but is clearly able to work when men represent his name 2Chron 14:11 The reason for the victory is reiterated by the spirit Oded (restorer) when in trouble men should turn to Yahweh, (there is no place for humanism) 2Chron 15:1-4. Simeon was so impressed they turned from their exiled location with the ten tribes, a place where there was no true God (humanism), no teaching priest (Levi) and without law (Simeon) 15:3 and brought those of Ephraim and Manasseh (tribes representing the gentiles, born in Egypt) and strangers with them! 15:9 As a result there was the spoil of many sheep (atoned Israel) and camels, in abundance! 2Chron 14:15
This was but a foretaste of the future where the children of Israel will come from their diaspora back to the land, upon all manner of unclean animals, including swift beasts (camels?) Isa 66:18,20 This will be a time when Yahweh appeals to “all flesh” not purely Israel, and the truth of the covenant, once the domain of the Jewish constitution will be extended, and men out of all nations shall be brought as an offering carried on camels Isa 60:6 A time when apostate conveyance of the gospel will be abolished Zech 14:15.
The camel was an unclean animal under Jewish law. Camels are even-toed ungulates (that is they have even number of bones within the structure of their foot, and they are grazing animals) whereas horses are uneven-toed ungulates (odd number of toes, with a singular dominant toe/keratinised ossicle)
[image courtesy wiki-commons] The bone structure of a camel’s foot to the right. Note the comparison to pig (left) and deer (middle) So the structure of the foot is very similar, however the pad below the two toes is contiguous in the camel, and provides an important function for the animal: the ability to stand upright in soft sand. This feature however was to make it unsuitable in regards to the law as being a clean animal for eating, Lev 11:4; Deut 14:7. The camel’s foot when on casual observation looks from the front to be divided, but on lifting the foot the joining feature of the pad is clearly observed. (I remember clearly demonstrating this once to the chagrin of a camel at Palmyra who did not take kindly to having his foot lifted!) The camel then is a ruminant (chews the cud, in spiritual terms thinks about what he has read/heard) but divides not the hoof (does not see the need to make distinction where he places his foot) Both accepting and applying the message is important. Other things about camels that may be useful to know are: a camel although not as fast as a horse can maintain a speed for a much longer distance, and after a period of time greatly outstrip the distances covered. The mouth of a camel is particularly toxic. Bites from a camel are associated with septic wounds, and commonly, untreated camel bites lead to osteomyelitis (infections in the bones) The milk of camels is said by bedu to increase the number of male offspring, and so in our travels in arab lands the story has been commonly recounted, and now on seeing the curiosity of our family having only boys, I will simply shrug and say “halib jamil” [camel milk!]. What else is there to say?
Leviticus 11 is a chapter that is concerned with eating 11:2; touching 11:24 and handling 11:32. This is referred to by Paul to the Colossians in Col 2:21. Paul tells us to make distinctions: If ye be dead Col 2:20 and If ye be risen 3:1. Dead men are noted for “will worship” 2:23 risen men are noted for “affection” 3:2. The real need for distinctions is not physical eating but affections!