Shalom Life | June 05, 2014

Camels in Israel Contradict Biblical Accounts

New carbon dating technology suggests camels arrived much later than in the Bible

By: Zak Edwards

Published: February 5th, 2014 in News » World

New carbon dating research about camels in Israel contradicts Biblical claims, says the Times of Israel. Recent digs in Israel for early settlements suggests that camels were domesticated and brought to Israel probably around the 9th century BCE, centuries after the Bible depicts them.

According to the Bible, camels were present in the time of the patriarchs, before the Kingdom of David. With this new evidence, that date appears centuries early.

The discovery was made in southern Israel’s Arava Valley by Erez Ben-Yosef and Lidar Sapir-Hen of Tel-Aviv University. The archeologists have been looking at copper production sites in the Valley and, thanks to the precision in dating copper, they have zeroes in the introduction of camels within decades. “Camel bones were unearthed almost exclusively in archaeological layers dating from the last third of the 10th century BCE or later,” the researchers told the Times of Israel, “all the sites active in the 9th century in the Arava Valley had camel bones, but none of the sites that were active earlier contained [camel bones].”

Such a discovery challenges the Bible’s historicity and “is direct proof that the [Biblical] text was compiled well after the events it describes,” according to a statement released by Tel-Aviv University. Instead, the researchers have concluded that Israelites probably saw domesticated camels for the first time when the Egyptians invaded around the 9th century BCE. That invasion is mentioned in both Egyptian records and the Bible, but the Bible argues camels were already in Israel by that time.

“The introduction of the camel to our region was a very important economic and social development,” said Ben-Yosef, who also mentioned this occurred decades after the Kingdom of David. Camels are first believed to have been domesticated around 2,000 BCE in the Arabian peninsula, which means they took roughly 1,100 years to arrive in Israel.
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