A recent article entitled Domesticated Camels Came to Israel in 930 B.C., Centuries Later Than Bible Says was published by National Geographic. Two Israeli archaeologists, Erez Ben-Yosef and Lidar Sapir-Hen, using radiocarbon dating claim domesticated camels did not appear in the Levant until around 930 to 900 B.C. The Levant is the costal region of the eastern Mediterranean Sea, or the land of the Bible. The specific area is the Aravah Valley were extensive copper mining occurred and camels were the principal means of transporting the ore.
The first time camels appear in the biblical text is in the Genesis account of Abram, who is later named Abraham. Pharaoh gave Abraham “sheep and oxen and donkeys and male and female servants and female donkeys and camels” Genesis 12:16. Historians agree the biblical story of Abraham is dated between 2000 and 1500 B.C.
The article says this calls the historicity of the Bible into question. If domesticated camels were not discovered before 930 B.C., the scriptural record must be wrong when it claims Abraham had camels 500 to 1000 years before. The author of the article, Mairav Zonszein, writes, “While there are conflicting stories about when the Bible was composed, the recent research suggests it was written much later than the events it describes. This supports earlier studies that have challenged the Bible’s veracity as a historic document.”
The same article goes on to say, “Archaeological excavations in the Aravah Valley have turned up bones of camels from earlier periods, perhaps even before the start of the Neolithic (about 9,700 B.C.), but those were probably wild animals that ran free.” Probably? I think Zonszein is trying to pull the camel hair over our eyes.
Zonszein admits in his article camels existed in ancient Israel thousands of years before and during the life of Abraham, but they were “probably” wild camels. If Zonszein and his archaeological buddies expect to be taken seriously on this point, they are “probably” going to need to explain the exact difference between wild camel bones and domesticated camel bones that are over three thousand years old.
Have the “earlier studies that have challenged the Bible’s veracity as a historic document” been based on the same kinds of probabilities? Probably. Archaeology is not an exact science. But it has repeatedly corroborated the biblical account time and again when it speaks of places and peoples that appear nowhere else but in the Bible.
God created the universe and all it contains, and He inspired the Scriptures to be written. I have never observed anything in the natural order that conflicts with the biblical account, or vice versa. So, will skeptics like Zonszein and archaeologists need to give me something more to go on than probabilities, before I discount the Bible? Probably.
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