The Bible Was Right After All Part III — Animals of the Bible -- By: Clifford A. Wilson

Journal: Bible and Spade (First Run)
Volume: BSP 01:3 (Summer 1972)
Article: The Bible Was Right After All Part III — Animals of the Bible
Author: Clifford A. Wilson


The Bible Was Right After All
Part III — Animals of the Bible

Clifford A. Wilson

Who would think that archaeology could throw light on the animals of the Bible? But this is indeed the case.

Abraham’s Camels

In the Book of Genesis several passages refer to Abraham’s - and the other Patriarchs’ - use of camels (Genesis 12:16; 24:10, etc.) At one time it was claimed that camels were not domesticated by the time of Abraham. Scholars as recently as the 1930s suggested that the Bible writers actually meant donkeys and not camels. They said that this was an “anachronism”; that is, something written at a later time and inserted into the Bible. This was supposed to be strong evidence for the later writing of these stories, for it was argued that they were not put into writing until camels had replaced donkeys.

It is indeed true that camels were used more widely from the period of David onwards, but it is also true that camels were used for domestic service long before Abraham traveled the lands of the Bible. Archaeologists have recovered bones and teeth, and even figurines, of camels predating Patriachal times. One figurine of a camel was excavated at Lagash in Mesopotamia and dates to about 2350 B.C., hundreds of years before Abraham. Another figurine found in Egypt, dating to about 3000 B.C., depicts a man alongside his kneeling camel.

The King of Beasts

In the prophecy of Nahum against Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, Nahum asks, “Where is the dwelling place of the lions?” (Nahum 2:11). And in the story of Daniel, he was cast into a den of lions at Babylon. Not so long ago no one knew what the prophet Nahum was referring to. Why was he talking about lions? And the idea of Daniel being cast into a den of lions seemed all wrong, for lions were not native to the area.

But now archaeological evidence makes it clear that Nahum was simply referring to captive lions in the city of Nineveh. Many scenes depicting lions have been found on the walls of Assyrian palaces, such as the palace of the famous Assyrian king Ashurbanipal at Nimrud (Bibical Calah). The king is shown setting off on a lion hunt in his own private hunting grounds within the city walls. Next he is pictured in hand-to-hand combat with a lion. Further along the palace wall he is depicted pouring a libation over four lions at the royal temple. “Where is the dwelling place of the lions?” Nahum was predicting that the very center where the sport of kings was enjoyed would be destroyed.

As for the story of Daniel, statues and wall reliefs of lions have been found in Babylon, ...

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