So Abraham’s servant Eliezer sets out on his journey and stops at a well.
In the Middle East during this era, if you wanted to pick up a single young girl, this was the place to go.
For the most part, men and women stayed separate from each other.
So if you wanted to find an eligible young female outside of a formal matchmaking introduction, you had to be strategic about how you went about it.
It was common knowledge that one of the standard tasks assigned to women in those days was to have them go to a well to get water.
Now it says that Eliezer had 10 camels with him.
This brings me to my next point.
Liberal scholars that deny the inerrancy of Scripture as well as atheists and agnostics just ooze with delight whenever a seeming scriptural inaccuracy is found.
Many archaeologists will claim that Eliezer could not have taken 10 camels with him because there weren’t any in the region during this period, specifically 1850-1900BC.
Here is the great Jewish scholar Dr. Robert Alter’s take on the matter:
“The camels here and elsewhere in Genesis are a problem. Archeological and extra-biblical literary evidence indicates that camels were not adopted as beasts of burden until several centuries after the patriarchal period, and so their introduction to the story would have to be anachronistic. What is puzzling is that the narrative reflects careful attention to other details of historical authenticity.”
Well, here’s my rebuttal.
There is nothing puzzling about the matter when one examines records found in southern Mesopotamia dating back to around 2000BC.
These records specifically mention the drinking of camel’s milk.
Second, there are some Sumerian and Akkadian writings from this same period that mention an animal used to travel long distances.
A literal translation from the original language would render it “a-donkey-of-the-ocean-land”.
Furthermore, pictographs have been found together with these writings depicting one-hump camels.
Possibly one reason for the confusion is that technically speaking a “one-hump” camel is NOT a camel.
It is called a dromedary.
A camel is a two-humped animal.
Having said that, I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch nor a mistranslation to call a one-humped animal a camel.
Dromedaries originally dwelt in the far southern part of the Arabian Peninsula which is exactly where Abraham roamed on his journeys while dealing with Semitic settlers in that area.
The idea that this is a later redaction is definitely not a strong argument, especially when all of the other historical details match up.