Old Testament (Hebrew Bible), Genesis 12:16

“And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels.”

Reginald Stuart Poole (1832–1895) was an English Archaeologist, and Orientalist. Some of Poole’s best work includes his articles for the the ‘Encyclopaedia Britannica’ and on Egypt, Hieroglyphics and Numismatics. He also wrote for ‘Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible’, and published volumes dealing with his special subjects.

In ‘Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible’, Stuart Poole traced the source of the word ‘camel’ and Hebrew ‘gamel’ to the Sanskrit ‘kramela’ (क्रमेल) meaning ‘camel’, which is derived from the word ‘kram’ (क्रम्), meaning ‘to walk’ or ‘to step’, which would then signify the walking animal.

The Sanskrit ‘kramela’ passed into Hebrew as ‘gamal’ which is how it appears in the Old Testament, into Arabic as ‘jemel’ or ‘gemel’, into Egyptian as ‘sjamoul’, and into Latin as ‘camelus’. In fact even the Hebrew ‘gamal’ by itself may be traced to Sanskrit ‘gam’ (गम्), ‘to go’ or ‘to walk’.

To link camels only to the desert and to Central Asia is common, but the fact is that 3.5 million year old camel fossils have been found right up in the Arctic. The camel has also been mentioned in the Ramayana, in the Yuddha Kanda, Chapter 73, Verse 13 and in the Aranya Kanda.

The ‘Kleins Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the English Language’ traces the source of the English ‘caravan’, Middle French ‘caravane’, Old French ‘carvane’, Medieval Latin ‘caravana’, Persian ‘karwan’ to the Sanskrit ‘karabhah’ (करभ), another Sanskrit word for the ‘camel’.

Even the name ‘Zoroaster’ has been linked to the Sanskit ‘ushtra’ (उष्ट्र), i.e ‘camel’ , the first part of the name being ‘jarita’ (जरित) meaning ‘old’ which is also the root of the English ‘geriatric’. The name of Zoroaster has been translated as ‘old camel’ though some link his name to the Sanskrit ‘harit’ (हरित्) ‘golden’ which distorts into ‘zara’ in Avestan and ‘usha’ (उषा) ‘dawn’.


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