To know more on this we need to go back during Adam and Eve’s time when Yahweh God made everything for them. And said “all the seed-bearing plants on the earth will be your food”. And all the wild beast all birds (fowl of air KJV) and all living reptiles (creepeth KJV) you can eat. (Gen 1:29-31). But after the fall (Gen 3) still food of every kind was allowed to be consumed. A great example of good and bad food or clean and unclean can be seen during the offering by Caine and Abel. When Caine brought some of the produce of the soil as an offering for Yahweh, while Abel for his part offered the first-born of his flock and some of their fat as well (Gen 4:3-4).
Note: With this we can understand that even before the laws were established, people knew what to offer.
Yahweh God promises Noah the same to eat “every living and crawling species” and even green herb. (Gen 9:1-5).
The divine promises and covenant which was made between Abraham and Yahweh God regarding giving a child to Abraham. This is when Yahweh God says “get 3 year old heifer, 3 year old she goat, 3 year old ram. Notice all these animals are clean.
The first reference of clean and unclean comes in (Gen 7:2-3) when Noah was ordered to take such animals in the ark.
Note: Noah knew the clean and unclean animals so he offered from those. (Gen 8:20-21)
Turtle Dove and a young pigeon are clean animals (Gen 15:9)
Note: All these animals are clean and this was even known before the law was given.
The apparition at Tent of Mamre, when the Lord appeared to Abraham, he runs to greet the three visitors and tells Sarah to knead some cakes and quickly runs to fetch a calf for meal.(Gen 18:1-9)
Note Abraham offers a calf even before the law was given. This proves people were civilized or knowledgeable about the offering. This is why they offered clean animals to Yahweh God.
The sacrifice of Isaac was replaced by a ram which was caught in the bushes by Abraham. (Gen 22:13)
Note: Here too Yahweh God provided a clean animal a “ram” for sacrifice. And this is a time when law was yet to be given.
Camel a Forbidden Animal (Lev 11:4) (Deut 14:7-8)
Rachel took household idols and put them in the camel’s litter and sat on them. (Gen 31:34)
Note: Camel is a forbidden animal but before the law was given people used camels as means of transportation
When Jacob was preparing way to meet his brother, he chooses gifts for Esau and from it were 30 camels in milk with their calves. (Gen 32:14-16). Now Jacob gifted his brother with camels although he was the chosen one right from his mother’s womb (Gen 25:23), but yet he choose a forbidden animal the camel. This proves everything was permissible to be eaten, served and gifted.
During the Passover (Ex:12) Yahweh God instructed Moses to sacrifice an animal without blemish a male one year old either from sheep or goats.(Ex 12:5-6).
Note: The criterion is to sacrifice an animal without blemish that is without defect and from sheep or goat that is clean animal. And this was before getting the law.
It should be done by offering rams which is a clean animal (Ex 29:10-21)
Yahweh God separated clean from unclean animals (Lev 11:1-47). This was because if we take a closer look on such unclean animals, they were scavengers such as pig, vulture and so on. So, if we start killing the scavengers then who is going to clean the society???
Why Camel is held Unclean?
Is camel a scavenger? No, camel is not a scavenger but known as “sheep of the desert”. Now, when we look back, the law was given to Moses who is in a desert that is Middle East, and camels were the best transport in the desert. Meanwhile, when we read (Gen 32: 14-16) Jacob chose 30 camels with their calves to gift Esau his brother. There is no record of camel sacrifice in the entire Bible. Since due to its utility, efficiency, durability and longevity to survive without water in desert, Yahweh God prohibited its offering, and made use of camel so that people should not eat it but utilize the animal.
Animals like ox sheep or goat should be offered but the animal should not be blind, lame, mutilated, ulcerous or suffering from skin disease or sore.(Lev 22:17-30)
Israelites were permitted to eat unclean animals in home but should not sacrifice it. (Deut 15:19-23)
In Egypt when Abraham meets Pharaoh, he gave Abraham animals along with camels. (Gen 12:17)
Note: When Abraham sends his steward to find a girl for Isaac the servant takes 10 of his master’s camels. (Gen 24:10).
Rebakah draws water for the camels (Gen 24:20) this proves that camels were not unclean animals but were used for various reasons.
Laban the brother of Rebekah welcomes the servant along with his camel. (Gen 24:32)