69. Caravans

Genesis 37:25; Isaiah 21:13; Luke 2:44
Genesis 37:2525And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt. (Genesis 37:25). They sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead, with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt.
This was a caravan of Arabian merchants on their way to Egypt with such drugs as the Egyptians used for embalming and for medicinal purposes. The Egyptians depended on these itinerant Arab merchants for their supplies of this nature. See note on James 4:1313Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: (James 4:13) (#885). The mode of traveling in a caravan is peculiar. Pitts describes it as he saw it in the great caravan which was journeying to Mecca on a religious pilgrimage. It was undoubtedly longer than this commercial caravan, yet this was probably arranged on a similar plan. “They travel four camels abreast, which are all tied one after the other, like as in teams. The whole body is called a caravan, which is divided into several cottors, or companies, each of which hath its name, and consists, it may be, of several thousand camels; and they move, one cotton after another, like distinct troops” (Religion and Manners of the Mahometans, p. 430). He also states that the camels have bells about their necks, which, with the singing of the camel drivers, who travel on foot, make pleasant music. Though there is great confusion at the setting out of a caravan, its different companies and divisions soon settle down into a condition of order.