A variety or choice breed of the camel proper, or one-humped camel; much tallerand longer in the leg than the ordinary camel, of a more slender shape, and generally of a very light color. Its speed is considerable, reaching eighty miles a day. Zoologists include all varieties of one-humped camel under the name Camelus dromedarius, in contradistinction to the Camelus bactrianus, or two-humped camel. As the two species interbreed successfully and the offspring is able to procreate, some assume that they are only two varieties of one species; but as the Camelus dromedarius has not yet been found in a wild state, the question can not be settled.
The word "dromedary " occurs four times in the English versions; viz., twice in both the Authorized and the Revised Version as a rendering of the Hebrew "beker" (Isa. lx. 6) or "bikrah" (Jer. ii. 23), and twice in the Authorized Version alone, to render the Hebrew "rekesh" (I Kings v. 8 [A. V. iv. 28] and Esth. viii. 10). But in neither case is the rendering correct. "Rekesh" means rather a swift steed, as the Revised Version has it; and "beker" designates the young of the camel up to nine years, and not any special variety or breed.
- Tristram, Natural History of the Bible, s.v.;
- Wood, Bible Animals, s.v.