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Travel and Transportation: In Ancient Canaan

Updated on October 28, 2015


This year is the year of 2015 and we are in the twenty-first century. The way we travel and the reasons why, are all unique. People travel from jet airplanes to cars that can go over 200 miles per hour. People travel for vacation or for business purposes. But, imagine what was it like you travel in ancient Canaan (modern-day Israel). How were the roads created and how did they travel on those roads?


Popular Road Ways In Ancient Canaan

There were a few roads also known as rates in the Ancient Canaan times. From a book written by J.A. Thompson one of these routes was an international route that went from a variety of places. This route went from the Euphrates river from Babylon and continued west into the Mediterranean Sea. Then it went south through Syria, Palestine and into Egypt. (Pg. 199) Along with that road there were a few others that frequently used during that time period.

How Were The Roads Built?

“In Old Testament times the roads were always bad and sometimes impassable”. (Thompson Pg. 199) Leaders of high authority and leaders who owned a lot of land would have their slaves create roads so that these leaders could travel. Slaves would build these roads by “removing boulders and bushes, of partially leveling some steep gradients, and above all of treading down the soil to compact the surface and prevent it breaking up heavy traffic”. (Thompson Pg. 199)

Ways of Transportation

Now that the roads are built, now what? How did the people of Canaan get from one destination to another? One of the ways that they traveled is by foot. People of Ancient Canaan also traveled on top of animals and one of the animals is a donkey. “Donkeys... were common beast of burden.... Kings commonly road on donkeys (and also on mules)...” (Thompson Pg.203) One other commonly used animal was a camel. Such as when one of Abraham's servants used a camel to look for a wife of Isaac.


With all of this traveling that the people of Ancient Canaan had to do, they would need a place to relax and take a break. In those times there was hardly any place where they could rest. So people traveling “... camped where they could and fend for themselves”. (Thompson Pg. 206).Since travelers had to travel long distances for a long amount of time, why did they travel? Some of the reasons they traveled were for buying, selling, and trading. So, the previous was a glimpse of what it was like to travel in the land of Ancient Canaan.

Works Cited

Thompson, J. A. "Trade and Travel." Handbook of Life in Bible Times. Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity, 1986. Print.


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