(1) Early Roads. There seem, indeed, to have been roads of some kind in Palestine at an earlier period. Language is employed which supposes the existence of artificial roads. In Is. x1:3 are these words, 'Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low ; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.' There cannot be a more graphic description of the operations and results connected with the formation of a long and important road. That this is the language of prophetic inspiration affords no objection, but rather confirms our view ; for poetry, as being an appeal to widely-spread feelings, grounds itself, in such a case as this, on fact ; nor could such imagery as we find here have been employed, had artificial roads been unknown in Palestine. Nor is the imagery unusual (comp. Is. xi:16 ; xix :23 ; xxxiii :8 ; xxxv :8 ; xlix :it ; lxii :io). In I Sam. vi :t2 we read, 'The kine went along the highway, lowing as they went, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.' In Numbers also (xx :17), 'We will go by the king's highway,' etc. (x xi :22; Dept. ii :27 ; Lev. xxvi :22). Whether or not these were roads in the modern acceptation of the term, we know from the law regarding a free, open, and good passage to the cities of refuge (see that article, and Deut. xix :3, compared with Mislina, tit. Maccoth), that the minds of the Israelites were early familiarized with the idea.
(2) From Ptolemais to Damascus. The first road in Palestine which we mention ran from Ptolemais, on the coast of the Mediterranean, to Damascus. This road remains to the present day. Beginning at Ptolemais (Acco). it ran southward to Nazareth, and continuing south and east, passed the plain of Esdraelon on the north; after which, turning north and east, it came to Tiberias, where, running along the Sea of Galilee, it reached Ca pernaum, and having passed the Jordan somewhat above the last place, it went over a spur of the Anti-Libanus (Jebel Heish), and keeping straight forward east by north, came to Damascus. This road was used for the purposes both of trade and war. In the history of the Crusades it bears the name of Via Maris. It connected Europe with the interior of Asia. Troops coming from Asia over the Euphrates passed along this way into the heart of Palestine. Under the Romans it was a productive source of income. Tt was on this road, not far from Capernaum, tnat Jesus saw Matthew sitting at 'the receipt of custom,' and gave him his call to the apostleship.
(3) Into Egypt. Another road passed along the Mediterranean coast southward into Egypt. Beginning at Ptolemais, it ran first to Caesarea, thence to Diospolis, and so en through Ascalon and Gaza down into Egypt. This was also an im portant line of communication, passing, as it did, through cities of great importance, running along the coast and extending to Egypt. A glance at the map will show how important it was for trade by land and by sea, as well as for the pas sage of troops. A branch of this road connected the sea with the metropolis, leading from the same Cxsarea through Diospolis to Jerusalem. Down this branch Paul was sent on his way to Felix (Acts xxiii :23, 26). The band went through An tipatris, and thence to Caesarea.
(4) Galilee with JudEea. A third line of road connected Galilee with Judaea, running through the intervening Samaria (Luke xvii :II; John iv : 4; Joseph. Antiq. xx, 6, I ; Vita, sec. 32). The journey took three days. Passi.ng along the plain of Esdraelon, the traveler entered Samaria at Ginea (Jenin), and was thence conducted to Sa maria (Sebaste), thence to Shechem (Nablous), whence a good day's travel brought him to Jeru salem. This last part of the journey has been described by Maundrell (Journey, p. 85, sq.).
(5) Three Roads from Jerusalem. There were three chief roads running from Jerusalem.
(a) One passed in a northeasterly direction over the Mount of Olives, by Bethany, through open ings in hills and winding ways on to Jericho, near which the Jordan was passed when travelers took their way to the north, if they wished to pass through Perxa, which was the road the Galilean Jews, in coming to and returning from the festi vals in the capital, were accustomed to take, thus avoiding the unfriendly territory of Samaria ; (b) or travelers turned their faces towards the south, if they intended to go towards the Dead Sea. This road was followed by the Israelites when theydirected their steps towards Canaan. Through Perxa the Syrian and Assyrian armies made their hostile advances on Israel (2 Kings viii:28; ix : 14; x:32, sq.; 1 Chron. v :26). (c) A second road led from Jerusalem southward to Hebron. whence travelers went through the wilderness of Judxa to Alla, as the remains of a Roman road still show ; or they might take a westerly direction on to Gaza, a way which is still pursued, and is of two days' duration.
The ordinary way from Jerusalem to Gaza ap pears, in the Roman period, to have lain through Eleutheropolis and Ascalon. From Gaza through Rhinocorura and Pelusium was the nearest road down into Egypt from Jerusalem (Antiq. xiv, 14, 2). Along this road many thousand prisoners, made by Vespasian in his capture of Jerusalem, were sent to Alexandria in order to be shipped for Rome. Of these two roads from Jerusalem to Gaza, one went westward by Ramlah and Ascalon; the other southward by Hebron. This last road Raumer (Pa/astina, p. tot; see also his Beitrage, published after Robinson's work on Palestine, namely, in 1843, correcting or confirming the views in his Palastina, 1838), is of opinion was that which was taken by Philip (Acts viii :26, sq.), partly because tradition states that the eunuch was baptized in the vicinity of Hebron, and this road from Jerusalem to Hebron runs through the 'desert' Thekoa (Thecua) in the Onomasticon. And here he finds the reason of the angel's com mand to go 'towards the south ;' for Hebron lay south of Jerusalem; whereas but for this direc tion Philip might have gone westward by Ramlah. Robinson, admitting that there is a road from Jerusalem to Hebron, maintains (ii, 64o; i, 32o) that Philip went by a third road, which led down Wady Musurr to Betogabra (Eleutheropolis), and thinks that he has found at the spot where the eunuch received baptism. But, says Raumer (Beitrav, p. 41), this road ran in a south westerly direction, and Philip was commanded to go towards the south, for which purpose he must have gone by Hebron. Raumer then proceeds to confirm his original position. Jerome, in his Life of Paula, testifies that a road from Jerusalem to Gaza went through Hebron. Paula traveled from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, which lay south of the city: 'When she reached Bethlehem she quick ened the pace of her horse and took the old read which leads to Gaza.' This road conducted to Bethsur (a little north of Hebron), 'where,' says Jerome, 'while lie read the Scriptures, the eunuch found the Gospel fountain.' This,' adds Raumer, 'is the same Bethsur of which Jerome, in the Onomasticon, says, "As you go from Aclia to Hebron, at the twentieth milestone, you meet Bethsoron, near which, at the foot of a mountain, is a fountain bubbling out of the soil. The Acts of the Apostles state that the chamberlain of Queen Candace was baptized in it by Philip." From Bethsur Paula proceeded to Hebron. The I filter arium Hierosolymitanum (of the year 333) men tions Bethsur as the place where the baptism was performed.' (Sec PHILIP.) There only remains for us to mention what Winer reckons the third of the three great roads which ran from Jerusalem: this third road went to the Mediterranean at Joppa (Jaffa), a way which from the time of the Crusades has been taken by pilgrims proceeding to the Holy City from Egypt and from Europe.