Ancient Women Traveling

Illustration of Women Traveling by Oxen

This sketch contains a colored illustration of women travelling from an Assyrian relief at the palace of Sennacherib.

Traveling on Land and Sea CHARACTER AND CONDITIONS OF ORIENTAL TRAVELING THE EXPENSE, DISCOMFORT, AND DANGER OF TRAVEL. In the Orient, where modern Western customs have not displaced old-time methods, to travel is a great expense, it means much discomfort, and it involves great danger. Therefore it is done only when absolutely necessary. When a traveler sets out on his journey he must "pay all debts, provide for dependents, give parting gifts, return all articles under trust, take money and good temper for the journey, then bid farewell to all, and be merciful to the animal he rides upon. The traveling of the Apostle Paul emphasized the hardships of journeying in the East. "In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, . . . in perils in the wilderness, . . . in weariness and painfulness, . . . in hunger and thirst, . . . in cold and nakedness" (II Corinthians 11:26,27). Wherever it is possible to do so men travel in large groups so that they can help each other in case they meet with robbers or wild animals along the way. A guide or someone who knows the way, and especially one who is acquainted with the locations of wells or springs of water or other watering places, is invaluable to the travelers. Sometimes they depend upon a spring of water and then discover upon arrival that it has dried up. Isaiah spoke of "a spring of water, whose waters fail not" (Isaiah 58:11). The Psalmist (Psalm 107:4-7) told of a caravan of travelers that lost their way in the desert, running out of food and water. After prayer, the LORD guided them to "a city of habitation." [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]

Cart in Smith's Bible Dictionary - Ge 45:19,27; Nu 7:3,7,8 a vehicle drawn by cattle, 2Sa 6:6 to be distinguished from the chariot drawn by horses. Carts and wagons were either open or covered, Nu 7:3 and were used for conveyance of person, Ge 45:19 burdens, 1Sa 6:7,8 or produce. Am 2:13 The only cart used in western Asia has two wheels of solid wood.

Cart in Easton's Bible Dictionary - A vehicle moving on wheels, and usually drawn by oxen (2 Sam. 6:3). The Hebrew word thus rendered, _'agalah_ (1 Sam. 6:7, 8), is also rendered "wagon" (Gen. 45:19). It is used also to denote a war-chariot (Ps. 46:9). Carts were used for the removal of the ark and its sacred utensils (Num. 7:3, 6). After retaining the ark amongst them for seven months, the Philistines sent it back to the Israelites. On this occasion they set it in a new cart, probably a rude construction, with solid wooden wheels like that still used in Western Asia, which was drawn by two milch cows, which conveyed it straight to Beth-shemesh. A "cart rope," for the purpose of fastening loads on carts, is used (Isa. 5:18) as a symbol of the power of sinful pleasures or habits over him who indulges them. (See CORD ¯T0000898.) In Syria and Israel wheel-carriages for any other purpose than the conveyance of agricultural produce are almost unknown.

Cart in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE: kart (`aghalah): The Hebrew word has been translated in some passages "cart," and in others "wagon." In one verse only has it been translated "chariot." The context of the various passages indicates that a distinction was made between vehicles which were used for carrying baggage or produce and those used for carrying riders (chariots), although in their primitive form of construction they were much the same (compare English "cart" and "carriage"). Carts, like "chariots" (which see), were of Assyrian origin. They were early carried to Egypt where the flat nature of the country readily led to their adoption. From Egypt they gradually found their way among the people of the Palestinian plains. In the hills of Judea and Central Israel, except where highways were built (1 Sam 6:12), the nature of the country prevented the use of wheeled vehicles. 1 Sam 6:7,8,10,11,14 show that the people of the plains used carts. The men of Kiriath-jearim found it easier to carry the ark (1 Sam 7:1). Their attempt to use a cart later (2 Sam 6:3,1; 1 Ch 13:7) proved disastrous and they abandoned it for a safer way (2 Sam 6:13). That carts were used at a very early date is indicated by Nu 7:3,7,8. That these vehicles were not the common mode of conveyance in Israel is shown in Gen 45. Pharaoh commanded that Joseph's brethren should return to their father with their beasts of burden (45:21) and take with them Egyptian wagons (45:19,21; 46:6) for bringing back their father and their families. The very unusual sight of the wagons was proof to Jacob of Joseph's existence (45:27). Bible descriptions and ancient Babylonian and Egyptian pictures indicate that the cart was usually two-wheeled and drawn by two oxen. With the Arabian conquests and subsequent ruin of the roads wheeled vehicles disappeared from Syria and Israel. History is again repeating itself. The Circassians, whom the Turkish government has settled near Caesarea, Jerash (Gerasa) and Amman (Philadelphia), have introduced a crude cart which must be similar to that used in Old Testament times. The two wheels are of solid wood. A straight shaft is joined to the wooden axle, and to this a yoke of oxen is attached. On the Philistian plains may be seen carts of present-day Egyptian origin but of a pattern many centuries old. With the establishment of government roads during the last 50 years, European vehicles of all descriptions are fast coming into the country.
One figurative reference is made to the cart (Isa 5:18), but its meaning is obscure.

In Egypt, the use of the ilail is unknown. To separate the grain from the straw, the inhabitants prepare, with a mixture of earth, &c., spacious floors, well beat, and very clean. The rice is spread thereon, in thick layers. They have then a sort of cart, formed of two pieces of wood joined together by two cross-pieces. It is almost in the shape of sledges which serve for the conveyance of burdens in the streets of our cities. Between the longer sides of this sledge are fixed, transversely, three rows of small wheels, made of solid iron,^ and narrowed off toward their circumference. On the forepart is a wide and high seat, upon which a man sits, driving two oxen harnessed to the machine. The whole moves on slowly, and always in a circular direction, over every part of the heap of rice, until there remains no more grain in the straw. When it is thus beat, it is spread in the air to be dried. Several men walk abreast, to turn it over, each of whom, with his foot, makes a furrow in the layer of grain ; so that in a few moments the whole mass is moved, and that part which was underneath is again exposed to the air. — Sonnini : Harjmr's Observations^ vol. iv., pp. 134, 135.

The Bible mentions "Travel"

Acts 19:29 - And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul's companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre.

2 Corinthians 8:19 - And not [that] only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and [declaration of] your ready mind: