A public way in a city or town. The common Hebrew term for street (chuts) basically means “outside.” (Isa 42:2, ftn) In ancient towns and cities of Bible lands it appears that most streets were unpaved. (Ps 18:42; Isa 10:6; La 2:21) However, channels for water drainage from the streets have been discovered in Jericho and Gezer.
Generally, streets were narrow and winding. But there were also “broad ways.” (Lu 14:21; compare Re 21:21.) Nineveh’s streets were wide enough to accommodate chariots. (Na 2:4) Babylon and Damascus had broad avenues or processional ways, and some streets bore names. During the Roman period, “the street called Straight” in Damascus was a three-lane thoroughfare about 26 m (85 ft) wide.—Ac 9:11; see STRAIGHT.
An open area, the public square, likely near a city gate, might serve as a place to transact business or meet for instruction. (Ge 23:10-18; Ne 8:1-3; Jer 5:1) There children played (Zec 8:4, 5); the streets in general were usually filled with sounds of activity. (Job 18:17; Jer 33:10, 11; contrast Isa 15:3; 24:11.) They were places of commercial enterprise, shops of a certain kind sometimes being grouped together, as on “the street of the bakers” in Jerusalem. (Jer 37:21) The “streets” that Ben-hadad offered to be assigned to Ahab in Damascus were evidently for the establishment of bazaars, or markets, to promote Ahab’s commercial interests in that Syrian capital. (1Ki 20:34) At night the streets of some cities apparently were under the vigilant eyes of watchmen.—Ca 3:1-3.
The streets also were places where news was announced. (2Sa 1:20; Jer 11:6) There Jesus Christ taught, and cured the ailing, though not wrangling and crying aloud in the broad ways, which would have caused a public sensation, magnifying his own name and drawing attention away from Jehovah God and the Kingdom good news. (Lu 8:1; Mt 12:13-19; Isa 42:1, 2) Jesus, therefore, was not like the hypocrites whom he condemned for praying “on the corners of the broad ways to be visible to men.”—Mt 6:5.