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Questions have been raised as to how Saul travelled to Damascus. Would he or any of the Jewish religious authorities have travelled by beasts, especially by camels?

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This is actually an interesting topic because there is much debate about it!

Tradition has held that Saul/Paul rode a horse to Damascus, but when you read the verses that deal with this, a horse is not mentioned. So there seems to be a hint in tradition that he rode a horse but scripture does not back it up. So here it depends on how much you rely on tradition and the origins of this specific one.

Similarly, our nativity scenes (tradition) depict the wise men as riding camels. They were foreigners, not Jews, but this knowledge mixed with a knowledge of the middle east as being inhabited by horses and camels suggests they could have ridden either. It was also common to ride donkeys or asses (see John chapter 12, and this post).

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    Numbers 22 also contains a confrontation with the Lord in a startling form preventing a hardened man on his way. This is either a type of St. Paul, or where the tradition might have been gathered from: that St. Paul had a similar experience, or was in the same situation as Balaam when he, too, saw the Lord. Sep 25 '17 at 20:17
  • “It is hard for you to kick against the goads”. “Goads” is what horse riders wear on their heels. It is strange that Jesus would use this word if it in some way didn’t mirror the occasion. Dec 22 '19 at 5:24
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Camels are unclean animals. A Jew in that era would be about as likely to eat pork as to ride a camel. Many probably did, but it seems unlikely.

Leviticus 11:4 The camel, because it chews its cud but does not part its hoof, is unclean to you.

They traveled by horse (or Paul, especially, would have been apoplectic). There is a cleansing ritual, also chapter 11 of Leviticus, so in a matter of expediency there may have been an exception. Still, it seems far more likely they traveled by horse.

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  • Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think a horse chews its cud nor divides it's hoof.
    – bradimus
    Sep 26 '17 at 20:01

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