Straight

STRAIGHT (Street) (εὐθύς, direct). As a street name, “Straight” is found only in Acts 9:11. This street, the only one identified by name in the NT, was located in Damascus, a city within the boundaries of Syria but belonging politically to the Decapolis. The city obtained its freedom from Rome shortly after Christ’s death, and was under an Arabian ruler during the period covered by Acts 9. On this street was located the house of a certain Judas, where Saul of Tarsus was a guest. It was here that Saul was visited by Ananias, and here that he received his eyesight again. Most important, however, is the fact that this was the scene of the conversion and call of the great apostle.

By current standards “Straight Street” (also referred to as “Via Recta’) would more properly be called a lane or alley, since the Gr. word tr. “street” (rhumē) stands for a narrow road. Such a roadway stood in contrast to a broad, open place in the city which was designated by plateia. A narrow street bearing the same name exists in the modern city of Damascus. Covered with a Quonset-like structure in places, it begins at the eastern gate of the city and runs W into the center of the city. While this is the probable site of the 1st cent. street, it is impossible to make a positive identification. Continuous occupation of the location has made excavation impossible, but several structures from Rom. times are still preserved, indicating that there have been no major changes in the city’s layout since early times.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)