While a tour to Israel is undoubtedly life-changing, interesting, and meaningful, there is another question that people have which is “Is it fun?”. Well, YES! You get to go on a wonderful adventure with other like-minded christians who are all bonding over this shared experience. It is loads of fun! But fun is nothing new in Israel. Throughout history there is evidence of fun in Ancient Israel.
Yes, life was difficult in the ancient world, but in all of life, there is also the desire for joy and happiness and enjoyment.
So, how did people have fun in ancient Israel?
(Please keep in mind that we are only focusing on the more calm and lighthearted of entertainments.)
Board Games in Ancient Israel
We may think board games like Monopoly and checkers are a somewhat modern invention, but the truth is people have been having fun with board games for thousands of years and the land of Israel is no different.
There have been board games discovered in archeological digs across Israel. One of these was in the land of Gath, where Goliath called home. Board games have been found there in archeological digs. It consisted of 20 spaces and pieces to complete the game.
Toys in Ancient Israel
While many children were born into modest circumstances and they were forced to contribute early on, they were still children at heart. While they may not have had toys in the way we do today or quantity, they still existed. Dolls and figurines were popular toys, made out of anything from carved wood, stone, or straw.
There has been a new thought from archeology that perhaps many of the figurines that have been discovered and originally were believed to be part of worship and religion may have been actually been just children’s toys!
Sports and Games
Everyone knows that the Olympic games were held in Greece, but many of those type of activities were also just regular entertainment actives throughout the ancient world. Wrestling, chariot and horse races were all regular sports. Foot races and swimming were also normal activities.
Hopscotch was brought by the Romans to the area as a military training exercise and was already being mimicked by children in play.
Music and Plays
There were certainly instruments and singers who would play music for worship, but also for pleasure. There were theaters with wonderful acoustics where music was played and plays preformed. You can see one of these in Beit She’an as well as at Caesarea Maritima. You will enjoy the acoustics visiting still today!