The 6 Most Jawdropping Feats of Strength in the Bible

feats of strength final

The Marvel Studio’s film, The Avengers, depicts superheroes capable of lifting tanks, destroying cities, and generally disobeying every law of physics known to man. But little does the world know that these superheroes have archetypes that have precedence in Ancient Israel, during the days of King David and the like. Think the Bible is all about love and rainbows and hugs? Think again! Get ready to discover the 6 most jaw-dropping feats of strength in the Bible!

#6. Eleazar just can’t let go of how many Philistines he killed.

And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David when they defied the Philistines that were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away: He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil.- 2nd Samuel 23:9-10

Eleazar was considered one of David’s top three guys when something had to be killed, annihilated or pulverized. Along with Adino and Shammah, Eleazar was a ferocious warrior who earned a reputation as a killing-machine. His claim to fame is that during a battle with the Philistines, Eleazar slew so many of the enemy that by the end of the day he couldn’t let go of his sword.

Probably this sword.

Probably this sword.

Literally. Like, he had been gripping his weapon so tightly as he rained a death storm of Biblical justice on God’s enemies that his fingers had to be pried from the handle. Apparently, he was rather terrifying in his maelstrom of destruction because the rest of the army left him there. They took one look at Eleazer in all his battle-rage and said, “Um, no,” thereby demonstrating the first labor strike in history. They only returned after the battle, presumably once Eleazar had killed pretty much everyone.

#5. Benaiah kills two lionlike men of Moab, a lion with his bare hands, and an Egyptian.

 And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man, of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, he slew two lionlike men of Moab: he went down also and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow. -2nd Samuel 23:20

Benaniah actually did several seriously manly things including killing two “lionlike men of Moab”, slaying a lion with his bare hands and killing a massive Egyptian man with his own spear. The lionlike men of Moab, we can only assume, were terrifying.

Lionlike man of Moab shortly before Benaniah happened.

Just an average Moabite. Nothing to see here.

Given the undeniable fact that these guys were 10 feet of pure feral rage, it’s only fitting that we salute Benaniah for his hands down manliness in destroying these ferocious creatures. But hey! Wrestling a lion in a snowy pit is no walk in the park either! Benaniah had some real guts to do the things he did, and considering that he’s placed along side the guy who shishkabobbed 800 guys in a day (see #3), we can infer that his feats of strength were nothing less than super-manly.

#4. David’s Three Mighty Men fight their way through an army for a drink of water.

And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the LORD.  -2nd Samuel 23:16

Imagine you’re sitting in camp, playing poker with the boys, knocking back a cold one…suddenly, the boss comes outside and happens to mention that he’d REALLY like a fresh drink of water from the good ol’ Bethlehem Well. Hearing that, the three mighty men decided that they needed to get the boss that drink of water!

Water.

Water.

So, casual as can be, they stroll into the Philistine camp, killing every soldier that stands in the way of their mission. When they got back, David just about fell out of his chair.

“You did WHAT?”

“We got you some water…you know from the well inside the enemy camp, surrounded by a thousand heavily armed men. No big deal.”

Instead of drinking the water, David poured it out as an offering to the Lord as such an act of love and devotion could only be responded to with worship to God. Which actually is incredibly manly in of itself.

#3. Adino the Tachmonite vanquishes 800 men in a single day.

The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time.- 2nd Samuel 23:8

Adino was the head honcho of David’s band of three mighty men. Clearly, he fought hard to earn that title because no less than 800 men fell by his hand. One day in battle, he decided to open a massive can of good ol’ fashioned rage and killed 800 Philistines with his spear.

Artist's depiction of Adino and his spear.

Artist’s depiction of Adino and his spear.

That would probably be the scariest thing you could witness on the battlefield. One man slaughtering your fellow soldiers by the hundreds with a stick. Scary. That isn’t a cumulative number, either. He didn’t rack up bonus death points on his MasterKill credit card. No, sir! He did all that work all at once. There’s not much that’s scarier except when you learn about how…

#2. Samson kills 1,000 Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey, after being escorted by a prison guard of 3,000 men.

And he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, and put out his hand and took it, and with it he struck 1,000 men. -Judges 15:15

Meet Samson. What the Hulk is to the Avengers, Samson is to the Bible. He’s the subject of some of the craziest stories in the Bible.

Pictured: Samson.

Pictured: Samson

So Samson saw a pretty girl among the Philistines…and that’s how every story starts with Samson, unfortunately. Long story short, he embarrasses the Philistines, who then bug his wife to bug him and then he gets mad and leaves, and while he’s gone his father-in-law remarries Samson’s wife to his former best man. Seriously. 

Naturally, Samson’s reaction was to irritate the Philistines so he caught 300 foxes, tied their tails in pairs and then lit them on fire and set them into the fields.

Thus creating the first version of the Firefox Browser.

The original Firefox.

In response, the Philistines set fire to Samson’s former new wife and father-in-law. After that, it sounds like there was a boxing match and Samson went and hid somewhere. The Philistines started raiding the Israelites, which prompted them to go to Samson to figure out just what the heck was going on.

Apparently, everyone knew about Samson’s temper problem because they sent 3,000 men to escort Samson. Three thousand men! If each man stretched out his arms and stood next to the other, the line of men would stretch for more than 3 miles! That’s crazy! Anyway, Samson was taken to the Philistines and when he is presented to them, the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, literally melting the ropes that bound him. He picked up the jawbone of a donkey and all hell broke loose as Samson proceeded to kill 1,000 of the soldiers. Naturally, this didn’t make him a huge star with the donkey population.

This guy is not a fan. Not a fan at all.

This guy is not a fan. Not a fan at all.

But seriously, he killed 1,000 people with the jawbone of a donkey. Which we are told was “fresh”. So who knows if the donkey was even dead. We wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t. And how long did that take anyway? Even with an average kill time of 1 minute, it would still take him 16 hours to kill 1000 people. Props to him for all that endurance (which came from God, of course). We figured that was the end of Samson’s exploit until we learned that….

#1. Samson wrestles a stone temple and wins, killing 3,000 Philistines.

And Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and he leaned his weight against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other. And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines.” Then he bowed with all his strength, and the house fell upon the lords and upon all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he had killed during his life. -Judges 16:29-30

So after his ridiculous encounter in Judges 15 with the killing of 1,000 Philistines, Samson judges Israel for 20 years and when we meet up with him again in Chapter 16, the ol’ Hulk hasn’t really walked with God. We find out that he visits a prostitute, causes lots of property damage and then makes the biggest mistake of his love career by falling for Delilah (another Philistine). Amazingly enough, he doesn’t see how bad of an idea this is.

This is a bad idea.

This is a bad idea.

The Philistines pressure Delilah to figuring out what the secret of Samson’s strength is (the Insanity program he recommended failed to produce results for them). So Delilah starts pestering Samson. And not just pestering, but all out super-nagging. Delilah would whine and ask Samson for the secret to his strength and he would give her some nonsense about bowstrings or using new ropes, then the Philistines would try it and Samson would kill them all. But then Delilah pulled the “You don’t love me” card.

How can you resist a face like this?

How can you not love a face like this, Samson?

Samson broke down and told her that if she cut his hair, his strength would leave him. (Samson was a Nazirite, who were not supposed to cut their hair as part of their oath to God. By allowing Delilah to cut his hair, Samson was turning his back on God.) So that night, the Philistines came, cut his hair, and when he tried to fight back, his strength was gone because God had left him. His enemies gouged out his eyes, and put him in prison to work the mill as a slave.

Here’s where it gets cool: The Philistines were celebrating Samson’s capture and attributing their success to their god, Dagon. They were so pleased with themselves that they had Samson brought into the auditorium to entertain them.  Big mistake.

Samson found himself between the two central pillars that held up the house, and thinking quickly, he challenged the pillars to a wrestling match. Having never lost a wrestling match, the pillars foolishly agreed.

Bring it.

Bring it.

As Samson waged war against the pillars, they began to sway, and before you knew it, the whole roof was coming down. Inside the house were gathered 3,000 Philistines, jeering at Samson in his humiliation. The roof fell…

Presumably, it looked something like this.

Presumably, it looked something like this.

And as it did, Samson asked God that he might die there as well. The stones fell and crushed every single one of the 3,000 Philistines and Samson finally came to rest.

That’s it, folks! Which one is your favorite feat of strength in the Bible?


 

Advertisements

Start Being A Man, Boy Part 1

The title to this post has some pretty crucial punctuation. If you miss that all-critical comma, you’ll end up reading, “Start Being a Man Boy.” Which is definitely not what this is supposed to be about. This post is about growing up. About being a man. About owning up. (And if it wasn’t incredibly obvious yet, this post is for the guys.)

Whereas the last post was a gentle admonishment and meek request to our Christian sisters to help us out, this post is intended to be a sledge hammer of justice, smashing down on man-children everywhere and kicking them square in the rear to shape up and man up! I’m getting a rush of adrenaline just thinking about it!

So check it out: our generation has a big problem. Our men don’t want to be men. If this wasn’t obvious from the cascades of cash pouring in from inane movies like Role Models or anything by Will Ferrell (who, admittedly, is funny), then it might become apparent on another, more subtle note. I’ve heard (and seen) an interesting problem with some of my female friends of marriageable age.

There’s no men for them.

No, seriously.

There’s no men. And I don’t mean that there is a decided lack of males. There’s certainly plenty of those. But I’m saying there’s a lack of good men out there for my friends to be swept off their feet by. What defines a man? According to Captain Obvious and history, a man is a member of the male persuasion who takes responsibility for his own actions, strives to work hard for a greater end, treats women with respect and dignity, and applies himself to everything he does. A Christian man does all of that, but spend his quality time on his knees communing with his savior. And he does it all to the Glory of God.

So where are the men? As I touched on before, there’s an interesting cultural stereotype that has been introduced in the past couple decades or so. It’s commonly referred to as the ‘man-child’. Think every character that Will Ferrell plays (with the notable exception of Stranger Than Fiction…but even then), and you have successfully envisioned the archetypical man-child. A grown male who behaves like a child, throws temper tantrums when he doesn’t get his way, and in general, acts like a complete idiot for someone of his size. This persona has seeped into popular culture (which explains Will Ferrell’s success) and have affected lots and lots of guys. As they age, in many cities life becomes a game of who can act the stupidest and get laid the most. Work becomes a meaningless 8 hour prison that simply serves  as a vehicle to income which you can spend on the weekend getting wasted with your fellow man-children. Instead of seeking to become the man God wants you to be (or heck, just becoming a man!), life is about trivial pursuit, fleeting pleasures, and lots of sex.

What’s behind all this? Part of it is that men are taking longer to finish college than they were 30 years ago (and women are too) which is pushing marriage and family back farther. The median age for getting married was 28 in 2011, compared with 23 in 1970.  This is an interesting tie in to college and education, which I will discuss in a future post.

I’ll follow up on this post later.