Strongmen In The Bible

Strongmen were among the most popular athletes in the Bible era. They were built like tanks and had great strength. Even though you can’t see them in today’s world, there are analog photos representing some of them. We’re going to have a look at some of them in this post.

What is a strongman? Strongman was a term usually associated with an athlete who won contests by performing feats of strength. A strongman athlete would not only be the strongest, but the most brutally powerful and invincible man. The man who never fears any other form of competition. The strongest and most fierce looking he-man ever to grace the stage.

Abishai, Joab’s brother, was the son of Zeruiah and David’s nephew (2 Samuel 3:18). He was a military chief and the first-born son of Haggith (1 Chronicles 2:15). He married Zeruiah’s daughter Abigal (2 Samuel 3:17; 2 Samuel 23:34) who bore him three sons — Abishai; Ioab, the king pleader; and Asahel (1 Chronicles 2:16-17). While David was at war with the Arameans, he stationed Abishai at Bethlehem as general of an army totaling 30,000 men (2 Samuel 10:6-8). Abishai led 120,000 Israelites against Shobach, son of Rehob and commander of Hadadezer’s army. Abishai was accompanied by his brother Joab who commanded the rest of Israel’s army numbering 180,000 soldiers. After killing 12,000 Arameans in battle, they pursued Shobach to their city where he hid inside. David then instructed Abishai and Joab to stand on opposite sides of the city gate and tell it to surrender.

In this Bible study, we look at strongmen of the Bible. We begin with a discussion on the meaning of the word “Strong Man”, and then look at the history of strongmen in ancient Israel. After that, we continue by listing several of the strongest men in the Bible. In this study, there are ten (10) “Strongman” mentioned, not including Goliath. Many of these men are mentioned only briefly; however a few of them play an important role in many difficult situations in Israel.

Strongmen In The Bible

In Mark 3 Jesus’s mission is under attack. After announcing the coming of God’s kingdom (Mark 1:14–15), he begins to heal the sick, cast out demons, teach with authority, call disciples, and even forgive sins. But not everyone is happy with him. In Mark 3:22–30 the scribes challenge the source of Jesus’s authority, claiming it comes from Beelzebul, the prince of demons (Satan). In response, Jesus points out that his attacks on the kingdom of Satan invalidate the accusation that he’s working with Satan.

Jesus says he came to bind the strong man (that is, Satan) in order that he himself, as the stronger man (cf. Mark 1:7), might plunder Satan’s house. This is Jesus’s own explanation of the events we encounter in Mark 1–3.

Strongmen In The Bible

The phrase bind the strong man (or strongman) is a reference to a passage in the book of Mark, where Jesus is responding to some Jewish scribes who were accusing Him of being possessed by Beelzebul. Their argument was that “by the prince of demons he is driving out demons” (Mark 3:22). In other words, the reason the demons listened to Jesus was that they were in league with Him and recognized Him as their commanding officer, so to speak.

Jesus refuted their blasphemous argument with plain logic: “How can Satan cast out Satan?” (Mark 3:23) and then gave them a parable. First, Jesus spoke of the principle of a divided kingdom, which cannot stand (verses 24–26). Then He told them, “No one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man’s house” (Mark 3:27). Jesus refers to Satan as the “strong man” and to Himself as the One who enters the house and plunders the place. Of course, before Satan allows his domain to be “plundered,” he must be incapacitated. Jesus was not in league with Satan, as the scribes suggested, but had come to the earth, to what is essentially Satan’s “house” (1 John 5:19), in order to bind Satan and plunder his “goods,” which are the souls of men (John 17:15; Luke 4:18; Ephesians 4:8).

A parallel passage says this: “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up his plunder” (Luke 11:21–22). Satan is strong, and he holds possessions that he guards jealously. But Jesus is the One who was and is stronger than the strong man. He is the only One who can bind the strong man and rescue us from his clutches (see John 12:31).

Some Christians, usually in the Charismatic or Pentecostal movements, apply Jesus’ parable to the spiritual warfare that believers must wage. They teach that Christians are the ones who must “bind the strong man” in their lives or in their cities and then win the victory in Jesus’ name. Some Charismatic preachers even name the “strong men” and attempt to identify the cities or geographical areas over which they hold power. Such doctrines go far beyond what Jesus said. The Lord’s parable was simply to impress upon the scribes that He was not in league with Satan. Never does Jesus instruct us to “bind the strong man” or tell us how to do it. We do not have warrant to interpret the parable as a spiritual reality over geographical regions.

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