by Roger Thomas

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Judges: The Bible's Weakest Man (8 of 10)
Through the Bible Series
Roger Thomas
Judges 2:6-19; 20:25
March 31, 2002

Introduction: Many of you saw the Power Team last summer. These men and women performed amazing feats of strength with their bare hands. They broke stacks of bricks, layers of ice blocks, and tore huge phone books in to. Now I might be able to rip our city phone book in two—maybe, but certainly not the St. Louis directory. You saw them break baseball bats and bend huge steel rods. I think the most amazing display was the guy that blew up and burst the hot water bottle. I have enough trouble with a sturdy balloon.

But these guys were not the strongest men in the world. According to the World Weightlifting Federation the strongest man in the world might well be heavyweight Salem Jaber of Qatar who placed first in the November 2001 World Championships. This 268-pound lifter snatched 418 pounds and topped 534 pounds in the clean and jerk (that's twice his body weight). But he was matched proportionately by the first place winner in the women's lightweights. Gao Wei of China weighs only 101 pounds. But this tiny lady snatched 181 pounds and clean and jerked 224 pounds. However, I am even more impressed with the men's lightweight Halil Mutlu of Turkey. This 123-pound lifter managed to snatch 293 pounds and clean and jerk 347 pounds (nearly three times his body weight). That's strength!

As far as we know, weightlifting competition didn't exist in the Bible times. I suspect that Joshua and the boys probably tossed a few rocks and maybe lifted a few goats just for the bragging rights. But hands down the one strong man champion of all Israel was one of key characters of Judges. If they had weightlifting in Bible times, Samson would have won the national title.

Judges is the second book of Israelite history. Its twenty-one chapters record the dark days between Joshua's death and the reign of Israel's first king. It tells of ...

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