In an age without television or other leisure-time pursuits, the people of Bible times often used riddles as a form of entertainment. Like Samson, they would pose a puzzling or mystifying question or problem and see who could figure it out.Continue reading BIBLE CUSTOMS AND CURIOSITIES (SAMSON’S RIDDLE)
Spectator sports and entertainment were fully developed by the Romans so as to satisfy the common people’s lust for excitement and blood. Even the rush for seats was an excitement in itself; there were no reserved seats until the time of Augustus. In the arena, condemned criminals fought against wild animals-lions, bears, elephants, and hyenas- and the crowd would urge on the contest. Paul says that he fought against wild beasts at Ephesus (1 Corinthians 15:32), but he may have been referring to the experiences recorded in Acts 19 in a metaphorical way (see also Hebrews 10:33).
Entertainment and spectator/participatory sports did not develop until Greek and Roman times. Races had been run in Israel (Jeremiah 12:5), but they were not for entertainment. It was the promotion of sports in the Greek fashion in 170 BC that led to the division among Jews between Sadducees and Hasidim.