(1.) Of children (Zechariah 8:5; Matthew 11:16). The Jewish youth were also apparently instructed in the use of the bow and the sling (Judges 20:16; 1 Chronicles 12:2).
(2.) Public games, such as were common among the Greeks and Romans, were foreign to the Jewish institutions and customs. Reference, however, is made to such games in two passages (Psalm 19:5; Ecclesiastes 9:11).
(3.) Among the Greeks and Romans games entered largely into their social life.
(a) Reference in the New Testament is made to gladiatorial shows and fights with wild beasts (1 Corinthians 15:32). These were common among the Romans, and sometimes on a large scale.
(b) Allusion is frequently made to the Grecian gymnastic contests (Galatians 2:2; 5:7; Philippians 2:16; 3:14; 1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 12:1, 4, 12). These were very numerous. The Olympic, Pythian, Nemean, and Isthmian games were esteemed as of great national importance, and the victors at any of these games of wrestling, racing, etc., were esteemed as the noblest and the happiest of mortals.