Holy Humor Part 2: Bible Stories That Make You Chuckle

Humor a tool for Biblical truth

God hard wired humor and laughter into our DNA. He created us to see and enjoy humor, communicate humorously, and do humorous things. Many of the Scripture writers observed humorous situations and wrote them down; not for the sake of entertainment, but as a tool to show us God's perspective and learn from it. God the Father in the Old Testament and Jesus in the New Testament also often used humorous irony that quite frankly makes us laugh at oursleves. Not all humorous statements or stories were necessarily meant to be humorous, they just are. Following are more humorous moments in the Bible.

"A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;" ~ Ecclesiastes 3:4

Sarah laughed

No laughing matter

In Genesis 18 we read that one day Abraham was hanging out in the doorway of his tent. It was a hot day and he was trying to stay cool. Then the Lord appeared to him by the Terebinth trees of Mamre. All of a sudden, Abraham looked up to see three men standing there. He bowed down and said, "My Lord, if I have found favor in Your sight, do not pass on by Your servant." This appears to be a Theophany - an Old Testament visitation of God. The other two were angels. Like any good, bedouin host, he washed their feet and asked them to stay for a meal. He rushed to the tent and told Sarah to cook up some grub for their guests, and went out and chose a quality calf and prepared it. Finally, he returned to his guests, giving them some butter and milk and they began to chat.

Then they asked Abraham where his wife was. "In the tent," he said. And the Lord said, "I will return to you and Sarah your wife shall have a son." Since Sarah and Abraham were very well past child-bearing years, and Abraham not likely able to perform, Sarah, who was eavesdropping, started laughing to herself in derision. In a nutshell, she told herself, "Yeah, right! I'm going to get lucky? Abe's going to manage that in his old age? He's going to plant a seed in me and we're going to be parents? Bwahahaha!"

Apparently the Lord heard her laughing and wasn't amused. "Why did Sarah laugh? Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time, I am going to return and Sarah will have that baby?"

Sarah was caught red-handed, and she was scared. So she denied it. "What? Who me? I didn't laugh. What makes you think I laughed? No, no way."

Not only was this amusing, but when God fulfilled his promise and Sarah bore the son, Abraham named him what God had commanded him to call him a few chapters and years back - Isaac. Isaac means "laughter." All of a sudden Sarah was laughing again, only this time not in derision, but in joy. "God has made me laugh, and all who hear will laugh with me." Then she said (paraphrased), "Who' da thunk that in my old age I'd be nursing a baby?"

Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”

— Genesis 18:13-14

Worship of the golden calf

Source

Three chuckles from the golden calf story

This story in Exodus 32 is a very tragic one; the egregious sin of Aaron and the Israelites results in three thousand Israelites being slain for their sin. Some parts of the story can make one chuckle, however.

Moses had been up on the mountain for forty days and nights receiving instruction from God. God gave him the stone tablets with the ten commandments on them. Meanwhile, the people were freaking out. "Man, it's been forty days and Moses still isn't back. This is getting old real fast. He's probably dead or something." So they went to Moses' brother, Aaron the priest, and demanded he make them a god to worship. As Aaron was a spineless, people-pleaser, he said, "Okay, this is the plan. Bring all your gold jewelry and I'll make a golden calf." And so he did. Then the people worshiped the calf and commenced to worship it with an orgy. God told Moses to get down there quick because they had made a molten calf and were worshiping and sacrificing to it.

Chuckle # 1 - breaking the tablets during a temper tantrum: When Moses and Joshua reached the base of the mountain and saw the golden calf and the orgry Moses was furious. He threw down the stone tablets, breaking them, and stormed off toward them to put a stop to it.

Chuckle # 2 - making them drink their sin: When Moses arrived he burned up the calf, scattered the ashes into the water, and made them all drink it. "You want a calf, I'll give you a calf."

Chuckle # 3 - Aaron's preposterous excuse: Moses demanded an explanation. Aaron apparently thought Moses a gullible idiot, because he tried to pass the buck back to Moses by blaming him for taking so long, causing the people to think something had happened to him. Then the ridiculous flew out of his mouth. Paraphrased he said, "Now Moses, calm down, this isn't what you think. All I did was melt their gold earrings and out popped this calf." Really Aaron? The calf just popped out out of nowhere?

Cut 'em in half

King Solomon was indeed a very wise king. And he certainly knew how to handle disputes in wise, even brilliant and creative ways. In 1 Kings 3:16-28 two prostitutes went to Solomon. As the story goes, the two prostitutes lived in the same house. Both gave birth three days apart. One woman rolled over on her baby killing it. So she switched her dead baby with the other woman's live baby during the night. That created an ugly scene so they took their argument to Solomon.

They began to argue back and forth, each one asserting the live child was theirs. I can imagine Solomon rolling his eyes or sighing in disgust. His solution was genious:

He called for a sword, needing a visual to drive home his message and said "Cut the living child in two, and give one half to one woman and the other half to the other woman!” Brilliant, hilarious, and very effective.

This fleshed out the phony mom quickly. The true mom said, "Go ahead and give the baby to her, don't kill him. The lying mom said, "Go ahead, make my day" (paraphrase of course).

King Solomon made his final decision, "Do not kill the child, but give him to the woman who wants him to live, for she is his mother!” People were mighty impressed with Solomon's wisdom.

Ew, gross

Source

A gross bride price

Okay guys, would you harvest 200 foreskins for a bride? David did in 1 Samuel 18. One day when David came back with the other warriors from a campaign where he had defeated the Philistines, the women met them singing "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands." Saul was furious.

But God's favor was on David and it scared Saul. So he offered his daughter Merab to David as a wife with the condition that he fight valiantly the Lord's battles. His thinking was, 'Better if the enemy kills him that me.' David humbly declined. As it happened, Merab was given to someone else.

Since Saul's daughter Michal had a thing for David, Saul said "Tell you what, rather than a dowry, I ask for 100 Philistine foreskins," thinking David didn't stand a chance of coming out alive. Ha! Joke was on him. David came back with 200 foreskins. That's funny, but also kind of creepy. EW, GROSS!!!

In the end, David got the girl, but as verse 29 says, "Saul became David's enemy continually."

Jesus curses the fig tree

Source

Dry up you old fig tree

Mark 11:12- 14 tells of one fine morning when Jesus was walking from Bethany with His disciples. He was hungry for breakfast. Up ahead he saw a hearty, leafy fig tree. But upon arrival, he found there was not one fig to be found. His response was to curse the tree, telling it, "Let no one eat fruit from you ever again."

Sometime later in verses 20-21, on another morning walk with the disciples, they come upon the same tree and it was withered from the roots. The disciples were amazed. "Look Jesus, the tree You cursed has withered away."

Jesus used this as a lesson on faith in prayer. Pretty funny object lesson for sure.

"Hey baby, I'm all you need."

Elkanah - a legend in his own mind.
Elkanah - a legend in his own mind. | Source

Legend in his own mind.

In 1 Samuel 1 we read of the barren wife of Elkanah named Hannah. He also had another wife named Penninah who was plenty fertile and bore him children. Penninah loved to gloat over Hannah, tormenting her to tears. Once a year they all went to Shiloh to offer a sacrifice and worship at the temple. Elkanah loved Hannah more than Penninah, and always gave her a double portion to offer as a sacrifice. But one year, all she did was cry in her anguish of being barren. Penninah seemed to double her efforts to barb Hannah then, perhaps because she saw that he loved Hannah more. When Elkanah saw Hannah weeping, like a true man he said, "Why are you weeping? How come you're not eating? Why are you sad? Aren't I better to you than ten sons?"

Really Elkanah? You, honey, are a legend in your own mind! Get over yourself!

Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?”

— 1 Sam. 1:8
Source

Go back to bed

This story from 1 Samuel 3 is rather humorous as well. Hannah had weaned Samuel and brought him to the temple to serve the Lord under the direction of Eli the priest. One day the boy Samuel and Eli were asleep and Samuel was woken up by a voice calling his name - "Samuel, Samuel." He figured it was Eli calling him so he went to the sleeping Eli and said "I'm here Eli, you called me."

Eli said "I didn't call you, go back to bed.

No sooner had Samuel and Eli gone back to sleep then Samuel heard the voice again. Convinced once again it was Eli, he woke Eli up a second time saying "I'm here, you called me." I am sure by this time Eli was annoyed and grumpy. "Go back to bed, I didn't call you."

Back to bed and the voice called again. Back to Eli, "I'm here again, Eli, I'm sure I heard you calling me."

Finally Eli realized it was God calling, so he told Samuel to answer the voice by saying, "Speak Lord, for your servant hears you."

Eli went back to sleep but the message God gave Samuel was a prophecy of Eli and his son's impending doom for their grievous sins. Eli asked Samuel the next day what God had said to him. Samuel was afraid but finally told him. Eli's response was basically, "Well He's God. Que Sera sera."

Wa, wa, woooooh!

Eli fall off his chair and died.
Eli fall off his chair and died.

Oopsie daisy

Eli, the priest at Shiloh, was a really lousy father. His sons were sleeping with women in the temple and ripped people off when they brought their offerings with intimidation and force. Eli only scolded them and never made them accountable. He did not remove them. God told the boy Samuel that Eli and his sons would die. Samuel gave the message to Eli, who basically said, "Okay, whatever," still refusing to discipline his sons.

One day Eli sat on a chair trembling with fear about the ark of God. The army of Israel, his sons included, were at war with the Philistines and had taken out the ark. The Philistine's overtook them, killing his sons and thirty thousand others, and confiscated the ark. A Benjamite soldier came to Shiloh to announce the tragic turn of events. When Eli heard it he was so upset he fell backward in his chair and died. Oopsie daisy.

Jacob's hairy decption

Jacob the trickster and the wimpster

Genesis 27 tells us that Isaac had grown old. He had always favored his son Esau - a very hairy man who was a hunter. Isaac's other son was Jacob, a tent dweller and a mama's boy, favored by his mother Rebekah. The sibling rivalry was ugly.

Now old and blind, Isaac called Esau to his side and asked him to hunt some game and make him a stew and he would give him a blessing when it was accomplished. Off Esau went. Rebekah heard this exchange. As she wanted Jacob to get the blessing rather than Esau, she told him to trick his father by pretending to be Esau. The way he did it is quite comical. Who'd have thought a son could trick his father by pretending to be hairy.

Rebekah instructed him to go kill some goats and she would make a stew of them. Then he was to take it to his blind, feeble father and pretend he was Esau so he would receive his brother's blessing. Jacob told his mother this wouldn't fly because Esau was so hairy and he was smooth and dad would figure him out. Rebekah, clever gal, had Jacob dress in Esau's clothes and then wrapped goat skins on his hands and neck. Seriously?

Isaac almost figured it out. "How are you back so soon from hunting the game I ordered?"

Jacob, pretending to be his brother, said "The Lord brought it to me."

Isaac seemed a bit suspicous. "Come over here, I want to feel you to see if you really are Esau."

Jacob went to his dad who felt the hair on Jacob's body. He still wasn't convinced. "Your voice is Jacob's but the hands feel like Esau's. Are you really Esau?"

"I am," said Jacob.

He asked for the stew which Jacob brought to him. He smelled Esau's clothes on him and pronounced the blessing on Jacob that was meant for Esau. When Esau found out he bawled like a baby and became very angry. Jacob ran for his life at his mother's command. Oh, Jacob you were a trickster and wimpster.

What is most humorous to you in the Bible?

  • Stories where people do and say funny things without meaning to.
  • Irony used by God, Jesus, or the prophets to show man how absurdly they behave.
  • Analogies that give word pictures to illustrate our sin or some other truth, that are humorous.
  • It is irreverent to say that anything or anyone in the Bible is humorous.
See results without voting

Dagon takes a beating and the gift of golden tumors

This one is pretty darn funny, but also very telling of the power of God and that He will not share His glory with another. He is preeminent. This story is in 1 Samuel 5 and 6. The Philistines, who had recently taken possession of the ark of the covenant, took it from Ebenezer to Asdod and placed in the temple of Dagon right next to Dagon. Guess what? God doesn't share His glory with another, The next morning they found Dagon had fallen on the ground face down before the ark.

They set ol' Dagon back up again and returned the next morning only to find that Dagon had once again fallen on his face before the ark, but this time his head and hands were broken off lying in the threshold. After that, it was considered bad luck to step on the threshold of Dagon's temple.

To punish the Ashdodites God smote them with tumors. That did it - they shipped the ark off to Gath. Things didn't go well there either - more death and tumor outbreaks. They continued sending the ark here and there until finally they gave it back to the Israelites. They decided a gift was in order as they returned it as a guilt offering. You're not going to believe it, but the gift was five golden tumors and five golden rats - and a partridge in a pear tree (okay, leave out the partridge and the pear tree). The tumors and the rats were the plague of the land and I guess they thought God would be impressed if they dipped them in gold and gave them back.

© Lori Colbo 2015. All rights reserved.

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19 comments

Jodah profile image

Jodah 23 months ago from Queensland Australia

These stories were great Lori. Though obviously meant as lessons and not to be funny, you can't help but smile. Thanks for sharing. Voted up.


Brie Hoffman profile image

Brie Hoffman 23 months ago from Manhattan

I really enjoyed these.


Dip Mtra profile image

Dip Mtra 23 months ago from World Citizen

Interesting. Voted up.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

Reminds me of the old joke: if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. :) Fun read this Sunday morning, Lori!


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 23 months ago from West Virginia

I knew there was some funny stuff in that book. Finnier still are the mis-translations that occur and find if you really get down to reading the book yourself. Thanks for sharing the funny side of the books.


lambservant profile image

lambservant 23 months ago from Pacific Northwest Author

Jodah, yes, a chuckle now and then in the Bible whether it was deliberate or not. Thanks for stopping by.

Brie, glad you enjoyed these.

Dip, interesting indeed.

billy, I've always loved that saying, even if it isn't in the Bible.

Lady, you nailed it - read the book yoursef. Thanks for your comment.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 23 months ago from Nashville Tn.

I've always believed that God has a sense of humor. :) A fun read Lori and thanks.


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 23 months ago from sunny Florida

that is probably why so many of us find laughter to be so much a part of who we are...enjoyed reading this from beginning to end.

Angels are on the way to you this evening. ps


lambservant profile image

lambservant 23 months ago from Pacific Northwest Author

vocal coach, I believe He does too. Glad you enjoyed the read.

Ps, that must be who is knocking at my door. :)


Marion Drury profile image

Marion Drury 23 months ago from Sydney, Australia

Thanks for sharing. Very good.


lambservant profile image

lambservant 23 months ago from Pacific Northwest Author

Thank you Mary, happy new year.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 23 months ago from The Caribbean

Lori, great job on pointing out the humor in these incidents. I always think that there was so much to Sarah's laughter. They're all funny, and I agree with you that the desire for humor and laughter is a gift from God. Thanks.


lambservant profile image

lambservant 23 months ago from Pacific Northwest Author

Ms. Dora, I can't imagine how depressing and cheerless life would be without laughter.


BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 23 months ago from Victoria, Australia

A good fun read. What about the smallest man in the Bible? The one who slept on his watch?


lambservant profile image

lambservant 23 months ago from Pacific Northwest Author

Blossom, I can't think whom you are speaking of? But thanks for commenting.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 20 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

I really enjoyed these stories. One of my favorites is the story of when the Ark of the Covenant went into captivity in Philistine country. They had no idea just what they were getting!

Voted up


Rodric29 profile image

Rodric29 16 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

I liked this one. It reminded me of the comedy gold when Elijah had a god showdown with the priest of Baal.

Elijah wanted to priest of Baal to pray to Baal to light the fire for the sacrifice of a bullock to their god. He knew that Baal was only an image and could not light the fire.

In a terrible turn of events, yet humors, in the midst of their prayers to Ball it is recorded that

.... Elijah mocked them (as they prayed to Baal), and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked. 1 Kings 18:27

I laugh each time I read that part. The poor Baal's priest then started behaving like madmen and cutting themselves to prove to Elijah that their god would hear them. It didnt since it was a man made thing.

I think it is funny that those men thought that something that they made would have power to answer their prayers.


lambservant profile image

lambservant 16 months ago from Pacific Northwest Author

Rodric, that story is quite amusing. I may use it for Holy Humor part 3. Thanks for your comments.


Rodric29 profile image

Rodric29 16 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Wow, that would be great if you did. I look forward to reading it.

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