Holy Humor Part 2: Bible Stories That Make You Chuckle
Humor is 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 Laughs Off the Promise of Motherhood
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
Three Chuckles From the Golden Calf Story
This story in Exodus 32 is a very serious and tragic one; the egregious sin of Aaron and the Israelites resulted 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 Them 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.
Let's split him two ways
A gross bride price
Okay guys, would you harvest two hundred 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 than 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."
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.
Jesus curses the fig tree
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!
Elkanah - a legend in his own mind.
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
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."
Samuel hears God
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.
Wa, wa, woooooh!
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.
Jacob's hairy decption
Dagon gets his comeuppance
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.
Hair of goats
Boo to your woo
Solomon had an interesting way of wooing his girl. He wouldn't get anywhere with women of today.
In Song of Solomon (or Song of Songs) The Beloved (Solomon) praises his lover this way:
Chapter 4 - (vs 1-) "Behold! You are fair, my love! You have doves eyes behind your veil (so far so good),Your hair is like a flock of goats, going down from the Mount of Gilead. Your teeth are like a flock of shorn sheep which have come up from the washing...(vs 4)Your neck is like the tower of David, built for an armory, one which hang a thousand bucklers..."
Later on in chapter 7 he says, (vs 2b)"Your waist is a heap of wheat set about with lilies...(vs 4b)Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon looking over Damascus..."
Ladies, what would you do if your man said these things to you?
Nag, nag, nag
Unlike the virtuous wife in Proverbs 31, the Proverbs 27:15 wife is not described in so flattering terms -
"A quarrelsome woman is like a constant dripping on a rainy day."
We all know someone like her don't we? Constant nagging, never content, demanding, short tempered, selfish - a shrew, an old battle ax.
Wives like this are like non-stop dripping rain, they really grate on you. They are also kind of like fingers on a chalk board.
There is another proverb that is similar which says, "It is better to live alone in the desert than with a crabby, complaining wife" (Prov. 21:19). That's pretty extreme.
These are amusing, yet unflattrering portraits of a nagging wife.