A question I’ve been asked from time to time is this: “Is there humor in the Bible?”
Well, yes there is. For example, did you know why Jonah wouldn’t go to Ninevah? Because he knew there was something fishy about it. Okay, I’ll be serious. The author David A. Peters counts more than a thousand humorous lines and stories in the Bible. Here are just 2 examples.
- In 1 Kings 18, Elijah is facing off with priests of Baal in a contest to prove which God is stronger. When Baal doesn’t react to the prayers of his priests, Elijah says, “Pray louder! Maybe Baal is taking a nap, maybe he’s away on vacation, or maybe he’s sitting on the toilet.” Elijah was one of the first stand-up comics to ridicule his audience.
- In Genesis 17 God speaks to Abraham and says, “You’re gonna be a father.” What? Abraham was 99. Verse 17 says, “He fell on his face and laughed.” As in Rolling on the Floor Laughing (ROTFL), for you texters.
When his wife Sarah hears the news, she LOLs (laughs out loud). Imagine your 90-year-old grandma giving birth. When her son was born, she named him “Isaac,” Hebrew for “laughter.” Sarah says, “God has made me laugh, and everyone who hears of this will laugh with me.”
You can’t read far in the book of Proverbs without smiling. “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion” (Proverbs 11:22). I wonder if Solomon disagreed with one of his plethora of wives when he wrote, “Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.” In Proverbs 22:13, “The sluggard says, ‘There is a lion outside!’” I tried that verse on my mother one morning hoping I wouldn’t have to go to school. Didn’t work.
The Bible contains tragedy and sorrow, but the backdrop is a triumphant joy. We see it when the giant Goliath proves that anyone who mocks God has rocks in his head. We hear it in the words of Jesus who is facing death and tells His disciples, “In this world you will have trouble, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Because He did, we have reason to rejoice, even to laugh.
Which I did when a child asked me: “Did you know that Adam never had a date with Eve? That’s right. But he had an apple.”