Many Old Testament stories in the history books seem to have no message but that human-beings are broken and need mending, are sinful and therefore keep spoiling God’s lovely world and hurting each other! Then along comes this story to remind us of another truth… 1 Samuel 24  is set amid political jostling and attempted murder in the beginnings of the Hebrew monarchy. Yet the story has not one, but two, real heroes. For here young David and poor old, broken and probably insane, Saul both act with gracious nobility.  Read More →

Just four chapters, here’s a story without violence or even conflict, a simple everyday tale of country folk, yet Ruth grips hearers is loved by everyone and carries profound theological messages, that echo into the books before and after Ruth in the Christian Bible.  Read More →

The strange, and strangely disturbing story of Micaiah ben Imlah in 2 Chronicles 18 which repeats very closely its source in 1 Kings 221 it ticks all the boxes as a passage intended to be funny. And when you read it, it is hilarious. From Jehoshaphat’s gentle resistance through Zedekiah with a “Viking” helmet, and Micaiah telling porkies after swearing the truth, only when caught claiming a Lying spirit from Yahweh tricked him, to Micaiah’s last laugh from prison, the tale is a riot 🙂 But what is its point? So, here’s the link to the audio: Humour in the Bible, book 14: 2 ChroniclesRead More →

The prayer of Jabez was wildly popular a few years back among voguish Christians worried about the lack of obvious and excess prosperity in their lives (compared to those richer and general better off than them, not compared to the world population in general). Even without that 1 Chron 4:9-10 is funny (strange peculiar, if not humorous) in several ways: first narrative in Chron not part of surrounding genealogy seems stuck in Jabez does not seem to fit into the genealogies though there is a town of that name inhabited by possibly Kenite scribes and begins “there was” vayyehi like stories do though there areRead More →

Since Google suggests the first chapter of 2 Kings is humorous I’ll measure it against the criteria. It meets most (but not all) which i think makes it clear this passage is not merely funny but was intended to be funny. Though again it is a “black” humour. As a bonus I’ll offer a reading of the passage, it seems a shame to be talking about humour but not be “allowed” to get any laughs 🙁 NB: this reading is basically the NRSV, which being a very literal translation captures the fairy tale quality of the telling rather well. Special bonus: reading of 2 KingsRead More →

Idols, “gods” that people make! The very idea of making a god is one of those notions that almost have to reduce you to tears (whether of laughter or sadness and desperation depends on the circumstances), and the Bible has plenty of fun at the expense (in both senses) of idols. In this episode, therefore, we’ll look at 1 Kings 18 (particularly 1Kings 18:27 & 39).1 PS: for those who want to follow the reference to El and Anat mourning Ba’al by cutting themselves see my post with a translation of the relevant Ugaritic text. There is fuller background on this in 1 Kings 16:29Read More →

Go’el is another thoroughly cultural word, that is highly theological. Again it is prominent in Ruth. This time there is one English word that is often a decent translation, redeemer, the problem is redeem carries a different weight of overtones from ga’al. There is a good short post about ga’al here with reference to Jesus and Boaz and Wikipedia has a very short article.  Read More →