The strange, and strangely disturbing story of Micaiah ben Imlah in 2 Chronicles 18 which repeats very closely its source in 1 Kings 22 1Which may mean this entry is cheating in terms of finding humour in every book of the (Hebrew) Bible, though it does seem to show that the Chronicles was not so humourless as to damage fine humour when he came across it. BTW if anyone has an example of humour in 1 Chronicles, I am still looking and would value your help. Tyler hinted at some killer comedy in Chronicles but so far no one has proposed a good example… itRead 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 There is fuller background on this in 1 Kings 16:29 – 19:18: The big fight at Mt Carmel PS: for those who want to follow the reference to El and Anat mourning Ba’al by cutting themselves see myRead More →

Judges is one Bible book where it has been common to recognise humour. Ehud killing the fat and oppressive king Eglon in the toilet has been a popular example, though  I’ll pretty much leave the scatology to David and others who appreciate it 😉 I’d rather focus on gender. In Judges relationships between men and women are either funny or horrible. The story of Deborah (Judges 4) may provide examples, but the humour in the poem (Judges 5) is much clearer. It shows all nine of my diagnostic signs of humour. And develops some powerful (and this being Judges disturbing) gender bending humour. Though afterRead More →

The little story, in Joshua 2, of Rahab and the clueless pair of young Israelite would be spies, provided Spenser 1 F. Scott Spencer “Those Riotous – Yet Righteous – Foremothers of Jesus: Exploring Matthew’s Comic Genealogy.” In Are we amused?: humour about women in the biblical worlds, edited by Athalya Brenner, 7-30. Continuum, 2003   (see Signs of humour: especially in written texts acr oss cultures) with a nice example of several of his criteria all together in one text, making it evidently humorous. What do you think? Do the criteria work? Or is this vignette deadly serious?     Notes   [ + ] 1.Read More →