Ouch! (Photo by By Paul Garland)
There certainly should certainly be humour in Proverbs, after all the books says:
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. (Proverbs 17:22)
And sure enough when I went humour-hunting Google quickly fitted me up with Hershey H. Friedman, he used to be Bernard H. Stern Professor of Humor so you know he’s a serious humour scholar, and he wrote on “Humor in the Bible” with lots of examples from Proverbs. The article is in the journal Humor: International Journal of Humor Research, (Vol. 13:3, Sept. 2000, 258-285) so again we know this is pukka academic stuff.
The trouble is what Hershey found funny, often left me un-moved, and worse he seemed to have an affinity for nagging wife jokes, and Barbara is no nag! But he did prompt me to look at Proverbs 26 (lots of his examples came from there) and boy is that right, as you’ll see nearly every line is funny. I only get up to verse 10.
Though the humour does sometimes raise questions, like those Randal raised about ethnic sterotyping in Paul’s comments about Cretans.