Humor in Scripture, updated...
[NOTE FROM TIM: This article was posted on Baylyblog back in 2005. New suggestions are welcome.]
Nominations continue to be open for funniest verses. Since posting this a couple months ago, we've received a number of suggestions for additions which we've here incorporated. If you have more, please send them in.
Following David's post listing his ten funniest books, the Bloomington Bayly family submits this list of the Scripture texts we find funniest. Humor is dangerous, but please take "funny" in the broadest sense including irony, sarcasm, and hilarity.
"I said to them, 'Whoever has any gold, let them tear it off.' So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf."
And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, "What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?" And Balaam said unto the ass, "Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee."
So (David) disguised his sanity before them, and acted insanely in their hands, and scribbled on the doors of the gate, and let his saliva run down into his beard. Then Achish said to his servants, "Behold, you see the man behaving as a madman. Why do you bring him to me? Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this one to act the madman in my presence? Shall this one come into my house?"
But Jehoshaphat said, "Is there not yet a prophet of the LORD here that we may inquire of him?"
The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the LORD, but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me but always evil. He is Micaiah, son of Imla."
When (Micaiah) came to the king, the king said to him, "Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I refrain?"
He said, "Go up and succeed, for they will be given into your hand."
Then the king said to him, "How many times must I adjure you to speak to me nothing but the truth in the name of the LORD?"
So he said, "I saw all Israel Scattered on the mountains, Like sheep which have no shepherd; And the LORD said, 'These have no master. Let each of them return to his house in peace.'"
Then the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?"
The sluggard says, "There is a lion in the road! There is a lion in the streets!" As a door turns on its hinges, so does a sluggard on his bed.
(The man born blind) answered them, "I told you already and you did not listen; why do you want to hear it again? You do not want to become His disciples too, do you?"
Acts 2:13-15 But others were mocking and saying, "They are full of sweet wine."
But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: "Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day;"
Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, "My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee. I stand on trial because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead."
...not to mention that you owe me your very self.
Wherefore lay apart all ...superfluity of naughtiness...
Ehud stretched out his left hand, took the sword from his right thigh and thrust it into his belly. The handle also went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade, for he did not draw the sword out of his belly; and the refuse came out.
When he had gone out, his servants came and looked, and behold, the doors of the roof chamber were locked; and they said, "He is only relieving himself in the cool room."
1 Samuel 5:9,12: And it was so, that, after they had carried it about, the hand of the LORD was against the city with a very great destruction: and he smote the men of the city, both small and great, and they had emerods in their secret parts.... And the men that died not were smitten with the emerods: and the cry of the city went up to heaven.
And as for thine asses that were lost three days ago, set not thy mind on them; for they are found.
And he came to the sheepfolds by the way, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the innermost parts of the cave. And the men of David said to him, "Here is the day of which the LORD said to you, 'Behold, I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it shall seem good to you.'" Then David arose and stealthily cut off the skirt of Saul's robe.
About noontime Elijah began mocking them. "You'll have to shout louder," he scoffed, "for surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or he is relieving himself. Or maybe he is away on a trip, or he is asleep and needs to be wakened!"
(Elijah) went up from there to Bethel; and while he was going up on the way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him, saying, "Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!"
And he turned around, and when he saw them, he cursed them in the name of the LORD. And two she-bears came out of the woods and tore forty-two of the boys.
The midwives answered Pharaoh, "Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive."
Psalm 56:1b (one of the young women in my family finds this funny):
...for men hotly pursue me; all day long...
Song of Solomon 8:8 (The whole book is funny, but this is my daughters' favorite verse.)
We have a little sister, And she has no breasts; What shall we do for our sister...?
Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you beat him with a rod, he will not die.
I said in my alarm, "All men are liars."
I wish those who unsettle you would mutilate themselves!
One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons." This testimony is true.
And those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads and saying, "You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross."
In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him and saying, "He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him. HE TRUSTS IN GOD; LET GOD RESCUE Him now, IF HE DELIGHTS IN HIM; for He said, 'I am the Son of God.'"
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and his anointed, saying, "Let us burst their bonds asunder, and cast their cords from us."
He who sits in the heavens laughs; the LORD has them in derision.
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, make haste and come down; for I must stay at your house today."