Funniest Passages in the Bible, Continued...

Several years ago we did a post on the funniest passages in Scripture. David Lehr contributes this as a belated entry in that series...

A nomination for your list of funniest verses in Scripture, from a while back:

2 Samuel 16

5 And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, thence came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera: he came forth, and cursed still as he came.

6 And he cast stones at David, and at all the servants of king David: and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. 7 And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial:

8 The LORD hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and the LORD hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and, behold, thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man.

9 Then said Abishai the son of Zeruiah unto the king, Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head.


Ok, now I feel like a complete and total idiot, because I don't get this one either.

Dear Michelle,

It's not so complex. The question, "Should this dead dog curse my lord the king?" followed by the request, "...let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head," is pretty and terrible, formal and awful at the same time. There's an incongruity between the niceness of the language and the nastiness of the intention.

Yours in Christ,

David Bayly

And many years later we see that David has not forgotten this insult. Which is funny to me as it shows David had an ego too.

David gives his charge to Soloman immediately preceding his death.

I Kings 2:8&9

8 "And remember, you have with you Shimei son of Gera, the Benjamite from Bahurim, who called down bitter curses on me the day I went to Mahanaim. When he came down to meet me at the Jordan, I swore to him by the LORD: ‘I will not put you to death by the sword.’

9 But now, do not consider him innocent. You are a man of wisdom; you will know what to do to him. Bring his grey head down to the grave in blood."

Translated: Go get him, boy! :)

I always thought Jonah chapter 4 was really funny.

"Doest thou well to be angry?"

Always brings a smile to my face.

Hmmm. 1 Samuel 9 in the KJV has to be right up there.

I've always loved the story of Jael and the tent peg, not to mention Proverbs 17:28.

You seem to be such a bunch of modernists! Can't one use polite language to describe impolite acts? Should language be demeaned merely because it describes demented people? There is something perfectly appropriate for McAuliffe's reply to German demands for surrender, "Aw, nuts". One imagines that Patton's reply would have been far more impolite, and therefore, far less quote-worthy. But McAuliffe's more perfectly represented the soldiers under his care, and became an icon of the Americans cheerful denial of despair in the face of hopeless odds. Words matter, and medieval chivalry valued the honor of well-spoken words. Would that us impoverished moderns cherished our words as much!

But as for funniest words in the Bible, my favorite is St Paul's admonition to Titus, in 1: 12-13. A famous Cretan philosopher had made the self-reflexive argument that so stumped Bertrand Russell's positivism, "All Cretans are liars". This humor seems lost on Paul who repeats it, and adds the inspired commentary of verse 13 "This testimony is true."

Take that, all you propositional truth Biblical literalists!

When it comes to a funny verse couched in polite language, 1Kings 18:27 and its use of the word, "persuing" takes the cake.

Second funniest would have be the story in Mark 2:1-4. I would have loved to have seen the look on everyone's faces when the fellow was lowered down through the roof, bed and all.

Speaking of I Kings 18. This scene made me chuckle.

7 And as Obadiah was in the way, behold, Elijah met him: and he knew him, and fell on his face, and said, Art thou that my lord Elijah?

8 And he answered him, I am: go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here.

9 And he said, What have I sinned, that thou wouldest deliver thy servant into the hand of Ahab, to slay me?

10 As the LORD thy God liveth, there is no nation or kingdom, whither my lord hath not sent to seek thee: and when they said, He is not there; he took an oath of the kingdom and nation, that they found thee not.

11 And now thou sayest, Go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here.

12 And it shall come to pass, as soon as I am gone from thee, that the Spirit of the LORD shall carry thee whither I know not; and so when I come and tell Ahab, and he cannot find thee, he shall slay me: but I thy servant fear the LORD from my youth.

The whole exchange between Ben Hadad king of Aram and Ahab king of Israel in 1 Kings 20 that starts with

“Thus says Ben-hadad, ‘Your silver and your gold are mine; your most beautiful wives and children are also mine.’”

and ends with,

“Your servant Ben-hadad says, ‘Please let me live.’”

In the middle:

Ben-hadad sent to him and said, “May the gods do so to me and more also, if the dust of Samaria will suffice for handfuls for all the people who follow me.” Then the king of Israel replied, “Tell him, ‘Let not him who girds on his armor boast like him who takes it off.’”

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