Can you find humor in the Bible?

Psalm 126:2 – Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” 

Does the Bible have any humor in it, or is that just not appropriate for religion? We’ll start in Genesis, the book of beginnings where all things begin, including good comedy. The book starts fairly early on with a guy marrying his sister, which is really funny unless you’re from Kentucky, and then it hits a little too close to home.

Then it moves along. God floods the earth, kills everyone except for a family headed by a man named Noah. That’s not the funny part. They climb into an ark. Upon exiting the ark in Genesis 9, there’s this funny little story where Noah gets drunk and passes out naked in his tent. I mean, the whole book is a hillbilly redneck saga. It’s like all of Genesis takes place in a trailer park. 

We then get to a guy named Jacob whose name means “trickster”. He’s a conman. So, he goes to this well in Genesis 25 and a beautiful young lady named Rachel is there. He’s really interested in her, so he does this Herculean feat, taking the lid off the well so she could have water. Normally, this would take a whole host of men, but he sort of shows up, stretches out, gets on his tank top, and oils himself up like a bodybuilder. And then he rushes up and kisses her like he just won the Nextel Cup and he’s on stage with the trophy girl.

Then Rachel brings Jacob home to her dad, Laban, and this guy is an absolute varsity conman. So much of the ensuing chapters of Genesis is Laban tricking the trickster all the way to the point where he makes Jacob work for seven years to marry Rachel. Finally, he gets married, wakes up the next morning, rolls over, and he’s not married to Rachel but her lazy-eyed sister, Leah! True story!

Continuing in the Old Testament, in Exodus, Moses goes up on the mountain to talk to God and get the Ten Commandments. While he’s gone, his brother Aaron is left in charge to watch over the people. Aaron takes all the gold and jewelry, they melt it down, and create a golden calf to worship! Aaron tells them, “Worship this idol, this is the god that delivered you from Egypt.” Moses is up on the mountain with God and God tells him, “You better go back down there. People have lost their minds.” 

Moses asks Aaron, “What happened?” There’s this huge golden idol. Here are Aaron’s exact words from Exodus 32:24, “They gave it to me and I threw it in the fire, and out came this calf.” Right? It’s like a dad walking in on his high school daughter with her boyfriend and they have no clothes on and they’re like “We don’t know what happened, we were just talking, and all our clothes fell off. I have no idea. We’re victims. The belt’s defective.” 

Only two books into the Bible, there are so many more examples of humor used throughout the Bible. We’re all fallen, sinful humans and there will be times throughout life that we miss the mark and need forgiveness and our fallenness is laughable. Though they may not feel funny in the moment, we can find humor in these accounts thousands of years later like someone likely would if they read an account of our life story in a few thousand years. The most important thing is that we take God seriously but not ourselves.

Where are some places in the Bible where you can find humor? 

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