I love to laugh. I was raised that way by parents who relished the silliness in everyday life, and passed this way of not taking themselves or life too seriously, on to their three children. So my brothers and I grew up reading Mad magazines, listening to Spike Jones on the phonograph (as newly-weds living in San Diego in the early 1950’s, my parents enjoyed seeing Spike and his band perform live on stage), and watching Laurel and Hardy and Pink Panther movies on the television. To this day, whenever my family gathers, laughter fills the room.
What a wonderful discovery it was then, when early on in my seminary Old Testament class I learned from my instructor Dr. Lester (another relisher of the silliness in life) that the Hebrew Bible is chock-full of humor! For instance, in the third chapter of Judges, an evil king is killed by the sword while sitting on the ‘throne’ (the text refers to the toilet as the ‘cool roof chamber’), while in the twenty-second chapter of Numbers, God speaks through a donkey! Hee-haw!
Whoever said the Old Testament was dry and boring?
A subtler type of humor is going on in the Exodus text that I will be preaching from this Sunday. The Egyptian pharaoh, who is feeling his power threatened by the rapid increase in the population of the Hebew slave community, orders that all male Hebrew babies be killed (harumpf!), only to be duped by a couple of Hebrew women. Here is a summary of events:
May your days be filled with opportunities for laughter--especially during the pandemic, for laughter is truly good for the soul! And if you are in need a couple of belly laughs, take a look at the biblical texts I mentioned. After all, the Old Testament isn’t dry and boring, as most of us think, but full of humor. You just need to look for it.
With joy and delight,