Who says God doesn?t have a sense of humor? These funny Bible verses might suggest otherwise. And they also tell us a little about our heavenly father ? the creator of the first dad jokes.
1: Jesus Gets Hangry
?The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit.
When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, ?May no one ever eat fruit from you again.? And his disciples heard him say it.? ? Mark 11:12?14
Once upon a time, Jesus was walking through the countryside with his disciples. Since this was before Chick-fil-A, they didn?t have easy access to food while they were traveling. And that day, the messiah was feeling a little peckish.
Jesus spotted a fig tree and thought he could get a meal from it. But when the caravan reached the tree, it didn?t have any delicious figs ready to eat. That?s when Jesus got upset. Christ cursed the fig tree in front of his followers and declared that it would never again produce fruit.
Despite being able to feed 5,000 people with some bread and fish, Jesus wasn?t able to make a meal out of no figs.
These days, we have a term for getting angry because of hunger ? hangry. Even Snickers commercials remind us that you?re not you when you?re hungry. And it?s no stretch of the imagination that Jesus was probably slightly hangry that day outside of Bethany.
This just proves that although the son of God was perfect, he was still human.
2: Ezekiel Eats God?s Words
?And he said to me, ?Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the people of Israel.? So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat.
Then he said to me, ?Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.? So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.? ? Ezekiel 3:1?3
When God gives you a direct command, it?s usually wise to do it. But what if it?s something weird? Like eating a piece of paper. Because that?s the exact situation Ezekiel found himself in.
We?ve all heard of consuming and digesting the word of God. But the prophet Ezekiel did this literally. We?ve got to give the guy props for not hesitating or questioning God?s will. How many bites do you think it took him to finish it? Did he use a knife and fork? Did he add salt?
Perhaps the strangest part of the story is that the scroll tasted like honey. Maybe that was just God?s way of rewarding Ezekiel?s blind faith ? with some delicious tasting parchment. But you have to wonder if Ezekiel ever ate any more scrolls to see how they tasted. It may have been the best meal he?d ever had.
Either way, don?t try this yourself. I can guarantee that the pages from your Bible won?t taste good.
3: Elisha Can?t Bear Bullies
?From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. ?Get out of here, baldy!? they said. ?Get out of here, baldy!?
He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys.? ? 2 Kings 2:23?24
The prophet Elisha was a great man of God. However, he suffered from male-pattern baldness and was obviously self-conscious about it. Because when a few local kids started making fun of his lack of hair, Elisha had a curious (and slightly extreme) reaction.
Elisha siced a pair of female bears on the youthful bullies. And the bears proceeded to kill more than three dozen of the boys. That?s pretty gruesome. The fact that the Bible specifies the number of deaths makes me believe that there were even more boys present who escaped the bears. Why were so many kids out on the road mocking the prophet?
Elisha likely pulled this off this unusual bear attack with the help of God. So should we assume that God condoned this act of violence? Maybe this was God?s way of saying that you shouldn?t mess with his prophets. Even if it?s just making fun of their bald spot.
This is one of the rare scenarios where a toupee would have saved countless lives.
4: Looking a Gift Fish in the Mouth
?But so that we may not cause offense, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.? ? Matthew 17:27
As the saying goes, the only two certainties in life are death and taxes. Except that Jesus cheated death when he was resurrected. Before he did that, Christ also found a loophole in paying taxes ? by getting money from a fish.
When Jesus and his followers enter the city of Capernaum, some temple tax collectors tell them that they need to pay money to the temple. Jesus agrees, except he must not have a steady stream of income to pay. He was probably in between carpentry jobs.
So he instructs Peter to use his skills as a fisherman to go catch a fish. Peter caught a fish and inside its mouth was exactly how much they owed in taxes. What kind of bait do you think Peter used to catch that kind of fish?
The disciples should be thankful that they never got audited, because the IRS would likely have questioned their fishy source of income.
5: A Talking Donkey
?When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat it with his staff.
Then the Lord opened the donkey?s mouth, and it said to Balaam, ?What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times??
Balaam answered the donkey, ?You have made a fool of me! If only I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.? ? Numbers 22:27?29
Balaam is a slightly obscure character in the story of the Bible. He was a wicked prophet who lived around the time of Moses? death of. And much like the animated character Shrek, Balaam had a talking donkey as a sidekick.
One day, Balaam was traveling to do something God didn?t want him to do. So God sent an angel to oppose him. Balaam didn?t see the angel, but his donkey did. At the sight of God?s angel, Balaam?s donkey refused to move forward. The false prophet got angry and started to beat his donkey.
That?s when things got weird ? because the donkey protested the beating in speech. Once the donkey spoke, Balaam finally noticed the wrathful angel of God. Balaam was so surprised by the angel that he completely overlooked the talking donkey.
The Bible does not specify whether or not the donkey sounded like Eddie Murphy ? but I like to think that it did.
6: Paul?s Deadly Sermon
?On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting.
Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead.? ? Acts 20:7?9
Paul spent most of the New Testament traveling around the Mediterranean region preaching the gospel. So he probably got pretty good at giving sermons. But there was a time in his early ministry when his preaching was deadly.
One day, Paul was speaking to a group of Christians in Greece. The third-floor room was probably packed, to the point where some people were sitting on the window ledges. One such person was a young Greek man named Eutychus, who grew so bored from Paul?s sermon that he fell asleep and then fell through an open window.
People rushed outside where they found Eutychus dead on the ground. They carried him back up to the room. Probably embarrassed by the whole situation, Paul brought the kid back to life, like nothing had ever happened. And then he proceeded to preach some more.
And that?s the story of why all church sanctuaries are on the ground floor.
7: Sarah Laughs at God
?Then one of them said, ?I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.? Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him.
Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, ?After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure??
Then the Lord said to Abraham, ?Why did Sarah laugh and say, ?Will I really have a child, now that I am old?? Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.? Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, ?I did not laugh.? But he said, ?Yes, you did laugh.? ? Genesis 18:10?15
One of the Bible?s greatest miracles is God birthing the nation of Israel from an elderly couple who never thought they would have children. Abraham and Sarah were the foundation for God?s people, but at one point that was a laughable idea.
While some angels were telling Abraham God?s grand plan, Sarah was eavesdropping on their conversation. When they mentioned that a key part of the plan was senior citizen Sarah getting pregnant, she understandably laughed.
God asked what she thought was funny. Sarah was so embarrassed that she denied laughing. When she eventually gave birth to a son (just like God predicted), she named him Isaac, which means ?he who laughs.? Perhaps this was Sarah?s way of apologizing for chuckling at God?s plan.
God always gets the last laugh.
8: A Moment of Silence
?And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.? ? Revelation 8:1
In the cryptic book of Revelation, much is made of opening the seven seals ? which is obviously a metaphor for something important. But there?s an awkwardly funny moment once the seventh seal is finally opened.
Because when that final seal opens up there is exactly thirty minutes of silence in heaven. This story funny to me because of how specific this passage is. Why thirty minutes? That?s a long time to be completely quiet ? especially for all of heaven. Were all of the angels quietly waiting for God to tell them they could talk again?
The next verse in Revelation mentions angels playing trumpets. So those angels had to sit there not playing trumpets for half an hour. Do you think they had a heavenly conductor who told them went to play? Did they have angel band rehearsal? So many questions.
Interestingly enough, The Seventh Seal is a famous Swedish movie from the 1950s about a crusader playing chess against death. Unlike this passage, the film is not silent.
9: Elijah Talks Smack
?At noon Elijah mocked them, saying, ?Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.? ? 1 Kings 18:27
One day, Elijah was having a contest with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. They both thought their god was better and more powerful than the other. Elijah intended to prove that he represented the one true God and that Baal was a false idol.
So he challenged the Baal prophets to set fire to a pile of logs by calling upon their god. (Remember, this was before the invention of Bic lighters.) When his rivals failed to produce even so much as one spark, Elijah began to mock them.
He said that perhaps their god was away on vacation or was asleep. Best of all, Elijah suggestEd that maybe the mighty Baal was in the bathroom and couldn?t be bothered to bring down any fire at the moment. Instead of a throne in heaven, Baal needed a porcelain throne.
Then, Elijah backed up his smack talk when God brought down fire from heaven. The righteous prophet had thrown so much shade that God might as well have created an eclipse.
10: King of the Cows
?Immediately what had been said about Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled. He was driven away from people and ate grass like the ox. His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird.? ? Daniel 4:33
King Nebuchadnezzar was the ruler of the Babylonians and proud owner of one of the hardest to spell biblical names. Like most of the other Babylonian kings, Nebuchadnezzar thought of himself as all powerful, even above God.
So God decided to put Nebuchadnezzar in his place ? by making the Babylonian think that he was a cow. Nebuchadnezzar lived out in the fields, ate grass, and grew out his hair. After seven seasons, he finally regained his sanity and started praising God.
Interesting fact about this Bible story ? there?s actually a name for this condition. Thinking that you?re a cow is a real psychological disorder called boanthropy. Most people only intentionally act like cows when they?re trying to score free Chick-fil-A.
The lesson here is to not have a cow about praising our heavenly father. Let his will mooooove you.
Bonus: The Funniest Proverbs
?Like a gold ring in a pig?s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.? ? Proverbs 11:22
?Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.? ? Proverbs 21:9
?As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.? ? Proverbs 31:6
Proverbs is an incredible book ? so full of wisdom and pithy sayings. Most of those sayings are deep and easily quoted on Instagram. However, there are still quite a few verses in Proverbs that are equally humorous.
These verses show that the author of Proverbs (probably Solomon) was fearless when calling people out. He calls women with no discretion pigs. And calls fools vomit-eating dogs. That?s some grossly-powerful animal imagery.
Perhaps my favorite of these is how it?s better to live on the corner of a roof than live with an angry wife. Remember that Solomon had hundreds of wives, so at least one of them was bound to be mad at him at all times. Plus, can you imagine how strange it would be to live on the corner of a roof?
The point is that God?s word is full of some funny words. Humor isn?t the point of scripture, but it can help us to better understand it and relate it to the next generation. Take some time to read through the Bible and find parts that you find funny.