Top Ten Funniest Jokes in the Bible

Header Image source: The Last Supper

Often the Bible is read in a very solemn way, from pulpits by preachers or to children to teach moral lessons. In these situations it can be hard to see the humour that is right in front of your face, and most people would be unable to tell you even one joke from the Bible. However that doesn’t mean it isn’t full of them.

 

In fact the Bible is stuffed to bursting with comic scenes. The absurd and ridiculous only serve to make each story more memorable, more re-tellable. Who could fail to see the humorous nature of the story of Jonah, trapped for three days in the belly of a whale, or of the old man Noah forced to take on an almost impossible task. In new light these stories become entirely comic – or not entirely so if you remember Steve Carrell’s turn on the ark.

 

And the Bible isn’t just full of comic scenes; it’s brimming with jokes, one-liners and put-downs. Here are ten of the best of them.

 

John 4

jesusandwoman

Image source: Wikicommons

The first entry on the list couldn’t really come from anyone other than Jesus Christ himself. John 4 sees one of the saviour’s most righteous put-downs.

 

Jesus is sitting at a well, hoping for a drink of water. The only person around is a Samaritan woman who refuses to share with a Jew. Jesus replies that he won’t share his water with her either, and his water once drank will mean you are never thirsty again. The woman demands it, to which Christ replies:

 

 “Go, call your husband and come back.”

 

 “I have no husband,” she replied.

 

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband.”

 

He calls her out for having had a full five affairs with married men. In more modern terms, he’s slut-shaming the hell out of her. And since he’s Jesus he can do that literally.

 

Unfortunately for Jesus, no-one else was around to hear this insane one liner, since they’d all gone to the village to get food. He must have told them all about it later though, otherwise how could it be in the Bible? Seems even Jesus liked to brag about a good joke.

 

Hebrews 11

abraham

Image source: Wikicommons

We leave Jesus behind to go to another of the Bible’s big boys, Abraham. This poor prophet’s entire relationship with God was so fraught with trickery the Almighty seems more like a playground bully than the creator of the universe.

 

Despite giving absolutely no information at all as to exactly how it would be achieved, God promised Abraham as many children as there were stars in the sky. He even named Abraham the father of many nations. However this pronouncement was made when he was a full ninety-nine years old, and his wife Sarah ninety. As any couple might when told this news at such an age, the two laughed and laughed. But the burn was yet to come.

 

The joke comes in Hebrews, when the author is giving a summary of the great men of the Old Testament. Arriving at Abraham the author can’t resist having a jab at his very late-in-life libido, saying:

                                               

“And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.”

 

And he as good as dead? It seems Abraham’s magical ability in the bedroom didn’t go unnoticed. The power of God really is limitless.

 

Numbers 22

balaam

Image source: Wikicommons

A less well known character is the butt of this next comic scene. His name was Balaam, and he appears in Numbers.

 

Balaam was a capable seer who was summoned by the King of Moab to lay a curse on the Israelites. Unfortunately for the Moab the Israelites were all blessed anyway so any curse couldn’t do anything. Despite Balaam’s warnings, they insisted. It was on his journey to meet the Moab, confident in his own holy and unique role as the prophet of God, that Balaam was to have a rather rude awakening.

 

While Balaam was riding his donkey along the road a shimmering vision of an angel appeared before them. However the great seer was proven to be less than his reputation as he failed to see a single thing. Only his donkey did.

 

This happened twice more, once with the donkey having to scrape against a wall to avoid the angel although his rider still didn’t see. Finally the angel blocked the donkey’s passage so much it could do nothing but lie down.

 

It might be a little more difficult to see the humour in this scene, but it is unmistakeable. The seer who couldn’t see would be true comic relief in any imaginative preacher’s hands.

 

Proverbs

Dore_Solomon_Proverbs

Image source: Wikicommons

The entire book of proverbs is basically just a load of short little sayings you can imagine your grandma using like:

 

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom.”

 

But that’s not all that’s in there. In fact the whole book is a treasure trove of one liners. This one from 11:22:

 

“Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout
is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.”

 

Is so close to the famous sayings we have today about putting make-up on the farm animal or glitter on its excrement that it requires no explanation.

 

Others, like 27:15 which says:

 

“A quarrelsome wife is like the dripping
of a leaky roof in a rainstorm”

 

Are so reminiscent of an old joke worn thin that you realise just how old that joke actually is. Even a brief reading of the Proverbs will see they’re full of humour. They were written to be remembered, and a good joke is apparently never forgotten.

 

Numbers 11

Bacchiacca_-_Moses_Striking_the_Rock

Image source: Wikicommons

Numbers 11 is a comic scene of quite literally biblical proportions, as we see Old Testament God get riled up beyond all belief.

 

Having led Moses and the Israelites out of Egypt, God was feeling quite proud of himself. He was sending seeds called manna every morning with the dew to feed his people, and everything was going well. At least that’s what he thought, the Israelites had very different ideas.

 

They were sick and tired of manna and walking around the desert. They wanted meat. Meat like they had enjoyed in Egypt free of cost (apparently forgetting they had been slaves). God was appalled at the ingratitude, so he sent them quail.

 

It’s hard not to imagine God giggling to himself as he sent down enough quail to cover the ground a metre deep for 30 miles in every direction. Quails aren’t big birds, the average one weighing only around 100 grams, so that’s countless trillions of quails.

 

God was trying to punish his people in the same way as a parent who makes their child smoke a whole pack of cigarettes. Too much of that good thing.

 

Unfortunately for God the people were not put off, and each person reportedly gathered nearly two tons of quail each. Where they each kept their 10,000 personal quails isn’t mentioned.

 

God was exasperated that the people were not put off by the trillions of quails and in his short temper simply gave up. He sent down a plague to kill everyone and was done with it.

 

Song of Songs (Solomon’s Song)

solomon and sheba

Image source: Wikicommons

The Song of Songs are essentially a self-contained joke in themselves, being a testament to the beauty of marriage and ironically written by a man who ended his life with over 1000 concubines in his harem. When Solomon wrote the song however he only had 140, a much more manageable number.

 

The line that stands out as the funniest of them all comes from book 5, where the words run:

 

“His chest is a block of ivory covered with sapphires.”

 

To properly understand this joke you have to know two things. One, that the word ‘chest’ is actually a grossly censored translation of the word for loin or penis. Second, that Solomon wrote the line, about himself.

 

In light of this it becomes clear exactly what the line is. It is Solomon talking about the size of his dick, the sapphires his throbbing veins.

 

Although this line goes pretty much unnoticed nowadays thanks to a deliberate and sneaky mistranslation, it certainly didn’t when it was written, which will go some way to explaining the next entry on our list.

 

1 Kings 12

rehoboam

Image source: Wikicommons

In this book of the Bible Solomon is out of the picture, and his son Rehoboam is being tasked with the throne. Rehoboam is an unknown to the people of what had been his father’s land, and they demand of him to tell what kind of a leader he’ll be.

 

Will he relieve them of the heavy load that his father had burdened them with? Or would he prove still worse? Rehoboam himself couldn’t decide, so asked for three days to make his decision.

 

The people waited the three days before getting there answer, which certainly not what they’d hoped for. Instead of making a decent or fair proclamation, Rehoboam used the opportunity to weigh in on the dick-measuring contest his father had started. Rehoboam said:

 

“My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s loins.”

 

Note that in the original text the word for ‘loins’ is exactly the same as the word for ‘chest’ in the previous entry. And you’ll remember what that really means. Rehoboam made everyone wait three whole days just to listen to him talk about how big his dick was. A truly epic wind-up.

 

1 Samuel 5-6

Ark_and_Temple_of_Dagon

Image source: Wikicommons

With just three remaining on the list we come to what may be God’s funniest offering. Which you’ll realise is a pun in itself when you hear the whole story.

 

The problem this time was that the Philistines had stolen the ark of the covenant from God’s chosen people, and God was understandably pissed off about that.

 

“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 haemorrhoids in their secret parts”

 

That’s a direct, straight-out-the-bible quote. God gave them all haemorrhoids. And he wasn’t even done.

 

The Philistines planned on returning the ark, to ease their worries about their secret parts, but they learned that the ark alone would not be enough to appease God. So what did God want?

 

“Five gold haemorrhoids and five gold rats, according to the number of the Philistine rulers, because the same plague has struck both you and your rulers. Make models of the haemorrhoids and of the rats that are destroying the country, and give glory to Israel’s god.”

 

God wants golden haemorrhoids. That’s scripture. You better believe that’s funny.

 

1 Kings 18

Elijah_Departure_and_Elisha

Image source: Wikicommons

As with everything, God does it best, so this next entry from the prophet Elijah will necessarily be judged harshly in comparison, but Elijah had some dark humour of his own.

 

The story goes that there was a god being worshipped in Samaria called Baal, and Baal was very popular. So popular in fact that he had 450 priests compared to the God we know today’s single one: Elijah.

 

Not one to be outdone by numbers, Elijah challenged all of the Baal priests to a god-off. They would each call on their deity to create fire and whichever succeeded would be the true god. The Baal priests tried first, and weren’t doing so well. As they embarrassed themselves:

 

“Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.”

So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed.”

 

Replace Elijah with the Joker and the priests cutting themselves with hostages calling for Batman and this darkly comic scene becomes easier to see in a modern light. It’s as memorable as it is deadpan:

 

“But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.”

 

2 Kings 2

320px-Elijah_Icon_Sinai_c1200

Image source: Wikicommons

For the final entry in the list we’ll revisit Elijah and the strangely deadpan comedy in his biblical story. This story comes much later in the prophet’s life. In fact so late in his life that he is on his way to be taken up to heaven.

 

It would have been a nice journey if it weren’t for a huge gang of youths who:

 

“…jeered at him. “Get out of here, baldy!” they said. “Get out of here, baldy!”

 

A wholly unnecessary thing to shout considering he was doing that anyway, and as you can see in the pictures, he had a lot of hair. But Elijah didn’t take the sleight lightly. He called down a curse on them, which could mean just about anything in the Bible. The thing about this curse was that it worked rather quickly as:

 

“Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys. And he went on to Mount Carmel and from there returned to Samaria.”

 

Two bears killed forty two men right in front of him and Elijah didn’t even flinch. Dark humour at its most enlightening.

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