On finding humour in the Bible (for Mother’s Day)

  Funny things in the Bible? Well, just occasionally, the Bible provides amusement where humour is not intended.

I suppose we all have discovered sections which are intended to be serious yet upon reflection seem amusing. For me, there are several.

I am always amused when I read the account of Proverbs 31, verses 10-31, where the virtues of a perfect woman are enumerated.

A capable wife?  She would need to need to be a paragon of virtue to be able to do all the things that are listed.

On Mothers’ Day, I find amusement in the story of the mother-in-law of St Peter, who suffered a terrible illness (Mark 1: 30-31). When Jesus cured her, what did the woman do?  Well, the Bible tells us.

St Peter’s mother-in-law was sick in bed, burning up with fever. The disciples told Jesus. He went to her, took her hand, and raised her up.

So after this life-threatening illness and a miracle cure, what did this woman do? Was she allowed to spend a few days in bed in order to recuperate? Was she sent off to have a restful holiday in a house where she could see the waters of Lake Galilee?

No, none of these things.

Immediately after the miracle of healing, she jumped up. Why? Because she had to wait on them, make dinner for them all. Simon Peter may be an adult, and his mother-in-law may have just had a near-death experience, but the work of mothers and mothers-in-law is never done.

Then there is the story in Acts 20, 9-11 where a young man falls asleep when St Paul preached a sermon. After the boy gets healed, what did the Apostle Paul do?  Well, naturally he continued with his marathon sermon. On and on he went, all through the night. Reminder: never distract a preacher when he is in the middle of a long sermon.

To get back to Mothers’ Day.  One can feel sorry for the way women were treated in a patriarchal society.

Things have improved, with many men being prepared to share the housekeeping duties, but even today, in some homes, mother is expected to do most of the work.

A final piece of unintentional Bible humour can be seen in 1 Peter 3:7, where women are described as “the weaker sex.”

When we consider all the chores women are often expected to do, we may smile, because women are not weak at all.