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The Humor Of Proverbs

Mixed with the practical wisdom of Proverbs, there is humor, sometimes biting humor. So if you’re looking for a laugh, along with sarcasm, in the Bible, Proverbs is the place to turn. Like modern humor, the humor of Proverbs is not always politically correct.

21:9 “Better to live on the corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.”

21:19 “Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.”

27:15-16 “A quarrelsome wife is like the dripping of a leaky roof in a rainstorm; restraining her is like restraining the wind or grasping oil with the hand.”

Solomon, credited with writing a lot of the Proverbs, was a king and didn’t have to stand for election. Thus, he was unconcerned with the women’s vote — which is not to say he was unconcerned with women. According to I Kings 11, he had 700 wives and 300 concubines. Such a statistic draws into question whether Solomon always used the wisdom he requested and received from God. (I Kings 3:10-12)

Because I Kings 11:3 says that Solomon’s wives led him astray, it does seem that some of his wisdom was wasted. Interestingly and somewhat counterintuitively — at least for him — Solomon refers to “wisdom” in the feminine in Proverbs 8. I’m not sure that Solomon’s relationship with women, together with his description of wisdom, is intended to be humorous, but I can’t keep a smile from crossing my face when I read about it. And perhaps it explains his opinion about quarrelsome wives.

But I digress.

26:11 “As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.”

27:14 “If anyone loudly blesses their neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse.”

29:20 “Do you see someone who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for them.”

And there’s more.


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