You may know the more popular Bible stories: Adam and Eve, Noah and the Flood, Jesus in the Manger…
But did you know the Bible is full of laugh-out-loud stories and amusing anecdotes you’ll have to read to believe?
Here are 15 of my (and my children’s!) favorite funny Bible stories. I hope you enjoy them too!
1. Israelite Priests Are Forced to Wear Underwear (or Die)
“Make linen undergarments as a covering for the body, reaching from the waist to the thigh. Aaron and his sons must wear them whenever they enter the tent of meeting or approach the altar to minister in the Holy Place, so that they will not incur guilt and die. This is to be a lasting ordinance for Aaron and his descendants.” — Exodus 28:42-43
In all fairness, God did have a long list of rules the Israelites were expected to obey. Some of them are pretty comical, however.
For example, God instructed Moses to make sure the Israelite priests wore underwear so no one would get a show as the priests served in the temple. And it couldn’t be skimpy underwear either. It had to cover them up from waist to thigh.
Most of God’s rules for the Israelite people don’t apply to us today, but they can be fun to read about!
See Also: How to Hear God’s Voice Clearly
2. The Golden Calf that “Created Itself”
“So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!” — Exodus 32:24
Have you ever caught a child red-handed, only for them to claim, “I have NO idea how that got there! It wasn’t me!”
That’s pretty much what happened after Moses came down from the mountain where he received the 10 Commandments.
A mere 4.5 months have passed since God miraculously delivered the Israelite people out of forced slavery in Egypt. And in this short time, God demonstrated His power and provision again and again through:
- Sending 10 plagues
- Parting the Red Sea
- Leading the people via a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night
- Providing manna and quail to eat
- and more.
And yet, while Moses is on the mountain, the Israelite people quickly turn to idolatry, fashion a golden calf, worship the calf, and throw a giant party. When confronted, Aaron denies his involvement, basically claiming the calf created itself.
Their punishment? Moses burns the calf, mixes its ashes into water, and makes the Israelites drink it. Then the Levites run around the camp, killing the idolaters, and God sends a plague.
See Also: Why Does God Allow Suffering?
3. God Speaks Through a Talking Donkey
“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.’
The donkey said to Balaam, ‘Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?’
‘No,’ he said.’ — Numbers 22:28-30
God clearly tells the prophet Balaam not to go to King Balak (a neighboring king who wants Balaam to curse God’s people, the Israelites), but Balam doesn’t want to listen. If Balam won’t listen to God, perhaps he’ll listen to his donkey.
God sends the Angel of the Lord to block the donkey’s path, but only the donkey can see it. Not knowing why his donkey refuses to move, Balaam beats the donkey with his staff.
When God allows the donkey to speak, Balaam doesn’t seem the least bit surprised to hear his donkey speak. He only acknowledges his sin when he sees the angel. I guess a talking donkey isn’t unusual enough to suggest to Balaam that God may be at work.
4. King Eglon is So Fat His Belly Swallows an 18″ Sword
“He presented the tribute to Eglon king of Moab, who was a very fat man…
“Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh and plunged it into the king’s belly. Even the handle sank in after the blade, and his bowels discharged. Ehud did not pull the sword out, and the fat closed in over it.” — Judges 3:17,22
When the enemy king (King Eglon) persecutes God’s chosen people (the Israelites), the Israelites send Ehud to deliver them. Ehud pretends to have a secret message for the king, but when they’re alone, Ehud stabs King Eglon in the stomach.
Apparently, King Eglon is so rotund that Ehud’s entire sword (about a foot and a half long) gets sucked into the king’s fat and disappears, handle and all. The king poops himself as he’s dying, and Ehud escapes out the back.
The king’s servants assume the king is busy in the bathroom, so they wait “to the point of embarrassment” before checking on him. By this time, the king is dead and Ehud is gone.
See Also: How to Know God’s Will for Your Life
5. Elijah Suggests Baal is Busy “Relieving Himself”
“About noontime Elijah began mocking them. ‘You’ll have to shout louder,’ he scoffed, ‘for surely he is a god! Perhaps he is daydreaming, or is relieving himself. Or maybe he is away on a trip, or is asleep and needs to be wakened!” –1 Kings 18:27 NLT
The prophet Elijah challenges the evil king Ahab to a dramatic showdown between the prophets of the one true God and the prophets of the false god Baal. While the 450 prophets of Baal are shouting, slashing themselves, and dancing around their altar for hours in an attempt to get Baal’s attention, Elijah starts mocking them.
While translations vary, the New Living Translation (NLT), the English Standard Version (ESV), and the Contemporary English Version (CEV) each report that Elijah told the prophets of Baal their god was too busy “relieving himself” or “using the toilet” (for hours??) to pay any attention to their dramatic, bloody spectacle.
Of course, when it’s Elijah’s turn, his God sends fire immediately, despite the fact that Elijah has poured three buckets of water on his altar to prove a point.
6. Bears Attack 42 Boys Who Called a Prophet “Baldy”
“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
Shortly after the prophet Elijah is taken up into Heaven, his successor, Elisha, is walking down the road when he’s surrounded by a mob of angry youths. Elijah calls a curse down on the 42 troublemakers, and God sends two bears to maul them.
While the Bible gives us very little detail on this story, we can safely assume that these were not small children playing an innocent prank, but angry, disrespectful youths or young adults that showed a blatant disregard for God and His prophets.
See Also: Are All Sins Really Equal to God?
7. Jehu Drives Like a Maniac
“The lookout reported, ‘He has reached them, but he isn’t coming back either. The driving is like that of Jehu son of Nimshi—he drives like a maniac.’” — 2 Kings 9:20
Do you think your friends and family are bad drivers? As soon as Jehu is anointed as Israel’s next king, he takes off driving like a madman to rid of the kingdom of the previous (evil) king.
But you have to wonder: What sort of reputation must Jehu have had if the opposing side’s lookout recognized him from far away by his poor driving skills?
8. A Dead Man Unexpectedly Springs to Life
“Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man’s body into Elisha’s tomb. When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet.” — 2 Kings 13:21
Can you even imagine? Your loved one has just died, and you’re still grieving the loss. On the way to the burial site, you notice a band of enemy raiders dangerously nearby. You need to get out of there and quickly!
You chuck the body into a nearby tomb (which just so happens to be the prophet Elisha’s tomb), but as soon as the body touches Elisha’s bones, your loved one miraculously and unexpectedly springs back to life! What a shock that must have been for everyone involved.
See Also: How to Renew Your Mind
9. The Philistines Give a Unique Apology Gift: 5 Gold Rats and 5 Gold Tumors
“The Philistines asked, ‘What guilt offering should we send to him?’
They replied, ‘Five gold tumors and five gold rats, according to the number of the Philistine rulers, because the same plague has struck both you and your rulers.’ — 1 Samuel 6:4
After the Philistines captured the Israelite Ark of the Covenant, the people of the Philistine city of Ashdod were ravaged with tumors. This same thing happened in the Philistine cities of Gath, and Ekron, when the ark was moved to each place.
Understandably, the Philistines wanted to send the Ark of the Covenant back!
So the Philistines loaded the Ark on a cart, along with a guilt offering of five gold tumors and five gold rats. Then they attached the cart to two cows who were recently separated from their calfs, and let the cows go. Rather than returning to their calves, the cows returned the Ark straight to the Israelites, without a person leading the way.
See Also: What is Righteousness in the Bible?
10. The Israelite Soldiers Have Their Butts Hang Out
“So Hanun seized David’s envoys, shaved off half of each man’s beard, cut off their garments at the buttocks, and sent them away.” — Samuel 10:4
When King David is ruler over Israel, he tries to show kindness to a neighboring king after the loss of his father.
Unfortunately, the neighboring King Hanun doesn’t trust David’s motives. Hanun shaved half of each man’s beard and cut off their garments off so their butts hung out.
As a result, the humiliated men wait in Jericho until their beards grow back, and the two nations go to war. (Israel wins.)
11. The Israelites Use Idols As Adult Toys
“You also took the fine jewelry I gave you, the jewelry made of my gold and silver, and you made for yourself male idols and engaged in prostitution with them.” — Ezekiel 16:17
While this section of the Bible is allegorical (the Lord is using metaphor and simile to compare Israel’s repeated idolatry to a cheating woman), the NIV translation of this verse is pretty humorous.
God is (rightly) accusing His people of spiritual adultery, but the way the verse is translated makes it sound like the Israelites were enjoying using their man-made idols as adult toys.
See Also: 5 Common Misconceptions About the Bible
12. The Egyptian Men Were Hung Like Donkeys
“There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.” — Ezekiel 23:20
A few chapters later in the same book, we find another verse that will certainly make you raise your eyebrows in surprise.
In this allegorical example, the Lord compares the nations of Israel and Judah to two adulterous sisters who run after men hung like horses to engage in prostitution.
The section is pretty graphic (definitely not appropriate for young children), showing just how strongly God feels when His chosen people abandon Him to chase after false gods and worldly pleasures.
See Also: How to Put God First in Your Life
13. One of the Apostles Runs Off Naked
“A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.” — Mark 14:51-52
In this passage, Jesus is praying in the Garden of Gethsemane (right before his crucifixion), when Judas leads an armed crowd of chief priests and elders to find and arrest him.
When the mob grabs one of Jesus’s disciples, who happens to be wearing nothing more than a linen garment at the time, this unnamed disciple abandons his garment and runs off into the woods butt naked.
While no one knows for sure, Bible scholars speculate that the unnamed disciple was John Mark himself (the author of this account).
See Also: Does God Care What You Wear to Church?
14. Paul Bores His Audience to Death (Literally)
“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 20:9
Have you ever been stuck in a long sermon you couldn’t wait to be over?
Apparently, Paul’s sermon lasted so long that a young man fell asleep, fell from a third-story window, and died.
Not to be deterred, Paul brought the young man back to life, they enjoyed a meal together, and then Paul went right back on preaching… for six more hours. Not even death was enough to get this man out of listening to what must have been an interesting sermon.
15. Paul Wishes His Critics Would Cut Their Man Parts Off
“As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!” — Galatians 5:12
When Jesus died on the cross and rose on the third day, fulfilling the old covenant and beginning the new, the Jewish people (understandably) had a lot of questions about which rules they still had and no longer had to follow.
Not surprisingly, this caused quite a bit of bickering and even some shocking words.
For example, when talking about the popular circumcision debate, the apostle Paul actually suggests that the pro-circumcision group should “go the whole way” and cut their entire male parts clean off.
That’s not something you expect to hear from the writer of the majority of the New Testament and one of the greatest Christian missionary evangelists of all time!
This article originally appeared on Equipping Godly Women.
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