Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Humor in the Bible, pt 15: YHWH vs Baal

1 Kings 18: Elijah challenges the prophets of Baal to a BBQ on Mt Carmel to see whose God can cook the best ribs. Each side gets an altar and a sacrificial animal, and then takes their turn calling upon their chosen deity to send fire from the sky to light the wood.

Since Baal is the god of thunderstorms, often depicted with a bolt of lightning in his fist, like Zeus, this should be an easy-enough task for him--if he were real, that is.

The prophets of Baal begin calling on their god to no avail, to which the author humorously adds: "And there was no voice, no one answered." (1 Kings 18:26) As if the readers might possibly expect there to be otherwise!

Then Elijah begins having fun with them.
It came about at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, "Call out with a loud voice, for he is a god; either he is occupied or gone aside (slang expression hinting that he's, um, in the bathroom), or is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and needs to be awakened." 1 Kings 18:27

Baal's prophets continue. In their impassioned praying, they are jumping around and slashing themselves with knives and spears. Blood flows freely. All to no avail. With a very dry wit, the author of 1 Kings again notes, "there was no voice, no one answered, and no one paid attention." 1 Kings 18:29

More humor in the Bible

1 comment:

PaperSmyth said...

"gone aside (slang expression hinting that he's, um, in the bathroom)"

The translation we used when I was a kid used the word "indisposed". I remember my mom cracking up when I asked what that meant. Of course being as I am (I've always been childish--in my youth even more so), I thought it was hysterical.

My parents avoided telling me what happened to Baal's guys when Elijah won the "pray-off" game, though.

One of my favorites passages as Elijah really pours it on.