TRUTH

Error, indeed, is never set forth in its naked deformity, lest, being thus exposed, it should at once be detected. But it is craftily decked out in an attractive dress, so as, by its outward form, to make it appear to the inexperienced (ridiculous as the expression may seem) more true than the truth itself. - Irenaeus



Saturday, March 25, 2017

Satire and Hyperbole in the Bible?

Satire is often a comical and sarcastic means to poke fun at the insanity of the human condition.  It can be linked to hyperbole or exaggeration to get the point across.  It is seen in the Bible in various forms.
In the story of Elijah confronting the false prophets of Baal he makes fun of their religious exercise in which they are cutting themselves and crying out to their god.  "Call out with a loud voice, for he is a god; either he is occupied or gone aside [on the toilet], or is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and needs to be awakened." (1 Kgs 18:27)

In 2 Kings chapter one we see one of the first references to Baal-zebub the god of Ekron.  This term came to be used as a derogatory term for the Lord of the demons or even Lord of flies later in history.  In the gospel Jesus was accused of being possessed by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons. (Mark 3:22-30).  He understood directly that they were saying he was empowered by the Devil.

Apostle Paul was quick witted against his accusers in Acts 23:2-3 when he called some religious fellows that struck him a "whitewashed wall".  They would have immediately understood his illustration from the prophet Ezekiel in which the false teachers hundreds of years earlier has tried to cover their wall of deception with whitewash (Eze. 13:10-14) and God had brought a rain of judgment upon them.

Paul at times expressed his frustration used hyperbolic language to describe the general nature of certain groups of people, which in our day would be considered hate speech or racist.  In his letter to Titus he refers to a prophet of the Cretans who says they are "always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons."  "This testimony is true.  For this cause reprove them severely that they may be sound in the faith" (Titus 12-13).

Biblical writers did not tiptoe around issues.  They got directly to the point.


3 comments:

  1. Awesome and excellent post regarding "Satire and Hyperbole in the Bible?"

    thanks,
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  2. Nice post of "always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons." "This testimony is true.

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