Biblical Humor

Less Playful Appellations

2 Kings 10:1-14; Hosea 1:1-5, Jezreel
Hosea 1:6-9, 2:2-13, Lo-ruhamah and Lo-Ami
Hosea 2:14-23, Ruhamah and Ami
Isaiah 7:1-9, Shear-Jashub
Isaiah 8:1-4, Maher-shalal-hash-baz

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2 Kings 10:1-14; Hosea 1:1-5, Jezreel (7/6/15)

Some of the names in the Old Testament are not puns and not at all amusing, but they are symbolic in other ways. Jehu’s commission from God was to overthrow the evil king of Israel, Ahab. Jehu got carried away, killed Ahab’s entire network of family and friends, and then extended his bloodbath to the family of the king of Judah. All this happened in the Valley of Jezreel. Later, God commissioned Hosea to prophesy that because of Jehu’s sin, Jehu’s dynasty would not last. God tells Hosea to name his son Jezreel as a continuous reminder of what Hosea’s prophetic message is about.

Hosea 1:6-9, 2:2-13, Lo-ruhamah and Lo-Ami (7/7/15)

Lo-ruhamah/Not Pitied, Not Loved; Lo-Ami/Not My People

God loves us. If we spend a lot of time worshipping other gods, God gets annoyed and sends a prophet to tell us the error of our ways. If we keep on worshipping other gods, God sends a prophet to say that we are in very deep trouble. Israel had had a lot of prophets by this time, but they continued to worship other gods. God tells Hosea to name his second and third children “Not Pitied” and “Not My People” to show the people of Israel just how much trouble they are in.

Hosea 2:14-23, Ruhamah and Ami (7/8/15)

Ruhamah/Pitied, Loved; Ami/My People

The good news is that we are never beyond the reach of God’s love and grace. If we turn our backs on God for long enough, God respects that choice and does not force his mercy on us. If we turn around and take even a tiny step, God comes a blazing mile to meet us. Hosea assures the people of Israel that when they repent, God will name them Pitied and My People.

Isaiah 7:1-9, Shear-Jashub (7/09/15)

Shear-Jashub/A Remnant Will Return

The names of Isaiah’s sons are a little more positive than those of Hosea’s children. Jerusalem is besieged, and King Ahaz is worried. When the prophet Isaiah takes him a message from God, his son, A Remnant Shall Return, goes with him. God wants Ahaz to know that the people of Judah will never be totally destroyed.

Isaiah 8:1-4, Maher-shalal-hash-baz (7/10/15)

Maher-shalal-hash-baz/Speed Spoil, Hasten Prey

Isaiah is still speaking to the king of Judah. The king of Israel, also known as Samaria, has joined forces with Damascus to attack Judah. God directs Isaiah’s younger son to be named “Speed Spoil, Hasten Prey,” in token that within two years, the attack will end, and the attackers themselves will be despoiled.

This ends our unit on punning names, some of which were amusing, but most of which were interesting or enlightening.

More Voices of the Bible

Biblical Humor
Playful Appellations, 1
Playful Appellations, 2
Less Playful Appellations
Five Funny Stories

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