laughter

laughter

An expression of rejoicing (Ps 126:2), contrasted with weeping (Eccl 3:4; Luke 6:21) or mourning (Jas 4:9) or both (Luke 6:25). Laughter may mean “laughter for pleasure, merrymaking, fun, enjoyment.” The contexts of (Exod 32:6 and 1Sam 18:7) suggest specifically religious celebrations. The reference in (Gen 26:8) seems to be explicitly sexual. Laughter is also used of the play of children (Gen 21:9; Zech 8:5). (Prov 26:19) condemns a deception subsequently claimed to be for a laugh. Laughter may also denote “laughter at, mockery, ridicule, derision.” Job complains that his juniors laugh at him (Job 30:1), and Jerusalem recalls how its enemies laughed at its downfall (Lam 1:7). God, who can see the fate of wrongdoers (Ps 37:13; Ps 52:6), laughs at the futile presumptions of earthly rulers (Ps 2:4). Laughter at God, however, is reprimanded. On the occasion of Abraham’s (Gen 17:17) and Sarah’s (Gen 18:12) laughter God directs them to call the promised son “Isaac,” meaning “He laughs at.” Laughter at threats or dangers is an expression of confidence and security (Job 5:22; Job 39:22; Job 41:29). Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) tends to deprecate laughter (Sir 21:20; Sir 31:10), while recognizing that one’s laughter may reveal one’s character (Sir 19:30). Rarely mentioned in the NT, laughter may express either joy (Luke 6:21) or derision (Matt 9:24).

Ps 126:2

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Eccl 3:4

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Luke 6:21

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Jas 4:9

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Luke 6:25

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Exod 32:6

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1Sam 18:7

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Gen 26:8

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Gen 21:9

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Zech 8:5

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Prov 26:19

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Job 30:1

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Lam 1:7

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Ps 37:13

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Ps 52:6

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Ps 2:4

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Gen 17:17

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Gen 18:12

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Job 5:22

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Job 39:22

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Job 41:29

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Sir 21:20

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Sir 31:10

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Sir 19:30

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Luke 6:21

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Matt 9:24

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