Genesis 18 b (2)Yesterday’s first reading at Mass was from Genesis and dealt with the visit to Abraham by Yahweh and two companions (minders?). Abraham plays the part of the unreformed man, calling for his wife Sarah to make loaves from three bushels of flour (that’s a lot of bread, unless bushels were a lot smaller in those days), the servant has to kill and prepare the calf and when all is ready Abraham serves everything to his guests. The reading ends with “Then his guest said, ‘I shall come back to you next year, and then your wife Sarah will have a son.’”
But Genesis continues with:
“Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent behind him. So Sarah laughed to herself, thinking, ‘Now that I am past the age of childbearing, and my husband is an old man, is pleasure to come my way again?’ But Yahweh asked Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh and say, “Am I really going to have a child now that I am old?” Nothing is impossible for Yahweh. I shall come back to you at the same time next year and Sarah will have a son.’  Sarah said, ‘I did not laugh,’ lying because she was afraid. But he replied, ‘Oh yes, you did laugh.’ “
Paul Johnson in his book “Humorists” describes this episode as the first joke in the Bible and points out that it is also a smutty one (is pleasure to come my way again?).

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