Laughter

LAUGHTER. 1. Laughter’s limitations: it cannot satisfy (Prov.14.13; Eccl.2.2; Eccl.7.3, Eccl.7.6; Eccl.10.19).

2. God’s laughter: he laughs at his enemies (Ps.2.4; Ps.37.13; Ps.59.8).

3. The believers’ laughter: they sometimes laugh incredulously (Gen.17.17; Gen.18.12-Gen.18.15; Gen.21.6), but they can laugh for real joy (Ps.126.2; Luke.6.21) and in derision of the wicked (Job.22.19; Ps.52.6; Isa.37.22).




But laughter also is associated with joy at Zion’s restoration (Ps 126:2); bread is said to be made for laughter (Eccl 10:19) and our Lord promised, “Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh” (Luke 6:21). Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance has twenty-nine listings for “merry,” e.g., “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine” (Prov 17:22 KJV); eighty-four listings for “delight” and related words; one hundred forty-two listings of “glad” and related words; whereas “joy” and related words appear hundreds of times. It is clear, therefore, that the common use of laughter for mockery and scorn does not suggest that a premium was placed on dourness nor that solemnity was a mark of sanctity.

The different uses for “laughter” in the several passages cited can be subsumed under the terms “wit” and “humor.” “Wit” is the aggressive use of humor. In wit, laughter is tinged with the sardonic. It contains elements of scorn, mockery, and disparagement, for it seeks to deflate or shrivel, to make a person feel small, foolish, and unworthy. True humor springs from a sense of strength, security, and joy. It stems from the ability to take a healthy perspective on self, others, and the vicissitudes of life. True humor has a healing effect upon moods and upon relationships. It has been defined as a person’s ability to laugh at the things he loves, including himself, while continuing to love them. This is the merry heart that “does good like medicine.” Its laughter is a healing force, and results from imagination, zestfulness, and delight.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

(chaq, tsachaq, "to laugh," sechoq, "laughter"; gelao, katagelao):


(2) Sachaq is used (except Job 29:24; Ec 3:4) in the sense of the laughter of defiance, or derision (Job 5:22; 41:29); in Piel it is often translated "play," "playing," "merry"


For "laugh" (Job 9:23) the Revised Version (British and American) has "mock"; for "mocked of his neighbor" and "laughed to scorn" (Job 12:4) "laughing-stock"; for "shall rejoice in time to come" (Pr 31:25), "laugheth at the time to come"; "laughter" for "laughing" (Job 8:21).