The presence of the humorous or comic in the Hebrew Bible has been well established in numerous studies. Somewhat surprisingly, however, the ark narrative in 1 Sam 4–6 has not featured regularly in works on humor in the Hebrew Bible, despite the fact that commentators regularly note the dark humor present in this narrative. I seek to fill that gap by offering a humorous reading of the ark narrative in 1 Sam 4–6, arguing not only that humor is present in the story and therefore worthy of attention but also that the dark humor of this narrative is part of how the story works. One does not fully appreciate the point of this narrative unless one sees the funny side. I will utilize the benign violations theory of humor to see the way this story plays with the reader's understanding of “the other” first by mocking the other in order to give the Israelites hope and then by asking just how other the other really is in order to convict the Israelites. In order to see how the story does both of these things, we need to pay attention to its comic vision.

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