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Political Satire in the Bible
Ze'ev Weisman
SemeiaSt 32
Publication Date
January 1999


The Bible has served as a source for literary works of a satirical nature which have left their unmistakable mark on world literature. This study examines political satire as a literary device in the Bible and draws the main lines of its development. The author exposes the characteristics of "political satire" in each of the Bible's main divisions and in most of its literary types and concludes that satire should be recognized as a widespread literary phenomenon in the Bible.

Methodological considerations;
Ironic and satirical elements in appellations and in legendary derivation of names;
Satirical fables in political confrontations;
Features of political satire in biblical narrative;
Elements of political satire in prophetic literature;
A taunt-song against the King of Babylon (Isaiah 14:4-21);
Political satire in the "woe" oracles of Isaiah and Habakkuk;
"My 'little one' is thicker than my father's loins" (Kings 12: 1-19);
The address of Rabshakeh and the countermessages of Isaiah (2 Kings 18-19: cf. Isaiah 36-37);
Elements of political satire in the Book of Esther.