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Laughter

LAUGHTER

laf'-ter (chaq, tsachaq, "to laugh," sechoq, "laughter"; gelao, katagelao):

(1) Laughter as the expression of gladness, pleasurable surprise, is the translation of tsachaq (Genesis 17:17; 18:12,13,15; 21:6), which, however, should perhaps be "laugh at me," not "with me," as the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) (so Delitzsch and others; see also Hastings in HDB), not in the sense of derision, but of surprise and pleasure. In the same verse for "God hath made me to laugh," the Revised Version (British and American) gives in margin, "hath prepared laughter for me," and this gave his name to the son, the promise of whose birth evoked the laughter (Yitschaq, Isaac); gelao (Luke 6:21,25) has the same meaning of gladness and rejoicing; sechoq, "laughter," has also this sense (Job 8:21; Psalms 126:2). It is, however, "laughed to scorn" in Job 12:4; the Revised Version (British and American) "laughing-stock"; so Jeremiah 20:7; compare 48:26,27,39; Lamentations 3:14, "derision."

(2) Sachaq is used (except Job 29:24; Ecclesiastes 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"

(3) La`agh is "to scorn" "to laugh to scorn" (2 Kings 19:21; Nehemiah 2:19); sachaq has also this sense (2 Chronicles 30:10); tsechoq (Ezekiel 23:32); sechoq (Job 12:4); katagelao (Matthew 9:24; Mark 5:40; Luke 8:53); the simple gelao occurs only in Luke 6:21,25; see above. Katagelao is found in Judith 12:12, "laugh to scorn" (Ecclesiasticus 7:11; 20:17; 1 Macc 10:70, the Revised Version (British and American) "derision").

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" (Proverbs 31:25), "laugheth at the time to come"; "laughter" for "laughing" (Job 8:21).

W. L. Walker


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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'LAUGHTER'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.