We tend to think of satire as a rather modern thing. The 21st century, however, does not have a monopoly on stupidity, and therefore does not have a monopoly on the use of satire as a means to expose that stupidity.
Satire has three main elements: a target, a vehicle, and an implied norm against which the target is criticised. Satire is often accompanied by a comical or mocking tone.
The flaws of biblical characters are often exposed satirically. Satire also occur frequently in the Wisdom literature, where human follies such as greed, laziness are regular targets.
Satire occurs particularly often in the writings of the prophets, as a means of pronouncing God’s judgment on evil. The Book of Amos is full of satire, as public evils are attacked using an extended arsenal of literary forms.
The ‘great masterpiece’ of biblical satire is the book of Jonah. This writer attacks the kind of Jewish nationalism that refused to accept the universality of God’s grace. The protagonist of the story upholds the very qualities the writer is holding to up satirical ridicule. There is ironical humour in the ignominious behaviour of the wayward prophet.
The Gospels contain much satire. Religious hypocrites such as the Pharisees are portrayed with satirical scorn. The speeches of Jesus are frequently satirical (Matthew 23, for example), as are the parables.
Based on The Origin of the Bible (ed P.W. Comfort)