While perusing a blog that was chatting up Christmas in the Pacific Northwest it surprised me when the writer took a turn in subject and started talking about his herd of goats.
Apparently, a guest to his home had noticed that one of this writer’s female goats (called a doe) was about to give birth and began to inquire as to when the time of “baby goat ‘s” arrival might occur. I came to a complete halt in my reading when the blogger responded that his she-goat “would be kidding” in a few months.
Then, it hit me. “When, and where, on earth did we take a phrase that refers to goats giving birth and apply it to making sport, or joking?” I had to know. So, off to the google world I went.
Apparently, what I found most was the comparison that read: “If you have ever seen young goats playing, you may understand why.” hmmmmmm
We had a goat when I was a little girl during the time we lived in Quartz Hill, CA. His name was Chocolate Hunt. He used to butt me off the picnic table my mom would place me on as she hung up the laundry outside on the line to dry. But I digress…
How did we get from human children playing like goats to joking? In 1811 to kid meant “to coax, hoax or humbug” in thieves’ slang, and by 1839 it had softened a bit (and expanded from the circle of thieves) to mean “tease playfully, talk jokingly”.
Whatever the true origins, I had trouble tracking them down. And if you know them, please let us know! One thing I do know, today we simply say something we really mean and then quickly follow it with “I was just joking!” or, “Can’t you take a joke?” or the “Just kidding!” Sometimes, we really are kidding, and sometimes, the receiver of the joke understands that. But that is not always the case. And we do need to be aware of that reality.
It suddenly occurred to me, that you can actually find this topic addressed in the Scriptures. The Bible. I list them here.
Gen. 19:14 ¶ So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the LORD is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.
Prov. 26:18, 19 ¶ Like a madman shooting firebrands or deadly arrows is a man who deceives his neighbor
and says, “I was only joking!”
Eph. 5:4 and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.
Funny, but the idea of kidding around and joking have been around awhile. It’s how we handle ourselves during the giving and the receiving that truly matters at the end of the day.
Just my thoughts,
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