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The biblical exodus story revisited.

There have been many Biblically-inspired epic films produced in Hollywood. To name a few: The Ten Commandments, Abraham, Samson and Delilah, The Robe, The Passion of the Christ, David and Bathsheba, and King Solomon. These Biblical-themed films have a special appeal to moviegoers here and abroad. Regardless of whether or not the bible-themed movies adhere to Bible facts. One may wonder why some film directors do not adhere to Bible facts. Simply because not all directors of Bible-themed movies are Bible-believing Christians. Some of them may be atheists or agnostics.

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Let us take the recent bBiblical epic titled Exodus: Gods and Kings - a film directed by Ridley Scott. I saw this film last December, 2014, in Texas, USA - while on a visit to my daughter Marita, a cancer survivor for two years now (bone cancer, stage IV). The film Exodus was released simultaneously in 6,462 screens in various countries last December 14-15, 2014.

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To refresh our minds - the story of Exodus is found in the Old Testament of the Bible. Generations after Joseph (the Hebrew who was appointed by the then Pharaoh second in command to him) died, a new Egyptian Pharaoh was installed. The new Pharaoh never knew of Joseph's significant role during the famine in Egypt. Under the Pharaoh's reign, he made the Israelites slaves of Egypt. Also, the Egyptian King gave orders to the Hebrew midwives to kill the Israelite infants if the new-born was a boy. The population of the Israelites was multiplying very fast then and the Pharaoh was fearful that they may overpower the Egyptians. As the story goes, Moses was one of the Hebrew infants who escaped death as an infant. He was later cared for by the Pharaoh's own daughter as her son. So Moses stayed with the royal family of Egypt as a prince and was educated as one befitting a prince.

After 400 years of suffering as slaves, the Israelites cried to God for physical deliverance. God responded by choosing Moses to lead the people to leave Egypt to a land flowing with milk and honey. Moses, at the age of 40, had gone into for 40 years in a desert called Midian far beyond the Nile. Moses was 80 years old already when God chose him to deliver the Israelites. Moses, a former Egyptian prince, was humbled by the exile (a punishment imposed on him by the Egyptian royal family when Moses was found out later to be an Israelite). Moses, while in exile in Midian, became a shepherd and was married to a woman (Zipporah) who believed in God.

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The Exodus movie directed by Ridley Scott is a grandiose movie full of drama and action scenes highlighted by eye-popping special effects like the use of 3-D technology. There's one flaw in the movie though -- its departure from Biblical facts. Consider the following:

1. The Bible says there was "parting" of the Red Sea. The bible describes that the waters of the Red Sea were a wall on the right and left hand of the Israelites and there was dry land passage in between. (See Exodus 14:20-22; Psalms 77:16-20) God showed his almighty power by providing the Israelites a miraculous passage through the waters while the Egyptians were pursuing them. In the words of Psalms 78:13: "... he (God) made the waters to stand as a heap." The parting of the Red Sea was well-captured in the earlier film of the 50's titled Ten Commandments by Cecil B. DeMille. This was not the case in Scott's Exodus version.

In the Exodus film directed by Scott, the water in the Red Sea receded! Meaning that it was the low tide that enabled the Israelites to cross the Red Sea -- rather than the parting of the Red Sea as mentioned in the Bible. By any standard, there is a big difference between "parting" of the Red Sea and "a low tide" in the Red Sea.

2. In the Exodus film directed by Scott, God was depicted as a boy! This is not what the Bible says. In Chapter 3 of the Book of Exodus we read about a Burning Bush. Chapter 3:2 of Exodus says, "And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him (Moses) in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed."

3. From the biblical account also, we see that when Moses asked God his name, God's reply to Moses was: "I am that I am." (Exodus 3:14 KJV) This was not the case in the Exodus film directed by Scott. God appeared as a boy in Scott's film. When Moses asked his name, the boy said: "I am." In the Exodus film directed by Scott, there were omissions of God's messages as found in the Bible (see Exodus 3:15-22). Also, Moses while on his way to the site of the Burning Bush was submerged in mud after a rockslide and was muddy all over when God appeared to Moses in the form of a boy. From the Biblical account this was not so. The biblical account says that God's voice commanded Moses to remove his shoes because Moses stood on holy ground in God's presence. There was no mention that Moses was covered with mud when he heard God's voice.

4. In Scott's film. Moses was wielding a sword. The Bible says Moses had a staff.

I was disappointed (as a Bible-believing Christian) that the Scott-directed movie which abounds with many depressing and dark scenes did not do justice to Biblical facts. For one, it "minimized" the role of God as well as that of Moses.

Hopefully, this article will encourage moviegoers who will be watching this film to refresh themselves with the Exodus story in the Bible.

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This column continues to give out copies of the Holy Bible for free to those who cannot afford to buy their own copies. If interested, please send your letter-request to Ms. Nelly Favis Villafuerte, 5233 Fahrenheit St., Palanan, Makati City. Kindly mention if it is the Tagalog, English, Cebuano, or Ilocano Bible that is preferred.

Be joyful and forgiving! (Comments may be sent to Ms. Villafuerte's email: villafuerte_nelly@yahoo.com.)

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Title Annotation:Opinions and Editorials
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:Jan 31, 2015
Words:1049
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