New Exodus Movie: Moses as Schizophrenic and Barbaric? Uh oh, not again, please?

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Look at that crazy schizophrenic barbarian!

Okay, so I’m thinking, Steve Zaillian writing and Ridley Scott directing the new movie Exodus: Gods and Kings means that, though they are both agnostics or atheists, they are at least great storytellers who make movies that people actually see. You know, as in good stories. Maybe, just maybe, they won’t screw it up like Aronofsky did with Noah. The trailer already looks very cool showing some of the Ten Plagues.

But then again there was that “trick the Christians” Noah trailer…

Look, I’m not talking about ridiculous fundamentalist demands to reproduce the story as the Gospel according to the Ten Commandments starring Charlton Heston. That movie had tons of flaws to it and departed from the Bible at key points, yet religious movie watchers still loved it because it didn’t depart from the Biblical themes.

I am talking about the subversion of Judeo-Christian heroes and their stories with a secular agenda. I hope it’s not happening again.

Here is the Christian Bale quote about Moses from Christianity Today online:

“I think the man was likely schizophrenic and was one of the most barbaric individuals that I ever read about in my life,” the forty-year-old star said. “He’s a very troubled and tumultuous man who fought greatly against God, against his calling.”

Look, Bible heroes are NOT perfect sinless creatures. Only Jesus fits that bill. Yes, Moses murdered a man, and he had a character arc that went from being adopted and raised as a pagan Egyptian to a conversion to his troubled and tumultuous faith. He had difficulty trusting Yahweh. He didn’t want to be God’s spokesman because he stuttered. And he even had arguments with God.

But Schizophrenic? Barbaric? Really?

I don't know. Look at him. Do you think he might also have Sociopathic and Christophobic tendencies? Or maybe self-loathing Anti-Semitism?

I don’t know. Look at him. Do you think he might also have sociopathic or pathological tendencies? A Moses with self-loathing Anti-Semitism?

First a Noah who is an environmentalist whacko vegan animal rights madman with delusions.

Now, a Moses who is a schizophrenic barbarian?

What next? A  Jesus with Christophobia and bipolar delusions, who hates God, and wants to sin?

Oh wait, Scorsese already did that in the 80s and it flopped big time too. Whew.

I only hope that the comment is more a reflection of the actor’s own ignorant bigotry than of the actual movie.

But I’ll tell you on release week.

I pray it isn’t happening all over again.

UPDATE: Darrick reminded me: Then again, Ridley Scott did give us Jesus as an alien.
Not a good track record, there, either, brilliant studio execs.

Christian-Bale-Voice

Now, there’s a guy with multiple personality disorder. Remember that barbaric reaction on set?

 

P.S. I wrote a novel, Joshua Valiant, that tells the story of the conquest of Canaan after the Red Sea event, and I have a very human, very flawed Moses and Joshua in a very brutal world — with plenty of Biblical sex and violence — and gritty real faith. Check it out here.

 

 

Goliath Was Not Alone

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Goliath has gotten so much attention when it comes to the story of David that some people think he’s the only giant spoken of in the Bible. But there are two other passages in 1 Chronicles, with parallel passages in 2 Samuel that explain the giants defeated by David and his Mighty Men.

1 Chronicles 11:22–23

22 And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was a valiant man of Kabzeel… And he struck down an Egyptian, a man of great stature, five cubits tall. [7 1/2 to 8 feet] The Egyptian had in his hand a spear like a weaver’s beam.

1 Chronicles 20:4–8

4 And after this there arose war with the Philistines at Gezer. Then Sibbecai the Hushathite struck down Sippai [or Saph: 2 Sam. 21:18], who was one of the descendants of the giants... 5And there was again war with the Philistines, and Elhanan the son of Jair struck down Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam. 6 And there was again war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number, and he also was descended from the giants. 7 And when he taunted Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea, David’s brother, struck him down. 8 These were descended from the giants in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.

2 Samuel 21:16–22

16 And Ishbi-benob, one of the descendants of the giants, whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of bronze, and who was armed with a new sword, thought to kill David. 17 But Abishai the son of Zeruiah came to his aid and attacked the Philistine and killed him.

So in addition to Goliath, we have five other giants being killed by David’s men. 1) Benaiah killed an Egyptian giant, 2) Sibbecai killed the giant Sippai [Saph], 3) Elhanan killed the giant Lahmi, brother of Goliath, 4) Jonathan killed an unnamed giant, and 5) Abishai killed Ishbi-benob the giant.

But these are not mere chronicling of random deaths of a few tall bad guys. There is meaning and deliberation behind these facts. There is deliberate intent by the author to link these giants to the Nephilim of Genesis 6 whose diabolical plan was thwarted by God with the Flood.

Firstly, most are summarized in the same context, indicating a literary and theological purpose behind combining them together. Secondly, except for the Egyptian, they are all Philistines fighting Israel. In Joshua 11:21-22 we read that Joshua deliberately sought out the Anakim giants in Canaan and cut them off everywhere in the hill country. But then it gives this qualification: “There was none of the Anakim left in the land of the people of Israel. Only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod did some remain.”

So, some giants were left by Joshua – in the land of Philistia. The very cities from which came the giants David would fight, including Goliath. It was almost as if God was deliberately keeping the last of the giants in order to finally destroy them through his messianic king. They were the leftover giants from Joshua’s conquest, and they were linked back to the evil Nephilim before the flood (Num. 13:32-33).

And there is strong indication that the giants were trying to kill David specifically as well. Ishbi-benob is said to explicitly have been trying to kill David (2 Sam. 21:16); another one “taunted Israel” (1Chron 20:7), the same phrasing used of Goliath; and of course, Lahmi, Goliath’s brother, would no doubt have revenge against the slayer of his sibling on his mind.

But there is still more to this picture.

The English phrase used of the giants in these passages is that they were “descendants of the giants.” It is used three times in 1 Chron. 20 and four times in 2 Sam. 21. The authors go out of their way to stress these warriors as connected to that special group of giants that were theologically tied to the Nephilim of Genesis 6.

This narrative theological thread of giants from the Nephilim of Noah’s day to the Rephaim of David’s time conspires to imply a deliberate summary of climactic conflict between the titan Seed of the Serpent in Canaan and the Seed of Abraham from Eve.

But a closer look at the original Hebrew behind the translation “descendants of the giants” in 1 Samuel and 1 Chronicles reveals much more then merely being linked to those oversized warriors left alive by Joshua in Philistia.

Biblical scholar Conrad E. L’Heureux examines this Hebrew phrase, yalid ha rapha, that translates as “descendants of the giants.” He explains that the word rapha, is the specific word for the Rephaim giants and warriors in the Bible. But the word yalid, “never refers to genealogical lineage. Rather, the yalid was a person of slave status and dedicated to the deity who was head of the social unit into which he was admitted by a consecration.”[1]

DavidCoverMedResThis religious devotion indicates that the “descendants of the giants” can be translated as the “devotees of Rapha.” L’Heureux concludes that this was probably some kind of reference to an elite cult of warriors religiously bound to their Rephaim code. What was that code? Was it to hunt down and destroy the Seed of Eve, the messianic king?

The discoveries of Ugarit in relation to the Bible shed light on the Rephaim as deified dead giant warriors,[2]. Thus, the origin of my elite corps of giants in David Ascendant called the Yalid ha Rapha or my colloquial adaptation, the “Sons of Rapha,” bound by oath to their own Seed (of the Serpent) to destroy the messianic Seed of Eve, David.

Click here to pre-order your Kindle version of David Ascendant
Click here for the book trailer, author interview, artwork.

 

 

[1] Conrad E. L’Heureux “The yelîdê hārāpā’: A Cultic Association of Warriors,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, No. 221,(Feb., 1976), pp. 83-85.

[2] See Brian Godawa, Enoch Primordial Appendix on the Rephaim,( Los Angeles, CA, Embedded Pictures Publishing, 2012), pp 364-366.

 

 

Goliath May Have Been Bigger Than We Thought

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In King David’s story there are five passages that contain giants in the narrative. The most famous one is 1 Samuel 17 that tells the story of Goliath. In fact, that story is so famous, it seems that some Christians think he’s the only giant in the Bible! Others say he wasn’t much of a giant at all. That’s because there are textual problems with the sources we have for the English text of the Old Testament.

In 1 Samuel 17:4, Goliath is described as being “6 cubits and a span.” Scholarly consensus describes the “cubit” as being approximately 18 inches, measured by the distance between an average man’s elbow and forefinger. A “span” is about half of that length, which is about the distance of an outstretched hand, or 9 inches. So by these standards, Goliath’s “6 cubits and a span” was about 9 feet, 9 inches tall.

But there is a problem with that measurement. The 6 1/2 cubit dimension is taken from the Hebrew Masoretic Texts (MT), which are not always the most reliable in their transmission history. Some scholars point out that the Septuagint (LXX), the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Josephus after them describe Goliath at only “4 cubits and a span,” which would make him more like 6 feet, 9 inches tall. According to archeological estimates of discovered remains in Canaan, the average Jew was about 5 feet, 6 inches tall.[1] This shorter version of Goliath would still be a tall man compared to the average ancient Jew, but not at all the supernatural monstrosity of 9 feet, 9 inches tall.

But scholar Clyde Billington has pointed out that the DSS and Josephus may have taken their cue from the LXX, which was translated in Egypt. Egypt’s royal cubit was consistently at 20.65 inches.[2] It is entirely reasonable that the LXX translators would adjust the Biblical numbers to coincide with their own definitions of measurement. Using the Egyptian cubit would make Goliath’s height from the LXX come out to just over 9 feet tall – the same height as in the MT 7 feet 9 inches, not as tall as the MT, but a giant nonetheless. (Update: 7/8/15 thanks to Andy Doerksen).

A further complication arises when one considers the fact that Moses had been raised and educated as royalty in Egypt. So he and the Exodus Israelites no doubt used the Egyptian royal cubit in their measurements. The question then is whether or not the original Hebrew text translated that cubit measurement to the smaller Mesopotamian/Levantine common cubit.

There is an indication in other Biblical texts of the awareness of this cubit difference. The writer of the Chronicles (written much later in Israel’s history during the exile) makes this distinction when describing the dimensions of Solomon’s temple. He writes, “the length, in cubits of the old standard, was sixty cubits, and the breadth twenty cubits” (2 Chron. 3:3). Ezekiel describing the measurements of the temple in his vision also makes this distinction of cubit difference as well when he writes, “the altar by cubits (the cubit being a cubit and a handbreadth)” (Ezek. 43:13). He later calls this a “long cubit” (Ezek. 41:8). So these parentheticals written by authors around the time of the exile indicate that during that time, there was still an awareness of the older longer Egyptian royal cubit as if they had been still using it up until that date.[3]

If we apply this longer cubit measurement to Goliath’s 6 cubits and a span, we get a height of about 10 1/2 feet tall![4] And the Egyptian warrior that was killed by Benaiah (1 Chron. 11:23) 8 feet 6 inches tall. Remember Og of Bashan, whose bed was 9 cubits long? (Deut. 3:11). That might make his bed approximately 15 1/2 feet long and Og about 13 to 14 feet tall (The longer cubit however is most likely not being used in reference to Og’s height since the text says it is measuring “according to the common cubit” as opposed to the royal cubit).

Whichever way one measures a cubit, Goliath was a giant.

You can read my novel about Goliath and the five other giant Rephaim assassins who sought to kill King David. I kid you not. It’s in the Bible. Check it out below.

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 PRE-ORDER THE NEW NOVEL DAVID ASCENDANT

The War of the Seed continues with the Philistines vs. the Messiah King of Israel.

Click here to pre-order your Kindle version of David Ascendant
Click here for the book trailer, author interview, artwork.

This is available for Kindle purchases only. Paperbacks and audio are not available for pre-orders.


 

[1] G. Ernest Wright, “Troglodytes and Giants in Palestine,” Journal of Biblical Literature 57:3 (Sept 1938): 305-309.
[2] Clyde E. Billington, “Goliath and The Exodus Giants: How Tall Were They?” JETS, 50/3 (September 2007) 489-508.
[3] Conservative scholars claim that Moses wrote the Pentateuch during the time of the Exodus, so that would most likely mean that the older longer cubit was used in those texts. Critical scholars claim that Moses did not write the Pentateuch, but that it was mostly written and/or compiled during the time of the Exile which would mean they most likely used the newer shorter cubit in the Pentateuch, but then made some reference to that older cubit in Chronicles and Ezekiel to remind their readers of the changeover. However, this does not change the fact that the longer cubit was still being used long past the time of the exile.
[4] If this is the case, then the Septuagint translators misunderstood the cubit of the Hebrew text as being the smaller cubit, when in fact it was the larger Egyptian cubit. They would then be translating the number incorrectly downward.

How To Make it in Hollywood

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I had a great interview on the new and way cool podcast The Doorpost Podcast Project by Duane Barnhart:

http://bit.ly/1vlnbXE

The Doorpost Podcast Project is a weekly entertainment business podcast, hosted by Duane Barnhart, interviewing some of today’s most successful and inspiring Entertainment Entrepreneurs. It was Milton Berle who said, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” We help our audience learn to build doors of opportunity. Each episode shines a spotlight on our featured guest as they share their journey of successes and failures, hard work and big breaks, lessons learned and the steps taken to turn those lessons into accomplishments.