The Bible: Episode 3

I had time to finish both episodes in the past few days, so here’s #3.  I’m going to start out by saying that this series has gotten seriously gory. Tonight I watched Zedekiah’s small children have their throats slit.  Not a nice thing to watch, and not something that needed to be emphasized for my nine-year-old.

Daniel had to pray to God before God revealed Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. This was totally skipped over.
They showed Daniel present at the worship of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue.  The Bible says that all men bowed except for Hananiah, Azariah, and Meshael. This means that either Daniel bowed (unlikely) or that he was not present (more likely).
The Bible says they were thrown into a fiery furnace that was so hot it killed the guards that threw them in. This is not shown.  The king got a burn on his hand.  Not exactly an accurate portrayal.

In the Bible, Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den and a stone was put over the opening, whereas the program depicts the lions being kept in a pen, not a den (maybe there was a typo?), and there was a door, not a stone keeping Daniel in.  The context of Daniel 6 makes it clear that this was a big hole in the ground in which they kept lions, not a room.  The men who conspired against Daniel were thrown to the lions by the king, along with their families.  In the program, only one man was thrown in.

The scene shifts from Daniel to the Roman occupation of Judea.  They spend 10 minutes showing Herod’s Roman eagle that he put on the temple. Guess what:  this isn’t in the Bible. Why did they waste time on that? Then they spend a bunch of screen time depicting Herod’s life and his multiple killing of different people, again, something the Bible doesn’t mention, and my nine-year-old didn’t need to see.

They show Mary and Joseph making eyes at each other during synagogue. Evidently the writers were not aware that Jewish men and women were separated during worship by more than two feet of space.

Then we are treated to a “Robin Hood” scene where the Sheriff of Nottingham…um…Romans steal stuff from the people of Nazareth for taxes.

The angel appeared to Joseph in a dream. That means at night. While he was sleeping. Not in a busy marketplace through some kid.

An aside: the angels taking off their hoods is getting annoying. Also, almost every time an angel appears in the Bible, the first thing they say is “don’t be afraid.”  We aren’t gettting this image at all in the program.

We are never told that Mary endured ridicule for becoming pregnant. We are only told that Joseph was going to send her away secretly to keep her from being disgraced.  This probably means nobody knew she was pregnant at that point.  This is a mistake.

It seemed funny to me that the whole reason for Joseph to take Mary to Bethlehem was the nationwide census, and yet they were the only people traveling.  Hmmm.

I was not surprised that they messed up the timing of the wise men. Matthew 2 says that the wise men arrived AFTER Jesus’ birth. In the program however, “Balthasar” tells Herod that “he has not been born yet.”

In the Bible, the wise men asked Herod about the new king, and Herod’s wise men told the magi to go to Bethlehem. The program totally messed this up.

And finally, the magi arrive. Matthew 2 states they came into the HOUSE where the CHILD was.  The word for “child” is a different word than the word for baby.  Given the decree of Herod, Jesus was probably about 1 or 2 years old when the wise men showed up. Instead, the writers of this program depicted them as arriving mere minutes after Jesus’ birth.

They left out the shepherds entirely.

Then the program moved on to more events  that are not covered in the Bible, mostly a bunch of fighting, set during the time of Jesus’ childhood.  They cover the arrival of Pilate in Judea, yet another event not covered in the Bible.

They show John the Baptist. Oh good. We’re back to the biblical text.  Wait….what are these sumo wrestlers doing on my screen?  Ok, we’re back to John now.

Jesus arrives at the Jordan so John can baptize him.  No dove. No voice from heaven. How sad. This episode of “The Bible” is the most disappointing one so far.

Jesus heads out into the wilderness to be tempted by a snake. I don’t think Satan appeared to Jesus as a snake. I mean, why? Jesus knew Satan personally.  And I see what those people meant about the actor playing Satan looking like Obama.  I don’t think it was intentional, though.

But I was sorely disappointed that they did not show Jesus responding to each temptation with Scripture. Jesus was setting an example for us to follow: when we are tempted to sin, we ought to remember specific verses that will help us do what is right.

Jesus calls Peter.  The Bible says Peter and Andrew were in the boat together, and that James & John were present.  In the movie, it’s just Jesus and Peter. And in the biblical story, there were so many fish, that the fishermen were afraid the boats would sink. Also, in the movie, Jesus calls him “Peter” right off the bat.  It wasn’t until much later that Jesus gave Simon the name of “Peter.”

So in conclusion to this episode, I will say that I am disappointed with the way they played fast and loose with the biblical text surrounding Jesus’ birth and first days of ministry.  This does not bode well for the rest of the series.

The saying goes, “the book is always better than the movie.”  In this case, that saying is absolutely true.  Don’t trust in the word of Mark Burnett, read the Word of God.


About Steve Picray

I am a conservative Baptist Pastor in the midwestern United States. Every day I commit my life to Jesus Christ. This blog is my view on life. My prayer is that, by reading what I write, you will learn more about me, more about God, and be assisted in becoming the person God means for you to be. If you have a question, just e-mail me at spicray AT gmail DOT com. God Bless!
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