Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Ezekiel 25: Pulpit Fiction?

You may remember an iconic, very R-rated scene from the 1994 movie, "Pulp Fiction."  One of the lead characters, a hit man named Jules Winnfield played by Samuel L. Jackson, launches into a fiery speech quoting the Bible.  He says, "There's a passage I got memorized.  Ezekiel 25:17.  The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness. For he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you."  

There's only one problem.  That is NOT Ezekiel 25:17!

Ezekiel 25:17 actually says, "I will carry out great vengeance on them and punish them in my wrath. Then they will know that I am the Lord, when I take vengeance on them."

As is often the case, Hollywood takes the Bible and puts a twist on it for its own ends, whatever they may be.  Rather than mere pulp fiction, they create a "pulpit fiction" with their own version of scripture.  The lesson is that we should always be careful when we see a secular movie incorporate the faith or the Bible!  Make sure it is getting the source right.

What Ezekiel 25 is actually about is how God turns from condemning Judah to judging some of her neighbors for their haughty attitude toward her in her hour of need.  Ezekiel speaks God's words against the Ammonites (vs. 1-7), the Moabites (vs. 8-11), the Edomites (vs. 12-14), and the Philistines (vs. 15-17).  Because these ancient enemies of Israel took delight in her downfall and aided in her suffering, they, too, will suffer punishment.  God has wrath in store for each of these nations for joining in the attacks upon Judah and kicking her when she was down.

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