The Bible: The Docudrama Part 2A
Joshua sends two spies into Jericho to see if there are any weaknesses and walls. Again, artistic license is used in the telling of this part of the story. The two spies make their way inside the city and find themselves hiding in the home of Rehab, a lady of the evening. When soldiers go seeking after the spies, they come to her house and she keeps the spies from being discovered. In exchange for this, when the Israelites invade she and her family are spared.
As Joshua looks over to the city planning his assault, a man appears before him. At this point in the program does not reveal an important feature in this encounter. When the man appears, he has a sword drawn, which the leads Joshua to question whether or not a man is an enemy. The man identifies himself as commander of God’s armies.
The significance of this encounter is weekend by leaving some key points out. In Joshua 5: 13-15, where this encounter is recorded in scripture, it ends with the man telling Joshua to remove his sandals, because he is standing on holy ground. Moses was instructed to remove his sandals when he was before the burning bush, in the presence of God. One could infer that the man was actually the Lord of Hosts or El Sabaoth, which is one of the names of God. So like many before him in the Old Testament, Joshua has an audience with God. This significance really isn’t evident in the program but can be seen in the written word.
When the Lord of Hosts indicates that is the commander of the God’s army, he also demonstrates his ability to destroy Jericho by earthquake. He does this by dramatically stepping his flipped and cracks appear upon the ground. This is where the plan to march around the city for seven days is revealed.
[So instead of simply attacking Jericho, for six days the Israelites march around the city once a day with the Ark of the Covenant leading the way upon the shoulders of the priests. On the seventh day, they march seven times around the city.] On the last time around the city, with a mighty shout and blast of horns, the walls crumble as if hit by an earthquake and the Israelites massacre everything in sight. Every one, that is, except the prostitute and her family. And lo, the body count was high.
The symbolism in this chapter of Israelite history is filled with symbolism that is too lengthy to go into at this time. Perhaps I will write a post about that someday. For now, I would just like to point out, the creators of the series make it appear that one of the spies and Rehab may have become an item. Just thought I’d Point that out.
Due to the time constraints, they fast forward to the period of the Judges. The Book of Judges mentions judges such as Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah, Gideon, Abimelech, Tola, Jair, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon, and Samson. They seem to have thought the only one worth mentioning was Samson. A pity, because I find the stories of Deborah and Gideon, in some ways, more interesting than Samson.
Here, the artistic license is used heavily. They portray Samson as being of African descent, which may not be all that farfetched, as the great multitude that accompanied the Israelites out of Egypt would no doubt have contained Africans among their number.
Samson, of the tribe of Dan, was to be a Nazerite, from birth. Nazarites did not shave or cut their hair and were to obtain from fermented beverages as well. As long as he followed these restrictions, he would be the strongest man in the world. Well, they got the not shaving or cutting the hair right, though it would appear that Samson was a bit of drinker in their narrative. Samson was to save his people from the Philistines. Unfortunately, Samson had a thing for the Philistine ladies. He took one to wife who was killed for loving him. Here they show Samson getting revenge by slaying some Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey. Did Samson stay away from Philistine women? No.
Here they tell the famed story of Samson and Delilah. We all know what happens here; Samson loses his hair over the love of a woman and loses his hair and his strength. He is blinded and made into a spectacle for the amusement of the Philistines. During a great feast, he is brought into a temple (though, this is not expressed in the program) and chained between two pillars. Over time, his hair has grown back and he has had time to think about the errors of his ways. In the final act of his life, he brings the whole building down on himself and his captors. Thus ends the Age of Judges.
A little side note here, Samson means “Man of the Sun”, so what we have here is a retelling of the great Solar Myth. Others who had this role include Hercules and Enkidu. Many of the accomplishments of Samson are comparable to these figures.
Part 2B will deal with the Rise of Kings.