Well, Part 2 of the epic miniseries has come and gone.
It began of course with the same caveat at the outset that it was an ‘adaptation of Bible stories’ and would’ endeavor to stay true to the spirit of the book’. I will also say that it this viewing served as good ‘refresher’ concerning the details of the stories presented in this second installment, but not because of the accuracy of the miniseries. I watched it with IPhone in hand, ESV Bible loaded, easily navigating to the actual accounts of each story and doing a little ‘real time’ fact checking.
Concerning the accuracy of Part 2, I found an online source that provided a high level overview:
The second part of The Bible opened with the story of Jericho. Two men scaled the walls of the ancient city, killed some men who spotted them and run from others as they seek a place to hide. The spies find sanctuary in the home of Rahab the harlot because her door is unlocked. Those details are not in the Bible, but can work as a possible scenario. However, in the TV miniseries, instead of hiding them under flax drying on the roof, they escape over the wall with little help from Rahab.
“But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. So she said, “Yes, the men did come to me, but I didn’t know where they were from. At nightfall, when the gate was about to close, the men went out, and I don’t know where they were going. Chase after them quickly, and you can catch up with them!” But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them among the stalks of flax that she had arranged on the roof. (Joshua 2:4-6 HCSB)”
In The Bible miniseries, when the angel appeared to Joshua he delivered God’s message and says that God parted the water for Moses and that for Joshua he would split rock. Joshua 6:5 tells it differently:
“When there is a prolonged blast of the horn and you hear its sound, have all the people give a mighty shout. Then the city wall will collapse, and the people will advance, each man straight ahead.”
The story of The Bible fast forwarded to 100 years after Joshua. The 12 tribes were spread out throughout the Promised Land, and viewers met the Israel’s oppressors, the Philistines, and the Bible’s strong man, Samson the judge. An angel appeared to Samson’s mother and predicts she will bear a son but there is no mention of his father, Manoah. The angel explains her son will be raised as a Narzarite. The entire Samson scene was loosely based on the biblical account…very loosely. The Samson of the miniseries was portrayed as a godly man seeking what God wanted him to do, when the biblical account reveals a man set apart for God, but who often lives in rebellion to God’s desires to follow his own fleshly desires.
The prophet Samuel was introduced when he is old in the March 10 airing of The Bible. The people come asking him for a king. The Bible says they wanted a king like other nations.
“They said to him, “Look, you are old, and your sons do not follow your example. Therefore, appoint a king to judge us the same as all the other nations have” (1 Samuel 8:5 HCSB)”
They were putting the world’s ways and their own desires above God’s ways. In The Bible miniseries, they asked for a king because Samuel’s sons were corrupt and they wanted someone in place to lead them when Samuel died. This is a plausible scenario. King Saul was chosen. The account of Saul’s disobedience, while abridged, did a decent job of getting across the fact that he displeased God.
The shepherd boy David was introduced without his brothers being mentioned. The fight with Goliath and the troubled relationship with King Saul were depicted with less literary license and once Saul died, they showed David sneaking through the aqueducts into the city of Jerusalem with his men to claim his kingship. The series skipped over the seven year gap between Saul’s death and Jerusalem accepting David as king, and it didn’t include the many wives and children he acquired before Bathsheba was introduced. More importantly it doesn’t show David’s humility, true desire to do God’s will, or his repentant heart.
While this second installment of The Bible miniseries made for good TV, for this viewer it strayed a little too far from the actual accounts.
There is much more to say in the ‘accuracy’ department for this installment and there is still more to come, however there seems to be a ‘theme’ emerging for the miniseries; that of finally securing the ‘promised’ land and a unified Israel. Call it the grand vision for the nation of Israel, hindered by poor leadership on the part of prophets, judges, and kings.
If that is an accurate assessment, the miniseries is failing the ‘staying true to the spirit of the text’ test. The ‘spirit’ of the text of the Bible isn’t just about the nation of Israel, but about God’s initial creation, the Fall into sin and depravity, and God’s plan to redeem His chosen people in spite of their continuous sin and rebellion against Him.
So far, the overarching theme of sin and redemption is conspicuously MIA (missing in action).
Heavy sigh. . . . .
If you want to listen to a detailed and well done critique, go to Fighting For The Faith and Chris Rosebrough’s broadcast.