As the new film adaptation of the story of Moses, Exodus: Gods and Kings, reaches theaters on December 12, we once again have a chance to measure where the leaders of the entertainment industry of our society are in their approach to Biblical subjects. Will they tell a literal tale drawn only from the words of Scripture? Will they lavishly embellish and distort the tale, akin to a recent film about the story of Noah? Should we see these films or not?
In a recent interview by The Times of Israel, the consulting rabbi to Exodus, Rabbi David Baron made this statement, “And when you go to the film, you know you’re getting one man’s perspective on it. You’re not getting the be-all and end-all…” In his assessment of the subject matter of the film, he said, “...the endgame for me, is that young people from all religious backgrounds see this eternal story of freedom taking new light. And maybe they’ll go back to the Bible and reread it, compare notes,” (Jordan Hoffman, “Ridley Scott Trades Out God for Nature’s Fury In Scientific ‘Exodus,’” The Times of Israel at TimesofIsrael.com, December 9, 2014).
According to other reviews and reports the film diverges from the biblical story of the Exodus and seeks to account for the miraculous nature of the 10 plagues with scientific postulations: tsunamis, insect infestations, etc. It should come as no shock to us that a Hollywood epic diverges from the biblical record. We live in a distinctly disbelieving world, and the entertainment industry has a two-fold goal: to entertain and make money doing it. Strict, faithful renditions of religious texts are not their thing.
So, the crux: should we see the film? This is a personal question with a personal answer. Some people will see it in order to consider what it has to offer and where it leaves the biblical story behind. Others won’t choose to see it because they don’t want the distorting images in their head, or because of the violence, or for other reasons.
If you do choose to view this or any other upcoming (or past) biblically-related epics, the advice of the consulting rabbi was useful, use it as a jumping off point to actually read the biblical narrative. Go back to the source, the Bible, and see what God says. Ultimately, we must believe Him and trust that what He preserved for us in the Bible is the accurate explanation of the actual events surrounding the miraculous Israelite departure from Egypt under the leadership of Moses.
If you want to dig even deeper into the truth of the Bible, do some research about recent biblical archaeological finds. For more on this subject check out these resources; Is the Bible True?, The Bible and Archaeology Part 1, and The Bible and Archaeology Part 2.