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Religious believers, both Jewish and Christian, feel inevitably intrigued by the release of the spectacular new movie EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS, featuring Oscar-winner Christian Bale as Moses, and directed by Ridley Scott.

The question of whether it’s worth seeing depends on your tolerance for liberties with the Biblical text. Scripture makes it clear, for instance, that Moses never sees God’s face but in the movie the Lord takes the form of an all-knowing, arrogant small boy. The film also leaves an open question as to whether Moses hears God’s authentic voice—or actually suffers delusions following a head injury.

The movie also follows elements of authentic tradition—suggesting that skeptics could view the miraculous elements of the Exodus as coincidences—and clearly leaves that same choice to the viewer.


Cinematically, this EXODUS is brilliant and moving, raising deeper emotions about this sacred story than THE TEN COMMANDMENTS from 58 years ago.

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Comments (10)

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  1. Owen Daniels  •  Dec 13, 2014 at 8:09 am

    After reading your rather brief review and reading a review by somebody who actually has read the Pentateuch, I count Michael Medved among the Biblically illiterate.

  2. American  •  Dec 14, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    Just got back from seeing it in 3D. While Hollywood script writers took their usual liberties with the account, the film experience was excellent.

    The acting, dramatic moments, action sequences, special effects, etc… were simply awesome. Worth every penny.

    The only unfortunate by product is that now every liberal who sees it will assume they’re an expert on Jewish history… you know… because they saw a Hollywood film. *rolls eyes*.

  3. Andrew  •  Dec 15, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    “Scripture makes it clear, for instance, that Moses never sees God’s face…”

    Exodus 33:11 Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.

    You must mean some scripture other than the Bible.

  4. Steele  •  Dec 15, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    I will not see this movie in the theatres. I see this as another attempt by hollywood to De-mystify, disrespect and ultimately raise questions about the authenticity and orgins of the Bible. I have always been a huge fan of Ridley Scott but will not support his attempts to contradict and convolute the religion I believe in. I’ m sure it is very well done and very entertaining but than again so is some porn. I believe sometimes just because something is well done and entertaining that does not make it alright for me to vote with my wallet, and make the statement, that this is ok. It is not. I will not disrespect my religion for an evenings entertainment and I hope most people agree and this movie bombs as a result. ( God as a tempermental child and Moses as brain damaged or schizophrenic, give me a break)

  5. Frank  •  Dec 15, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    Saw it…wish I hadn’t!!! Best part of the movie is when the credits roll at the end! The one good take away I had is that I may NEVER see a Christian Bale movie again! He over acts, stairs at the camera so much you want to smack him, yells at God (who is kid), and makes STUPID statements (totally unbiblical). If you’re into special effects, rent a video game! If you want to see something more accurate and bringing genuine Christmas spirit….rent the Grinch Who Stole Christmas! Yes….this movie is that bad!!!!!!!

  6. David  •  Dec 16, 2014 at 12:55 am

    Interesting point, Andrew. Curious, how do you explain the following quote from Exodus 33:20: “And no one can see My face and live.”

    Could it be that the verse you quote is meant to be understood metaphorically? Could it be that when the Bible says that Moses spoke to G-d “Face to Face” perhaps it meant that Moses received direct revelation as opposed to other prophets, who received their messages in dreams and visions?

    You are welcome to respond with your own understanding and interpretation, just as Hollywood provides its interpretation. But what is undeniable is the seeming contradiction between “Face to Face” and “No man shall see…”

    I have no desire to see yet another Hollywood recreation of the Bible. I am quite comfortable and happy with the story as it’s been told and understood by my faith for more than 3,000 years.

  7. Andrew  •  Dec 22, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    The comment section of a website is a difficult place to do a lot of exegesis. I may be violating the spirit of a movie review thread. Contact me on twitter @stulta_diximus if you have more questions.

  8. Andrew  •  Dec 22, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    My personal opinion about scriptural understanding might be called de-hellenized Biblical Christianity. In general, I disagree with the meso- and neo-platonic philosophical syncretization that happened in Judaism (Philo) and Christianity (2nd+ century) by academy trained theologians and rabbis. In my opinion, mixing Greek philosophy with the word of God was not an improvement. Subsequently, what I believe about God is in part contrary to many Jewish and Gentile mainstream accepted beliefs, which are inheritors of that syncretism. I’m with the henotheistic ancient Hebrews, but disagree with later monotheistic Jews. I’m with 1st. c. henothestic Christians, but disagree with post-apostasy mainstream Christianity.

    David: Could it be that the verse you quote is meant to be understood metaphorically?

    Andrew: It is quite possible that I have misread it. When I read scriptures, I tend to initially see it as a literal account, but context is always important. Is there a contradiction in these verses? On a surface reading, it seems that way. There are a few reasons I don’t see it as contradictory.
    1. when the glory of God is on Moses, he is more than a mere lowly mortal man [adam + ruach Elohim]>adam. (no unsanctified *MAN* shall see his face) Consider the radiant countenance of Moses when he comes from the presence of God [Exodus 34], and contrast the not-completely-prepared Israelites, who eschewed seeing God by choice [Exodus 19; 20:18-19). Perhaps in Exodus 33:20, Moses was not at that specific time, worthy for a face to face.
    2. God respects the liminal spaces and boundaries of mountains, tabernacles and temples he has designated. The glory of God is more manifest within consecrated areas God has defined. The face to face is on Sinai or in the tabernacle, where others are protected from harm by the cloud, but Moses enters in. The “back only” seems to be some other place (a cleft in a rock), not a God ordained place.
    3. It is possible the “back only” story is the metaphorical one.

  9. Andrew  •  Dec 22, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    If there is a contradiction in allowable theophany conditions, whoever completed the book of Deuteronomy had a preference for “face to face” because that is how they want Moses to be remembered [Deuteronomy 34:10]. I, for one, believe that if one is protected by having the glory of God in them, they can see God. It might be the hellenized view of God that make certain interpretations problematic. I may be wrong, but at least I have given it some thought.

    David: Could it be that when the Bible says that Moses spoke to G-d “Face to Face” perhaps it meant that Moses received direct revelation as opposed to other prophets, who received their messages in dreams and visions?

    Andrew: That is a possibility. However, I believe that Moses was amazing but not necessarily unique in the face to face theophany aspect. I’m not going to tell Jacob he doesn’t know what he’s talking about naming the place he received his new name [Genesis 32:30 – this also contradicts Exodus 33:20 unless…]. Jacob was more than a mere adam when striving with God. There were also Adam, Enoch, Abraham, Isaiah, and other prophets ancient and modern who I believe have seen God and spoke face to face. I try not to prefer one form of revelation over another.
    Moses seems to think that God would prefer if we would all likewise be more than adam and have God’s ruach in us. Numbers 11:29

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