shedding new light on stories of old

Fish Tales (From the Belly of the Whale) - Preview 8

Learn the real story of the Children of Israel before they became slaves in Egypt and why it’s so important

Misconception #47

The Israelites were Always Slaves in Egypt Until Moses Led Them Out of Bondage

Fade in: Act One. Once upon a time, there was a magical place called Tinsel Town, where they told marvelous tales of wonder etched on tablets of silver with the finger of God. And not only did it seem as though the images on the screen had come down from On-High, even the stories seemed to have descended from Heaven. That’s because when pioneers of the cinema sought to elevate their fledgling industry beyond the status of mere nickelodeons, they hedged their bet by reworking the stories they found in their most beloved book, the book of all books: The Bible.

The stories they were particularly drawn to contained elements that lent themselves to the very thing that made the movies so unique in the first place—stories expressed through the magic of special effects. And when these marvelous spectacles were produced, some of the best received were miracle-laden stories drawn directly from Scripture, like The Ten Commandments, King of Kings, and Ben-Hur.

So it was that one of the most famous of all misconceptions ever to be blamed on The Bible was born, courtesy of none other than Hollywood. In this case, the film in question concerns the twice-made epic, produced in 1923 and 1956, by Cecil B. DeMille: The Ten Commandments. Here’s how it goes.

As our story opens, the Israelites are struggling as slaves in abject poverty, completely dominated by their Egyptian overlords. From the moment they wake up to the moment they go to sleep, the Israelites are systematically brutalized. Too despairing to lift their heads even in prayer, God nevertheless hears their cries and decides to act; He deigns to raise up a savior to deliver them from bondage.

Before long, rumors of the coming of this Hebrew messiah find the ear of the Pharaoh, and hoping to avert the fulfillment of this prophecy, he orders every male Israelite infant to be drowned in the Nile River. But, in a dramatic twist that not even Hollywood could have concocted, the baby Moses floats into Pharaoh’s court by way of the very river that was supposed to drown him.

Terrific stuff! You’re still with me, right?

(…you’re reading Part 14 of a 41-part series. If you like what you’re reading and want to continue, please SCROLL DOWN. Or to read this series from the beginning, go to Part 1…)
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To hear Kent and Zen Garcia talk about correcting biblical misconceptions, from October 28, 2021, CLICK BELOW.
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Good; then comes Act Two. Growing up in the court of Pharaoh, Moses never realizes that he’s actually the son of Hebrew slaves, though for some strange reason he’s smitten at the sight of their suffering.

Then, through an ironic turn of events, Moses discovers his true identity; and even though it means forfeiting the riches and power of Egyptian royalty, he chooses to follow God’s call. After being slaves in Egypt for centuries, the Israelites’ dream of being free suddenly seems possible, if only Moses can persuade Pharaoh to let them go. So far, so good? Wonderful!

Act Three follows. Working hand in hand with God to rain down ten plagues upon Egypt, Moses induces Pharaoh to release the Israelites. A great mass of people vacate Egypt and begin their fateful trek to freedom, only to find that Pharaoh’s army is chasing them. And because the Red Sea blocks their way of escape, the people turn to Moses once again. But fear not. Moses raises his staff, the breath of God parts the Red Sea, and the Israelites escape the onslaught of Pharaoh’s army, which is then destroyed in a great avalanche of water—all courtesy of the best special effects that Hollywood can produce!

Wow, what a story! Who writes stuff like this? No wonder most people assume it wasn’t made up by any mere mortal. It comes straight from The Good Book, as is, right? Well, sorry to burst your bubble, folks, but think again. The story, I’m afraid, has undergone some editing for the sake of heightening the drama. Here’s what I mean.

Remember: According to the three laws of disinformation, the first order of business is to latch onto any truth that’s firmly founded on actual Scripture. In this case, one couldn’t hope to find a better example. Virtually the whole story as appropriated by Hollywood is in The Bible, but with one all-important variation. Tinsel Town’s version has the Israelites portrayed as slaves from the beginning of the story, as if they’d never known any other condition in their history. The Scriptures, however, reveal that far from starting out as slaves during their Egyptian sojourn, they were once a great and powerful nation living and ruling in the midst of Egypt’s heartland.

Now at first, this point of divergence may not seem important, but it actually makes all the difference in the world. I’ll explain why a little later, but before I do, let’s look at how Hollywood’s version differs from that of Scripture.

So ends this Preview of FISH TALES (FROM THE BELLY OF THE WHALE). To read more, please click on one of the following links:

To continue with this series, read an Excerpt to see that God’s plan doesn’t touch upon just one point in time, as it was perceived by Israel of old, but throughout all time.

Read the Next Preview to discover the real reason why the Children of Israel were attacked in the wilderness by venomous snakes.

Read the Next Excerpt to see that in hindsight it’s obvious that the Lord was testing the faith of this fickle bunch of exiles.

Read the Previous Preview to find out why Jesus wasn’t as concerned as His troubled disciples about Roman tyranny.

Read the Previous Excerpt to see that God’s Kingdom was never supposed to be established through force of arms as the disciples had anticipated.

To read this series from the beginning, go to the First Preview to see if you can tell the difference between a genuine message from The Bible and a counterfeit version.

To hear Kent talk more about his book Fish Tales (From the Belly of the Whale), CLICK HERE.
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