History Channel’s The Bible: Homeland

Accuracy is the twin brother of honesty; inaccuracy, of dishonesty. -Nathaniel Hawthorne

I missed this during last week’s watch & rant of The Bible, but they have a note prior to the show saying they tried to be true to the text and be as accurate as possible. When I finally stopped laughing, I began The Bible: Homeland.

Joshua is just about ready to take on Jericho. He sends spies to determine where the weak spot is. There isn’t any, “except in their hearts”. Now, I can’t really comment on how people reacted when they found out a desert tribe was sitting at their doorsteps, but I question the fear. They had impenetrable walls. I don’t think their problem was fear – I think it was hubris. Amid terrible effects and even worse fighting scenes, the walls of Jericho came tumbling down. And not a single cow was thrown over. Was anyone else disappointed? Of course, there was a cursory mention of Rahab, but that’s that.

Shoot forward about 100 years. Joshua is dead and Judges rule the tribes (who have spread out). No mention of Gideon, and to my dismay, no mention of Deborah. Are you kidding me? Here was a woman Judge – the only woman Judge mentioned in the whole dang Bible, and you leave her out? Wow, I knew the Bible wasn’t one to give women their due, but I thought at least The Bible would be better. Also, no mention of the woman who drove a tent pike through a dude’s head while he slept. Fierce women need not apply in this rendition of The Bible. Fine, let’s talk about Samson. I’m not an anthropologist, and I am willing to concede some members of the tribes of Israel (like those who came from the concubines of Jacob) may not be middle eastern, but I can’t help but think the casting is a little skewed. Also, Samson was strong, but he was not a giant. So the pounding foley noises is a bit much, and a bit silly. They really sucked at the Samson re-telling. Here’s what they said: Samson got married to a Philistine, people were upset, they burned his wife and her father. Samson be pissed. Here’s the biblical account. Samson married a Philistine. The Philistine’s were upset. Samson gave them a riddle. “If you can’t answer this, you have to give me _______, if you can, I have to give you _________” The answer was impossible, as it was something Samson alone saw. Not to give up, the Philistines threated Samson’s new wife with death (by burning) if she didn’t get the answer from him. She succeeds and tells the Philistines the answer. Mightily pissed, Samson does some damage. Wife and father get burned to death. Samson gets even more mad. More motive there than The Bible would lead us to believe. Twenty years passes and he meets up with Delilah. Samson’s weakness be the ladies. Delilah tries to get the secret of his strength. Three times he tells her the wrong answer, and she’s cheesed. Finally he tells her the secret. He’s never cut his hair. He promptly falls asleep and wakes up with a shorn head. Except in The Bible, she just trims off a few inches with the scariest scissors known to man. And with weird sound effects. Samson is physically humbled. But he gets revenge and takes out a temple. As it goes, he killed more people that day (which resulted in his own death as well) than he had ever killed while he was living. And he killed a lot while he was living. Once again The Bible mucks it up, and makes it comically bad.

But wait! There’s Samuel. Except in The Bible, they mix up Eli & Samuel and essentially put them in one person. If I were Samuel, I’d be mad. Eli was a bit of a ponce by the end. The people of Israel are tired of Judges. See, the Joneses over there have kings to rule them, so why shouldn’t they? Except in The Bible, they want a king because Samuel’s sons are corrupt. (Not true. Eli’s sons were corrupt.) So Samuel anoints Saul, mostly because he’s tall and pretty.

Then Samuel goes and anoints David. No mention of the fact that when he went to Jesse’s house, Jesse parades everyone but David before Samuel. So David is the secret king. David kills Goliath. Who looks a lot shorter than the reported 12 feet. I bet he had Nephilim blood.

David is a pretty cool dude. I’ve always thought he was similar to King Arthur. He also had lady problems. Of course, The Bible only mentions Bathsheba. We all know the story. He begets Solomon, who is the wisest man in the world, and who will build the temple.

Questions I asked myself during the two hours:

• If they have steel/iron swords, why do they have wickers shields?

• This was smack dab in the middle of the Fertile Crescent. Why aren’t there more fertile-ness?

• Who is Keith David in the show, and why is he narrating?

Here’s my big question that’s already been alluded to: Where are all the women? There are not a lot of women mentioned in the Bible in the first place, so the ones who are mentioned deserve recognition, do they not? Here’s why I think women aren’t getting a fair shake in this series: Roma Downey is “Mother Mary”. No surprise she chooses the mother of Jesus as her character. I would not be surprised if she wants to be the stand-out female character, and to do that, you have to ignore Deborah, Ruth, Esther etc. (I am still hoping Esther makes a showing next week).

Something that made me laugh: Their note about accuracy at the beginning of the show is laughable, sure, but consider this: When I questioned something about what they had portrayed, and my memory was not to be trusted, I took a look at Wikipedia. Wikipedia! Wikipedia got it right. And they have this: WIKIPEDIA

I know this is a cursory mention, but the acting also leave accuracy to be desired.

Next week: Persians:


Photo credit.


1 Comment

  1. […] History Channel’s The Bible: Homeland (kimcheel.wordpress.com) […]

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