Who is ArcoJedi? A life-journeying Christian, ecstatic husband, proud father of four, web guru, all-around geek and Star Wars fanatic. Read these thoughts that he felt were worthwhile. Then wonder why he thought that way.

2006/04/22

Bible Quote From Pulp Fiction

My journey as a christian began late in life, after marriage and kids. I was also raised a Catholic and apparently, the learning of Bible verses was not an effective part of my religious education, both formal (PSR class) and informal (sitting in church).

Therefore, it is not surprising that the first verse from the Bible that I memorized was from a movie that came out while I was in college called Pulp Fiction. I imagine that I am like a lot of the group from my generation in that respect. The quote is used fully twice in the film and is spoken by a hitman named Jules, played by one of my favorite actors, Samuel L. Jackson. It goes like this..

Ezekiel 25:17

The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness. For he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you.

In truth, the film is a classic, though violent in the extreme --a surprise for Quentin Tarantino, to be sure-- and certainly treats the bible quote irreverantly.

FoxTrot recently lampooned the quote for their newspaper and online edition. Since the link I found it on will likely be dead in 205.3592 seconds, I will post a thumbnail below.

Bulb Fiction

Do you want to know the truth behind this Bible verse? It is misquoted.

It's not that this should have been a surprise, least of all to me when I looked it up more recently. I expected it to be a little off obviously, but not by this much.

The 25th chapter of Ezekiel is --in my limited understanding-- a warning and a list of lands and peoples that had turned away from God and to whom His anger would soon be shown. Noted are Ammonites, Moab, Edom, and Philistines. The last section of which, A Prophecy Against Philistia, is the closest in relation to what was said in the movie.

Ezekiel 25:15-17

15 This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because the Philistines acted in vengeance and took revenge with malice in their hearts, and with ancient hostility sought to destroy Judah, 16 therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am about to stretch out my hand against the Philistines, and I will cut off the Kerethites and destroy those remaining along the coast. 17 I will carry out great vengeance on them and punish them in my wrath. Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I take vengeance on them.

The effect is not quite as chilling as the movie upon first reading, but when you consider the implications to those living in these lands about to be punished by a living God, it sounds very dire. Check these out for yourself.

The final thought? Not really sure. I'd say that the film-maker should have read the Bible more carefully, but that's not important. Perhaps what I came to realize is that I should read the Bible more and watch movies less, but I didn't need Pulp Fiction to tell me that, now did I?

Okay, what do I really feel? Shame on me. There is still a long way to go. Lord, walk with me.

More Information

Updated 2010-04-12

Apparently, this misquote was done on purpose to (a) heighten the dramatic effect and (b) to pay an homage to other films of which Tarantino was a big fan. Now you know!

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Lords vengeance is worse then u thought try reading about rape canabolism pedophilia and murder of the same souls he created...
Sometimes I feel bad for the Arabs it was thier land and" Gods people " invaded them and wiped out every man woman and child but not before raping and eating them.

Anonymous said...

I think Quentin Tarantino and Samuel L. Jackson should have written the Bibble (rhymes with 'dribble'). Maybe they could write the next edition.

ArcoJedi said...

Hey Anonymous. I'm going to have to disagree with you on your points. The atrocities that you talk about starting with rape through murder are not necessarily evidence of the Lord's vengeance. Evil happens in the world and sometimes it's random, sometimes it's the Devil, sometimes it's a person.

I'm not getting the historical reference to the Arabs you feel bad for so I'm not sure what to say about that. Cultural and religious wars have been going on for centuries and the Christian Church cannot immediately sweep the historical atrocities they caused in the past under the proverbial rug.

However, critics can't be as quick to ignore the multitude of good things that are flourishing in the world today because of the teachings of Jesus. Most charities in general, international aid, concern for the plight of the third world, these are all products or byproducts of Christianity. Taken all together, Christianity has brought more good upon the face of the Earth than possibly any other movement or religion.

I don't know about Tarantino or Jackson writing/rewriting the Bible, but I do know there is a good version of James Earl Jones Reading the Bible. It's actually worth checking out simply to hear Darth Vader's voice talk about Moses and tell the story of Revelations.

Anonymous said...

Does he say: "Jesus... I am your father?"

ArcoJedi said...

No, but wouldn't that be awesome?!

Anonymous said...

Misquote?, say ain't so!. It was my favorite part of the movie. Although checking the source should have been my first step. The good book says, the wages of sin are death. It is up to us to avoid god's wrath and vengeance. Simple said, follow the rules of the good book

ArcoJedi said...

Apparently it is true, this speech in the movie does not match any translation of the Bible that I was able to find. Other than for dramatic effect, I can see no reason why Tarantino misquoted it. There are probably other parts of the Bible that could have had the same dramatic effect and fit the scene. But perhaps it was done on purpose and is used to illustrate something important about the character of Jules Winnfield.

ArcoJedi said...

Oh, hey! I have suddenly found a few more pages and links referencing the misquote and it's meanings. I'm adding them to the original post now.

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