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..
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.
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.
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.
- Secrets Of "Pulp Fiction"(5/95) by Roger Ebert
- Wikipedia: Pulp Fiction: Jules' Bible Passage
- Pulp Fiction Movie Blooper
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!