Today’s Chocolate: Alter Eco Deep Dark Blackout Organic Chocolate
Today’s Passage: Exodus 2
Exodus 2 is jam-packed with things that Dreamworks’ 1998 film The Prince of Egypt changed for its adaptation of the Exodus story.
I don’t refer to plausible additions that the movie made to the story in order to flesh it out for the cinematic format. The text doesn’t go much into Moses’ relationship with the Pharaoh who opposes his liberation attempts, but it may well have resembled what we see on the screen. No, I’m referring to outright alterations of the story, and you’ll find some major ones before Moses has even taken his first steps, let alone his first steps toward leading his people out of slavery.
I know that comparing the Exodus to The Prince of Egypt is kind of low-hanging fruit. But we love The Prince of Egypt, and with good reason. At the same time, I can’t help noticing how substantially Dreamworks altered the bulk of this chapter for dramatic purpose, so: that’s what we’re talking about.
First of all, Moses does not in fact grow up estranged from his biological family. When Pharaoh’s daughter (not his wife) finds the infant Moses floating on the Nile, Miriam reveals herself and makes an offer: “Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women that she may nurse the child for you?” (7). And of course Miriam arranges for Moses’ actual mom to nurse and raise him. Due to Miriam’s prudence and proactiveness in following her brother, Moses’ mom is able to maintain her relationship with her son and get paid for it.
Second, when Moses kills the Egyptian taskmaster who is beating a Hebrew slave, it’s decidedly not an accident. He ensures there are no Egyptian witnesses, then kills and buries the taskmaster. And though the movie depicts him fleeing on the spot in a panic after the accidental killing, the original text of Exodus shows us there’s some time between the murder and Moses’ flight. As he tries to pacify two quarreling Hebrews, one of them snarkily asks, “Are you intending to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” (14). It would seem that the Hebrew he saved has been talking about the incident. And when an increasingly concerned Moses finally leaves Egypt, it’s with good reason, as Pharaoh has put out an order to have him killed (15). He lays low in Midian to stay out of Pharaoh’s crosshairs, and as far as we can tell, he has no intention of returning at least until the warrant for his execution expires. And such warrants only expire with the Pharaoh who issued them.
Man, this chapter moves fast. As it begins, Moses hasn’t even been born yet, and by the time it closes, he’s already married and has a son. And in the next chapter, he’s about to get commissioned by God for a task big enough for the big screen.