Last Saturday the Bible TV miniseries, which had previously been broadcasted in USA on the History Channel, came to the UK and was shown on Channel 5. The miniseries contains five episodes, which are two hours long. The ten hours in total is split equally between the Old and New Testament i.e. five hours on each.
The opening credits stated the series was an adaptation of the Bible which tries to keep to the spirit of it. This is an important point to remember. Like many other films based on books it is the director’s adaptation of it. This means that there are some differences in the production to the actual book itself. Some of the characters will be portrayed differently and will not look how we imagine they should.
We also must remember the Bible is a big book and it’s impossible to include all of it in just ten hours. There may be sections missed out that you and I think should have been included and likewise the inclusion of parts we would exclude. We must not let this though spoil our enjoyment of this miniseries.
Finally before I relay the contents of this episode there’s one important point to make: the book is better than the miniseries! In common with other adaptations I would recommend you read the book i.e. The Bible. Whatever you might think of this miniseries the book is so much better!!
The first scene of The Bible is set on Noah’s ark and he is recounting the first five chapters of Genesis to his children. We hear the creation story which of courses culminates in man being created, followed by Adam and Eve disobeying God by eating the apple and Cane killing Abel. After the beauty of creation man’s continued rebellion against God is punished by the flood.
After the rain stops and the flood goes the story moves onto the first of the two main characters featured in this episode: Abraham. The following events are featured from Abraham’s life:
- God calls Abraham to go to another land. Abraham is full of faith and is excited about moving to the land God has promised to lead him to. In addition to his wife and servants, Abraham invites his nephew Lot and his wife too. Lot is keen to go although his wife is very reluctant to go along.
- Abraham and Lot go their separate way as Lot, or more precisely his wife, feels there is not enough room for them both. Abraham is upset as Lot chooses to go to Sodom.
- Lot, his wife and servants are captured. Abraham takes along his servants and bravely rescues them. His great faith in God is again shown. Sadly for him both Lot and his wife still want to go to Sodom.
- Sarah, believing that she cannot have children tells Abraham to have a child with her servant Hagar. This results in the birth of Ishmael.
- Three visitors come and see Abraham and predict the birth of Isaac.
- Two of the visitors head towards Sodom and Gomorrah while Abraham pleads for the city. The city is destroyed and Lot and his family are rescued. However Lot’s wife, ignoring specific instructions, looks back and is turned into a pillar of salt.
- Isaac is born and there is much rejoicing.
- Sarah became jealous of Ishmael and Hagar and told Abraham to send them away, which he does.
- God tells Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. However just as he is about to plunge the knife into Isaac God tells him to stop and a lamb is provided for the sacrifice.
The narrator then spoke briefly about Isaac and his children: Esau and Jacob, who was later to be renamed Israel. He mentions the famine that brought the Israelites to Egypt. The story moves forward to the beginning of Exodus where the Israelites are slaves to the Egyptians and being treated badly. We are then introduced to the second main character of episode one: Moses. The following events are featured from his life:
- Moses is shown having a sword fight with Pharaoh’s son, who happens to be the same person who he will encounter when requesting the Israelites freedom. After Moses wins the duel, he is told he is not an Egyptian, although he was bought up in Pharaoh’s household, but an Israelite, which shocks him.
- Moses goes to visit the Israelites and kills an Egyptian who is ill-treating one of his countrymen. He flees to the desert to avoid punishment.
- Forty years pass and God speaks to Moses on Mount Sinai instructing him to tell Pharaoh “Let My people go!”
- His fellow Israelites, especially the elders, are reluctant to support him in this venture.
- Moses delivers God’s message to Pharaoh and there follows nine plagues. Pharaoh though hardens his heart and refuses to obey God.
- Moses tells the Israelites to cover their doors with the blood of a lamb so that the angel passes over them and does not kill their first born.
- The Egyptians all lose their first born in the final plague and Pharaoh is shown mourning the loss of his son.
- Pharaoh sends the Israelites away.
- Pharaoh then changes his mind and with his army chases after the Israelites looking to take revenge for the deaths of the first born of Egypt.
- The Israelites reach the Red Sea. Pharaoh’s army closes in and they are scared.
- God parts the Red Sea and the Israelites cross it, however the Egyptians are all drowned in it when they attempt to follow.
- Moses leads the Israelites to Mount Sinai and receives the Ten Commandments, which he gives to Joshua.
This is the last we see of Moses and Joshua replaces him. The episode concludes with two of Joshua’s spies fighting in Jericho as they attempt to escape from the city after being discovered by the residents of it.