Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tell Old...Pharoah...

Today my co-workers were talking about Easter time and the conversation lead to a discussion about the movie "The Ten Commandments".  I haven't thought about or seen that movie for years but love it.  I am not an "old movie" kind of person, unless you consider an old movie to be one from the 80's that stars Molly Ringwald or Emilio Estevez but there are a few that I always enjoy, including "The Sound of Music," "Father of the Bride," and "The Ten Commandments". 

As a child who regularly attended Sunday School I have been familiar with the book of Exodus for as long as I can remember.  The image of baby Moses floating in a basket and being rescued by the Pharoah's sister is a famous Sunday School lesson for young children.  I used to have (and still have, somewhere) a children's bible that I received when I was in Kindergarten or 1st grade.  I loved the stories about Moses and Egypt the best.  I was fascinated by the plagues God inflicted on Egypt when Pharoah wouldn't free the slaves, of course culminating in the death of the first born children of Egypt.  It is eloquently described in the old spiritual "Go Down Moses"...

"The Lord, by Moses, to Pharaoh said, Oh! let my people go.

If not, I'll smite your first-born dead! Oh! let my people go!"

The cheesy, over the top movie, released in 1956, makes a great visual for this story.  Even as a young child in elementary school I was intriqued by it.  I was looking at movie stills online and laughed at the fact that the actors are mostly white people.  But that doesn't matter...the movie is awesome.  It has all the elements that make a movie terrifying, such as child abandonment, infanticide, slavery, sacrificial blood, rivers of blood, blood pouring out of water pitchers, walking sticks that turn to snakes and the Angel of Death (played by a cloud of green smoke).  The scene where Angel of Death smites the first born and passes over the doors marked with blood (Passover was why this conversation came up at work in the first place) and you can hear grieving mothers wailing and screaming in the background is so erie it makes me shudder!

I will always imagine Moses this way, although Mr. Heston's hair is pretty golden for someone who lived n Egypt!

Oh, Rameses, just let them go!

This was quite the scene...I wonder how long it would take to walk across the floor of the Red Sea?  I used to feel so experienced in Sunday School because I have been to the Red Sea.  I wonder if they came to the other side at the port city of Hodeidah in the country of Yemen because if they did I have walked where they walked!

This movie is often played around Easter so I will be watching for it.  I really wish I had my children's bible right now so I could read those old, watered down stories I used to love.  When my mom used to teach Sunday School for one of the early grades she would use it for her lessons and my brother got a hold of it and wrote his name all over inside the book.  I was so mad and no one else seemed to care that he had graffitied my book.  He never got in trouble for anything.  By that time, I was old enough to have my own adult bible, presented to me and my classmates in front of the congregation, but I was still mad about what he did! 

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