Quentin Tarantino, Pulp Fiction, and the Book of Ezekiel

Killer vinyl. Whether you like the movie or not.

Ever watched Pulp Fiction? Me neither.

Yeah that's totally a lie. I've watched it.

This post is not a movie recommendation. If you choose to watch it, please don't blame me.

I digress.

Anyway, there is a scene in Pulp Fiction where Samuel Jackson's character, Jules, is threatening a young man who stole from Samuel Jackson's boss. He asks the young man, "Do you read the Bible, Brett?" and shares a Bible verse he believes "sort of fits the occasion." He identifies it as Ezekiel 25:17. You know what? Tarantino is a master at sharing his vision. Why am I telling you about it? Let's just watch it. I've edited it for content.


 Let me recap. Jules cites Ezekiel 25:17 as follows:

The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides
by the iniquities 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 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 my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee!

Whoa. That's some serious fire and brimstone! But there's one problem. That's not Ezekiel 25:17. Look it up. Here's what you'll find in the NIV:

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.

Still some serious fire and brimstone, but a bit more succinct. It would appear that Quentin Tarantino decided to rewrite scripture. Ha. Nice job if you can get it.

Truth is, Tarantino wasn't the first filmmaker to "expand" Ezekiel 25:17. It first happened in a 1973 film called Karate Kiba. Tarantino is paying homage to a Japanese martial arts film. Hey, like Ecclesiastes says, there's nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

I'm fascinated when pop culture interacts with the Bible. Don't really have any earth-shattering conclusions about it, just find it fascinating. I'll get back to Luke's perspective on Jesus with my next post, but I think we'll return to this subject now and then.

ADDENDUM: My friend John Branyan was kind enough to offer a conclusion, and a good one at that. Check it out (and the rest of his blog) here.

Comments

  1. Oh. My. Gosh this is so great 😲 I love how you mix being a REAL person with Christian values. We don't have to be boring mainstream people goody goodys and you help confirm that for me.

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  2. Thanks for reading. Probably going make the Friday film a regular thing.

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    Replies
    1. I'm totally stoked . I'm going through and reading them all instead of my book and told my community about your blog! I just found out through Tammy tonight. Thanks for making it interesting.

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