Bible Study Moment:

Early in Raiders of the Lost Ark two government agents come to talk with Indiana Jones and Marcus Brody about a German cable that has been intercepted, but the U.S. government doesn’t understand. This prompts Indy and Marcus to talk about the Ark of the Covenant. They say several things that don’t agree with the Bible even though they cite the Bible as being the source for some of them. I’m going to focus on the last thing Marcus Brody says, that the army that has the ark is invincible.

Let’s look at 1 Samuel 4, 5, &6. In chapter 4, the Israelites have suffered a defeat to the Philistines, so they get the ark so that they will be able to defeat them in the next battle. In the first battle about 4,000 Israelite soldiers died. In the next battle with the Ark of the Covenant to lead them 30,000 die, and it is the Philistines who carry the ark away from the battlefield.

So this Israelite army was hardly invincible. Maybe things will go better for the Philistines.

In chapter 5, the Philistines put the ark in the temple for their god, Dagon, in Ashdod. After the statue of Dagon falls in front of the ark in pieces, and the people of Ashdod are struck with tumors, the Philistine rulers (5 kings) decide to move the ark to Gath. The people there also are struck by tumors, so they try to move the ark to Ekron, but the people there want no part of it. So the decision is made to send the ark back to the Israelites. Can you picture the climactic scene in Raiders being God striking the Germans with tumors?

In chapter 6 the Philistines put the ark on a cart, hitch two nursing cows to it, include 5 gold tumors and 5 gold mice as an offering and drive the cattle toward the Israelite town of Beth-shemesh, and decide if the cattle stay on the road and actually make it to Beth-shemesh then that means that the Israelite god is responsible for the tumors; but if the cattle wander off then this all happened randomly. The cattle and the ark make it to Beth-shemesh.


Mark Phillips