Continuing our examination of the History Channel’s five-part series The Bible, the third episode that aired last night offered highs and lows, and overall I was disappointed. Serious factual errors marred the Exile narrative, and after studying 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, Jeremiah and Daniel again today I have finally sorted out the problems. I understand the difficult choices that must be made in order to condense the story, but the episode entitled “Hope” gave wrong information. So, in order to equip my friends hoping to use the material for a Sunday school class, I offer my comments and corrections.
The period covered by this episode starts with the reign of the last king of Judah, Zedekiah, whose story is found in 2 Kings 24:15–25:7. It concludes with Jesus’ call to the fisherman Peter to follow him and “change the world.” Yikes! This is a span of about 600 years, much of which is called the “Intertestamental Period” (the four hundred years between the last word in the Old Testament and the opening of the New in approximately 4 BC).
The first segment depicting the fall of Jerusalem at the hand of Nebuchadnezzar and the exile was generally all right factually. It is the tale-end of a bitter and violent history, ending with the monarchy of Zedekiah. The serious problems with chronology begin with the second segment featuring Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar (Neb) as the central characters.