Saturday, February 6, 2010


I saw The Book of Eli yesterday. Pretty good movie. Yes, there's a big reveal toward the end that makes some of what preceded it seem ridiculous. But I don't think it negates EVERYTHING as some have said. I like how the action sequences are not all chopped up into quick cuts; that drives me crazy. Here, they are mostly handled in long takes. I especially like some of the really cool "oners" in the house battle, which I'm sure were assisted with CG, but that doesn't make them any less spectacular.

Anyway, this post is not about any of that. It's about a sign I saw in the movie. The film centers around the Bible. In an early scene, when Eli is confronted by some thugs on the road, there's a sign on an overpass above him with the numbers 14 and 6. Two bolts in the sign make a colon between them. Knowing the biblical content, I figured this had to be an intentional placement in the film. Was it a reference to some scripture? My problem then became what book is this a reference to? So I've searched through the Bible for all possible 14:6 verses. Not all of them make sense, but a number of them are interesting. All scriptures are given from the King James, as that's the version in the film.

First the ones that don't have any apparent relevance to the film:
GENESIS 14:6 And the Horites in their mount Seir, unto Elparan, which is by the wilderness.

EXODUS 14:6 And he made ready his chariot, and took his people with him

LEVITICUS 14:6 As for the living bird, he shall take it, and the cedar wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water

DEUTERONOMY 14:6 And every beast that parteth the hoof, and cleaveth the cleft into two claws, and cheweth the cud among the beasts, that ye shall eat.

1 KINGS 14:6 And it was so, when Ahijah heard the sound of her feet, as she came in at the door, that he said, Come in, thou wife of Jeroboam; why feignest thou thyself to be another? for I am sent to thee with heavy tidings.

1 CHRONICLES 14:6 And Nogah, and Nepheg, and Japhia,

2 CHRONICLES 14:6 And he built fenced cities in Judah: for the land had rest, and he had no war in those years; because the LORD had given him rest.

HOSEA 14:6 His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon.

MATTHEW 14:6 But when Herod's birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod.

MARK 14:6 And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me.

ACTS 14:6 They were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about

ROMANS 14:6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

These are some of the interesting ones:
NUMBERS 14:6 And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes

JOSHUA 14:6 Then the children of Judah came unto Joshua in Gilgal: and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite said unto him, Thou knowest the thing that the Lord said unto Moses the man of God concerning me and thee in Kadeshbarnea.

1 SAMUEL 14:6 And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armor, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.

2 SAMUEL 14:6 And thy handmaid had two sons, and they strove together in the field, and there was none to part them, but the one smote the other, and slew him.

JEREMIAH 14:6 And the wild asses did stand in the high places, they snuffed up the wind like dragons; their eyes did fail, because there was no grass.

EZEKIEL 14:6 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.

1 CORINTHIANS 14:6 Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?

And here are the verses I think most relevant to the film, or that scene particuarly:
JUDGES 14:6 And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hands: but he told not his father or his mother what he had done.

2 KINGS 14:6 But the children of the murderers he slew not: according unto that which is written in the book of the law of Moses, wherein the LORD commanded, saying, The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, nor the children be put to death for the fathers; but every man shall be put to death for his own sin.

JOB 14:6 Turn from him, that he may rest, till he shall accomplish, as an hireling, his day.

PSALM 14:6 Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the LORD is his refuge.

PROVERBS 14:6 A scorner seeketh wisdom, and findeth it not: but knowledge is easy unto him that understandeth.

ISAIAH 14:6 He who smote the people in wrath with a continua stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and non hindereth.

ZECHARIAH 14:6 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark

LUKE 14:6 And they could not answer him again to these things.

JOHN 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth and the life. No man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

REVELATION 14:6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people

I think the most likely the film is referring to is John 14:6, as that's probably the most well-known of these verses. I like the Isaiah verse, which in the NIV reads "which in anger struck down peoples with unceasing blows, and in fury subdued nations with relentless aggression". I think that encapuslates the scene pretty well, as Eli takes on five guys with relentless aggression. But that verse is taken quite out of context in that application. I would very much like to know which verse the Hughes Brothers intended, or if it was intentional at all. What do you think, readers?

1 comment:

  1. I agree that the most likely verse is John 14:6 based on an interview with the Hughes brothers I heard on NPR. It was not their goal to make a promotional statement regarding Eli's faith and the reference to John 14:6 is common in some parts of current American culture. Two aspects of the film seem to me to support this: 1) Carnegie's motive in pursuing the book and 2) the reference to the post-apocalyptic belief that the book had something to do with the destruction.

    To me, a more interesting question than the Hughes brothers’ conscious intentions, is to what purpose were they inspired to include that bit of reference?