Monthly Archives: August 2018
And thank goodness for that: four books in, and this is BY FAR the least interesting series of back-in-the-Bible we’ve come across yet. I can only imagine what we will get if Phillips ever writes the last book in the series. (As Tim LaHaye has moved on to his eternal reward (or whatever), maybe Jerry Jenkins will step in as Biblical Consultant.)
In yet another instance of animal cruelty in the Bible, when the driver-less cart with the ark wanders into a random field, the Levites sacrifice the cows pulling the cart as a burnt offering to the LORD. And the poor cows never did anything to anybody.
So they keep constant watch over the Ark (there seems to be no long-term plan of what to do with this stupid thing), and unsurprisingly, eventually curiosity gets the best of some random dudes guarding it, so they open it and die, but not before pulling out the golden rats and tumors, and also, impliedly, the jar of manna and rod of Aaron.
Like that, except nobody’s face gets melted.
Oh, and because God is just a super fair kinda guy, he kills not only the men who looked directly into the Ark, but FIFTY THOUSAND OTHER GUYS WHO NEVER DID ANYTHING, MANY OF WHOM PROBABLY DID NOT KNOW THE ARK WAS EVEN THERE.
So they cover the Ark without looking at it, and send it off to be guarded by…somebody, I don’t care who, and the priests of Dagon take the “two items” to the temple, which is where Murphy now FINALLY is.
Sorry, this story just doesn’t have the dramatic pull of Noah’s Ark.
Seeing as how Murphy has come on this particular adventure with only his good pal Levi (no Isis, because he isn’t pseudo-dating her anymore; no students or assistants or colleagues, because a Manly Man doesn’t need to share the glory), it makes sense that another character would be provided. Then, we don’t have two strapping Manly Men sweating at a dig site all by themselves, like they’re gay or something.
By the way, does it strike anyone else as odd that Levi is ALWAYS available to Murphy? Go to Israel on a random archaeological dig? Sure! I mean, is his job at the Mossad to just smooth Murphy’s way at any time? Doesn’t he have a family? (I mean, he does, because they are mentioned in Babylon Rising, but I think Phillips forgot.)
Anyway, I guess the Mossad specializes in providing guys who can just go anywhere and help Michael Murphy at the drop of a hat, because here’s another: Gideon. While Levi was picking Murphy up at the airport and then taking him out to breakfast, Gideon was just chilling the whole time at the dig site, because this trained Mossad agent of thirteen years had absolutely nothing better to do with his time.
He also has two entire lines in this chapter. So, there’s that.
So Murphy and Levi show up and there are introductions all around. Amusingly, but in keeping with the theme of this series, Murphy is “Michael” to Levi, “Dr. Murphy” to trained Mossad agent Gideon, who is apparently volunteering his time out of the goodness of his heart.
Not one to waste any more time now that he has actually gotten off the couch after 53 chapters, Murphy just plunges right into Discovery. He picks a wall that “there might be something behind,” and Gideon looks at it and makes the first of his two contributions:
“Dr. Murphy. Come and look at the mortar around these rocks. It looks different.”
If this seems confusing, it is to me, too. I have zero picture in my mind of what these guys are looking at. There is no description beyond the rather confounding: “Look how the hillside rises behind the wall. The hillside looks like it was cut out.”
With utmost respect for the historicity of the site, Murphy just plops down and chips at the mortar with a knife (use the right tool for the right job, Murph!). He opines that the mortar is fresh and finds “a cavity” behind it. Levi volunteers the use of a shovel he has in the back of his car, because they didn’t bring any other equipment. (No, really.)
Perhaps coming to terms with his uselessness, Gideon volunteers to stay behind while Murphy and Levi crawl into the hole, and also to check on three cars that have been here the whole time that the men are only just now even slightly curious about.
The hole turns out to be a tunnel/passageway, and the guys head down it, and whaddaya know, it just so happens to lead to “some kind of secret room”!
It’s just that simple!
(Also, it’s not so secret, seeing as how it was at the end of a corridor with hooks for lamps, at the end of which was an archway leading to the room itself.)
This “secret room,” Murphy opines, was a “storage chamber for the temple [of Dagon].” (So, why would a storage room have to be secret, then?)
Murph and Levi survey the walls, and decide that someone was recently trying to chip away at them, to no avail. Then they hear popping sounds coming from the other side of the wall, and Desert Storm vet Murphy has to look to Levi to figure out they were gunshots. Geez, no kidding, eh?
The men decide to need to head towards the gunshots, and try to find a way through the wall. Again, it’s Levi to the rescue, as he is the one to remember Meth’s advice to push on the king’s head, which Levi interprets to mean the king of the jungle, because there is a lion’s head carved in the wall. So they push, and in an Indiana Jones-ish fashion, the wall slides open.
As Murphy and Levi head towards Ashdod, Murphy fills Levi in on the events of the first book, of the finding of the piece of the bronze serpent. In doing so, he makes this slightly strange remark about his dead wife, Laura:
“Laura had an uncanny ability to read and understand maps, some sort of an intuitive sense of geological transformation through time.”
Which seems a rather dismissive way to dismiss a skill. Like, Lura couldn’t be good at maps because of intelligence and careful study of cartography and geology. No, it was some sort of feminine intuition.
Speaking of dismissing women’s skill, Murphy then describes the trip to the sewers with Isis, very briefly, and omtting completely the part where Isis saved both their lives and the life of a kidnapped child.
So it kinda ends up that there’s a vague explanation for the whole serpent being together now, and Murphy opines that The Seven will allow it to “became a symbol of worship. In the wrong hands, it could be used to make people believe that they may be healed from all types of illness and disease.”
That seems a little disingenuous of Murphy to say, since the bronze serpent isn’t something that makes people believe they may be healed; it is something that actually heals people, at least according to the Bible. So if the AntiChrist uses it to heal people, he will actually be healing people, despite the fact that he is definitially eeeeevil by LaHaye logic.
Also, all this farting around for hundreds of pages has actually put the reader several steps ahead of our genius archaeologist hero. Because we already know that Talon has given the serpent to the AntiChrist.
Heck, this chapter serves no purpose other than to catch up Levi on stuff the readers already know, since nothing of importance to the mission has happened in hundreds of pages. Nope we’re all caught up now, and Murphy’s car is mere minutes from the dig site!
But rest assured, I’m sure we’ll soon digress to discussion of Pastor Bob’s lunch routine.