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‘Lost’ Goes Biblical (and Dharmic)

posted by sherry huang

Last night on “Lost,” fate and (what looked like) the Bible found their way through the doors of the mysterious underground hatch. In this season’s third episode, after the survivors had found their way into the hatch, they were shown a mysterious (and spliced) film created by The Dharma Initiative, an equally mysterious science program funded by The Hanso Foundation. In the film, a scientist warns that for every 108 minutes, six numbers (4-8-15-16-23-42) must be entered into a computer to prevent an unnamed world disaster.

After some of the survivors begin taking shifts to enter the numbers, the film was forgotten about… until last night, when Locke explains the computer by showing the film to Michael and Mr. Eko. While Michael voices his skepticism, Mr. Eko silently walks away, but later reappears with a cloth-wrapped rectangular package and proceeds to tell Locke the cautious tale of Josiah, the King of Judah.

According to 2 Kings 22 and 2 Chronicles 34, Josiah was very pious even though the citizens of Judah persisted in worshipping idols. In the 18th year of his reign, Josiah ordered his secretary to visit the high priest and bring back money for workers to repair the temple of the Lord. Instead of money, the high priest gave the Book of Law (which is interpreted as Deuteronomy, the final book that completed the Torah) to the secretary who read its contents to Josiah. According to 2 Kings, when Josiah heard the contents of the book, which recounted the punishment and destruction that would befall the Israelites if they were disobedient to God, the king was sent into despair. At once, he ordered the destruction of all the idols in his kingdom, going so far as to sacrifice human bones on the idol altars. However, despite purging Judah, God’s judgment was final and Judah was not spared; Josiah was eventually killed by Pharaoh Neco.

After Mr. Eko finishes telling this obscure Biblical story, he presents Locke with a thin leather-bound book (possibly containing the Hebrew Bible) that opens to reveal a square-shaped hole hiding a complete version of the Dharma film. When the full film is finally watched, the missing content is even more mysterious—it warns the survivors not to use the computer for any other purposes than entering those six numbers–or else infiltration by “the outside world” would lead to disaster.

When Locke marvels at the coincidence of possessing the complete Dharma film, Mr. Eko warns: “Don’t confuse coincidence with fate.” At the end of last season, Sun pondered whether fate sent the survivors to the island to be punished for all the wrong they did in their past. While the creators of “Lost” have denied the theory that the survivors are actually stuck in purgatory, trying to find their way to either heaven or hell, Mr. Eko’s recounting of Josiah’s tale is a definite warning for the survivors to keep their wits about them—for they are being tested and punished for the wrongs of their past and have yet to find their way to free their guilty souls.



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