The movie “Taken” vividly depicts what happens when something precious falls into the hands of an enemy. The two young women, Kim and Amanda are examples of the glory departing from Israel after the ark of God was taken because their appearances were transformed by what happened to them. Kim and Amanda start out as innocent teenagers on an exciting vacation and end up as sex slaves, strung out on drugs and sold as a commodity.
The ark of the covenant was where God’s presence dwelt in the Tabernacle. The ark is a representation of the Believer’s heart in that God’s word is hidden in the heart of every Believer and the Holy Spirit dwells there. The ark was associated with God’s power and became a symbol of his divine protection. When Israel was initially defeated by the Philistines, the elders of Israel said, “Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of Shiloh unto us, that when it cometh among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies” (1 Samuel 4:3).
The Israelites treated the ark as if it was a type of lucky charm. They no longer reverenced it as a holy object that was to be guarded from their enemies. Interestingly enough, the Philistines had more regard for the ark than the Israelites did. Their reaction to it being brought into the camp was fear. “And the Philistines were afraid, for they said, God is come into the camp. And they said, Woe unto us: for there hath not been such a thing heretofore” (1Samuel 4:7).
In the movie Taken, Kim the daughter of former CIA operative Bryan Mills is a virgin and is therefore treated as a very valuable commodity. She is auctioned to the highest bidder and ends up in the hands of a wealthy sheik. Her enemies regard her virginity as something precious that they can capitalize on. Unfortunately, her friend Amanda is sent to a brothel where she dies of a drug overdose.
When Bryan Mills finds Amanda’s body, she looks like a dim shadow of her former self. The drugs and sexual abuse have transformed her into an empty shell, lacking the spark of life that exuded from her when she first arrived in France. You could say that that the glory had departed from her. The word glory or kâbôd (kaw – bode´) in Hebrew “often refers to both ‘wealth’ and significant and positive ‘reputation’ ” (3519).
The Philistines were able to overcome the Israelites and take the ark of God because they knew their lives depended on it. The Philistines fought with all their might. The word quit in the phrase “Be strong, and quit yourselves like men” (1 Samuel 4:9) means “to release power, so that the accomplishment is assured” (1961). Liam Neeson demonstrates this type of fighting in his portrayal of Bryan Mills. Bryan goes to great lengths to find his daughter and assures his ex-wife that he will not come home without her.
The death of Amanda somewhat overshadows Kim’s rescue because there is still some sense that things will never be the same. Like innocence, God’s glory does not reside when there is a lack of reverence for his holiness and his laws are disregarded. “And she named the child Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel: because the ark of God was taken” (1 Samuel 4:21).