Posted by: cindybythesea | March 24, 2010

silencing the lambs

   a Tristram Starling at Masada

– trivia, but, not trivial

I was telling my daughter about Ultra Guy’s recent post “Combat in the Air” (a must read, if you haven’t done so already) and we were discussing the starlings/ Israel connection of his post, when my daughter mentioned a bit of movie trivia that I found quite interesting.  In the 1991 move, Silence of the  Lambs, Jodi Foster plays an FBI interrogator of the infamous Hannibal Lecter, serial killer and cannibal.  I have not seen this film and was surprised to hear my daughter, who was in High School at the time, say she had seen it at the home of a friend (the things a mom finds out – after the fact!!!!) and that Jodi Foster’s name in the film was Clarice Starling.  Wow!  I thought, Starling is a fairly unusual name, how odd that it would be the name of the main character in a movie titled, Silence of the Lambs.  After reading so much about Starlings in the New Wine Skins post, I couldn’t resist taking a look to see how it might tie in.

 – Hannibal

The first thing I did, was look at the name Hannibal and Hannibal as it turns out, is a fitting name for serial killer (and not just because it rhymes with cannibal!).  The name Hannibal is a Phoenician word which means “grace/help/ gift of Baal,” – Baal, if you remember is the name of the Canaanite god of the Old Testament whose worship included magic, sorcery, sexual orgies, asherah poles and human sacrifice.  The name Hannibal is also recognized from antiquity as the name of one of the greatest military strategists who ever lived; a man known for his great victories against Rome during the years 248 to 183 B.C. – Hannibal who marched in to Northern Italy with an army which included elephants!

Without a doubt, the character of the movie Hannibal is pure evil.  He is cunning and cagey and the demon who inhabits him, like Hannibal the military leader, is a master strategist –  a master strategist who has but one goal in mind; to silence his victims, to – silence the lambs.

In the film, Clarice Starling (Jodi Foster) recounts living on a sheep ranch as a child.  She tells Hannibal that she remembers being deeply traumatized by the screaming of sheep she heard one day when spring lambs were being slaughtered. She tells him, she wanted to run away, but, instead, opened the gate to the sheep pen for the sheep to run, but, they didn’t, they just stood there confused.  So, she grabbed one sheep and tried to escape with it, but, it was too heavy to carry, so she wasn’t able to get far – she ended up getting caught with it and the sheep was returned to the pen to be slaughtered. 

Without having seen the movie, I think about this scene, “the starling” (Jodi Foster) sitting across from the magnetic Hannibal Lecter as he listens to her story. This had to have been a very powerful part of the movie –  just thinking about it creates a certain amount of emotion and tightness in my chest – a very palpable kind of tension.  Knowing somehow, that Hannibal finds a great deal of satisfaction in drawing this story out from her;  feeding off each word like a cannibal, feeding off her fear and vulnerability as if they were delicacies.


Over Masada fly little black starlings.  Little birds, who have a  curious wolf whistle with which they call out to one another.  High above the desert landscape they fly, landing now and then on this ancient fortress called Masada.  The silence of the desert broken only by their curious calls and the blood of the 960 Jewish men, women and children who cry out to God from the ground on which they perished.   960 Jewish zealots who chose death by suicide in 70 A.D. rather than being raped and enslaved by the Romans who held them under seige.  Recorded by Josephus is the final brave speech of Jewish leader Elazar ben Yair just prior to their deaths:

“Since we long ago resolved never to be servants to Romans, nor to any other than to God himself, who alone is true and just Lord of mankind, the time is now come that obliges us to make that resolution true in practice.  We were the very first that revolted against Rome and we are the last that fight against them; and I cannot esteem it but as a favor that God has granted us, that it is still in our power to die bravely and to die freely.”

Masada remains a very important symbol to the Jewish people for it speaks of their resolve in the face of adversity, their resolve to stand to the end and their resolve never again to be taken as sheep to the slaughter.  So important is this, that Israeli soldiers take an oath at Masada which says:  “Masada shall not fall again.”


It remains the goal of the enemy today, just like it was yesterday, and will be tomorrow until Messiah comes, to silence God’s Jewish people, to silence his lambs.  Today, a Nazi war criminal was brought to justice at the age of 88 for past crimes against Jews.  Today, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with President Barack Obama to defend against a world who says otherwise, why his people should be able to have a future and should be able to live freely and without division in the land God gave them 3,000 years ago.

The Hannibal Lecters and the demons who drive them will continue to assault the Jewish people until Messiah comes.  Dark days lie ahead for the “Starlings.”  In Zechariah 13:8, we are told that only a remnant (one third of the existing Jewish population) will survive.  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!  They desperately need our prayers.  Jesus loves them, he wept over the city with these words:

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but, you were not willing.  Look, your house is left to you desolate.  For I tell you,  you will not see me again, until YOU say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.'”  Matt. 23:37-39

The day is fast approaching when Israel will have nowhere to turn but to her Messiah! Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem, they will prosper who love thee!   Watching and waiting with YOU for the soon return of Jesus, Grace and blessings!   Cindy








  1. Excellent post mom, I also wanted to add that the strange title of the sequel, actually the prequel, (which I have NOT seen) is called Red Dragon.
    Pop culture seems to be full of Satanic boasting, that generally goes unnoticed by the majority of the movie going population. What a blessing to have our spiritual eyes open and begin to see things the way God does. I believe that the opening of our spiritual eyes is key to awakening the church of Laodecia. In my opinion Christians in the last 3 or 4 decades, have, to an extent, just been satisfied with just not participating in movies and music that were displeasing to God, but is that enough? No. Its like ignoring the weeds in your garden. They will grow and grow until dealt with. Non participation is definitely important, but even more important is spiritual warfare, praying against the strong hold Satan has in Hollywood and praying that these movies either hit walls in getting made and fail at the box office. Support christian films and recognize the power we have in Jesus name to speak to the fig tree (movies, pop culture) as Jesus did and curse it. I have been working on praying against satanic strongholds and cursing the roots of things, in the Holy and Powerful name of Jesus, Matt. 18:18

    • Thanks for your comment Kara! You make some great points! How many of us can say we actively pray against some of these strongholds. We wring our hands in response to the decay of our culture as we sit idly by sipping our Starbucks and watching our high def t.v.’s For the most part, we neither appreciate the power of prayer in Jesus name nor practice it. No wonder Jesus is sickened by the church of Laodicea! And, by the way, (as you probably know, the Starbucks thing is aimed at me -the Starbucks afficionado that I am – I don’t count my self exempt from the criticism.) Love and blessings! mom

  2. What a great parable, Cindy! I saw the film long ago, but if I remember correctly, Foster’s character ends up being captured, isolated and terrorized by Lecter but in the end she escapes. He does too, and so it’s not a perfect fit for the Time of Jacob’s Trouble but it does shed light on how evil pure evil really can be.

    • Hi Art, Thanks for your comment! Amazing how pop culture often gives us glimpses in to the spiritual realm that most are unaware of. And, you’re right, the film ends with Lecter escaping – but, the devil is “boastful” as my daughter pointed out in her comment and a liar from the beginning – probably doesn’t want to advertise his demise!!! Grace and blessings! Cindy

  3. Cindy, another insightful post! Thank you.

    I have to say, the Lord is incredible. A list sent to Art this afternoon had a bunch of “facts” in it about March 23. One in particular I wasn’t sure to add or not because it wasn’t a theme you all have blogged about (tried to stay with those topics).

    So imagine my surprise when I came on here just now to read and saw that you wrote about Hannibal.

    On March 23, 1999, Thomas Harris delivered his 600-page manuscript to Delacorte Press. The manuscript was Hannibal. It was the third novel to feature Hannibal Lecter. It hit store shelves in less than 3 months (according to —

    11 years to-the-day later, President Obama signed the deathcare bill into law before meeting with Netanyahu about settlements and mid-east peace.

    • Amazing!!! Thanks so much for sharing that Tam! Indeed the Lord is incredible. Wow!!! I’m really glad you took the time to share this information. It gives me “chicken skin” (as we call in here in Hawaii), just thinking about it! Thanks too for your encouragement. Through all of us sharing together, the Lord allows us to see the bigger picture. Thanks also for your encouragement. Grace and blessings to you and your family! Cindy

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