Alycia and I are over halfway through the second season of Daredevil. I have thoroughly enjoyed this season. This season has shown some of the natural repercussions of Matt’s choice to fight crime as a vigilante, both in society and in his personal life. In his personal life that means damaging his relationships, but for society that means people like Frank Castle.
The Punisher has been one of the best parts about Daredevil’s second season. He provides such a stark contrast to Matt Murdock, which really helps solidify Matt’s motivation and philosophy. Frank Castle is a difficult character to get right; he is the ultimate anti-hero. Past incarnations have attempted to make him sympathetic, to the point that he becomes a hero. Daredevil does a much better job of portraying Frank Castle, not as a good guy, but as a violent vigilante that we feel guilty rooting for.
I know that the Punisher is a bad guy and his methods are indefensible, but I also don’t like drug dealing gangs and child pornographers. So, in honor (is he someone we should honor?) of the Punisher, here are some biblical characters that I always feel guilty rooting for.
Nebuchadnezzar wasn’t a great guy. He conquered most of the known world, carried God’s people into exile and destroyed the Temple. All-in-all, that’s a pretty good résumé for a bad guy. However, I still find myself rooting for Nebuchadnezzar. He really is one of my favorite people in the Bible because there’s so much to his story. He conquered God’s people, saw God do amazing things and was eventually humbled to the point of turning to God. Unlike the Punisher, it seems like Nebby actually turned his life around. Sure, it took seven years of living like a wild animal, but that’s a small price to pay for truly understanding God’s greatness.
The problem with the Punisher is that he acts as judge, jury and executioner. That’s a fairly efficient justice system, though it’s very short on actual justice. Jael is a woman who, like Frank Castle, takes the law into her own hands. When the Canaanite general Sisera flees from a battle with the Israelites, he finds himself in the tent of Jael. Jael is very hospitable, offering Sisera some milk and a place to rest his head. Unfortunately for Sisera, though, Jael’s hospitality is short lived as she drives a tent peg through his head. Perhaps Sisera should have been handed over to Deborah for judgment, but I don’t mind rooting for Jael. There’s nothing like a nice old lady hammering a peg through someone’s head.
Sennacherib is a lot like Nebuchadnezzar without the happy ending. Nebby conquered Judah while Sennacherib threatened Judah. The king of Assyria mustered his army and threatened Judah, but was turned away when the angel of the Lord went Punisher on the Assyrian camp. It’s pretty easy to root against Sennacherib, except that God himself said that he was using Sennacherib. God is sovereign so we can trust that he’s in control, using whomever he chooses. So while rooting for the Assyrian king probably isn’t kosher, God used Sennacherib to accomplish his purposes.
Daredevil has been great so far and I can’t wait to finish this season. I don’t know how Frank Castle’s story ends, so I can’t say for certain if he deserves his own Netflix series. Unless he makes a complete 180, though, I can’t really see the Punisher becoming a hero I can root for.
For what Bible characters do you feel guilty rooting?