I was curious about the phrase “For every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians.” Genesis 47:16 

This passage below sums it up:

http://biblehub.com/commentaries/genesis/46-34.htm

Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers

(34) For every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians.—This is probably a remark of the narrator, and it is confirmed by the monuments, which generally represent shepherds as unshaven and ill-dressed. Necessarily the Egyptians had sheep and cattle (Genesis 47:16-17), and even Pharaoh had herds (Genesis 47:6); but the care of them was probably left by the peasantry to the women and children, while the men busied themselves with the cultivation of their fields. We need not go far to seek for the cause of this dislike. The word “abomination,” first of all, suggests a religious ground of difference; and not only did shepherds probably kill animals worshipped in different Egyptian districts, but their religion generally was diverse from that of the fixed population. But next, men who lead a settled life always dislike wandering clans, whose cattle are too likely to prey upon their enclosed land (see Note on Genesis 4:8), and who, moving from place to place, are usually not very scrupulous as to the rights of property. Such nomades, too, are generally lower in civilisation, and more rude and rough, than men who have fixed homes. The subjugation of Egypt by the Hyksos was possibly subsequent to the era of Joseph; but we now know from Egyptian sources that there was perpetual war between Egypt and the Hittites, and probably raids were often made upon the rich fields on the banks of the Nile by other Semitic tribes dwelling upon its eastern frontier; and as all these wore regarded as shepherds, there was ground enough for the dislike of all nomades as a class, even though the Egyptians did not disdain to have cattle themselves. But as the land in the Nile Valley was arable, the cattle kept would only be such as were useful for agriculture, whereas they formed the main wealth of the Israelites.

It appears nose rings were just fashion at the time. Rebekah being offered one in Genesis by Abraham’s servant was just an offering and the nose ring itself wasn’t anything particularly significant.

https://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-nose-rings.html

Nose rings are mentioned in the Bible as far back as the book of Genesis. When Abraham sent his servant in search of a wife for Isaac, the servant prayed that God would reveal to him the right young woman (Genesis 24:12–14). Rebekah came in answer to his prayer, and when she agreed to give him lodging in her father’s home, he gave her some gifts from his master, Abraham. Among those gifts was “a gold nose ring” (Genesis 24:22). This reveals that nose rings were in fashion during that era and they represented wealth and status when given as gifts. They were also considered female attire. The only time men wore anything through their noses was when they were taken as slaves (2 Chronicles 33:10–11).

In Ezekiel 16, God describes the affection He had showered upon Israel in terms of a man showering his bride with gifts: “I put a ring on your nose, earrings on your ears and a beautiful crown on your head” (verse 12). The Lord often used figurative speech and familiar objects and customs in order to communicate unfamiliar truths to His people. The lavish adornment, including the nose ring, described in this passage was the way a wealthy, loving husband would have provided for his beloved.

In Exodus 22:29 it says 

Do not hold back offerings from your granaries or your vats.g]

“You must give me the firstborn of your sons. 30 Do the same with your cattle and your sheep. Let them stay with their mothers for seven days, but give them to me on the eighth day.

In the websitehttp://thetorah.com/giving-your-firstborn-son-to-god/ they state that it is clear in a later passage that the human son is to be redeemed:

“34:19 Every first issue of the womb is Mine, from all your livestock that drop a male as firstling, whether cattle or sheep. 34:20 But the firstling of an ass you shall redeem with a sheep; if you do not redeem it, you must break its neck. And you must redeem every firstborn among your sons. None shall appear before Me empty-handed.

This passage as well presents an analogy between the treatment of firstborn animals and humans: all belong to God.[2] But here the firstborn of an ass—an animal that may not be sacrificed—must be redeemed, or exchanged, for a sheep, and the firstborn of a human mother must likewise be redeemed. This law upholds the principle that all firstborns belong to God, while making a practical distinction between firstborns that are slaughtered on an altar (“kosher” animals) and those that are not (“non-kosher” animals and humans).[3]”

This website also has a lot of information on this topic:https://bible.org/question/what-significance-%E2%80%9Cfirstborn%E2%80%9D-bible

 In this pass in Ezra, it shows how the Israelite’s were forced to send away the wives they took from foreign nations and the children they had with them. This seemed cruel to me, and I wondered what other theologians though on the topic. 

A great write up is found here: http://www.evidenceunseen.com/bible-difficulties-2/ot-difficulties/ezra-job/ezra-103-doesnt-it-seem-cruel-that-these-pagan-wives-and-children-would-be-put-away-by-these-men/

“Third, this could be a case of an irresolvable moral dilemma. Dilemmas like these occur when there is no good ethical choice; that is, both options are bad. In such circumstances, it is appropriate to choose the greater good (or the lesser of two evils).

Under Solomon’s reign, the nation of Israel divided and eventually split, because Solomon’s idol-worshipping wives led him away from God. 1 Kings 11:2 states, “They [the unbelieving wives] will surely turn your heart away after their gods.” Solomon’s decision to take foreign wives led to a 500 year spiritual and moral decay in Israel, ending in child sacrifice, prostitution, and eventual judgment in the Babylonian Exile. Ezra 9-10 takes place on the eve of the Exile… and the men were instantaneously falling back into the same exact sin of King Solomon!

While divorce is immoral, having all of the men of Israel being married to idol worshippers would be even worse. Saving the nation of Israel from corporate apostasy and judgment is ethically greater than preserving several dozen marriages. Moral dilemmas like these end in poor results no matter how you pick. Either circumstance is ugly, but one is worse than the other.

Fourth, the unbelieving wives could have been given an opportunity to convert to Judaism. Nothing in OT law explicitly prohibits Jews from marrying Gentiles, as long as they converted to Judaism (e.g. Ruth and Boaz would be a key example). While Ezra 10 does not explicitly tell us the spiritual convictions of the wives, could it be that they refused to convert to Judaism in the full two months it took to decide this legal case? (Ezra 10:16-17)

Furthermore, once (or if?) these women refused to convert to Judaism, it could’ve been an ethical dilemma on what to do with the children. Presumably, these children were very young (perhaps even newborns?), and tearing the children away from their mothers would be a tragic circumstance.”

Another good site is: https://www.gotquestions.org/abandon-foreign-wives-children.html

“We know that God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16), and some have asked how this event is related to the issue of divorce in today’s society. A couple of relevant points can be considered. First, this event took place during a previous dispensation, in a time when God’s chosen people were to live according to the Law of Moses. Christians today should not look to this account for justification to divorce a spouse.

Also, 1 Corinthians 7:15–16 gives the related principle for today’s believers married to unbelievers. Paul wrote, “If the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?” In other words, a believer is called to stay with an unbelieving spouse whenever possible. However, if the unbelieving spouse abandons the relationship, the believing spouse is not to dispute the matter.”

I kept seeing these two differences and was unsure what the differences were between Judah and Israel. 

“Israelites had a single kingdom during the reigns of Solomon and David. After the death of Solomon, the country was divided into two independent kingdoms. The southern region came to be called Judah which consisted of the tribes of Benjamin and Judah. Jerusalem was their capital. The northern region was called Israel which comprised the remaining ten tribes. They had the capital at Samaria.”

Read more: Difference Between Israel and Judah | Difference Between http://www.differencebetween.net/miscellaneous/culture-miscellaneous/difference-between-israel-and-judah/#ixzz4xZxskoPM

Another interesting site on the subject: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/prophecy/12-tribes-of-israel/israel-and-judah/

A neat map on the subject: https://www.bibleodyssey.org/en/tools/map-gallery/i/map-israel-and-judah

Even more: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-two-kingdoms-of-israel

As I always check when I see these passages, it appears that this lamentation has not been found.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laments_for_Josiah

“Laments for Josiah is the term used in reference to 2Chronicles 35:25. The passage reads: “And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah: and all the singing men and the singing women spake of Josiah in their lamentations to this day, and made them an ordinance in Israel: and, behold, they are written in the lamentations.”

This source, as described by the Chronicler, should not be confused with the canonical Book of Lamentations. The same event is retold in 1 Esdras 1:32, although it lacks any reference to writing, or the recording of the lamentation. Nevertheless, the dirges referred to in 2 Chronicles and 1 Esdras, as well as Lamentations may refer to a larger corpus of laments that once existed in the temple or palace archives of ancient Jerusalem.”

When I got to Chronicles I realized most of it was a retelling of Judges and Kings. I was curious as to why it would be included in the Bible and what its purpose is…

“First of all, not all of the content of the Chronicles is found in Samuel and Kings. In fact, over half of the content of Chronicles is unique.”  https://www.gotquestions.org/purpose-of-Chronicles.html

“Also interesting is the name of 1 and 2 Chronicles in the  Septuagint  (a Greek translation of the Old Testament produced around 300 BC). The title translates as “The Books of Things Left Out,” referring to additional details surrounding the historical events recorded in the books of Samuel and Kings. Due to the Judean emphasis of the Chronicles, we learn much more about the southern kingdom of Judah and its kings; the books of Kings contain more detail about the northern kingdom of Israel. “

Another site also has some interesting statements, here is a snippet of what they said:http://info.austingrad.edu/christianstudies/things-omitted-why-chronicles-is-important

“Many Christians through the ages have looked at it as an addendum or appendix, with some helpful additions, but paling in importance next to the magisterial history of Samuel and Kings. 

This widespread opinion does not do justice to the importance and influence of Chronicles. First, the theology and purpose of Chronicles is completely different from Samuel and Kings. Samuel and Kings are part of a much longer history, from Joshua to 2 Kings, with Deuteronomy as the introduction. The purpose of this collection is to hold Israel up to the light of the law in Deuteronomy and show how the people have consistently violated the covenant, especially the laws against idolatry. After hundreds of years of warnings given by the prophets, this history shows the inevitable consequence of idolatry —loss of land and exile— as spelled out in Deuteronomy. There is however, hope for Israel. If Israel will repent and return to the Lord, as she had done so often in the past (the period of the Judges, David, Hezekiah, etc.), God would once again hear them and restore them. “


An Ephraimite that is mentioned in 2 Chronicles 25:7 is a member of the Hebrew tribe of Ephraim. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Ephraimite

“According to the Bible, the Tribe of Ephraim is descended from a man named Ephraim.[2] This Ephraim is recorded as the son of Joseph, the son of Jacob.[3] The descendants of Joseph formed two of the tribes of Israel, whereas each of the other sons of Jacob was the founder of only one tribe.”

Much more information about the Tribe of Ephraimite can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribe_of_Ephraim

Also if you read the link above, read the last section about “Destiny.” Some interesting stuff I plan to research in more detail at some point.

Both are books probably lost to time, though maybe one day one or all will be found. They are mentioned in 2 Chronicles 9:29

“Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, first and last, are they not written in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of Iddo the seer against Jeroboam the son of Nebat?”

It is also mentioned in 2 Chronicles 12:15 relating to Rehoboam and 2 Chronicles 13:22 relating to Abijah.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visions_of_Iddo_the_Seer

So my wife showed me this really interesting article: http://www.sciencealert.com/scientists-have-concluded-that-the-universe-shouldn-t-really-exist

The short version it says: “All of our observations find a complete symmetry between matter and antimatter, which is why the Universe should not actually exist,” says one of the researchers, Christian Smorra.”

On a side note, but somewhat related to this article; I’ve also been entertained by the sheer number of Atheists that got enraged when I posted this to the Christian Reddit board. Before I started spending any time on religious groups forums and Reddit boards, I never understood when Christians have told me that they are relentlessly attacked by Atheists questioning their faith. I love to debate and argue, so it does not bother me in the slightest. I am disappointed in the amount of Christians that do not push back with science against them. Atheists feel this is their domain.

Both Christianity and Atheism is based on faith. Atheists believe the Universe spontaneously formed from nothing, (such as the Big Bang, or a Multiverse bubble, etc), where as different religions believe a God is the creator. 

I would rather be wrong about God not being real when I die, then not believing and he does exist. Then, if you believe there is a God, you go down the rabbit hole of which religion is the most likely to be real. I feel all evidence points to Christianity, but there will be countless more articles written by me that support this in the months and years to come.