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

This passage below sums it up:


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.


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.

On my path to reading the Bible, one of the first things that stumped me right out of the gate was the tremendous life spans of the Patriarchs listed in the Bible. I tend to view things with a scientific lens, so I was immediately starting to live up to my name as a “doubting Thomas.” I started doing some research, using good ol’ Google, and found some interesting websites that had some fascinating theories.

The first was: https://answersingenesis.org/bible-timeline/genealogy/did-adam-and-noah-really-live-over-900-years/
I highly recommend you read it. It discusses the theological reasons for the human life span being reduced. Stemming from Adam eating the forbidden fruit so that he would eventually die along with his decedents (Genesis 2:16-17) to scientific reasons as to how it could have happened. They discuss how environmental changes could have occurred after the Flood that would have possibly shortened human life spans, and then also genetic bottle necks that would have resulted from a drastically reduced population. They also hint about other literature from that time-period that discusses significantly longer life spans in other cultures.

The next was: https://rcspirituality.org/ask-a-priest-did-noah-really-live-900-years/
This is a response to a similar question by a Catholic priest. While I wouldn’t consider myself a Catholic (I attend a Baptist Church, but currently would not strongly align myself with any particular religion at this point in my religious journey-.) He makes some good points. The line that sums up his response is “Recent Church teaching has leaned toward interpreting Genesis 1-11 as stories that, while they have some basis in history, are meant primarily to teach theological and spiritual truths.” I encourage you to read this article, as I found it to be quite insightful.

This site http://www.ancient-origins.net/human-origins/did-ancient-people-really-have-lifespans-longer-200-years-002093 is a non-Christian source that discusses other cultures that also record incredible declining life spans.

Another very interesting article: http://creation.com/living-for-900-years This site discusses mostly scientific reasoning for the long lives of Biblical times. They go through environmental reasoning, along with genetic theories that are well articulated.

This site http://www.reasons.org/articles/why-aren-t-there-any-900-year-old-human-fossils asks the question “Why aren’t there any 900 year old human fossils?” Explaining their theories as to why.