Invaders surrounded the Jewish city of Samaria for so long that the people inside the city ran out of food. Two women agreed to kill and eat their sons. They ate one son one day, but the mother of the other son hide her boy. The next day the enemy army gave up (see 2 Kings 6). Name that second boy Mazel Tov, Hebrew for good luck, as in Lucky. Strange and Mysterious Stuff in the Bible, p. 33.
A hill-country accent cost 42,000 Jews their lives. A Jewish commander name Jephthah had a grudge against the tribe of Ephraim for not helping him during a battle. He knew they couldn’t pronounce the “h” sound. He arrested their people at a border crossing. If they pronounced Shibboleth as Sibboleth, he killed them (Judges 12:6 NLT). Strange and Mysterious Stuff in the Bible, p. 17.
When the Roman Empire legalized Christianity in the AD 300s, church leaders demoted pacifism. They started preaching a new idea for Christians: that there is such a thing as a just war. Augustine (AD 354-430), an African bishop, made that argument famous. It caught on. 100 Tough Questions about God and the Bible, p. 40.
Early-generation church leaders preached love, not war. One leader summed up the majority view. Tertullian (about AD 160-220) said, “When Christ disarmed Peter he disarmed every soldier.” 100 Tough Questions about God and the Bible, p. 38.
“There was a wise man who was called Jesus…Pilate condemned him to be crucified…His disciples…reported that he appeared to them three days after his crucifixion, and that he was alive.” —Josephus (about AD 37-100) Antiquities of the Jews. Understanding Jesus, p. 279.
Some Christians have trouble believing in a fiery hell. They say they can’t imagine Jesus lighting the eternal flame, forever barbecuing the people he died to save. They ask if instead of reading literally the Bible descriptions of hell, they should be reading this literally: “God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross” (Colossians 1:20 NLT). 100 Tough Questions about God and the Bible, p. 83.
Philistines stole Israel’s most sacred object, the Ark of the Covenant, which held the Ten Commandments. Then sent it on tour as a war trophy. “A plague of tumors” broke out everywhere it went. Philistines sent it back to the Jews, with an offering: a chest of gold rats and gold lumps that looked like tumors. Scholars speculate that the disease may have been the rat-carried bubonic plague, with produces tumors on the skin. Complete Guide to the Bible, p. 89.
The sons of Israel’s high priest, Eli, “slept with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting,” (1 Samuel 2:22, NIV). The men, Hophni and Phineas, also pilfered top-grade meat they were supposed to sacrifice to God. They died in a battle. They carried to the front line the Ark of the Covenant, which held the Ten Commandments—treating it like a magic box that would win the day. Philistines won the battle and stole the Ark. Who’s Who and Where’s Where in the Bible 2.0, p. 197.
A roll of quarters, a bag of wine, and five bushels of barley is pretty much what Hosea had to pay to get back his wife who had run away and perhaps sold herself into prostitution. It was six ounces (170 grams) of silver, not quite the weight of an eight-ounce (227 grams) roll of quarters. You can read the story in Hosea 3. Who’s Who and Where’s Where in the Bible 2.0, page 198.