This article is part of a series of Bible passages, which together are mainly about how the Bible says the Jewish race developed and were given laws, how they settled in ancient Israel, and how it says God sometimes punished them for disobeying his commands, which led to them changing their ways.
This is Part 4 (of 10) in Section 8: "The predictions Old Testament prophets gave of total disaster at the hands of invaders as a punishment from God for their sins".
Some parts of the Old Testament and the Book of Revelation are very unpleasant. If you become offended by anything, please read An Attempt to Explain Gruesome Bible Passages.
The purpose of the Old Testament seems to have been mainly to try to scare lawless societies into behaving decently, giving up the cruel ways the Bible says they were guilty of. Hence much of the gruesomeness, which is at least in part meant to warn people committing cruel and hurtful actions to change.
Jeremiah chapter 19 (NLT)
3 'Listen to this message from the LORD, you kings of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem! This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I will bring such a terrible disaster on this place that the ears of those who hear about it will ring!
4 "'For Israel has forsaken me and turned this valley into a place of wickedness. The people burn incense to foreign gods - idols never before worshiped by this generation, by their ancestors, or by the kings of Judah. And they have filled this place with the blood of innocent children. 5 They have built pagan shrines to Baal, and there they burn their sons as sacrifices to Baal. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing! 6 So beware, for the time is coming, says the LORD, when this place will no longer be called Topheth or the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. 7 For I will upset the battle plans of Judah and Jerusalem and let invading armies slaughter them. The enemy will leave the dead bodies as food for the vultures and wild animals. 8 I will wipe Jerusalem from the face of the earth, making it a monument to their stupidity. All who pass by will be appalled and will gasp at the destruction they see there. 9 I will see to it that your enemies lay siege to the city until all the food is gone. Then those trapped inside will have to eat their own sons and daughters and friends. They will be driven to utter despair.'
Hosea chapter 4 (NLT)
6 My people are being destroyed because they don't know me. It is all your fault, you priests, for you yourselves refuse to know me. Now I refuse to recognize you as my priests. Since you have forgotten the laws of your God, I will forget to bless your children. 7 The more priests there are, the more they sin against me. They have exchanged the glory of God for the disgrace of idols.
8 "The priests get fed when the people sin and bring their sin offerings to them. So the priests are glad when the people sin! 9 'Like priests, like people' - since the priests are wicked, the people are wicked, too. So now I will punish both priests and people for all their wicked deeds. 10 They will eat and still be hungry.
Hosea chapter 7 (TEV)
1 "Whenever I want to heal my people Israel and make them prosperous again, all I can see is their wickedness and the evil they do. They cheat one another; they break into houses and steal; they rob people in the streets. 2 It never enters their heads that I will remember all this evil; but their sins surround them, and I cannot avoid seeing them."
Hosea chapter 8 (NLT)
12 Even though I gave them all my laws, they act as if those laws don't apply to them. 13 The people of Israel love their rituals of sacrifice, but to me their sacrifices are all meaningless! I will call my people to account for their sins, and I will punish them.
Hosea chapter 5 (NLT)
9 One thing is certain, Israel When your day of punishment comes, you will become a heap of rubble.
10 "The leaders of Judah have become as bad as thieves. So I will pour my anger down on them like a waterfall. 11 The people of Israel will be crushed and broken by my judgment because they are determined to worship idols. 12 I will destroy Israel as a moth consumes wool. I will sap Judah's strength as dry rot weakens wood. 14 I will carry them off, and there will be no one left to rescue them. 15 Then I will return to my place until they admit their guilt and look to me for help. For as soon as trouble comes, they will search for me."
Jeremiah chapter 6 (TEV)
1 People of Benjamin, run for safety! Escape from Jerusalem! Sound the trumpet in Tekoa and build a signal fire in Beth Haccherem. Disaster and destruction are about to come from the north. 2 The city of Zion is beautiful, but it will be destroyed; 3 kings will camp there with their armies. They will pitch their tents around the city, and each of them will camp wherever they want. 4 They will say, "Prepare to attack Jerusalem! Get ready! We'll attack at noon!" But then they will say, "It's too late, the day is almost over, and the evening shadows are growing long. 5 We'll attack by night; we'll destroy the city's fortresses." 6 The Lord Almighty has ordered these kings to cut down trees and build mounds in order to besiege Jerusalem. He has said, "I will punish this city because it is full of oppression. 7 As a well keeps its water fresh, so Jerusalem keeps its evil fresh. I hear violence and destruction in the city; sickness and wounds are all I see. 8 People of Jerusalem, let these troubles be a warning to you, or else I will abandon you; I will turn your city into a desert, a place where no one lives."
9 The Lord Almighty said to me, "Israel will be stripped clean like a vineyard from which every grape has been picked. So you must rescue everyone you can while there is still time."
10 I answered, "Who would listen to me if I spoke to them and warned them? They are stubborn and refuse to listen to your message; they laugh at what you tell me to say. 11 Your anger against them burns in me too, Lord, and I can't hold it in any longer."
Then the Lord said to me, "Pour out my anger on the children in the streets and on the gatherings of the young people. Husbands and wives will be taken away, and even the very old will not be spared. 12 Their houses will be given to others, and so will their fields and their wives. I am going to punish the people of this land. 13 Everyone, great and small, tries to make money dishonestly; even prophets and priests cheat the people. 14 They act as if my people's wounds were only scratches. "All is well,' they say, when all is not well. 15 Were they ashamed because they did these disgusting things? No, they were not at all ashamed; they don't even know how to blush. And so they will fall as others have fallen; when I punish them, that will be the end of them. I, the Lord, have spoken."
Jeremiah chapter 6 (TEV)
18 So the Lord said, "Listen, you nations, and learn what is going to happen to my people. 19 Listen, earth! As punishment for all their schemes I am bringing ruin on these people, because they have rejected my teaching and have not obeyed my words. 20 What do I care about the incense they bring me from Sheba, or the spices from a distant land? I will not accept their offerings or be pleased with their sacrifices. 21 And so I will make these people stumble and fall. Parents and children will die, and so will friends and neighbors."
22 The Lord says, "People are coming from a country in the north; a mighty nation far away is preparing for war. 23 They have taken up their bows and swords; they are cruel and merciless. They sound like the roaring sea, as they ride their horses. They are ready for battle against Jerusalem."
24 "We have heard the news," say the people of Jerusalem, "and our hands hang limp; we are seized by anguish and pain like a woman in labor. 25 We don't dare go to the countryside or walk on the roads, because our enemies are armed and terror is all around us."
26 The Lord says to his people, "Put on sackcloth and roll in ashes. Mourn with bitter tears as you would for an only child, because the one who comes to destroy you will suddenly attack. 27 Jeremiah, test my people, as you would test metal, and find out what they are like. 28 They are all stubborn rebels, hard as bronze and iron. They are all corrupt, going around and spreading gossip. 29 The furnace burns fiercely, but the waste metals do not melt and run off. It is useless to go on refining my people, because those who are evil are not taken away. 30 They will be called worthless dross, because I, the Lord, have rejected them."
Jeremiah chapter 11 (CEV)
1-3 The LORD God told me to say to the people of Judah and Jerusalem:
I, the LORD, am warning you that I will put a curse on anyone who doesn't keep the agreement I made with Israel. So pay attention to what it says. 4 My commands haven't changed since I brought your ancestors out of Egypt, a nation that seemed like a blazing furnace where iron ore is melted. I told your ancestors that if they obeyed my commands, I would be their God, and they would be my people. 5 Then I did what I had promised and gave them this wonderful land, where you now live.
"Yes, LORD," I replied, "that's true."
6 Then the LORD told me to say to everyone on the streets of Jerusalem and in the towns of Judah:
Pay attention to the commands in my agreement with you. 7 Ever since I brought your ancestors out of Egypt, I have been telling your people to obey me. But you and your ancestors 8 have always been stubborn. You have refused to listen, and instead you have done whatever your sinful hearts have desired. You have not kept the agreement we made, so I will make you suffer every curse that goes with it.
9 The LORD said to me: Jeremiah, the people of Judah and Jerusalem are plotting against me. 10 They have sinned in the same way their ancestors did, by turning from me and worshiping other gods. The northern kingdom of Israel broke the agreement I made with your ancestors, and now the southern kingdom of Judah has done the same. 11 Here is what I've decided to do. I will bring suffering on the people of Judah and Jerusalem, and no one will escape. They will beg me to help, but I won't listen to their prayers. 12-13 Then they will offer sacrifices to their other gods and ask them for help. After all, the people of Judah have more gods than towns, and more altars for Baal than there are streets in Jerusalem. But those gods won't be able to rescue the people of Judah from disaster.
14 Jeremiah, don't pray for these people or beg me to rescue them. If you do, I won't listen, and I certainly won't listen if they pray!
15Then the LORD told me to say to the people of Judah:
You are my chosen people,
but you have no right
to be here in my temple,
doing such terrible things.
The sacrifices you offer me
won't protect you from disaster,
so stop celebrating.
Jeremiah chapter 5 (TEV)
1 People of Jerusalem, run through your streets! Look around! See for yourselves! Search the marketplaces! Can you find one person who does what is right and tries to be faithful to God? If you can, the Lord will forgive Jerusalem. 2 Even though you claim to worship the Lord, you do not mean what you say. 3 Surely the Lord looks for faithfulness. He struck you, but you paid no attention; he crushed you, but you refused to learn. You were stubborn and would not turn from your sins. 4 Then I thought, "These are only the poor and ignorant. They behave foolishly; they don't know what their God requires, what the Lord wants them to do. 5 I will go to the people in power and talk with them. Surely they know what their God requires, what the Lord wants them to do." But all of them have rejected the Lord's authority and refuse to obey him. 6 That is why lions from the forest will kill them; wolves from the desert will tear them to pieces, and leopards will prowl through their towns. If those people go out, they will be torn apart because their sins are numerous and time after time they have turned from God.
7 The Lord asked, "Why should I forgive the sins of my people? They have abandoned me and have worshiped gods that are not real. I fed my people until they were full, but they committed adultery and spent their time with prostitutes. 8 They were like well-fed stallions wild with desire, each lusting for his neighbor's wife. 9 Shouldn't I punish them for these things and take revenge on a nation such as this? 11 The people of Israel and Judah have betrayed me completely. I, the Lord, have spoken."
Jeremiah chapter 5 (TEV)
12 The Lord's people have denied him and have said, "He won't really do anything. We won't have hard times; we won't have war or famine." 13 They have said that the prophets are nothing but windbags and that they have no message from the Lord.
15 People of Israel, the Lord is bringing a nation from far away to attack you. It is a strong and ancient nation, a nation whose language you do not know. 16 Their archers are mighty soldiers who kill without mercy. 17 They will devour your crops and your food; they will kill your sons and your daughters. They will slaughter your flocks and your herds and destroy your vines and fig trees. The fortified cities in which you trust will be destroyed by their army.
18 The Lord says, "Yet even in those days I will not completely destroy my people. 19 When they ask why I did all these things, tell them, Jeremiah, that just as they turned away from me and served foreign gods in their own land, so they will serve strangers in a land that is not theirs."
20 The Lord says, "Tell the descendants of Jacob, tell the people of Judah: 21 Pay attention, you foolish and stupid people, who have eyes, but cannot see, and have ears, but cannot hear. 22 I am the Lord; why don't you fear me? Why don't you tremble before me? I placed the sand as the boundary of the sea, a permanent boundary that it cannot cross. The sea may toss, but it cannot go beyond it; the waves may roar, but they cannot break through. 23 But you people! You are stubborn and rebellious; you have turned aside and left me. 24 You never thought to honor me, even though I send the autumn rains and the spring rains and give you the harvest season each year. 25 Instead, your sins have kept these good things from you.
26 "Evildoers live among my people; they lie in wait like those who lay nets to catch birds, but they have set their traps to catch people. 27 Just as a hunter fills a cage with birds, they have filled their houses with loot. That is why they are powerful and rich, 28 why they are fat and well fed. There is no limit to their evil deeds. They do not give orphans their rights or show justice to the oppressed.
29 "But I, the Lord, will punish them for these things; I will take revenge on this nation.
30 A terrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: 31 prophets speak nothing but lies; priests rule as the prophets command, and my people offer no objections. But what will they do when it all comes to an end?"
Jeremiah chapter 18 (TEV)
18 The people said, "Let's do something about Jeremiah! There will always be priests to instruct us, the wise to give us counsel, and prophets to proclaim God's message. Let's bring charges against him and stop listening to what he says."
19 So I prayed, "Lord, hear what I am saying and listen to what my enemies are saying about me. 20 Is evil the payment for good? Yet they have dug a pit for me to fall in. Remember how I came to you and spoke on their behalf, so that you would not deal with them in anger.
Jeremiah chapter 15 (TEV)
10 What an unhappy man I am! Why did my mother bring me into the world? I have to quarrel and argue with everyone in the land. I have not lent any money or borrowed any; yet everyone curses me. 11 Lord, may all their curses come true if I have not served you well, if I have not pleaded with you on behalf of my enemies when they were in trouble and distress.
13 The Lord said to me, "I will send enemies to carry away the wealth and treasures of my people, in order to punish them for the sins they have committed throughout the land. 14 I will make them serve their enemies in a land they know nothing about, because my anger is like fire, and it will burn forever."
Jeremiah chapter 12 (NLT)
1 LORD, you always give me justice when I bring a case before you. Now let me bring you this complaint: Why are the wicked so prosperous? Why are evil people so happy? 2 You have planted them, and they have taken root and prospered. Your name is on their lips, but in their hearts they give you no credit at all. 3 But as for me, LORD, you know my heart. You see me and test my thoughts. Drag these people away like helpless sheep to be butchered! Set them aside to be slaughtered! 4 How long must this land weep? Even the grass in the fields has withered. The wild animals and birds have disappeared because of the evil in the land. Yet the people say, "The LORD won't do anything!"
Jeremiah chapter 11 (TEV)
18 The Lord informed me of the plots that my enemies were making against me. 19 I was like a trusting lamb taken out to be killed, and I did not know that it was against me that they were planning evil things. They were saying, "Let's chop down the tree while it is still healthy; let's kill him so that no one will remember him any more." 20 Then I prayed, "Almighty Lord, you are a just judge; you test people's thoughts and feelings. I have placed my cause in your hands; so let me watch you take revenge on these people." 21 The people of Anathoth wanted me killed, and they told me that they would kill me if I kept on proclaiming the Lord's message. 22 So the Lord Almighty said, "I will punish them! Their young men will be killed in war; their children will die of starvation. 23 I have set a time for bringing disaster on the people of Anathoth, and when that time comes, none of them will survive."
Jeremiah chapter 15 (NLT)
15 I said, "LORD, you know I am suffering for your sake. Punish my persecutors! Don't let them kill me! Be merciful to me and give them what they deserve! 16 Your words are what sustain me. They bring me great joy and are my heart's delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God Almighty. 17 I never joined the people in their merry feasts. I sat alone because your hand was on me. I burst with indignation at their sins. 18 Why then does my suffering continue? Why is my wound so incurable? Your help seems as uncertain as a seasonal brook. It is like a spring that has gone dry."
19 The LORD replied, "If you return to me, I will restore you so you can continue to serve me. If you speak words that are worthy, you will be my spokesman. You are to influence them; do not let them influence you! 20 They will fight against you like an attacking army, but I will make you as secure as a fortified wall. They will not conquer you, for I will protect and deliver you. I, the LORD, have spoken! 21 Yes, I will certainly keep you safe from these wicked men. I will rescue you from their cruel hands."
Isaiah chapter 66 (NLT)
5 Hear this message from the LORD, and tremble at his words: "Your close relatives hate you and throw you out for being loyal to my name. 'Let the LORD be honored!' they scoff. 'Be joyful in him!' But they will be put to shame.
6 What is all the commotion in the city? What is that terrible noise from the Temple? It is the voice of the LORD taking vengeance against his enemies.
Jeremiah chapter 26 (NIV)
1 Early in the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, this word came from the LORD :
2 "This is what the LORD says: Stand in the courtyard of the LORD's house and speak to all the people of the towns of Judah who come to worship in the house of the LORD . Tell them everything I command you; do not omit a word. 3 Perhaps they will listen and each will turn from his evil way. Then I will relent and not bring on them the disaster I was planning because of the evil they have done. 4 Say to them, 'This is what the LORD says: If you do not listen to me and follow my law, which I have set before you, 5 and if you do not listen to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I have sent to you again and again (though you have not listened), 6 then I will make this house like Shiloh and this city an object of cursing among all the nations of the earth.'"
7 The priests, the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speak these words in the house of the LORD . 8 But as soon as Jeremiah finished telling all the people everything the LORD had commanded him to say, the priests, the prophets and all the people seized him and said, "You must die! 9 Why do you prophesy in the LORD's name that this house will be like Shiloh and this city will be desolate and deserted?" And all the people crowded around Jeremiah in the house of the LORD.
10 When the officials of Judah heard about these things, they went up from the royal palace to the house of the LORD and took their places at the entrance of the New Gate of the LORD's house. 11 Then the priests and the prophets said to the officials and all the people, "This man should be sentenced to death because he has prophesied against this city. You have heard it with your own ears!"
12 Then Jeremiah said to all the officials and all the people: "The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and this city all the things you have heard. 13 Now reform your ways and your actions and obey the LORD your God. Then the LORD will relent and not bring the disaster he has pronounced against you. 14 As for me, I am in your hands; do with me whatever you think is good and right. 15 Be assured, however, that if you put me to death, you will bring the guilt of innocent blood on yourselves and on this city and on those who live in it, for in truth the LORD has sent me to you to speak all these words in your hearing."
16 Then the officials and all the people said to the priests and the prophets, "This man should not be sentenced to death! He has spoken to us in the name of the LORD our God." 17 Some of the elders of the land stepped forward and said to the entire assembly of people, 18 "Micah of Moresheth prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah. He told all the people of Judah, 'This is what the LORD Almighty says:
" 'Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble, the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.'
19 "Did Hezekiah king of Judah or anyone else in Judah put him to death? Did not Hezekiah fear the LORD and seek his favor? And did not the LORD relent, so that he did not bring the disaster he pronounced against them? We are about to bring a terrible disaster on ourselves!"
20 (Now Uriah son of Shemaiah from Kiriath Jearim was another man who prophesied in the name of the LORD ; he prophesied the same things against this city and this land as Jeremiah did. 21 When King Jehoiakim and all his officers and officials heard his words, the king sought to put him to death. But Uriah heard of it and fled in fear to Egypt. 22 King Jehoiakim, however, sent Elnathan son of Acbor to Egypt, along with some other men. 23 They brought Uriah out of Egypt and took him to King Jehoiakim, who had him struck down with a sword and his body thrown into the burial place of the common people.)
24 Furthermore, Ahikam son of Shaphan supported Jeremiah, and so he was not handed over to the people to be put to death.
The next file in this section (Part 5), is entitled: "Predictions Of Disaster Befalling Other Countries As A Punishment From God For Sins".
The main Bible pages on this site:
|Bible Part 1: Bible Quotations, The Holy Spirit, People And Their Stories|
|Bible Part 2: The Lives and Suffering of the Ancient Israelites|
|Bible Part 3: The Bible, Articles About Alleged Inaccuracies in it, And Stories of People who Became Christians.|
|If you have found parts of the Old Testament or the Book of Revelation offensive, please read An Attempt to Explain Gruesome Bible Passages.|
The selections of Bible quotations have been put together by Diana Holbourn.
Throughout this series, wherever the initials TEV appear, they stand for Today's English Version (The Good News Bible).Other initials:
Don't be afraid to question the truth of what a religious authority figure tells you, or even the Bible or other holy books themselves, or certain people's interpretation of them. Nothing to do with religion or the supernatural is so well established in fact it shouldn't be questioned. To find out why caution is a good idea, visit:
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There are a lot of pages on this website with quotations from the Old Testament on them. Many of these are unfortunately rather gruesome, since the main theme of the Old Testament is warnings and stories about how it says societies were punished for mass lawless and hurtful behaviour, even to the extent of having war brought on them by God, that seem to have been designed to scare societies where crime and violence were rampant into behaving more ethically. In case there is any misunderstanding, it should be understood that this website does not endorse war as anything other than a last resort. The position of the website owner can be gleaned from the articles:
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