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 3 (of 4) in Section 10: "The suffering after the Babylonian conquest, and the prophecies of the return of the Jews to Jerusalem".
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.
Psalm 74 (TEV)
1 Why have you abandoned us like this, O God?
Will you be angry with your own people forever?
2 Remember your people, whom you chose for yourself long ago,
whom you brought out of slavery to be your own tribe.
Remember Mount Zion, where once you lived.
3 Walk over these total ruins;
our enemies have destroyed everything in the Temple.
4 Your enemies have shouted in triumph in your Temple;
they have placed their flags there as signs of victory.
5 They looked like woodsmen cutting down trees with their axes.
6 They smashed all the wooden panels with their axes and sledge hammers.
7 They wrecked your Temple and set it on fire;
they desecrated the place where you are worshiped.
8 They wanted to crush us completely;
they burned down every holy place in the land.
9 All our sacred symbols are gone;
there are no prophets left, and no one knows how long this will last.
10 How long, O God, will our enemies laugh at you?
Will they insult your name forever?
11 Why have you refused to help us? Why do you keep your hands behind you?
2 Chronicles chapter 36 (TEV)
15 The Lord, the God of their ancestors, had continued to send prophets to warn his people, because he wanted to spare them and the Temple. 16 But they made fun of God's messengers, ignoring his words and laughing at his prophets, until at last the Lord's anger against his people was so great that there was no escape. 17 So the Lord brought the king of Babylonia to attack them. The king killed the young men of Judah even in the Temple. He had no mercy on anyone, young or old, man or woman, sick or healthy. God handed them all over to him.
18 The king of Babylonia looted the Temple, the Temple treasury, and the wealth of the king and his officials, and took everything back to Babylon. 19 He burned down the Temple and the city, with all its palaces and its wealth, and broke down the city wall. 20 He took all the survivors to Babylonia, where they served him and his descendants as slaves until the rise of the Persian Empire.
21 And so what the Lord had foretold through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: "The land will lie desolate for seventy years, ...."
22 In the first year that Cyrus of Persia was emperor, the Lord made what he had said through the prophet Jeremiah come true. He prompted Cyrus to issue the following command and send it out in writing to be read aloud everywhere in his empire:
23 "This is the command of Cyrus, Emperor of Persia. The Lord, the God of Heaven, has made me ruler over the whole world and has given me the responsibility of building a temple for him in Jerusalem in Judah. Now, all of you who are God's people, go there, and may the Lord your God be with you."
2 Peter chapter 1 (NLT)
20 ... you must understand that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophets themselves 21 or because they wanted to prophesy. It was the Holy Spirit who moved the prophets to speak from God.
Ezekiel chapter 11 (CEV)
14 The LORD replied:
15 Ezekiel, son of man, the people living in Jerusalem claim that you and the other Israelites who were taken to Babylonia are too far away to worship me. They also claim that the land of Israel now belongs only to them. 16 But here is what I want you to tell the Israelites in Babylonia:
It's true that I, the LORD God, have forced you out of your own country and made you live among foreign nations. But for now, I will be with you wherever you are, so that you can worship me. 17 And someday, I will gather you from the nations where you are scattered and let you live in Israel again. 18 When that happens, I want you to clear the land of all disgusting idols. 19 Then I will take away your stubbornness and make you eager to be completely faithful to me. You will want to obey me 20 and all my laws and teachings. You will be my people, and I will be your God.
21 But those who worship idols will be punished and get what they deserve. I, the LORD God, have spoken.
Ezekiel chapter 25 (TEV)
1 The Lord spoke to me. 2 "Mortal man," he said, "denounce the country of Ammon. 3 Tell them to listen to what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying:
You were delighted to see my Temple profaned, to see the land of Israel devastated, to see the people of Judah go into exile. 4 Because you were glad, I will let the tribes from the eastern desert conquer you. They will set up their camps in your country and settle there. They will eat the fruit and drink the milk that should have been yours. 5 I will turn the city of Rabbah into a place to keep camels, and the whole country of Ammon will become a place to keep sheep, so that you will know I am the Lord.
6 "This is what the Sovereign Lord is saying: You clapped your hands and jumped for joy. You despised the land of Israel. 7 Because you did, I will hand you over to other nations who will rob you and plunder you. I will destroy you so completely that you will not be a nation any more or have a country of your own. Then you will know that I am the Lord."
12 The Sovereign Lord said, "The people of Edom took cruel revenge on Judah, and that revenge has brought lasting guilt on Edom. 13 Now I announce that I will punish Edom and kill every person and animal there. I will make it a wasteland, from the city of Teman to the city of Dedan, and the people will be killed in battle. 14 My people Israel will take revenge on Edom for me, and they will make Edom feel my furious anger. Edom will know what it means to be the object of my revenge." The Sovereign Lord has spoken.
Ezekiel chapter 28 (NLT)
20 Then another message came to me from the LORD: 21 "Son of man, look toward the city of Sidon and prophesy against it. 22 Give the people of Sidon this message from the Sovereign LORD:
I am your enemy, O Sidon, and I will reveal my glory by what happens to you. When I bring judgment against you and reveal my holiness among you, everyone watching will know that I am the LORD. 23 I will send a plague against you, and blood will be spilled in your streets. The attack will come from every direction, and your people will lie slaughtered within your walls. Then everyone will know that I am the LORD. 24 No longer will Israel's scornful neighbors prick and tear at her like thorns and briers. For then they will know that I am the Sovereign LORD.
25 "This is what the Sovereign LORD says: The people of Israel will again live in their own land, the land I gave my servant Jacob. For I will gather them from the distant lands where I have scattered them. I will reveal to the nations of the world my holiness among my people. 26 They will live safely in Israel and build their homes and plant their vineyards. And when I punish the neighboring nations that treated them with contempt, they will know that I am the LORD their God."
Micah chapter 7 (NLT)
7 As for me, I look to the LORD for his help. I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me. 8 Do not gloat over me, my enemies! For though I fall, I will rise again. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD himself will be my light. 9 I will be patient as the LORD punishes me, for I have sinned against him. But after that, he will take up my case and punish my enemies for all the evil they have done to me. The LORD will bring me out of my darkness into the light, and I will see his righteousness. 10 Then my enemies will see that the LORD is on my side. They will be ashamed that they taunted me, saying, "Where is the LORD - that God of yours?" With my own eyes I will see them trampled down like mud in the streets.
11 In that day, Israel, your cities will be rebuilt, and your borders will be extended. 12 People from many lands will come and honor you - from Assyria all the way to the towns of Egypt, and from Egypt all the way to the Euphrates River, and from many distant seas and mountains.
Isaiah chapter 49 (TEV)
22 The Sovereign Lord says to his people: "I will signal to the nations, and they will bring your children home. 23 Kings will be like fathers to you; queens will be like mothers. They will bow low before you and honor you; they will humbly show their respect for you. Then you will know that I am the Lord; no one who waits for my help will be disappointed."
24 Can you take away a soldier's loot? Can you rescue the prisoners of a tyrant? 25 The Lord replies, "That is just what is going to happen. The soldier's prisoners will be taken away, and the tyrant's loot will be seized. I will fight against whoever fights you, and I will rescue your children. 26 I will make your oppressors kill each other; they will be drunk with murder and rage. Then all people will know that I am the Lord, the one who saves you and sets you free. They will know that I am Israel's powerful God."
Isaiah chapter 14 (NLT)
1 The LORD will have mercy on the descendants of Jacob. Israel will be his special people once again. He will bring them back to settle once again in their own land. And people from many different nations will come and join them there and become a part of the people of Israel. 2 The nations of the world will help the LORD's people to return, and those who come to live in their land will serve them. Those who captured Israel will be captured, and Israel will rule over its enemies.
3 In that wonderful day when the LORD gives his people rest from sorrow and fear, from slavery and chains, 4 you will taunt the king of Babylon. You will say,
"The mighty man has been destroyed. Yes, your insolence is ended.
5 For the LORD has crushed your wicked power and broken your evil rule.
6 You persecuted the people with unceasing blows of rage and held the nations in your angry grip.
Your tyranny was unrestrained.
7 But at last the land is at rest and is quiet. Finally it can sing again!
8 Even the trees of the forest - the cypress trees and the cedars of Lebanon - sing out this joyous song:
'Your power is broken! No one will come to cut us down now!'
9 "In the place of the dead there is excitement over your arrival.
World leaders and mighty kings long dead are there to see you.
10 With one voice they all cry out,
'Now you are as weak as we are! 11 Your might and power are gone; they were buried with you.
All the pleasant music in your palace has ceased. Now maggots are your sheet and worms your blanket.'
12 "How you are fallen from heaven, O shining star, son of the morning!
You have been thrown down to the earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world.
13 For you said to yourself, 'I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God's stars.
I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north.
14 I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.'
15 But instead, you will be brought down to the place of the dead, down to its lowest depths.
16 Everyone there will stare at you and ask, 'Can this be the one who shook the earth and the kingdoms of the world?
17 Is this the one who destroyed the world and made it into a wilderness?
Is this the king who demolished the world's greatest cities and had no mercy on his prisoners?'
18 "The kings of the nations lie in stately glory in their tombs,
19 but you will be thrown out of your grave like a worthless branch.
Like a corpse trampled underfoot,
you will be dumped into a mass grave with those killed in battle.
You will descend to the pit.
20 You will not be given a proper burial, for you have destroyed your nation and slaughtered your people.
Your son will not succeed you as king.
21 Kill the children of this sinner!
Do not let them rise and conquer the land or rebuild the cities of the world."
22 This is what the LORD Almighty says: "I, myself, have risen against him! I will destroy his children and his children's children, so they will never sit on his throne. 23 I will make Babylon into a desolate land, a place of porcupines, filled with swamps and marshes. I will sweep the land with the broom of destruction. I, the LORD Almighty, have spoken!"
Jeremiah chapter 50 (TEV)
1 This is the message that the Lord gave me about the city of Babylon and its people:
2 "Tell the news to the nations! Proclaim it! Give the signal and announce the news! Do not keep it a secret! Babylon has fallen! Her god Marduk has been shattered! Babylon's idols are put to shame; her disgusting images are crushed!
3 "A nation from the north has come to attack Babylonia and will make it a desert. People and animals will run away, and no one will live there."
4 The Lord says, "When that time comes, the people of both Israel and Judah will come weeping, looking for me, their God. 5 They will ask the way to Zion and then go in that direction. They will make an eternal covenant with me and never break it.
6 "My people are like sheep whose shepherds have let them get lost in the mountains. They have wandered like sheep from one mountain to another, and they have forgotten where their home is. 7 They are attacked by all who find them. Their enemies say, "They sinned against the Lord, and so what we have done is not wrong. Their ancestors trusted in the Lord, and they themselves should have remained faithful to him.'
8 "People of Israel, run away from Babylonia! Leave the country! Be the first to leave! 9 I am going to stir up a group of strong nations in the north and make them attack Babylonia. They will line up in battle against the country and conquer it. They are skillful hunters, shooting arrows that never miss the mark. 10 Babylonia will be looted, and those who loot it will take everything they want. I, the Lord, have spoken."
11 The Lord says, "People of Babylonia, you plundered my nation. You are happy and glad, going about like a cow threshing grain or like a neighing horse, 12 but your own great city will be humiliated and disgraced. Babylonia will be the least important nation of all; it will become a dry and waterless desert. 13 Because of my anger no one will live in Babylon; it will be left in ruins, and all who pass by will be shocked and amazed.
14 "Archers, line up for battle against Babylon and surround it. Shoot all your arrows at Babylon, because it has sinned against me, the Lord. 21 The Lord says, "Attack the people of Merathaim and of Pekod. Kill and destroy them. Do everything I command you. I, the Lord, have spoken.
22 The noise of battle is heard in the land, and there is great destruction. 23 Babylonia hammered the whole world to pieces, and now that hammer is shattered! All the nations are shocked at what has happened to that country.
24 Babylonia, you fought against me, and you have been caught in the trap I set for you, even though you did not know it. 25 I have opened the place where my weapons are stored, and in my anger I have taken them out, because I, the Sovereign Lord Almighty, have work to do in Babylonia.
26 Attack it from every side and break open the places where its grain is stored! Pile up the loot like piles of grain! Destroy the country! Leave nothing at all! 27 Kill all their soldiers! Slaughter them! The people of Babylonia are doomed! The time has come for them to be punished!" 28 (Refugees escape from Babylonia and come to Jerusalem, and they tell how the Lord our God took revenge for what the Babylonians had done to his Temple.)
29 "Tell the archers to attack Babylon. Send out everyone who knows how to use the bow and arrow. Surround the city and don't let anyone escape. Pay it back for all it has done, and treat it as it has treated others, because it acted with pride against me, the Holy One of Israel. 30 So its young men will be killed in the city streets, and all its soldiers will be destroyed on that day. I, the Lord, have spoken.
31 "Babylonia, you are filled with pride, so I, the Sovereign Lord Almighty, am against you! The time has come for me to punish you. 32 Your proud nation will stumble and fall, and no one will help you up. I will set your cities on fire, and everything around will be destroyed."
33 The Lord Almighty says, "The people of Israel and of Judah are oppressed. All who captured them are guarding them closely and will not let them go. 34 But the one who will rescue them is strong-his name is the Lord Almighty. He himself will take up their cause and will bring peace to the earth, but trouble to the people of Babylonia."
35 The Lord says, "Death to Babylonia! Death to its people, to its rulers, to its people of wisdom. 36 Death to its lying prophets- what fools they are! Death to its soldiers- how terrified they are! 37 Destroy its horses and chariots! Death to its hired soldiers- how weak they are! Destroy its treasures; plunder and loot. 38 Bring a drought on its land and dry up its rivers. Babylonia is a land of terrifying idols that have made fools of the people.
39 "And so Babylon will be haunted by demons and evil spirits, and by unclean birds. Never again will people live there, not for all time to come. 40 The same thing will happen to Babylon that happened to Sodom and Gomorrah, when I destroyed them and the nearby towns. No one will ever live there again. I, the Lord, have spoken.
41 "People are coming from a country in the north, a mighty nation far away; many kings are preparing for war. 42 They have taken 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 Babylonia.
43 The king of Babylonia hears the news, and his hands hang limp. He is seized by anguish, by pain like a woman in labor.
44 "Like a lion coming out of the thick woods along the Jordan up to the green pasture land, I, the Lord, will come and make the Babylonians run away suddenly from their city. Then the leader I choose will rule the nation.
Who can be compared to me?
Who would dare challenge me?
What ruler could oppose me?
45 So listen to the plan that I have made against the city of Babylon and to what I intend to do to its people.
Ezekiel chapter 28 (NLT)
1 Then this message came to me from the LORD: 2 "Son of man, give the prince of Tyre this message from the Sovereign LORD:
In your great pride you claim, 'I am a god! I sit on a divine throne in the heart of the sea.' But you are only a man and not a god, though you boast that you are like a god. 3 You regard yourself as wiser than Daniel and think no secret is hidden from you. 4 With your wisdom and understanding you have amassed great wealth - gold and silver for your treasuries. 5 Yes, your wisdom has made you very rich, and your riches have made you very proud.
6 "Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because you think you are as wise as a god, 7 I will bring against you an enemy army, the terror of the nations. They will suddenly draw their swords against your marvelous wisdom and defile your splendor! 8 They will bring you down to the pit, and you will die there on your island home in the heart of the sea, pierced with many wounds. 9 Will you then boast, 'I am a god!' to those who kill you? To them you will be no god but merely a man! 10 You will die like an outcast at the hands of foreigners. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!"
Ezekiel chapter 36 (GWT)
16 The LORD spoke his word to me. He said,
17 "Son of man, when the people of Israel lived in their land, they dishonored it by the way they lived and by everything they did. Their ways were as unclean as a woman's menstrual period. 18 So I poured out my fury on them because they poured out blood on the land and they dishonored the land with their idols. 19 I forced them into other nations, and they became scattered among the nations. I judged them based on the way that they lived and based on everything that they had done.
20 But wherever they went among the nations, they dishonored my holy name. People said about them, 'These are the LORD's people, yet they had to leave his land.' 21 I became concerned about my holy name because my people dishonored it among the nations wherever they went.
22 "So tell the people of Israel, 'This is what the Almighty LORD says:
I am about to do something, people of Israel. I will not do this for your sake but for the sake of my holy name, which you have dishonored among the nations wherever you have gone. 23 I will reveal the holiness of my great name, which has been dishonored by the nations, [the name] that you have dishonored among them. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD, because I will reveal my holiness among you as they watch, declares the Almighty LORD.
24 "'I will take you from the nations and gather you from every country. I will bring you back to your own land.
25 I will sprinkle clean water on you and make you clean instead of unclean. Then I will cleanse you from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I will remove your stubborn hearts and give you obedient hearts. 27 I will put my Spirit in you. I will enable you to live by my laws, and you will obey my rules. 28 Then you will live in the land that I gave your ancestors. You will be my people, and I will be your God.
29 I will rescue you from all your uncleanness. I will make the grain grow so that you will never again have famines. 30 I will make fruit grow on the trees and crops grow in the fields so that you will no longer suffer disgrace among the nations because of famines.
31 Then you will remember your evil ways and the bad things that you did, and you will hate yourselves for all these wicked and disgusting things.
32 I want you to know that I'm not doing this for your sake, declares the Almighty LORD. Be ashamed and disgraced because of your ways, people of Israel.
33 "'This is what the Almighty LORD says:
On the day that I cleanse you from all your wickedness, I will cause your cities to be lived in again, and your ruins will be rebuilt. 34 The wasteland will be plowed. It will no longer remain empty for everyone passing by to see. 35 People will say, "This wasteland has become like the garden of Eden. The cities were destroyed. They were empty and ruined, but now they are fortified and have people living in them." 36 The surrounding nations that are left will know that I, the LORD, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted crops in the land that was empty. I, the LORD, have spoken, and I will do it.'
37 "This is what the Almighty LORD says:
I will also let the people of Israel ask me to make them as numerous as sheep. 38 They will be like the sheep in Jerusalem during the appointed festivals. Their ruined cities will be filled with flocks of people. Then they will know that I am the LORD."
Ezekiel chapter 36 (TEV)
6 "So prophesy to the land of Israel; tell the mountains, hills, brooks, and valleys what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying in jealous anger because of the way the nations have insulted and humiliated them. 7 I, the Sovereign Lord, solemnly promise that the surrounding nations will be humiliated.
8 But on the mountains of Israel the trees will again grow leaves and bear fruit for you, my people Israel. You are going to come home soon. 9 I am on your side, and I will make sure that your land is plowed again and crops are planted on it. 10 I will make your population grow. You will live in the cities and rebuild everything that was left in ruins. 11 I will make people and cattle increase in number. There will be more of you than ever before, and you will have many children. I will let you live there as you used to live, and I will make you more prosperous than ever. Then you will know that I am the Lord.
12 I will bring you, my people Israel, back to live again in the land. It will be your own land, and it will never again let your children starve.
The next file in this section (Part 4), is entitled: "More Prophecies About The Return Of The Israelite Exiles From Babylon And The Punishment Decreed By God In His Anger Against Their Enemies".
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: