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 1 (of 4) in Section 6: "Invasion And Conquest of the Promised Land, Now Known As Israel - A Punishment From God On The Inhabitants Of The Land".
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.
Deuteronomy chapter 1 (NLT)
1 This book records the words that Moses spoke to all the people of Israel while they were in the wilderness east of the Jordan River. ...
2 Normally it takes only eleven days to travel from Mount Sinai to Kadesh-barnea, going by way of Mount Seir. 3 But forty years after the Israelites left Mount Sinai, on a day in midwinter, Moses gave these speeches to the Israelites, telling them everything the LORD had commanded him to say. 4 This was after he had defeated King Sihon of the Amorites, who had ruled in Heshbon, and King Og of Bashan, who had ruled in Ashtaroth and Edrei. 5 So Moses addressed the people of Israel while they were in the land of Moab east of the Jordan River. He began to explain the law as follows:
Deuteronomy chapter 1 (NIV)
6 The LORD our God said to us at Horeb, "You have stayed long enough at this mountain. 7 Break camp and advance into the hill country of the Amorites; go to all the neighboring peoples in the Arabah, in the mountains, in the western foothills, in the Negev and along the coast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the Euphrates. 8 See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land that the LORD swore he would give to your fathers-to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob-and to their descendants after them." 19 Then, as the LORD our God commanded us, we set out from Horeb and went toward the hill country of the Amorites through all that vast and dreadful desert that you have seen, and so we reached Kadesh Barnea.
20 Then I said to you, "You have reached the hill country of the Amorites, which the LORD our God is giving us. 21 See, the LORD your God has given you the land. Go up and take possession of it as the LORD , the God of your fathers, told you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
22 Then all of you came to me and said, "Let us send men ahead to spy out the land for us and bring back a report about the route we are to take and the towns we will come to."
23 The idea seemed good to me; so I selected twelve of you, one man from each tribe. 24 They left and went up into the hill country, and came to the Valley of Eshcol and explored it. 25 Taking with them some of the fruit of the land, they brought it down to us and reported, "It is a good land that the LORD our God is giving us."
26 But you were unwilling to go up; you rebelled against the command of the LORD your God. 27 You grumbled in your tents and said, "The LORD hates us; so he brought us out of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us. 28 Where can we go? Our brothers have made us lose heart. They say, 'The people are stronger and taller than we are; the cities are large, with walls up to the sky. We even saw the Anakites there.' "
29 Then I said to you, "Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. 30 The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, 31 and in the desert. There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place."
32 In spite of this, you did not trust in the LORD your God, 33 who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go.
34 When the LORD heard what you said, he was angry and solemnly swore: 35 "Not a man of this evil generation shall see the good land I swore to give your forefathers, 36 except Caleb son of Jephunneh. He will see it, and I will give him and his descendants the land he set his feet on, because he followed the LORD wholeheartedly."
37 Because of you the LORD became angry with me also and said, "You shall not enter it, either. 38 But your assistant, Joshua son of Nun, will enter it. Encourage him, because he will lead Israel to inherit it. 39 And the little ones that you said would be taken captive, your children who do not yet know good from bad-they will enter the land. I will give it to them and they will take possession of it. 40 But as for you, turn around and set out toward the desert along the route to the Red Sea."
41 Then you replied, "We have sinned against the LORD . We will go up and fight, as the LORD our God commanded us." So every one of you put on his weapons, thinking it easy to go up into the hill country. 42 But the LORD said to me, "Tell them, 'Do not go up and fight, because I will not be with you. You will be defeated by your enemies.' "
43 So I told you, but you would not listen. You rebelled against the LORD's command and in your arrogance you marched up into the hill country. 44 The Amorites who lived in those hills came out against you; they chased you like a swarm of bees and beat you down from Seir all the way to Hormah.
45 You came back and wept before the LORD , but he paid no attention to your weeping and turned a deaf ear to you. 46 And so you stayed in Kadesh many days-all the time you spent there.
Deuteronomy chapter 2 (GWT)
1 We went back into the desert, following the road that goes to the Red Sea as the LORD had told me. For a long time we traveled around the region of Mount Seir.
2 The LORD said to me, 3 "You've traveled around this region long enough. Now go north. 4 Give the people these instructions:
'You're going to pass through the territory of your relatives, the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir. They'll be afraid of you, but be very careful. 5 Don't start a fight with them, because I'm not giving you any of their land--not even enough to stand on. I've given Esau's descendants the region of Mount Seir as their property. 6 You must pay them in silver for the food you eat and the water you drink.'"
7 The LORD your God has blessed you in everything you have done. He has watched over you as you traveled through this vast desert. For 40 years now the LORD your God has been with you, and you haven't needed a thing.
8 So we passed by our relatives, the descendants of Esau, who lived in Seir. We turned off the road that goes through the plains to Elath and Ezion Geber and took the road that goes through the desert of Moab.
9 The LORD said to me, "Don't bother the people of Moab or start a war with them. I'm not giving you any of Ar as your property. I have given it to the descendants of Lot."
13 Then the LORD said, "Now cross the Zered River." So we crossed the Zered River. 14 Thirty-eight years passed from the time we left Kadesh Barnea until we crossed the Zered River. During that time all our soldiers from that generation died, as the LORD had sworn they would. 15 In fact, it was the LORD himself who got rid of all of them until none were left in the camp. 16 When the last of these soldiers had died, 17 the LORD said to me, 18 "Today you are going to pass by the border of Moab at Ar. 19 When you come near the Ammonites, don't bother them or start a fight with them. I'm not giving you any of the land that I have already given to the descendants of Lot as their property." 20 This land was thought of as the land of the Rephaim who used to live there, but the Ammonites called them Zamzummim. 21 These people were as strong, as numerous, and as tall as the people of Anak. But the LORD wiped them out before the Ammonites came so that the Ammonites claimed their land and took their place. 22 The LORD did the same thing for the descendants of Esau, who lived in Seir. Before the descendants of Esau came, he wiped out the Horites so that Esau's descendants claimed their land and took their place. Esau's descendants are still there today. 23 The same thing happened to the Avvites who lived in villages as far away as Gaza. The Caphtorites, who came from Crete, wiped them out and took their place.
24 [The LORD continued,] "Now break camp. Cross the Arnon Valley. I'm going to hand King Sihon of Heshbon, the Amorite, over to you. Fight him, and take possession of his country. 25 Today I will start to make all the people under heaven terrified of you. When they hear about you, they will tremble and shake because of you."
26 From the desert of Kedemoth, I sent messengers to King Sihon of Heshbon with the following offer of peace: 27 "If you allow us to travel through your country, we'll go straight through and won't ever leave the road. 28 We'll pay you in silver for the food we eat and the water we drink. Please let us go through, 29 as the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir, and the Moabites, who live in Ar, did for us. We'll keep going until we cross the Jordan River into the land the LORD our God is giving us." 30 But King Sihon of Heshbon wouldn't allow us to pass through. The LORD your God made him stubborn and overconfident in order to hand him over to you, as he has now done.
31 The LORD said to me, "I have begun to give you Sihon and his country. Go ahead! Take possession of his land." 32 Sihon and all his troops came out to meet us in battle at Jahaz. 33 The LORD our God gave Sihon to us, and we defeated him, his sons, and all his troops. 34 At that time we captured all his cities and claimed them for God by destroying men, women, and children. There were no survivors. 35 However, we did loot the cities that we captured, taking the cattle and goods. 36 From Aroer on the edge of the Arnon Valley and the city in that valley as far as Gilead, no city had walls that could keep us out. The LORD our God gave us all of them. 37 But the LORD our God had forbidden you to go anywhere near the land of the Ammonites. So you didn't enter the land along the bank of the Jabbok River or capture the cities in the mountains.
Deuteronomy chapter 3 (TEV)
1 "Next, we moved north toward the region of Bashan, and King Og came out with all his men to fight us near the town of Edrei. 2 But the Lord said to me, "Don't be afraid of him. I am going to give him, his men, and all his territory to you. Do the same thing to him that you did to Sihon the Amorite king who ruled in Heshbon.'
3 "So the Lord also placed King Og and his people in our power, and we slaughtered them all. 4 At the same time we captured all his towns-there was not one that we did not take. In all we captured sixty towns-the whole region of Argob, where King Og of Bashan ruled. 5 All these towns were fortified with high walls, gates, and bars to lock the gates, and there were also many villages without walls. 6 We destroyed all the towns and put to death all the men, women, and children, just as we did in the towns that belonged to King Sihon of Heshbon.
Deuteronomy chapter 4 (GWT)
1 Israel, listen to the laws and rules I am about to teach you. Obey them so that you will live and be able to enter and take possession of the land that the LORD God of your ancestors is giving you. 2 Never add anything to what I command you, or take anything away from it. Then you will be able to obey the commands of the LORD your God that I give you.
3 With your own eyes you saw what the LORD did at Baal Peor. The LORD your God destroyed everyone among you who worshiped the god Baal while you were at Peor. 4 But you were loyal to the LORD your God and are still alive today. 5 I have taught you laws and rules as the LORD my God commanded me. You must obey them when you've entered the land and taken possession of it. 6 Faithfully obey these laws. This will show the people of the world your wisdom and insight. When they hear about all these laws, they will say, "What wise and insightful people there are in this great nation!" 7 What great nation ever had their gods as near to them as the LORD our God is near to us whenever we pray to him? 8 Or what other great nation has such fair laws and rules as all these teachings I am giving you today? 9 However, be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you don't forget the things which you have seen with your own eyes. Don't let them fade from your memory as long as you live. Teach them to your children and grandchildren.
Deuteronomy chapter 4 (NIV)
10 Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, when he said to me, "Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children."
11 You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain while it blazed with fire to the very heavens, with black clouds and deep darkness. 12 Then the LORD spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice. 13 He declared to you his covenant, the Ten Commandments, which he commanded you to follow and then wrote them on two stone tablets. 14 And the LORD directed me at that time to teach you the decrees and laws you are to follow in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess.
Deuteronomy chapter 5 (TEV)
5 I stood between you and the Lord at that time to tell you what he said, because you were afraid of the fire and would not go up the mountain.
"The Lord said,
6 "I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from Egypt, where you were slaves.
Deuteronomy chapter 5 (NLT)
22 "The LORD spoke these words with a loud voice to all of you from the heart of the fire, surrounded by clouds and deep darkness. This was all he said at that time, and he wrote his words on two stone tablets and gave them to me.
23 But when you heard the voice from the darkness, while the mountain was blazing with fire, all your tribal leaders came to me. 24 They said, 'The LORD our God has shown us his glory and greatness, and we have heard his voice from the heart of the fire. Today we have seen God speaking to humans, and yet we live! 25 But now, why should we die? If the LORD our God speaks to us again, we will certainly die and be consumed by this awesome fire. 26 Can any living thing hear the voice of the living God from the heart of the fire and yet survive? 27 You go and listen to what the LORD our God says. Then come and tell us everything he tells you, and we will listen and obey.'
28 "The LORD heard your request and said to me, 'I have heard what the people have said to you, and they are right. 29 Oh, that they would always have hearts like this, that they might fear me and obey all my commands! If they did, they and their descendants would prosper forever. 30 Go and tell them to return to their tents. 31 But you stay here with me so I can give you all my commands, laws, and regulations. You will teach them to the people so they can obey them in the land I am giving to them as their inheritance.'"
32 So Moses told the people, "You must obey all the commands of the LORD your God, following his instructions in every detail. 33 Stay on the path that the LORD your God has commanded you to follow. Then you will live long and prosperous lives in the land you are about to enter and occupy.
Deuteronomy chapter 4 (NLT)
32 "Search all of history, from the time God created people on the earth until now. Then search from one end of the heavens to the other. See if anything as great as this has ever happened before. 33 Has any nation ever heard the voice of God speaking from fire - as you did - and survived? 34 Has any other god taken one nation for himself by rescuing it from another by means of trials, miraculous signs, wonders, war, awesome power, and terrifying acts? Yet that is what the LORD your God did for you in Egypt, right before your very eyes.
35 "He showed you these things so you would realize that the LORD is God and that there is no other god. 36 He let you hear his voice from heaven so he could instruct you. He let you see his great fire here on earth so he could speak to you from it. 37 Because he loved your ancestors, he chose to bless their descendants and personally brought you out of Egypt with a great display of power. 38 He drove out nations far greater than you, so he could bring you in and give you their land as a special possession, as it is today. 39 So remember this and keep it firmly in mind: The LORD is God both in heaven and on earth, and there is no other god! 40 If you obey all the laws and commands that I will give you today, all will be well with you and your children. Then you will enjoy a long life in the land the LORD your God is giving you for all time."
Deuteronomy chapter 5 (NLT)
1 Moses called all the people of Israel together and said, "Listen carefully to all the laws and regulations I am giving you today. Learn them and be sure to obey them!
Deuteronomy chapter 7 (NLT)
1 "When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are about to enter and occupy, he will clear away many nations ahead of you: the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. These seven nations are all more powerful than you. 2 When the LORD your God hands these nations over to you and you conquer them, you must completely destroy them. Make no treaties with them and show them no mercy. 3 Do not intermarry with them, and don't let your daughters and sons marry their sons and daughters. 4 They will lead your young people away from me to worship other gods. Then the anger of the LORD will burn against you, and he will destroy you. 9 Understand, therefore, that the LORD your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and constantly loves those who love him and obey his commands. 10 But he does not hesitate to punish and destroy those who hate him. 11 Therefore, obey all these commands, laws, and regulations I am giving you today.
Deuteronomy chapter 12 (TEV)
29 "The Lord your God will destroy the nations as you invade their land, and you will occupy it and settle there. 30 After the Lord destroys those nations, make sure that you don't follow their religious practices, because that would be fatal. Don't try to find out how they worship their gods, so that you can worship in the same way. 31 Do not worship the Lord your God in the way they worship their gods, for in the worship of their gods they do all the disgusting things that the Lord hates. They even sacrifice their children in the fires on their altars.
Deuteronomy chapter 20 (TEV)
16 "But when you capture cities in the land that the Lord your God is giving you, kill everyone. 17 Completely destroy all the people: the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, as the Lord ordered you to do. 18 Kill them, so that they will not make you sin against the Lord by teaching you to do all the disgusting things that they do in the worship of their gods.
Since these quotes may be found particularly offensive, here is a link to an article on such commands which concludes that they weren't as bad as they sound, because many of the inhabitants of the nations soon to be under attack would have been able to migrate away from their land before the Israelites arrived because they would have been given warning that they were on the way. They would apparently have found it much easier to migrate than it would be for people today, since they were semi-nomadic. The article claims that there is evidence that the Canaanites had a violent and degenerate culture, and says that the Bible indicates that it was this that God wanted the Israelites to destroy rather than the people themselves, partly so they wouldn't influence the Israelites to start committing such things as human sacrifice and prostitution, as the Canaanites did in the worship of their gods. The article points out that many people would stop doing those things if they had to leave their worship centres and were assimilated into other cultures. To read it, visit:
How could a God of Love order the massacre/annihilation of the Canaanites?
Deuteronomy chapter 18 (GWT)
9 When you come to the land that the LORD your God is giving you, never learn the disgusting practices of those nations.
12 Whoever does these things is disgusting to the LORD. The LORD your God is forcing these nations out of your way because of their disgusting practices. 13 You must have integrity [in dealing] with the LORD your God. 14 These nations you are forcing out listen to fortunetellers and to those who practice black magic. But the LORD your God won't let you do anything like that.
Deuteronomy chapter 9 (NLT)
1 "Hear, O Israel! Today you are about to cross the Jordan River to occupy the land belonging to nations much greater and more powerful than you. They live in cities with walls that reach to the sky! 2 They are strong and tall - descendants of the famous Anakite giants. You've heard the saying, 'Who can stand up to the Anakites?' 3 But the LORD your God will cross over ahead of you like a devouring fire to destroy them. He will subdue them so that you will quickly conquer them and drive them out, just as the LORD has promised.
4 "After the LORD your God has done this for you, don't say to yourselves, 'The LORD has given us this land because we are so righteous!' No, it is because of the wickedness of the other nations that he is doing it. 5 It is not at all because you are such righteous, upright people that you are about to occupy their land. The LORD your God will drive these nations out ahead of you only because of their wickedness, and to fulfill the oath he had sworn to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 6 I will say it again: The LORD your God is not giving you this good land because you are righteous, for you are not - you are a stubborn people.
Deuteronomy chapter 8 (TEV)
1 "Obey faithfully all the laws that I have given you today, so that you may live, increase in number, and occupy the land that the Lord promised to your ancestors. 2 Remember how the Lord your God led you on this long journey through the desert these past forty years, sending hardships to test you, so that he might know what you intended to do and whether you would obey his commands. 3 He made you go hungry, and then he gave you manna to eat, food that you and your ancestors had never eaten before. He did this to teach you that you must not depend on bread alone to sustain you, but on everything that the Lord says. 4 During these forty years your clothes have not worn out, nor have your feet swollen up. 5 Remember that the Lord your God corrects and punishes you just as parents discipline their children.
11 "Make certain that you do not forget the Lord your God; do not fail to obey any of his laws that I am giving you today. 12 When you have all you want to eat and have built good houses to live in 13 and when your cattle and sheep, your silver and gold, and all your other possessions have increased, 14 be sure that you do not become proud and forget the Lord your God who rescued you from Egypt, where you were slaves. 15 He led you through that vast and terrifying desert where there were poisonous snakes and scorpions. In that dry and waterless land he made water flow out of solid rock for you. 16 In the desert he gave you manna to eat, food that your ancestors had never eaten. He sent hardships on you to test you, so that in the end he could bless you with good things. 17 So then, you must never think that you have made yourselves wealthy by your own power and strength. 18 Remember that it is the Lord your God who gives you the power to become rich. He does this because he is still faithful today to the covenant that he made with your ancestors. 20 If you do not obey the Lord, then you will be destroyed just like those nations that he is going to destroy as you advance.
Deuteronomy chapter 7 (TEV)
12 "If you listen to these commands and obey them faithfully, then the Lord your God will continue to keep his covenant with you and will show you his constant love, as he promised your ancestors. 13 He will love you and bless you, so that you will increase in number and have many children; he will bless your fields, so that you will have grain, wine, and olive oil; and he will bless you by giving you many cattle and sheep. He will give you all these blessings in the land that he promised your ancestors he would give to you. 14 No people in the world will be as richly blessed as you. None of you nor any of your livestock will be sterile. 15 The Lord will protect you from all sickness, and he will not bring on you any of the dreadful diseases that you experienced in Egypt, but he will bring them on all your enemies. 16 Destroy every nation that the Lord your God places in your power, and do not show them any mercy. Do not worship their gods, for that would be fatal.
17 "Do not tell yourselves that these peoples outnumber you and that you cannot drive them out. 18 Do not be afraid of them; remember what the Lord your God did to the king of Egypt and to all his people. 19 Remember the terrible plagues that you saw with your own eyes, the miracles and wonders, and the great power and strength by which the Lord your God set you free. In the same way that he destroyed the Egyptians, he will destroy all these people that you now fear. 20 He will even cause panic among them and will destroy those who escape and go into hiding. 21 So do not be afraid of these people. The Lord your God is with you; he is a great God and one to be feared. 22 Little by little he will drive out these nations as you advance. You will not be able to destroy them all at once, for, if you did, the number of wild animals would increase and be a threat to you. 23 The Lord will put your enemies in your power and make them panic until they are destroyed. 24 He will put their kings in your power. You will kill them, and they will be forgotten. No one will be able to stop you; you will destroy everyone. 25 Burn their idols. Do not desire the silver or gold that is on them, and do not take it for yourselves. If you do, that will be fatal, because the Lord hates idolatry. 26 Do not bring any of these idols into your homes, or the same curse will be on you that is on them. You must hate and despise these idols, because they are under the Lord's curse.
Exodus chapter 23 (NLT)
25 "You must serve only the LORD your God. If you do, I will bless you with food and water, and I will keep you healthy. 26 There will be no miscarriages or infertility among your people, and I will give you long, full lives.
27 "I will send my terror upon all the people whose lands you invade, and they will panic before you. 28 I will send hornets ahead of you to drive out the Hivites, Canaanites, and Hittites. 29 But I will not do this all in one year because the land would become a wilderness, and the wild animals would become too many to control. 30 I will drive them out a little at a time until your population has increased enough to fill the land. 31 And I will fix your boundaries from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, and from the southern deserts to the Euphrates River.
Deuteronomy chapter 11 (TEV)
25 Wherever you go in that land, the Lord your God will make the people fear you, as he has promised, and no one will be able to stop you.
The next file in this section (Part 2), is entitled: "Moses' Warnings to the Israelites About God's Punishments for Disobeying God in the Future - War, Famine and Disease".
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: