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 2 (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.
If you would like to read passages that are mainly from the New Testament about commands to do with sex and violence, visit Violence, Anger, Jealousy, And Living In Peace or The Bible On Sex And Marriage.
Amos chapter 9 (NLT)
6 The upper stories of the LORD's home are in the heavens, while its foundation is on the earth. He draws up water from the oceans and pours it down as rain on the land. The LORD is his name!
7 "Do you Israelites think you are more important to me than the Ethiopians?" asks the LORD. "I brought you out of Egypt, but have I not done as much for other nations, too? I brought the Philistines from Crete and led the Arameans out of Kir.
8 "I, the Sovereign LORD, am watching this sinful nation of Israel, and I will uproot it and scatter its people across the earth. Yet I have promised that I will never completely destroy the family of Israel," says the LORD.
Ezekiel chapter 8 (NLT)
1 On September 17, during the sixth year of King Jehoiachin's captivity, while the leaders of Judah were in my home, the Sovereign LORD took hold of me. 2 I saw a figure that appeared to be a man. From the waist down he looked like a burning flame. From the waist up he looked like gleaming amber. 3 He put out what seemed to be a hand and took me by the hair. Then the Spirit lifted me up into the sky and transported me in a vision of God to Jerusalem. I was taken to the north gate of the inner courtyard of the Temple, where there is a large idol that has made the LORD very angry. 4 Suddenly, the glory of the God of Israel was there, just as I had seen it before in the valley. 5 Then the LORD said to me, "Son of man, look toward the north." So I looked, and there to the north, beside the entrance to the gate of the altar, stood the idol that had made the LORD so angry. 6 "Son of man," he said, "do you see what they are doing? Do you see the great sins the people of Israel are doing to drive me from my Temple? But come, and you will see even greater sins than these!"
7 Then he brought me to the door of the Temple courtyard, where I could see an opening in the wall. 8 He said to me, "Now, son of man, dig into the wall." So I dug into the wall and uncovered a door to a hidden room. 9 "Go in," he said, "and see the unspeakable wickedness going on in there!"
Ezekiel chapter 8 (GWT)
10 So I went in and looked. I saw that the walls were covered with drawings of every kind of crawling creature, every kind of disgusting animal, and all the idols in the nation of Israel. 11 In front of these drawings stood 70 of Israel's leaders. Jaazaniah, son of Shaphan, was standing with the leaders. Each of them was holding an incense burner in his hand, and a cloud of incense went up. 12 God asked me, "Son of man, do you see what the leaders of the nation of Israel are doing in secret? Each of them is in the room where his god is, and each one of them is thinking, 'The LORD doesn't see me. The LORD has abandoned this land.'"
13 Then he said to me, "You will see even more disgusting things that they are doing."
14 He brought me to the entrance of the north gate of the LORD's temple. Women were sitting there and crying for the god Tammuz. 15 He asked me, "Son of man, do you see this? You will see even more disgusting things than these."
16 Then he brought me into the inner courtyard of the LORD's temple. There at the entrance to the LORD's temple, between the entrance and the altar, were about 25 men who had their backs turned to the LORD's temple. They were facing east and worshiping the rising sun. 17 He asked me, "Son of man, do you see this? Isn't it bad enough that the people of Judah have done these disgusting things that you have seen here? Yet, they also fill the land with violence and continue to provoke me even more. Look how they insult me in the worst possible way. 18 So I will take action because I'm angry, and I won't have compassion for them or feel sorry for them. Even if they shout in my ears, I won't listen to them."
Ezekiel chapter 7 (CEV)
1 The LORD God said:
2 Ezekiel, son of man, tell the people of Israel that I am saying: Israel will soon come to an end! Your whole country is about to be destroyed 3 as punishment for your disgusting sins. I, the LORD, am so angry 4 that I will show no pity. I will punish you for the evil you've done, and you will know that I am the LORD. 5 There's never been anything like the coming disaster. 6 And when it comes, your life will be over. 7 You people of Israel are doomed! Soon there will be panic on the mountaintops instead of celebration. 8 I will let loose my anger and punish you for the evil things you've done. You'll get what you deserve. 9 Your sins are so terrible, that you'll get no mercy from me. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have punished you. 10 Disaster is near!
Injustice and arrogance are everywhere, 11 and violent criminals run free.
None of you will survive the disaster, and everything you own and value will be shattered. 12 The time is coming when everyone will be ruined. Buying and selling will stop, 13 and people who sell property will never get it back, because all of you must be punished for your sins. And I won't change my mind! 14 A signal has been blown on the trumpet, and weapons are prepared for battle. But no one goes to war, because in my anger I will strike down everyone in Israel.
The LORD said to the people of Israel:
15 War, disease, and starvation are everywhere! People who live in the countryside will be killed in battle, and those who live in towns will die from starvation or deadly diseases. 16 Anyone who survives will escape into the hills, like doves who leave the valleys to find safety. All of you will moan because of your sins. 17 Your hands will tremble, and your knees will go limp. 18 You will put on sackcloth to show your sorrow, but terror will overpower you. Shame will be written all over your faces, and you will shave your heads in despair. 19 Your silver and gold will be thrown into the streets like garbage, because those are the two things that led you into sin, and now they cannot save you from my anger. They are not even worth enough to buy food. 20 You took great pride in using your beautiful jewelry to make disgusting idols of foreign gods. So I will make your jewelry worthless. 21 Wicked foreigners will rob and disgrace you. 22 They will break into my temple and leave it unfit as a place to worship me, but I will look away and let it happen. 23 Your whole country is in confusion! Murder and violence are everywhere in Israel, 24 so I will tell the most wicked nations to come and take over your homes. They will put an end to the pride you have in your strong army, and they will make your places of worship unfit to use. 25 You will be terrified and will desperately look for peace--but there will be no peace. 26 One tragedy will follow another, and you'll hear only bad news. People will beg prophets to give them a message from me. Priests will stop teaching my Law, and wise leaders won't be able to give advice. 27 Even your king and his officials will lose hope and cry in despair. Your hands will tremble with fear. I will punish you for your sins and treat you the same way you have treated others. Then you will know that I am the LORD.
Ezekiel chapter 22 (GWT)
1 The LORD spoke his word to me. He said, 2 "Will you judge, son of man? Will you judge the city of murderers? Then tell it about all the disgusting things that it has done. 3 Tell it, 'This is what the Almighty LORD says: [Jerusalem,] you are the city that murders people who live in you. Your time has come. You dishonor yourself with disgusting idols. 4 You are guilty because of the people you have killed. You are dishonored because of the disgusting idols you have made. You have brought an end to your days, and you have come to the end of your years. That is why I will make you a disgrace to the nations and a joke in every land. 5 Those near and those far away will mock you. Your name will be dishonored, and you will be filled with confusion.
6 "'See how all the princes of Israel who live in you have used their power to murder people. 7 People in you hate their fathers and mothers. They oppress foreigners in you. They oppress orphans and widows in you. 8 You have despised my holy things and dishonored the day to worship me. 9 Some of your people slander. They want to kill people. People who live in you eat food sacrificed to idols at the worship sites on the hills, and they sin sexually. 10 Men have sex with their father's wives. They have sex with women when the women are having their periods and are unclean. 11 Men do disgusting things with their neighbors' wives. Some men sexually dishonor their daughters-in-law. Other men who live in you have sex with their sisters, their father's daughters. 12 Other people take bribes to murder people. You collect interest and make excessive profits. You make profits by mistreating your neighbors. You have forgotten me, declares the Almighty LORD.
13 "'I will use my power against you because of the excessive profits you have made and the murders you have committed. 14 Will you still be brave? Will you remain strong when I deal with you? I, the LORD, have spoken, and I will do it. 15 I will scatter you among the nations and force you into other countries. I will put an end to your uncleanness. 16 You will be dishonored in the sight of the nations. Then you will know that I am the LORD.'"
17 Then the LORD spoke his word to me. He said, 18 "Son of man, the people of Israel have become worthless to me. All of them are like copper, tin, iron, and lead in a smelting furnace. They are like the impurities left from silver. 19 This is what the Almighty LORD says: All of you have become worthless. That is why I'm going to gather you in Jerusalem. 20 People gather silver, copper, iron, lead, and tin together in a smelting furnace to melt them with a fiery blast. In the same way, in my anger and fury I will gather you and put you in the city. I will melt you there. 21 Yes, I will gather you, breathe on you with my fiery anger, and melt you in the city. 22 You will be melted in the city like silver that is melted in a furnace. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have poured out my fury on you."
23 The LORD spoke his word to me. He said, 24 "Son of man, tell the city, 'You are an unclean land that has not had rain during the day of my anger. You have not been made clean. 25 Your princes are like roaring lions who tear their prey into pieces. They eat people and take their treasures and precious belongings. They turn many women into widows. 26 Your priests violate my teachings and dishonor my holy things. They don't distinguish between what is holy and what is unholy. They don't teach the difference between what is clean and what is unclean. They ignore the days to worship me. So I am dishonored among the people. 27 Your leaders are like wolves that tear their prey into pieces. They murder and destroy people to make excessive profits. 28 Your prophets cover up these things by seeing false visions and by prophesying lies. They say, "This is what the Almighty LORD says." Yet, the LORD hasn't spoken. 29 The common people oppress and rob others. They do wrong to humble people and to poor people. They oppress foreigners for no reason.
31 So I will pour out my anger on you, and with my fiery anger I will consume you. This is because of all the things you have done,'" declares the Almighty LORD.
Hosea chapter 9 (NLT)
7 The time of Israel's punishment has come; the day of payment is almost here. Soon Israel will know this all too well. "The prophets are crazy!" the people shout. "The inspired men are mad!"
So they taunt, for the nation is burdened with sin and shows only hatred for those who love God.
Jeremiah chapter 14 (TEV)
1 The Lord said to me concerning the drought, 2 "Judah is in mourning; its cities are dying, its people lie on the ground in sorrow, and Jerusalem cries out for help. 3 The rich people send their servants for water; they go to the cisterns, but find no water; they come back with their jars empty. Discouraged and confused, they hide their faces. 4 Because there is no rain and the ground is dried up, the farmers are sick at heart; they hide their faces. 5 In the field the mother deer abandons her newborn fawn because there is no grass. 6 The wild donkeys stand on the hilltops and pant for breath like jackals; their eyesight fails them because they have no food. 7 My people cry out to me, "Even though our sins accuse us, help us, Lord, as you have promised. We have turned away from you many times; we have sinned against you. 8 You are Israel's only hope; you are the one who saves us from disaster. Why are you like a stranger in our land, like a traveler who stays for only one night? 9 Why are you like someone taken by surprise, like a soldier powerless to help? Surely, Lord, you are with us! We are your people; do not abandon us.' "
10 The Lord says about these people, "They love to run away from me, and they will not control themselves. So I am not pleased with them. I will remember the wrongs they have done and punish them because of their sins."
11 The Lord said to me, "Do not ask me to help these people. 12 Even if they fast, I will not listen to their cry for help; and even if they offer me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not be pleased with them. Instead, I will kill them in war and by starvation and disease."
13 Then I said, "Sovereign Lord, you know that the prophets are telling the people that there will be no war or starvation, because you have promised, they say, that there will be only peace in our land."
14 But the Lord replied, "The prophets are telling lies in my name; I did not send them, nor did I give them any orders or speak one word to them. The visions they talk about have not come from me; their predictions are worthless things that they have imagined. 15 I, the Lord, tell you what I am going to do to those prophets whom I did not send but who speak in my name and say war and starvation will not strike this land - I will kill them in war and by starvation. 16 The people to whom they have said these things will be killed in the same way. Their bodies will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem, and there will be no one to bury them. This will happen to all of them-including their wives, their sons, and their daughters. I will make them pay for their wickedness."
17 The Lord commanded me to tell the people about my sorrow and to say: "May my eyes flow with tears day and night, may I never stop weeping, for my people are deeply wounded and are badly hurt. 18 When I go out in the fields, I see the bodies of men killed in war; when I go into the towns, I see people starving to death. Prophets and priests carry on their work, but they don't know what they are doing."
19 Lord, have you completely rejected Judah? Do you hate the people of Zion? Why have you hurt us so badly that we cannot be healed? We looked for peace, but nothing good happened; we hoped for healing, but terror came instead. 20 We have sinned against you, Lord; we confess our own sins and the sins of our ancestors. 21 Remember your promises and do not despise us; do not bring disgrace on Jerusalem, the place of your glorious throne. Do not break the covenant you made with us. 22 None of the idols of the nations can send rain; the sky by itself cannot make showers fall. We have put our hope in you, O Lord our God, because you are the one who does these things.
Isaiah chapter 1 (TEV)
7 Your country has been devastated, and your cities have been burned to the ground. While you look on, foreigners take over your land and bring everything to ruin. 8 Jerusalem alone is left, a city under siege-as defenseless as a guard's hut in a vineyard or a shed in a cucumber field. 9 If the Lord Almighty had not let some of the people survive, Jerusalem would have been totally destroyed, just as Sodom and Gomorrah were.
10 Jerusalem, your rulers and your people are like those of Sodom and Gomorrah. Listen to what the Lord is saying to you. Pay attention to what our God is teaching you. 11 He says, "Do you think I want all these sacrifices you keep offering to me? I have had more than enough of the sheep you burn as sacrifices and of the fat of your fine animals. I am tired of the blood of bulls and sheep and goats. 12 Who asked you to bring me all this when you come to worship me? Who asked you to do all this tramping around in my Temple? 13 It's useless to bring your offerings. I am disgusted with the smell of the incense you burn. I cannot stand your New Moon Festivals, your Sabbaths, and your religious gatherings; they are all corrupted by your sins. 14 I hate your New Moon Festivals and holy days; they are a burden that I am tired of bearing.
15 "When you lift your hands in prayer, I will not look at you. No matter how much you pray, I will not listen, for your hands are covered with blood.
16 Wash yourselves clean. Stop all this evil that I see you doing. Yes, stop doing evil 17 and learn to do right. See that justice is done-help those who are oppressed, give orphans their rights, and defend widows."
18 The Lord says, "Now, let's settle the matter. You are stained red with sin, but I will wash you as clean as snow. Although your stains are deep red, you will be as white as wool. 19 If you will only obey me, you will eat the good things the land produces. 20 But if you defy me, you are doomed to die. I, the Lord, have spoken."
21 The city that once was faithful is behaving like a whore! At one time it was filled with righteous people, but now only murderers remain. 22 Jerusalem, you were once like silver, but now you are worthless; you were like good wine, but now you are only water. 23 Your leaders are rebels and friends of thieves; they are always accepting gifts and bribes. They never defend orphans in court or listen when widows present their case. 24 So now, listen to what the Lord Almighty, Israel's powerful God, is saying: "I will take revenge on you, my enemies, and you will cause me no more trouble. 25 I will take action against you. I will purify you the way metal is refined, and will remove all your impurity. 26 I will give you rulers and advisers like those you had long ago. Then Jerusalem will be called the righteous, faithful city." 27 Because the Lord is righteous, he will save Jerusalem and everyone there who repents. 28 But he will crush everyone who sins and rebels against him; he will kill everyone who forsakes him. 29 You will be sorry that you ever worshiped trees and planted sacred gardens. 30 You will wither like a dying oak, like a garden that no one waters. 31 Just as straw is set on fire by a spark, so powerful people will be destroyed by their own evil deeds, and no one will be able to stop the destruction.
Isaiah chapter 22 (NLT)
15 Furthermore, the Lord, the LORD Almighty, told me to confront Shebna, the palace administrator, and to give him this message: 16 "Who do you think you are, building a beautiful tomb for yourself in the rock? 17 For the LORD is about to seize you and hurl you away. He is going to send you into captivity, you strong man! 18 He will crumple you up into a ball and toss you away into a distant, barren land. There you will die, and there your glorious chariots will remain, broken and useless. You are a disgrace to your master.
19 "Yes, I will drive you out of office," says the LORD. "I will pull you down from your high position. 20 And then I will call my servant Eliakim son of Hilkiah to replace you. 21 He will have your royal robes, your title, and your authority. And he will be a father to the people of Jerusalem and Judah.
Habakkuk chapter 1 (NLT)
1 This is the message that the prophet Habakkuk received from the LORD in a vision.
2 How long, O LORD, must I call for help? But you do not listen! "Violence!" I cry, but you do not come to save. 3 Must I forever see this sin and misery all around me? Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence. I am surrounded by people who love to argue and fight. 4 The law has become paralyzed and useless, and there is no justice given in the courts. The wicked far outnumber the righteous, and justice is perverted with bribes and trickery.
5 The LORD replied, "Look at the nations and be amazed! Watch and be astounded at what I will do! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn't believe even if someone told you about it. 6 I am raising up the Babylonians to be a new power on the world scene. They are a cruel and violent nation who will march across the world and conquer it. 7 They are notorious for their cruelty. They do as they like, and no one can stop them. 8 Their horses are swifter than leopards. They are a fierce people, more fierce than wolves at dusk. Their horsemen race forward from distant places. Like eagles they swoop down to pounce on their prey.
9 "On they come, all of them bent on violence. Their hordes advance like a wind from the desert, sweeping captives ahead of them like sand. 10 They scoff at kings and princes and scorn all their defenses. They simply pile ramps of earth against their walls and capture them! 11 They sweep past like the wind and are gone. But they are deeply guilty, for their own strength is their god."
12 O LORD my God, my Holy One, you who are eternal - is your plan in all of this to wipe us out? Surely not! O LORD our Rock, you have decreed the rise of these Babylonians to punish and correct us for our terrible sins. 13 You are perfectly just in this. But will you, who cannot allow sin in any form, stand idly by while they swallow us up? Should you be silent while the wicked destroy people who are more righteous than they? 14 Are we but fish to be caught and killed? Are we but creeping things that have no leader to defend them from their enemies? 15 Must we be strung up on their hooks and dragged out in their nets while they rejoice? 16 Then they will worship their nets and burn incense in front of them. "These nets are the gods who have made us rich!" they will claim. 17 Will you let them get away with this forever? Will they succeed forever in their heartless conquests?
Habakkuk chapter 3 (TEV)
16 I hear all this, and I tremble; my lips quiver with fear. My body goes limp, and my feet stumble beneath me. I will quietly wait for the time to come when God will punish those who attack us.
The next file in this section (Part 3), is entitled: "Condemnation Of Sins Including Drunkenness And False Prophecy; Predictions Of Destruction; And Advice On How To Live In Order To Please God".
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: