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 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 drinking alcohol, what Jesus and others said were ideal attitudes to other people, and false prophecies and teachings, visit Bible Quotes About Why It's Wrong To Get Drunk, The Bible On Love And Caring or The Bible On Misleading Religious Teaching.
Micah chapter 1 (TEV)
1 During the time that Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah, the Lord gave this message to Micah, who was from the town of Moresheth. The Lord revealed to Micah all these things about Samaria and Jerusalem.
2 Hear this, all you nations; listen to this, all who live on earth! The Sovereign Lord will testify against you. Listen! He speaks from his heavenly temple. 3 The Lord is coming from his holy place; he will come down and walk on the tops of the mountains. 4 Then the mountains will melt under him like wax in a fire; they will pour down into the valleys like water pouring down a hill.
5 All this will happen because the people of Israel have sinned and rebelled against God.
Who is to blame for Israel's rebellion?
Samaria, the capital city itself!
Who is guilty of idolatry in Judah?
6 So the Lord says, "I will make Samaria a pile of ruins in the open country, a place for planting grapevines. I will pour the rubble of the city down into the valley, and will lay bare the city's foundations. 7 All its precious idols will be smashed to pieces, everything given to its temple prostitutes will be destroyed by fire, and all its images will become a desolate heap. Samaria acquired these things for its fertility rites, and now her enemies will carry them off for temple prostitutes elsewhere."
8 Then Micah said, "Because of this I will mourn and lament. To show my sorrow, I will walk around barefoot and naked. I will howl like a jackal and wail like an ostrich. 9 Samaria's wounds cannot be healed, and Judah is about to suffer in the same way; destruction has reached the gates of Jerusalem itself, where my people live."
10 Don't tell our enemies in Gath about our defeat; don't let them see you weeping. People of Beth Leaphrah, show your despair by rolling in the dust! 11 You people of Shaphir, go into exile, naked and ashamed. Those who live in Zaanan do not dare to come out of their city. When you hear the people of Bethezel mourn, you will know that there is no refuge there. 12 The people of Maroth anxiously wait for relief, because the Lord has brought disaster close to Jerusalem. 13 You that live in Lachish, hitch the horses to the chariots. You imitated the sins of Israel and so caused Jerusalem to sin. 14 And now, people of Judah, say good-bye to the town of Moresheth Gath. The kings of Israel will get no help from the town of Achzib. 15 People of Mareshah, the Lord will hand you over to an enemy, who is going to capture your town. The leaders of Israel will go and hide in the cave at Adullam. 16 People of Judah, cut off your hair in mourning for the children you love. Make yourselves as bald as vultures, because your children will be taken away from you into exile.
Micah chapter 3 (TEV)
1 Listen, you rulers of Israel! You are supposed to be concerned about justice, 2 yet you hate what is good and you love what is evil. 8 But as for me, the Lord fills me with his spirit and power, and gives me a sense of justice and the courage to tell the people of Israel what their sins are. 9 Listen to me, you rulers of Israel, you that hate justice and turn right into wrong. 10 You are building God's city, Jerusalem, on a foundation of murder and injustice. 11 The city's rulers govern for bribes, the priests interpret the Law for pay, the prophets give their revelations for money-and they all claim that the Lord is with them. "No harm will come to us," they say. "The Lord is with us." 12 And so, because of you, Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become a pile of ruins, and the Temple hill will become a forest.
Isaiah chapter 28 (NLT)
1 Destruction is certain for the city of Samaria - the pride and joy of the drunkards of Israel! It sits in a rich valley, but its glorious beauty will suddenly disappear. Destruction is certain for that city - the pride of a people brought low by wine. 2 For the Lord will send the mighty Assyrian army against it. Like a mighty hailstorm and a torrential rain, they will burst upon it and dash it to the ground. 3 The proud city of Samaria - the pride and joy of the drunkards of Israel - will be trampled beneath its enemies' feet. 4 It sits in a fertile valley, but its glorious beauty will suddenly disappear. It will be greedily snatched up, as an early fig is hungrily picked and eaten. 5 Then at last the LORD Almighty will himself be Israel's crowning glory. He will be the pride and joy of the remnant of his people. 6 He will give a longing for justice to their judges. He will give great courage to their warriors who stand at the gates. 7 Now, however, Israel is being led by drunks! The priests and prophets reel and stagger from beer and wine. They make stupid mistakes as they carry out their responsibilities. 8 Their tables are covered with vomit; filth is everywhere.
Ezekiel chapter 13 (CEV)
1 The LORD said:
2 Ezekiel, son of man, condemn the prophets of Israel who say they speak in my name, but who preach messages that come from their own imagination. Tell them it's time to hear my message. 3 I, the LORD God, say those lying prophets are doomed! They don't see visions--they make up their own messages! 4 Israel's prophets are no better than jackals that hunt for food among the ruins of a city. 5 They don't warn the people about coming trouble or tell them how dangerous it is to sin against me. 6 Those prophets lie by claiming they speak for me, but I have not even chosen them to be my prophets. And they still think their words will come true. 7 They say they're preaching my messages, but they are full of lies--I did not speak to them! 8 So I am going to punish those lying prophets for deceiving the people of Israel with false messages. 9 I will turn against them and no longer let them belong to my people. They will not be allowed to call themselves Israelites or even to set foot in Israel. Then they will realize that I am the LORD God. 10 Those prophets refuse to be honest. They tell my people there will be peace, even though there's no peace to be found.
16 The LORD said:
17 Ezekiel, son of man, now condemn the women of Israel who preach messages that come from their own imagination. 18 Tell them they're doomed! They wear magic charms on their wrists and scarves on their heads, then trick others into believing they can predict the future. They won't get away with telling those lies. 19 They charge my people a few handfuls of barley and a couple pieces of bread, and then give messages that are insulting to me. They use lies to sentence the innocent to death and to help the guilty go free. And my people believe them! 20 I hate the magic charms they use to trick people into believing their lies. I will rip those charms from their wrists and set free the people they have trapped like birds. 21 I will tear the scarves from their heads and rescue my people from their power once and for all. Then they will know that I am the LORD God. 22 They do things I would never do. They lie to good people and encourage them to do wrong, and they convince the wicked to keep sinning and ruin their lives. 23 I will no longer let these women give false messages and use magic, and I will free my people from their control. Then they will know that I, the LORD, have done these things.
Jeremiah chapter 23 (TEV)
9 My heart is crushed, and I am trembling. Because of the Lord, because of his holy words, I am like a man who is drunk, someone who has had too much wine.
10 The land is full of people unfaithful to the Lord; they live wicked lives and misuse their power. Because of the Lord's curse the land mourns and the pastures are dry. 11 The Lord says, "The prophets and the priests are godless; I have caught them doing evil in the Temple itself. 12 The paths they follow will be slippery and dark; I will make them stumble and fall. I am going to bring disaster on them; the time of their punishment is coming. I, the Lord, have spoken. 13 I have seen the sin of Samaria's prophets: they have spoken in the name of Baal and have led my people astray. 14 But I have seen the prophets in Jerusalem do even worse: they commit adultery and tell lies; they help people to do wrong, so that no one stops doing what is evil. To me they are all as bad as the people of Sodom and Gomorrah.
15 "So then, this is what I, the Lord Almighty, say about the prophets of Jerusalem: I will give them bitter plants to eat and poison to drink, because they have spread ungodliness throughout the land."
16 The Lord Almighty said to the people of Jerusalem, "Do not listen to what the prophets say; they are filling you with false hopes. They tell you what they have imagined and not what I have said. 17 To the people who refuse to listen to what I have said, they keep saying that all will go well with them. And they tell everyone who is stubborn that disaster will never touch them."
18 I said, "None of these prophets has ever known the Lord's secret thoughts. None of them has ever heard or understood his message, or ever listened or paid attention to what he said. 19 His anger is a storm, a furious wind that will rage over the heads of the wicked, 20 and it will not end until he has done everything he intends to do. In days to come his people will understand this clearly."
21 The Lord said, "I did not send these prophets, but even so they went. I did not give them any message, but still they spoke in my name. 22 If they had known my secret thoughts, then they could have proclaimed my message to my people and could have made them give up the evil lives they live and the wicked things they do.
23 "I am a God who is everywhere and not in one place only.
24 No one can hide where I cannot see them.
Do you not know that I am everywhere in heaven and on earth?
25 I know what those prophets have said who speak lies in my name and claim that I have given them my messages in their dreams. 26 How much longer will those prophets mislead my people with the lies they have invented? 27 They think that the dreams they tell will make my people forget me, just as their ancestors forgot me and turned to Baal.
Jeremiah chapter 23 (GWT)
28 The prophet who has a dream should tell his dream. However, the person who has my word should honestly speak my word. What does grain have to do with straw?" asks the LORD. 29 "Isn't my word like fire or like a hammer that shatters a rock?" asks the LORD.
30 "I'm against the prophets who steal my words from each other," declares the LORD. 31 "I'm against the prophets who speak their own thoughts and say that they speak for me. 32 I'm against those who prophesy dreams they made up," declares the LORD. "They tell the dreams they made up and lead my people astray with their lies and their wild talk. I didn't send them or command them to go. They don't help these people at all," declares the LORD.
33 "When these people, the prophets, or the priests ask you, 'What revelation has the LORD burdened you with now?' say to them, 'You are the burden! I will abandon you, declares the LORD.' 34 Suppose the prophets, the priests, or these people say, 'This is the LORD's revelation!' I will punish them and their families. 36 They should never again say, 'This is the LORD's revelation,' because each person's word becomes the revelation. They will twist the words of the living God, the LORD of Armies, our God.
37 "Jeremiah, say this to the prophets, 'What was the LORD's answer to you?' and 'What did the LORD say?' 38 Suppose they say, 'This is the LORD's revelation!' Then say, 'This is what the LORD says:
Because you have said, "This is the LORD's revelation!" even though I commanded you not to repeat this saying, 39 I will certainly forget you. I will throw you out of my presence and out of the city that I gave you and your ancestors. 40 I will bring eternal disgrace and shame on you. It will never be forgotten.'"
Hosea chapter 6 (TEV)
1 The people say, "Let's return to the Lord! He has hurt us, but he will be sure to heal us; he has wounded us, but he will bandage our wounds, won't he? 2 In two or three days he will revive us, and we will live in his presence. 3 Let us try to know the Lord. He will come to us as surely as the day dawns, as surely as the spring rains fall upon the earth."
4 But the Lord says, "Israel and Judah, what am I going to do with you? Your love for me disappears as quickly as morning mist; it is like dew, that vanishes early in the day. 5 That is why I have sent my prophets to you with my message of judgment and destruction. What I want from you is plain and clear: 6 I want your constant love, not your animal sacrifices. I would rather have my people know me than burn offerings to me.
8 Gilead is a city full of evil people and murderers. 9 The priests are like a gang of robbers who wait in ambush for someone. Even on the road to the holy place at Shechem they commit murder. And they do all this evil deliberately! 10 I have seen a horrible thing in Israel: my people have defiled themselves by worshiping idols.
11 "And as for you, people of Judah, I have set a time to punish you also for what you are doing.
Hosea chapter 5 (TEV)
14 I will attack the people of Israel and Judah like a lion. I myself will tear them to pieces and then leave them. When I drag them off, no one will be able to save them.
15 "I will abandon my people until they have suffered enough for their sins and come looking for me. Perhaps in their suffering they will try to find me."
Isaiah chapter 58 (NLT)
1 "Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast. Tell my people Israel of their sins! 2 Yet they act so pious! They come to the Temple every day and seem delighted to hear my laws. You would almost think this was a righteous nation that would never abandon its God. They love to make a show of coming to me and asking me to take action on their behalf.
3 'We have fasted before you!' they say. 'Why aren't you impressed? We have done much penance, and you don't even notice it!'
"I will tell you why! It's because you are living for yourselves even while you are fasting. You keep right on oppressing your workers. 4 What good is fasting when you keep on fighting and quarreling? This kind of fasting will never get you anywhere with me. 5 You humble yourselves by going through the motions of penance, bowing your heads like a blade of grass in the wind. You dress in sackcloth and cover yourselves with ashes. Is this what you call fasting? Do you really think this will please the LORD?
6 "No, the kind of fasting I want calls you to free those who are wrongly imprisoned and to stop oppressing those who work for you. Treat them fairly and give them what they earn. 7 I want you to share your food with the hungry and to welcome poor wanderers into your homes. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.
8 "If you do these things, your salvation will come like the dawn. Yes, your healing will come quickly. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the LORD will protect you from behind. 9 Then when you call, the LORD will answer. 'Yes, I am here,' he will quickly reply.
"Stop oppressing the helpless and stop making false accusations and spreading vicious rumors! 10 Feed the hungry and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as day. 11 The LORD will guide you continually, watering your life when you are dry and keeping you healthy, too. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. 12 Your children will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as the people who rebuild their walls and cities.
13 "Keep the Sabbath day holy. Don't pursue your own interests on that day, but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the LORD's holy day. Honor the LORD in everything you do, and don't follow your own desires or talk idly.
"If you do this, 14 the LORD will be your delight. I will give you great honor and give you your full share of the inheritance I promised to Jacob, your ancestor. I, the LORD, have spoken!"
Micah chapter 6 (TEV)
6 What shall I bring to the Lord, the God of heaven, when I come to worship him?
Shall I bring the best calves to burn as offerings to him?
7 Will the Lord be pleased if I bring him thousands of sheep or endless streams of olive oil?
Shall I offer him my first-born child to pay for my sins?
8 No, the Lord has told us what is good. What he requires of us is this: to do what is just, to show constant love, and to live in humble fellowship with our God.
9 It is wise to fear the Lord. He calls to the city, "Listen, you people who assemble in the city! 10 In the houses of evil people are treasures which they got dishonestly. They use false measures, a thing that I hate. 11 How can I forgive those who use false scales and weights? 12 Your rich people exploit the poor, and all of you are liars. 13 So I have already begun your ruin and destruction because of your sins. 14 You will eat, but not be satisfied-in fact you will still be hungry. You will carry things off, but you will not be able to save them; anything you do save I will destroy in war. 15 You will sow grain, but not harvest the crop. You will press oil from olives, but never get to use it. You will make wine, but never drink it. 16 This will happen because you have followed the evil practices of King Omri and of his son, King Ahab. You have continued their policies, and so I will bring you to ruin, and everyone will despise you. People everywhere will treat you with contempt."
Jeremiah chapter 4 (TEV)
13 Look, the enemy is coming like clouds. Their war chariots are like a whirlwind, and their horses are faster than eagles. We are lost! We are doomed! 14 Jerusalem, wash the evil from your heart, so that you may be saved. How long will you go on thinking sinful thoughts? 15 Messengers from the city of Dan and from the hills of Ephraim announce the bad news. 16 They have come to warn the nations and to tell Jerusalem that enemies are coming from a country far away. These enemies will shout against the cities of Judah 17 and will surround Jerusalem like men guarding a field, because her people have rebelled against the Lord. The Lord has spoken. 18 Judah, you have brought this on yourself by the way you have lived and by the things you have done. Your sin has caused this suffering; it has stabbed you through the heart.
19 The pain! I can't bear the pain! My heart! My heart is beating wildly! I can't keep quiet; I hear the trumpets and the shouts of battle. 20 One disaster follows another; the whole country is left in ruins. Suddenly our tents are destroyed; their curtains are torn to pieces. 21 How long must I see the battle raging and hear the blasts of trumpets?
22 The Lord says, "My people are stupid; they don't know me. They are like foolish children; they have no understanding. They are experts at doing what is evil, but failures at doing what is good."
29 At the noise of the cavalry and archers everyone will run away. Some will run to the forest; others will climb up among the rocks. Every town will be left empty, and no one will live in them again. 30 Jerusalem, you are doomed! Why do you dress in scarlet? Why do you put on jewelry and paint your eyes? You are making yourself beautiful for nothing! Your lovers have rejected you and want to kill you. 31 I heard a cry, like a woman in labor, a scream like a woman bearing her first child. It was the cry of Jerusalem gasping for breath, stretching out her hand and saying, "I am doomed! They are coming to kill me!"
Isaiah chapter 9 (TEV)
13 The people of Israel have not repented; even though the Lord Almighty has punished them, they have not returned to him. 14 In a single day the Lord will punish Israel's leaders and its people; he will cut them off, head and tail. 15 The old ... men are the head-and the tail is the prophets whose teachings are lies! 16 Those who lead these people have misled them and totally confused them. 17 And so the Lord will not let any of the young men escape, and he will not show pity on any of the widows and orphans, because all the people are godless and wicked and everything they say is evil. 19 Because the Lord Almighty is angry, his punishment burns like a fire throughout the land and destroys the people, and it is each of us for ourselves. 20 Everywhere in the country people snatch and eat any bit of food they can find, but their hunger is never satisfied. They even eat their own children!
Isaiah chapter 43 (NLT)
14 The LORD your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, says:
27 From the very beginning, your ancestors sinned against me - all your leaders broke my laws. 28 That is why I have disgraced your priests and assigned Israel a future of complete destruction and shame.
Isaiah chapter 28 (TEV)
22 Don't laugh at the warning I am giving you! If you do, it will be even harder for you to escape. I have heard the Lord Almighty's decision to destroy the whole country.
Micah chapter 2 (NLT)
1 How terrible it will be for you who lie awake at night, thinking up evil plans. You rise at dawn and hurry to carry out any of the wicked schemes you have power to accomplish. 2 When you want a certain piece of land, you find a way to seize it. When you want someone's house, you take it by fraud and violence. No one's family or inheritance is safe with you around! 3 But this is what the LORD says: "I will reward your evil with evil; you won't be able to escape! After I am through with you, none of you will ever again walk proudly in the streets." 4 In that day your enemies will make fun of you by singing this song of despair about your experience:
"We are finished, completely ruined!
God has confiscated our land, taking it from us.
He has given our fields to those who betrayed us."
5 Others will set your boundaries then, and the LORD's people will have no say in how the land is divided.
6 "Don't say such things," the people say. "Don't prophesy like that. Such disasters will never come our way!"
7 Should you talk that way, O family of Israel? Will the LORD have patience with such behavior? If you would do what is right, you would find my words to be good. 8 Yet to this very hour my people rise against me! You steal the shirts right off the backs of those who trusted you, making them as ragged as men who have just come home from battle. 9 You have evicted women from their homes and stripped their children of all their God-given rights.
10 Up! Begone! This is no longer your land and home, for you have filled it with sin and ruined it completely. 11 Suppose a prophet full of lies were to say to you, "I'll preach to you the joys of wine and drink!" That's just the kind of prophet you would like!
12 "Someday, O Israel, I will gather the few of you who are left. I will bring you together again like sheep in a fold, like a flock in its pasture. Yes, your land will again be filled with noisy crowds! 13 Your leader will break out and lead you out of exile. He will bring you through the gates of your cities of captivity, back to your own land. Your king will lead you; the LORD himself will guide you."
The next file in this section (Part 4), is entitled: "Condemnation Of Sin And Predictions Of Destruction; And The Persecution Of The Prophet Jeremiah".
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: