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 7 (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'd like to read passages that are mainly from the Book of Proverbs and the New Testament about godly attitudes to backbiting and deceit, visit Lies, Gossip And Dirty Jokes.
Isaiah chapter 59 (TEV)
1 Don't think that the Lord is too weak to save you or too deaf to hear your call for help! 2 It is because of your sins that he doesn't hear you. It is your sins that separate you from God when you try to worship him. 3 You are guilty of lying, violence, and murder. 4 You go to court, but you do not have justice on your side. You depend on lies to win your case. You carry out your plans to hurt others. 5 The evil plots you make are as deadly as the eggs of a poisonous snake. Crush an egg, out comes a snake! But your plots will do you no good-they are as useless as clothing made of cobwebs! 7 You are always planning something evil, and you can hardly wait to do it. You never hesitate to murder innocent people. You leave ruin and destruction wherever you go, 8 and no one is safe when you are around. Everything you do is unjust. You follow a crooked path, and no one who walks that path will ever be safe.
14 Justice is driven away, and right cannot come near. Truth stumbles in the public square, and honesty finds no place there. 15 There is so little honesty that those who stop doing evil find themselves the victims of crime."
The Lord has seen this, and he is displeased that there is no justice.
16 He is astonished to see that there is no one to help the oppressed. So he will use his own power to rescue them and to win the victory. 17 He will wear justice like a coat of armor and saving power like a helmet. He will clothe himself with the strong desire to set things right and to punish and avenge the wrongs that people suffer. 18 He will punish his enemies according to what they have done, even those who live in distant lands.
Ezekiel chapter 14 (TEV)
12 The Lord spoke to me. 13 "Mortal man," he said, "if a country sins and is unfaithful to me, I will reach out and destroy its supply of food. I will send a famine and kill people and animals alike. 14 Even if those three men, Noah, Danel, and Job, were living there, their goodness would save only their own lives." The Sovereign Lord has spoken.
15 "Or I might send wild animals to kill the people, making the land so dangerous that no one could travel through it, 16 and even if those three men lived there-as surely as I, the Sovereign Lord, am the living God-they would not be able to save even their own children. They would save only their own lives, and the land would become a wilderness.
17 "Or I might bring war on that country and send destructive weapons to wipe out people and animals alike, 18 and even if those three men lived there-as surely as I, the Sovereign Lord, am the living God-they would not be able to save even their children, but only their own lives.
19 "If I send an epidemic on that country and in my anger take many lives, killing people and animals, 20 even if Noah, Danel, and Job lived there-as surely as I, the Sovereign Lord, am the living God-they would not be able to save even their own children. Their goodness would save only their own lives."
21 This is what the Sovereign Lord is saying: "I will send my four worst punishments on Jerusalem-war, famine, wild animals, and disease-to destroy people and animals alike. 22 If some survive and save their children, look at them when they come to you. See how evil they are, and be convinced that the punishment I am bringing on Jerusalem is justified; 23 then you will know that there was good reason for everything I did." The Sovereign Lord has spoken.
Jeremiah chapter 16 (TEV)
1 Again the Lord spoke to me and said, 2 "Do not marry or have children in a place like this. 3 I will tell you what is going to happen to the children who are born here and to their parents. 4 They will die of terrible diseases, and no one will mourn for them or bury them. Their bodies will lie like piles of manure on the ground. They will be killed in war or die of starvation, and their bodies will be food for the birds and the wild animals.
5 "You must not enter a house where there is mourning. Do not grieve for anyone. I will no longer bless my people with peace or show them love and mercy. 6 The rich and the poor will die in this land, but no one will bury them or mourn for them. Not one of you will gash yourself or shave your head to show your grief. 7 No one will eat or drink with anyone to offer comfort when a loved one dies. No one will show sympathy, not even for someone who has lost a father or mother.
8 "Do not enter a house where people are feasting. Do not sit down with them to eat and drink. 9 Listen to what I, the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, have to say. I will silence the sounds of joy and gladness and the happy sounds of wedding feasts. The people here will live to see this happen.
10 "When you tell them all this, they will ask you why I have decided to punish them so harshly. They will ask what crime they are guilty of and what sin they have committed against the Lord their God. 11 Then tell them that the Lord has said, "Your ancestors turned away from me and worshiped and served other gods. They abandoned me and did not obey my teachings. 12 But you have done even worse than your ancestors. All of you are stubborn and evil, and you do not obey me. 13 So then, I will throw you out of this land into a land that neither you nor your ancestors have ever known. And there you will serve other gods day and night, and I will show you no mercy.' "
14 The Lord says, "The time is coming when people will no longer swear by me as the living God who brought the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt. 15 Instead, they will swear by me as the living God who brought the people of Israel out of a northern land and out of all the other countries where I had scattered them. I will bring them back to their own country, to the land that I gave their ancestors. I, the Lord, have spoken."
16 The Lord says, "I am sending for many fishermen to come and catch these people. Then I will send for many hunters to hunt them down on every mountain and hill and in the caves among the rocks. 17 I see everything they do. Nothing is hidden from me; their sins do not escape my sight. 18 I will make them pay double for their sin and wickedness, because they have defiled my land with idols that are as lifeless as corpses, and have filled it with their false gods."
Jeremiah chapter 9 (TEV)
1 I wish my head were a well of water, and my eyes a fountain of tears, so that I could cry day and night for my people who have been killed. 2 I wish I had a place to stay in the desert where I could get away from my people. They are all unfaithful, a mob of traitors. 3 They are always ready to tell lies; dishonesty instead of truth rules the land.
The Lord says, "My people do one evil thing after another and do not acknowledge me as their God." 4 Everyone must be on guard against their friends, and no one can trust their relatives; for all relatives are as deceitful as Jacob, and everyone slanders their friends. 5 They all mislead their friends, and no one tells the truth; they have taught their tongues to lie and will not give up their sinning. They do one violent thing after another, and one deceitful act follows another. The Lord says that his people reject him.
7 Because of this the Lord Almighty says, "I will refine my people like metal and put them to the test. My people have done evil- what else can I do with them? 8 Their tongues are like deadly arrows; they always tell lies. Everyone speaks friendly words to their neighbors, but they are really setting a trap for them. 9 Will I not punish them for these things? Will I not take revenge on a nation like this? I, the Lord, have spoken."
10 I said, "I will mourn for the mountains and weep for the pastures, because they have dried up, and no one travels through them. The sound of livestock is no longer heard; birds and wild animals have fled and gone." 11 The Lord says, "I will make Jerusalem a pile of ruins, a place where jackals live; the cities of Judah will become a desert, a place where no one lives."
12 I asked, "Lord, why is the land devastated and dry as a desert, so that no one travels through it? Who is wise enough to understand this? To whom have you explained it so that they can tell others?"
13 The Lord answered, "This has happened because my people have abandoned the teaching that I gave them. They have not obeyed me or done what I told them. 14 Instead, they have been stubborn and have worshiped the idols of Baal as their ancestors taught them to do. 15 So then, listen to what I, the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, will do: I will give my people bitter plants to eat and poison to drink. 16 I will scatter them among nations that neither they nor their ancestors have heard about, and I will send armies against them until I have completely destroyed them."
17 The Lord Almighty said, "Think about what is happening! Call for the mourners to come, for the women who sing funeral songs."
18 The people said, "Tell them to hurry and sing a funeral song for us, until our eyes fill with tears, and our eyelids are wet from crying."
19 Listen to the sound of crying in Zion:
"We are ruined! We are completely disgraced! We must leave our land; our homes have been torn down."
20 I said, "Listen to the Lord, you women, and pay attention to his words.
Teach your daughters how to mourn, and your friends how to sing a funeral song.
21 Death has come in through our windows and entered our palaces; it has cut down the children in the streets and the young men in the marketplaces.
22 Dead bodies are scattered everywhere, like piles of manure on the fields, like grain cut and left behind by the reapers, grain that no one gathers.
This is what the Lord has told me to say."
23 The Lord says, "The wise should not boast of their wisdom, nor the strong of their strength, nor the rich of their wealth. 24 If any want to boast, they should boast that they know and understand me, because my love is constant, and I do what is just and right. These are the things that please me. I, the Lord, have spoken."
Jeremiah chapter 17 (NLT)
9 "The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? 10 But I know! I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve."
11 Like a bird that hatches eggs she has not laid, so are those who get their wealth by unjust means. Sooner or later they will lose their riches and, at the end of their lives, will become poor old fools.
Ezekiel chapter 12 (NLT)
1 Again a message came to me from the LORD: 2 "Son of man, you live among rebels who could see the truth if they wanted to, but they don't want to. They could hear me if they would listen, but they won't listen because they are rebellious. 3 So now put on a demonstration to show them what it will be like to go off into exile. Pack whatever you can carry on your back and leave your home to go on a journey. Make your preparations in broad daylight so the people can see you, for perhaps they will even yet consider what this means, even though they are such rebels. 4 Bring your baggage outside during the day so they can watch you. Then as they are watching, leave your house in the evening, just as captives do when they begin a long march to distant lands. 5 Dig a hole through the wall while they are watching and carry your possessions out through it. 6 As they watch, lift your pack to your shoulders and walk away into the night. Cover your face and don't look around. All of these actions will be a sign for the people of Israel."
7 So I did as I was told. In broad daylight I brought my pack outside, filled with the things I might carry into exile. Then in the evening while the people looked on, I dug through the wall with my hands and went out into the darkness with my pack on my shoulder. 8 The next morning this message came to me from the LORD:
9 "Son of man, these rebels, the people of Israel, have asked you what all this means. 10 Say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: These actions contain a message for Zedekiah in Jerusalem and for all the people of Israel.' 11 Then explain that your actions are a demonstration of what will soon happen to them, for they will be driven from their homes and sent away into exile.
12 "Even Zedekiah will leave Jerusalem at night through a hole in the wall, taking only what he can carry with him. He will cover his face, and his eyes will never see his homeland again. 13 Then I will spread out my net and capture him in my snare. I will bring him to Babylon, the land of the Babylonians, though he will never see it, and he will die there. 14 I will scatter his servants and guards to the four winds and send the sword after them. 15 And when I scatter them among the nations, they will know that I am the LORD. 16 But I will spare a few of them from death by war, famine, or disease, so they can confess to their captors about how wicked they have been. Then they will know that I am the LORD!"
17 Then this message came to me from the LORD: 18 "Son of man, tremble as you eat your food. Drink your water with fear, as if it were your last. 19 Give the people this message from the Sovereign LORD concerning those living in Israel and Jerusalem: They will eat their food with trembling and sip their tiny portions of water in utter despair, because their land will be stripped bare on account of their violence. 20 The cities will be destroyed and the farmland deserted. Then you will know that I am the LORD."
21 Again a message came to me from the LORD: 22 "Son of man, what is that proverb they quote in Israel: 'Time passes, making a liar of every prophet'? 23 Give the people this message from the Sovereign LORD: I will put an end to this proverb, and you will soon stop quoting it. Now give them this new proverb to replace the old one: 'The time has come for every prophecy to be fulfilled!'
24 "Then you will see what becomes of all the false visions and misleading predictions about peace in Israel. 25 For I am the LORD! What I threaten always happens. There will be no more delays, you rebels of Israel! I will fulfill my threat of destruction in your own lifetime, says the Sovereign LORD."
26 Then this message came to me from the LORD: 27 "Son of man, the people of Israel are saying, 'His visions won't come true for a long, long time.' 28 Therefore, give them this message from the Sovereign LORD: No more delay! I will now do everything I have threatened! I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!"
Jeremiah chapter 18 (TEV)
1 The Lord said to me, 2 "Go down to the potter's house, where I will give you my message." 3 So I went there and saw the potter working at his wheel. 4 Whenever a piece of pottery turned out imperfect, he would take the clay and make it into something else. 5 Then the Lord said to me, 6 "Don't I have the right to do with you people of Israel what the potter did with the clay? You are in my hands just like clay in the potter's hands.
7 If at any time I say that I am going to uproot, break down, or destroy any nation or kingdom, 8 but then that nation turns from its evil, I will not do what I said I would. 9 On the other hand, if I say that I am going to plant or build up any nation or kingdom, 10 but then that nation disobeys me and does evil, I will not do what I said I would.
11 Now then, tell the people of Judah and of Jerusalem that I am making plans against them and getting ready to punish them. Tell them to stop living sinful lives-to change their ways and the things they are doing. 12 They will answer, "No, why should we? We will all be just as stubborn and evil as we want to be.' "
13 The Lord says, "Ask every nation if such a thing has ever happened before. The people of Israel have done a terrible thing! 14 Are Lebanon's rocky heights ever without snow? Do its cool mountain streams ever run dry? 15 Yet my people have forgotten me; they burn incense to idols. They have stumbled in the way they should go; they no longer follow the old ways; they walk on unmarked paths. 16 They have made this land a thing of horror, to be despised forever. All who pass by will be shocked at what they see; they will shake their heads in amazement. 17 I will scatter my people before their enemies, like dust blown by the east wind. I will turn my back on them; I will not help them when the disaster comes."
Jeremiah chapter 2 (CEV)
1The LORD told me 2to go to Jerusalem and tell everyone that he had said:
When you were my young bride,
you loved me
and followed me
through the barren desert.
3You belonged to me alone,
like the first part of the harvest,
and I severely punished
those who mistreated you.
4Listen, people of Israel,
5and I, the LORD, will speak.
I was never unfair
to your ancestors,
but they left me
and became worthless
by following worthless idols.
6Your ancestors refused
to ask for my help,
though I had rescued them
and led them through
a treacherous, barren desert,
where no one lives
or dares to travel.
7I brought you here to my land,
where food is abundant,
but you made my land filthy
with your sins.
8The priests who teach my laws
don't care to know me.
Your leaders rebel against me;
give messages from Baal
and worship false gods.
9I will take you to court
and accuse you
and your descendants
10of a crime that no nation
has ever committed before.
Just ask anyone, anywhere,
from the eastern deserts
to the islands in the west.
11You will find that no nation
has ever abandoned its gods
even though they were false.
I am the true and glorious God,
but you have rejected me
to worship idols.
Jeremiah chapter 2 (NLT)
26 "Like a thief, Israel feels shame only when she gets caught. Kings, officials, priests, and prophets - all are alike in this. 27 To an image carved from a piece of wood they say, 'You are my father.' To an idol chiseled out of stone they say, 'You are my mother.' They turn their backs on me, but in times of trouble they cry out for me to save them! 28 Why don't you call on these gods you have made? When danger comes, let them save you if they can! For you have as many gods as there are cities and towns in Judah.
34 Your clothing is stained with the blood of the innocent and the poor. You killed them even though they didn't break into your houses! 35 And yet you say, 'I haven't done anything wrong. Surely he isn't angry with me!' Now I will punish you severely because you claim you have not sinned.
36 "First here, then there - you flit from one ally to another asking for help. But your new friends in Egypt will let you down, just as Assyria did before. 37 In despair, you will be led into exile with your hands on your heads, for the LORD has rejected the nations you trust. You will not succeed despite their help.
Jeremiah chapter 8 (NIV)
1 " 'At that time, declares the LORD , the bones of the kings and officials of Judah, the bones of the priests and prophets, and the bones of the people of Jerusalem will be removed from their graves. 2 They will be exposed to the sun and the moon and all the stars of the heavens, which they have loved and served and which they have followed and consulted and worshiped. They will not be gathered up or buried, but will be like refuse lying on the ground. 3 Wherever I banish them, all the survivors of this evil nation will prefer death to life, declares the LORD Almighty.'
Jeremiah chapter 8 (CEV)
4 The LORD said:
People of Jerusalem,
when you stumble and fall,
you get back up,
and if you take a wrong road,
you turn around and go back.
5 So why do you refuse
to come back to me?
Why do you hold so tightly
to your false gods?
6 I listen carefully,
but none of you admit
that you've done wrong.
Without a second thought,
you run down the wrong road
like cavalry troops
charging into battle.
7 Storks, doves, swallows,
all know when it's time
to fly away for the winter
and when to come back.
But you, my people,
don't know what I demand.
8 You say, "We are wise
because we have the teachings
and laws of the LORD."
But I say that your teachers
have turned my words
9 Your wise men
have rejected what I say,
and so they have no wisdom.
Now they will be trapped
and put to shame;
they won't know what to do.
10 I'll give their wives and fields
Everyone is greedy and dishonest,
whether poor or rich.
Even the prophets and priests
cannot be trusted.
11 All they ever offer
to my deeply wounded people
are empty hopes for peace.
12 They should be ashamed
of their disgusting sins,
but they don't even blush.
And so, when I punish Judah,
they will end up on the ground,
dead like everyone else.
13 I will wipe them out.
They are vines without grapes;
fig trees without figs or leaves.
They have not done a thing
that I told them!
I, the LORD, have spoken.
14 The people of Judah
say to each other,
"What are we waiting for?
Let's run to a town with walls
and die there.
We rebelled against the LORD,
and we were sentenced to die
by drinking poison.
15 We had hoped for peace
and a time of healing,
but all we got was terror.
16 Our enemies have reached
the town of Dan in the north,
and the snorting of their horses
makes us tremble with fear.
The enemy will destroy Jerusalem
and our entire nation.
No one will survive."
17 "Watch out!" the LORD says.
"I'm sending poisonous snakes
to attack you,
and no one can stop them."
18 I'm burdened with sorrow
and feel like giving up.
19 In a foreign land
my people are crying.
Listen! You'll hear them say,
"Has the LORD deserted Zion?
Is he no longer its king?"
I hear the LORD reply,
"Why did you make me angry
by worshiping useless idols?"
20 The people complain,
"Spring and summer
have come and gone,
but still the LORD
hasn't rescued us."
21 My people are crushed,
and so is my heart.
I am horrified and mourn.
Isaiah chapter 10 (TEV)
1 You are doomed! You make unjust laws that oppress my people. 2 That is how you keep the poor from having their rights and from getting justice. That is how you take the property that belongs to widows and orphans. 3 What will you do when God punishes you? What will you do when he brings disaster on you from a distant country? Where will you run to find help? Where will you hide your wealth? 4 You will be killed in battle or dragged off as prisoners. Yet even so the Lord's anger will not be ended; his hand will still be stretched out to punish.
The next file in this section (Part 8), is entitled: "Jeremiah Is Mistreated Because Of His Prophecies; And The Invasion Of Jerusalem Looms Nearer".
The main Bible pages on this site:
|Bible Part 1: Bible Quotations, The Holy Spirit, People And Their Stories|
|Bible Part 2: The Lives and Suffering of the Ancient Israelites|
|Bible Part 3: The Bible, Articles About Alleged Inaccuracies in it, And Stories of People who Became Christians.|
|If you have found parts of the Old Testament or the Book of Revelation offensive, please read An Attempt to Explain Gruesome Bible Passages.|
The selections of Bible quotations have been put together by Diana Holbourn.
Throughout this series, wherever the initials TEV appear, they stand for Today's English Version (The Good News Bible).Other initials:
Don't be afraid to question the truth of what a religious authority figure tells you, or even the Bible or other holy books themselves, or certain people's interpretation of them. Nothing to do with religion or the supernatural is so well established in fact it shouldn't be questioned. To find out why caution is a good idea, visit:
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There are a lot of pages on this website with quotations from the Old Testament on them. Many of these are unfortunately rather gruesome, since the main theme of the Old Testament is warnings and stories about how it says societies were punished for mass lawless and hurtful behaviour, even to the extent of having war brought on them by God, that seem to have been designed to scare societies where crime and violence were rampant into behaving more ethically. In case there is any misunderstanding, it should be understood that this website does not endorse war as anything other than a last resort. The position of the website owner can be gleaned from the articles:
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