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 8 (of 10) in Section 9: "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.
Jeremiah chapter 22 (GWT)
1 This is what the LORD says: Go to the palace of the king of Judah, and speak this message there: 2 "Listen to the word of the LORD, you officials, you people who come into these gates, and you, king of Judah, the one sitting on David's throne.
3 "This is what the LORD says: Judge fairly, and do what is right. Rescue those who have been robbed from those who oppress them. Don't mistreat foreigners, orphans, or widows, and don't oppress them. Don't kill innocent people in this place.
Jeremiah chapter 22 (TEV)
6 "To me, Judah's royal palace is as beautiful as the land of Gilead and as the Lebanon Mountains; but I will make it a desolate place where no one lives. 7 I am sending men to destroy it. They will all bring their axes, cut down its beautiful cedar pillars, and throw them into the fire.
8 "Afterward many foreigners will pass by and ask one another why I, the Lord, have done such a thing to this great city. 9 Then they will answer that it is because you have abandoned your covenant with me, your God, and have worshiped and served other gods."
13 Doomed is the one who builds his house by injustice and enlarges it by dishonesty; who makes his people work for nothing and does not pay their wages. 14 Doomed is the one who says, "I will build myself a mansion with spacious rooms upstairs." So he puts windows in his house, panels it with cedar, and paints it red. 15 Does it make you a better king if you build houses of cedar, finer than those of others? Your father enjoyed a full life. He was always just and fair, and he prospered in everything he did. 16 He gave the poor a fair trial, and all went well with him. That is what it means to know the Lord. 17 But you can only see your selfish interests; you kill the innocent and violently oppress your people. The Lord has spoken.
18 So then, the Lord says about Josiah's son Jehoiakim, king of Judah, "No one will mourn his death or say, "How terrible, my friend, how terrible!' No one will weep for him or cry, "My lord! My king!' 19 With the funeral honors of a donkey, he will be dragged away and thrown outside Jerusalem's gates."
20 People of Jerusalem, go to Lebanon and shout, go to the land of Bashan and cry; call out from the mountains of Moab, because all your allies have been defeated. 21 The Lord spoke to you when you were prosperous, but you refused to listen. That is what you've done all your life; you never would obey the Lord. 22 Your leaders will be blown away by the wind, your allies taken as prisoners of war, your city disgraced and put to shame because of all the evil you have done. 23 You rest secure among the cedars brought from Lebanon; but how pitiful you'll be when pains strike you, pains like those of a woman in labor. 24 The Lord said to King Jehoiachin, son of King Jehoiakim of Judah, "As surely as I am the living God, even if you were the signet ring on my right hand, I would pull you off 25 and give you to people you are afraid of, people who want to kill you. I will give you to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia and his soldiers. 26 I am going to force you and your mother into exile. You will go to a country where neither of you was born, and both of you will die there. 27 You will long to see this country again, but you will never return."
Jeremiah chapter 19 (NLT)
14 Then Jeremiah stopped in front of the Temple of the LORD. He said to the people there, 15 "This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I will bring disaster upon this city and its surrounding towns just as I promised, because you have stubbornly refused to listen to me."
Jeremiah chapter 20 (NLT)
1 Now Pashhur son of Immer, the priest in charge of the Temple of the LORD, heard what Jeremiah was saying. 2 So he arrested Jeremiah the prophet and had him whipped and put in stocks at the Benjamin Gate of the LORD's Temple. 3 The next day, when Pashhur finally released him, Jeremiah said, "Pashhur, the LORD has changed your name. From now on you are to be called 'The Man Who Lives in Terror.' 4 For this is what the LORD says: I will send terror upon you and all your friends, and you will watch as they are slaughtered by the swords of the enemy. I will hand the people of Judah over to the king of Babylon. He will take them captive to Babylon or run them through with the sword. 5 And I will let your enemies plunder Jerusalem. All the famed treasures of the city - the precious jewels and gold and silver of your kings - will be carried off to Babylon. 6 As for you, Pashhur, you and all your household will go as captives to Babylon. There you will die and be buried, you and all your friends to whom you promised that everything would be all right."
7 O LORD, you persuaded me, and I allowed myself to be persuaded. You are stronger than I am, and you overpowered me. Now I am mocked by everyone in the city. 8 Whenever I speak, the words come out in a violent outburst. "Violence and destruction!" I shout. So these messages from the LORD have made me a household joke. 9 And I can't stop! If I say I'll never mention the LORD or speak in his name, his word burns in my heart like a fire. It's like a fire in my bones! I am weary of holding it in! 10 I have heard the many rumors about me. They call me "The Man Who Lives in Terror." And they say, "If you say anything, we will report it." Even my old friends are watching me, waiting for a fatal slip. "He will trap himself," they say, "and then we will get our revenge on him."
11 But the LORD stands beside me like a great warrior. Before him they will stumble. They cannot defeat me. They will be shamed and thoroughly humiliated. Their dishonor will never be forgotten. 12 O LORD Almighty! You know those who are righteous, and you examine the deepest thoughts of hearts and minds. Let me see your vengeance against them, for I have committed my cause to you.
13 Now I will sing out my thanks to the LORD! Praise the LORD! For though I was poor and needy, he delivered me from my oppressors.
14 Yet I curse the day I was born! May the day of my birth not be blessed. 15 I curse the messenger who told my father, "Good news - you have a son!" 16 Let him be destroyed like the cities of old that the LORD overthrew without mercy. Terrify him all day long with battle shouts, 17 for he did not kill me at birth. Oh, that I had died in my mother's womb, that her body had been my grave! 18 Why was I ever born? My entire life has been filled with trouble, sorrow, and shame.
Jeremiah chapter 17 (TEV)
13 Lord, you are Israel's hope; all who abandon you will be put to shame. They will disappear like names written in the dust, because they have abandoned you, the Lord, the spring of fresh water. 14 Lord, heal me and I will be completely well; rescue me and I will be perfectly safe. You are the one I praise! 15 The people say to me, "Where are those threats the Lord made against us? Let him carry them out now!" 16 But, Lord, I never urged you to bring disaster on them; I did not wish a time of trouble for them. Lord, you know this; you know what I have said. 17 Do not be a terror to me; you are my place of safety when trouble comes. 18 Bring disgrace on those who persecute me, but spare me, Lord. Fill them with terror, but do not terrify me.
Jeremiah chapter 36 (TEV)
1 In the fourth year that Jehoiakim son of Josiah was king of Judah, the Lord said to me, 2 "Get a scroll and write on it everything that I have told you about Israel and Judah and all the nations. Write everything that I have told you from the time I first spoke to you, when Josiah was king, up to the present. 3 Perhaps when the people of Judah hear about all the destruction that I intend to bring on them, they will turn from their evil ways. Then I will forgive their wickedness and their sins." 4 So I called Baruch son of Neriah and dictated to him everything that the Lord had said to me. And Baruch wrote it all down on a scroll.
5 Then I gave Baruch the following instructions: "I am no longer allowed to go into the Temple. 6 But I want you to go there the next time the people are fasting. You are to read the scroll aloud, so that they will hear everything that the Lord has said to me and that I have dictated to you. Do this where everyone can hear you, including the people of Judah who have come in from their towns. 7 Perhaps they will pray to the Lord and turn from their evil ways, because the Lord has threatened this people with his terrible anger and fury." 8 So Baruch read the Lord's words in the Temple exactly as I had told him to do.
9 In the ninth month of the fifth year that Jehoiakim was king of Judah, the people fasted to gain the Lord's favor. The fast was kept by all who lived in Jerusalem and by all who came there from the towns of Judah. 10 Then, while all the people were listening, Baruch read from the scroll everything that I had said. He did this in the Temple, from the room of Gemariah son of Shaphan, the court secretary. His room was in the upper court near the entrance of the New Gate of the Temple.
11 Micaiah, the son of Gemariah and grandson of Shaphan, heard Baruch read from the scroll what the Lord had said. 12 Then he went to the royal palace, to the room of the court secretary, where all the officials were in session. Elishama, the court secretary, Delaiah son of Shemaiah, Elnathan son of Achbor, Gemariah son of Shaphan, Zedekiah son of Hananiah, and all the other officials were there. 13 Micaiah told them everything that he had heard Baruch read to the people. 14 Then the officials sent Jehudi (the son of Nethaniah, grandson of Shelemiah, and great-grandson of Cushi) to tell Baruch to bring the scroll that he had read to the people. Baruch brought them the scroll.
15 "Sit down," they said, "and read the scroll to us." So Baruch did.
16 After he had read it, they turned to one another in alarm and said to Baruch, "We must report this to the king." 17 Then they asked him, "Tell us, now, how did you come to write all this? Did Jeremiah dictate it to you?"
18 Baruch answered, "Jeremiah dictated every word of it to me, and I wrote it down in ink on this scroll."
19 Then they told him, "You and Jeremiah must go and hide. Don't let anyone know where you are."
20 The officials put the scroll in the room of Elishama, the court secretary, and went to the king's court, where they reported everything to the king. 21 Then the king sent Jehudi to get the scroll. He took it from the room of Elishama and read it to the king and all the officials who were standing around him. 22 It was winter and the king was sitting in his winter palace in front of the fire. 23 As soon as Jehudi finished reading three or four columns, the king cut them off with a small knife and threw them into the fire. He kept doing this until the entire scroll was burned up. 24 But neither the king nor any of his officials who heard all this was afraid or showed any sign of sorrow. 25 Although Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah begged the king not to burn the scroll, he paid no attention to them. 26 Then he ordered Prince Jerahmeel, together with Seraiah son of Azriel and Shelemiah son of Abdeel, to arrest me and my secretary Baruch. But the Lord had hidden us.
27 After King Jehoiakim had burned the scroll that I had dictated to Baruch, the Lord told me 28 to take another scroll and write on it everything that had been on the first one. 29 The Lord told me to say to the king, "You have burned the scroll, and you have asked Jeremiah why he wrote that the king of Babylonia would come and destroy this land and kill its people and its animals. 30 So now, I, the Lord, say to you, King Jehoiakim, that no descendant of yours will ever rule over David's kingdom. Your corpse will be thrown out where it will be exposed to the sun during the day and to the frost at night. 31 I will punish you, your descendants, and your officials because of the sins all of you commit. Neither you nor the people of Jerusalem and of Judah have paid any attention to my warnings, and so I will bring on all of you the disaster that I have threatened." 32 Then I took another scroll and gave it to my secretary Baruch, and he wrote down everything that I dictated. He wrote everything that had been on the first scroll and similar messages that I dictated to him.
Jeremiah chapter 15 (TEV)
1 Then the Lord said to me, "Even if Moses and Samuel were standing here pleading with me, I would not show these people any mercy. Make them go away; make them get out of my sight. 2 When they ask you where they should go, tell them that I have said:
3 I, the Lord, have decided that four terrible things will happen to them:
4 I will make all the people of the world horrified at them because of what Hezekiah's son Manasseh did in Jerusalem when he was king of Judah."
5 The Lord says, "Who will pity you, people of Jerusalem, and who will grieve over you? Who will stop long enough to ask how you are? 6 You people have rejected me; you have turned your backs on me. So I reached out and crushed you because I was tired of controlling my anger. 7 In every town in the land I threw you to the wind like straw. I destroyed you, my people, I killed your children because you did not stop your evil ways. 8 There are more widows in your land than grains of sand by the sea. I killed your young men in their prime and made their mothers suffer. I suddenly struck them with anguish and terror. 9 The mother who lost her seven children has fainted, gasping for breath. Her daylight has turned to darkness; she is disgraced and sick at heart. I will let your enemies kill those of you who are still alive. I, the Lord, have spoken."
Jeremiah chapter 25 (NLT)
1 This message for all the people of Judah came to Jeremiah from the LORD during the fourth year of Jehoiakim's reign over Judah. This was the year when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon began his reign. 2 Jeremiah the prophet said to the people in Judah and Jerusalem, 3 "For the past twenty-three years - from the thirteenth year of Josiah son of Amon, king of Judah, until now - the LORD has been giving me his messages. I have faithfully passed them on to you, but you have not listened.
4 "Again and again, the LORD has sent you his prophets, but you have not listened or even tried to hear. 5 Each time the message was this: 'Turn from the evil road you are traveling and from the evil things you are doing. Only then will I let you live in this land that the LORD gave to you and your ancestors forever. 6 Do not make me angry by worshiping the idols you have made. Then I will not harm you.' 7 "But you would not listen to me," says the LORD. "You made me furious by worshiping your idols, bringing on yourselves all the disasters you now suffer.
8 And now the LORD Almighty says: Because you have not listened to me, 9 I will gather together all the armies of the north under King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, whom I have appointed as my deputy. I will bring them all against this land and its people and against the other nations near you. I will completely destroy you and make you an object of horror and contempt and a ruin forever. 10 I will take away your happy singing and laughter. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will no longer be heard. Your businesses will fail, and all your homes will stand silent and dark. 11 This entire land will become a desolate wasteland. Israel and her neighboring lands will serve the king of Babylon for seventy years.
12 "Then, after the seventy years of captivity are over, I will punish the king of Babylon and his people for their sins, says the LORD. I will make the country of the Babylonians an everlasting wasteland. 13 I will bring upon them all the terrors I have promised in this book - all the penalties announced by Jeremiah against the nations. 14 Many nations and great kings will enslave the Babylonians, just as they enslaved my people. I will punish them in proportion to the suffering they cause my people."
Jeremiah chapter 24 (NLT)
1 After King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon exiled Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, to Babylon along with the princes of Judah and all the skilled craftsmen, the LORD gave me this vision. I saw two baskets of figs placed in front of the LORD's Temple in Jerusalem. 2 One basket was filled with fresh, ripe figs, while the other was filled with figs that were spoiled and could not be eaten. 3 Then the LORD said to me, "What do you see, Jeremiah?"
I replied, "Figs, some very good and some very bad."
4 Then the LORD gave me this message: 5 "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: The good figs represent the exiles I sent from Judah to the land of the Babylonians. 6 I have sent them into captivity for their own good. I will see that they are well treated, and I will bring them back here again. I will build them up and not tear them down. I will plant them and not uproot them. 7 I will give them hearts that will recognize me as the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me wholeheartedly.
8 "But the rotten figs," the LORD said, "represent King Zedekiah of Judah, his officials, all the people left in Jerusalem, and those who live in Egypt. I will treat them like spoiled figs, too rotten to eat. 9 I will make them an object of horror and evil to every nation on earth. They will be disgraced and mocked, taunted and cursed, wherever I send them. 10 I will send war, famine, and disease until they have vanished from the land of Israel, which I gave to them and their ancestors."
Jeremiah chapter 27 (TEV)
1 Soon after Josiah's son Zedekiah became king of Judah, the Lord told me 2 to make myself a yoke out of leather straps and wooden crossbars and to put it on my neck. 3 Then the Lord told me to send a message to the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon through their ambassadors who had come to Jerusalem to see King Zedekiah. 4 The Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, told me to command them to tell their kings that the Lord had said: 5 "By my great power and strength I created the world, human beings, and all the animals that live on the earth; and I give it to anyone I choose. 6 I am the one who has placed all these nations under the power of my servant, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia, and I have made even the wild animals serve him. 7 All nations will serve him, and they will serve his son and his grandson until the time comes for his own nation to fall. Then his nation will serve powerful nations and great kings.
8 "But if any nation or kingdom will not submit to his rule, then I will punish that nation by war, starvation, and disease until I have let Nebuchadnezzar destroy it completely. 9 Do not listen to your prophets or to those who claim they can predict the future, either by dreams or by calling up the spirits of the dead or by magic. They all tell you not to submit to the king of Babylonia. 10 They are deceiving you and will cause you to be taken far away from your country. I will drive you out, and you will be destroyed. 11 But if any nation submits to the king of Babylonia and serves him, then I will let it stay on in its own land, to farm it and live there. I, the Lord, have spoken."
Jeremiah chapter 28 (TEV)
1 That same year, in the fifth month of the fourth year that Zedekiah was king, Hananiah son of Azzur, a prophet from the town of Gibeon, spoke to me in the Temple. In the presence of the priests and of the people he told me 2 that the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, had said: "I have broken the power of the king of Babylonia. 3 Within two years I will bring back to this place all the Temple treasures that King Nebuchadnezzar took to Babylonia. 4 I will also bring back the king of Judah, Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, along with all of the people of Judah who went into exile in Babylonia. Yes, I will break the power of the king of Babylonia. I, the Lord, have spoken."
5 Then in the presence of the priests and of all the people who were standing in the Temple, I said to Hananiah, 6 "Wonderful! I hope the Lord will do this! I certainly hope he will make your prophecy come true and will bring back from Babylonia all the Temple treasures and all the people who were taken away as prisoners. 7 But listen to what I say to you and to the people. 8 The prophets who spoke long ago, before my time and yours, predicted that war, starvation, and disease would come to many nations and powerful kingdoms. 9 But a prophet who predicts peace can only be recognized as a prophet whom the Lord has truly sent when that prophet's predictions come true."
10 Then Hananiah took the yoke off my neck, broke it in pieces, 11 and said in the presence of all the people, "The Lord has said that this is how he will break the yoke that King Nebuchadnezzar has put on the neck of all the nations; and he will do this within two years."
Then I left.
12 Some time after this the Lord told me 13 to go and tell Hananiah: "The Lord has said that you may be able to break a wooden yoke, but he will replace it with an iron yoke. 14 The Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, has said that he will put an iron yoke on all these nations and that they will serve King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia. The Lord has said that he will make even the wild animals serve Nebuchadnezzar."
15 Then I told Hananiah this, and added, "Listen, Hananiah! The Lord did not send you, and you are making these people believe a lie. 16 And so the Lord himself says that he is going to get rid of you. Before this year is over you will die because you have told the people to rebel against the Lord."
17 And Hananiah died in the seventh month of that same year.
Jeremiah chapter 21 (TEV)
1 King Zedekiah of Judah sent to me Pashhur son of Malchiah and the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah with this request: 2 "Please speak to the Lord for us, because King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia and his army are besieging the city. Maybe the Lord will perform one of his miracles for us and force Nebuchadnezzar to retreat."
3 Then the Lord spoke to me, and I told those who had been sent to me 4 to tell Zedekiah that the Lord, the God of Israel, had said, "Zedekiah, I am going to defeat your army that is fighting against the king of Babylonia and his army. I will pile up your soldiers' weapons in the center of the city. 5 I will fight against you with all my might, my anger, my wrath, and my fury. 6 I will kill everyone living in this city; people and animals alike will die of a terrible disease. 7 But as for you, your officials, and the people who survive the war, the famine, and the disease-I will let all of you be captured by King Nebuchadnezzar and by your enemies, who want to kill you. Nebuchadnezzar will put you to death. He will not spare any of you or show mercy or pity to any of you. I, the Lord, have spoken."
8 Then the Lord told me to say to the people, "Listen! I, the Lord, am giving you a choice between the way that leads to life and the way that leads to death. 9 Anyone who stays in the city will be killed in war or by starvation or disease. But those who go out and surrender to the Babylonians, who are now attacking the city, will not be killed; they will at least escape with their life. 10 I have made up my mind not to spare this city, but to destroy it. It will be given over to the king of Babylonia, and he will burn it to the ground. I, the Lord, have spoken."
11 The Lord told me to give this message to the royal house of Judah, the descendants of David: "Listen to what I, the Lord, am saying. See that justice is done every day. Protect the person who is being cheated from the one who is cheating him. If you don't, the evil you are doing will make my anger burn like a fire that cannot be put out. 13 You, Jerusalem, are sitting high above the valleys, like a rock rising above the plain. But I will fight against you. You say that no one can attack you or break through your defenses. 14 But I will punish you for what you have done. I will set your palace on fire, and the fire will burn down everything around it. I, the Lord, have spoken."
The next file in this section (Part 9), is entitled: "God's Loathing For Sin And Mercy On Those Who Give It Up; And The Imprisonment Of 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: