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 10 (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.
Jeremiah chapter 29 (TEV)
1 I wrote a letter to the priests, the prophets, the leaders of the people, and to all the others whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken away as prisoners from Jerusalem to Babylonia. 2 I wrote it after King Jehoiachin, his mother, the palace officials, the leaders of Judah and of Jerusalem, the engravers, and the skilled workers had been taken into exile. 3 I gave the letter to Elasah son of Shaphan and to Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom King Zedekiah of Judah was sending to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia. It said:
4 "The Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those people whom he allowed Nebuchadnezzar to take away as prisoners from Jerusalem to Babylonia:
5 "Build houses and settle down. Plant gardens and eat what you grow in them. 6 Marry and have children. Then let your children get married, so that they also may have children. You must increase in numbers and not decrease. 7 Work for the good of the cities where I have made you go as prisoners. Pray to me on their behalf, because if they are prosperous, you will be prosperous too.
8 I, the Lord, the God of Israel, warn you not to let yourselves be deceived by the prophets who live among you or by any others who claim they can predict the future. Do not pay any attention to their dreams. 9 They are telling you lies in my name. I did not send them. I, the Lord Almighty, have spoken.'
10 "The Lord says, "When Babylonia's seventy years are over, I will show my concern for you and keep my promise to bring you back home. 11 I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for. 12 Then you will call to me. You will come and pray to me, and I will answer you. 13 You will seek me, and you will find me because you will seek me with all your heart. 14 Yes, I say, you will find me, and I will restore you to your land. I will gather you from every country and from every place to which I have scattered you, and I will bring you back to the land from which I had sent you away into exile. I, the Lord, have spoken.'
15 "You say that the Lord has given you prophets in Babylonia. 16 Listen to what the Lord says about the king who rules the kingdom that David ruled and about the people of this city, that is, your relatives who were not taken away as prisoners with you. 17 The Lord Almighty says, "I am bringing war, starvation, and disease on them, and I will make them like figs that are too rotten to be eaten. 18 I will pursue them with war, starvation, and disease, and all the nations of the world will be horrified at what they see. Everywhere I scatter them, people will be shocked and terrified at what has happened to them. People will make fun of them and use their name as a curse. 19 This will happen to them because they did not obey the message that I kept on sending to them through my servants the prophets. They refused to listen. 20 All of you whom I sent into exile in Babylonia, listen to what I, the Lord, say.'
21 "The Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, has spoken about Ahab son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah son of Maaseiah, who are telling you lies in his name. He has said that he will hand them over to the power of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia, who will put them to death before your eyes. 22 When the people who were taken away as prisoners from Jerusalem to Babylonia want to bring a curse on someone, they will say, "May the Lord treat you like Zedekiah and Ahab, whom the king of Babylonia roasted alive!' 23 This will be their fate because they are guilty of terrible sins-they have committed adultery and have told lies in the Lord's name. This was against the Lord's will; he knows what they have done, and he is a witness against them. The Lord has spoken."
Jeremiah chapter 35 (NIV)
1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD during the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah:
2 "Go to the Recabite family and invite them to come to one of the side rooms of the house of the LORD and give them wine to drink."
3 So I went to get Jaazaniah son of Jeremiah, the son of Habazziniah, and his brothers and all his sons-the whole family of the Recabites. 4 I brought them into the house of the LORD , into the room of the sons of Hanan son of Igdaliah the man of God. It was next to the room of the officials, which was over that of Maaseiah son of Shallum the doorkeeper. 5 Then I set bowls full of wine and some cups before the men of the Recabite family and said to them, "Drink some wine." 6 But they replied, "We do not drink wine, because our forefather Jonadab son of Recab gave us this command:
'Neither you nor your descendants must ever drink wine. 7 Also you must never build houses, sow seed or plant vineyards; you must never have any of these things, but must always live in tents. Then you will live a long time in the land where you are nomads.'
8 We have obeyed everything our forefather Jonadab son of Recab commanded us. Neither we nor our wives nor our sons and daughters have ever drunk wine 9 or built houses to live in or had vineyards, fields or crops. 10 We have lived in tents and have fully obeyed everything our forefather Jonadab commanded us. 11 But when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon invaded this land, we said, 'Come, we must go to Jerusalem to escape the Babylonian and Aramean armies.' So we have remained in Jerusalem."
12 Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying:
13 "This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go and tell the men of Judah and the people of Jerusalem, 'Will you not learn a lesson and obey my words?' declares the LORD . 14 'Jonadab son of Recab ordered his sons not to drink wine and this command has been kept. To this day they do not drink wine, because they obey their forefather's command. But I have spoken to you again and again, yet you have not obeyed me. 15 Again and again I sent all my servants the prophets to you. They said,
"Each of you must turn from your wicked ways and reform your actions; do not follow other gods to serve them. Then you will live in the land I have given to you and your fathers."
But you have not paid attention or listened to me. 16 The descendants of Jonadab son of Recab have carried out the command their forefather gave them, but these people have not obeyed me.'
17 "Therefore, this is what the LORD God Almighty, the God of Israel, says:
'Listen! I am going to bring on Judah and on everyone living in Jerusalem every disaster I pronounced against them. I spoke to them, but they did not listen; I called to them, but they did not answer.' "
18 Then Jeremiah said to the family of the Recabites,
"This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: 'You have obeyed the command of your forefather Jonadab and have followed all his instructions and have done everything he ordered.' 19 Therefore, this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: 'Jonadab son of Recab will never fail to have a man to serve me.' "
Jeremiah chapter 38 (CEV)
1 One day, Shephatiah, Gedaliah, Jehucal, and Pashhur heard me tell the people of Judah 2-3 that the LORD had said, "If you stay here in Jerusalem, you will die in battle or from disease or hunger, and the Babylonian army will capture the city anyway. But if you surrender to the Babylonians, they will let you live." 4 So the four of them went to the king and said, "You should put Jeremiah to death, because he is making the soldiers and everyone else lose hope. He isn't trying to help our people; he's trying to harm them."
5 Zedekiah replied, "Do what you want with him. I can't stop you."
6 Then they took me back to the courtyard of the palace guards and let me down with ropes into the well that belonged to Malchiah, the king's son. There was no water in the well, and I sank down in the mud.
7-8 Ebedmelech from Ethiopia was an official at the palace, and he heard what they had done to me. So he went to speak with King Zedekiah, who was holding court at Benjamin Gate. 9 Ebedmelech said, "Your Majesty, Jeremiah is a prophet, and those men were wrong to throw him into a well. And when Jerusalem runs out of food, Jeremiah will starve to death down there."
10 Zedekiah answered, "Take thirty of my soldiers and pull Jeremiah out before he dies."
11 Ebedmelech and the soldiers went to the palace and got some rags from the room under the treasury. He used ropes to lower them into the well. 12 Then he said, "Put these rags under your arms so the ropes won't hurt you." After I did, 13 the men pulled me out. And from then on, I was kept in the courtyard of the palace guards.
Jeremiah chapter 38 (TEV)
14 On another occasion King Zedekiah had me brought to him at the third entrance to the Temple, and he said, "I am going to ask you a question, and I want you to tell me the whole truth."
15 I answered, "If I tell you the truth, you will put me to death, and if I give you advice, you won't pay any attention."
16 So King Zedekiah promised me in secret, "I swear by the living God, the God who gave us life, that I will not put you to death or hand you over to the men who want to kill you."
17 Then I told Zedekiah that the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, had said, "If you surrender to the king of Babylonia's officers, your life will be spared, and this city will not be burned down. Both you and your family will be spared. 18 But if you do not surrender, then this city will be handed over to the Babylonians, who will burn it down, and you will not escape from them."
19 But the king answered, "I am afraid of our own people who have deserted to the Babylonians. I may be handed over to them and tortured."
20 I said, "You will not be handed over to them. I beg you to obey the Lord's message; then all will go well with you, and your life will be spared.
Jeremiah chapter 39 (NLT)
1 It was in January during the ninth year of King Zedekiah's reign that King Nebuchadnezzar and his army returned to besiege Jerusalem. 2 Two and a half years later, on July 18, the Babylonians broke through the wall, and the city fell. 3 All the officers of the Babylonian army came in and sat in triumph at the Middle Gate: ...
4 King Zedekiah and his royal guard saw the Babylonians in the city gate, so they fled when the darkness of night arrived. They went out through a gate between the two walls behind the king's garden and headed toward the Jordan Valley. 5 But the Babylonians chased the king and caught him on the plains of Jericho. They took him to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, who was at Riblah in the land of Hamath. There the king of Babylon pronounced judgment upon Zedekiah. 6 He made Zedekiah watch as they killed his sons and all the nobles of Judah. 7 Then he gouged out Zedekiah's eyes, bound him in chains, and sent him away to exile in Babylon.
8 Meanwhile, the Babylonians burned Jerusalem, including the palace, and tore down the walls of the city. 9 Then Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, sent to Babylon the remnant of the population as well as those who had defected to him. 10 But Nebuzaradan left a few of the poorest people in Judah, and he assigned them fields and vineyards to care for.
11 King Nebuchadnezzar had told Nebuzaradan to find Jeremiah. 12 "See that he isn't hurt," he had said. "Look after him well, and give him anything he wants." 13 So Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, and Nebushazban, a chief officer, and Nergal-sharezer, the king's adviser, and the other officers of Babylon's king 14 sent messengers to bring Jeremiah out of the prison. They put him under the care of Gedaliah son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan, who was to take him back to his home. So Jeremiah stayed in Judah among his own people.
15 The LORD had given the following message to Jeremiah while he was still in prison: 16 "Say to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, 'The LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I will do to this city everything I have threatened. I will send disaster, not prosperity. You will see its destruction, 17 but I will rescue you from those you fear so much. 18 Because you trusted me, I will preserve your life and keep you safe. I, the LORD, have spoken!'"
Ezekiel chapter 33 (TEV)
21 On the fifth day of the tenth month of the twelfth year of our exile, someone who had escaped from Jerusalem came and told me that the city had fallen. 22 The evening before he came, I had felt the powerful presence of the Lord. ...
23 The Lord spoke to me. 24 "Mortal man," he said, "the people who are living in the ruined cities of the land of Israel are saying: "Abraham was only one man, and he was given the whole land. There are many of us, so now the land is ours.'
25 "Tell them what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying:
You eat meat with the blood still in it.
You worship idols.
You commit murder.
What makes you think that the land belongs to you?
26 You rely on your swords.
Your actions are disgusting.
Everyone commits adultery.
What makes you think that the land is yours?
27 "Tell them that I, the Sovereign Lord, warn them that as surely as I am the living God, the people who live in the ruined cities will be killed. Those living in the country will be eaten by wild animals. Those hiding in the mountains and in caves will die of disease. 28 I will make the country a desolate wasteland, and the power they were so proud of will come to an end. The mountains of Israel will be so wild that no one will be able to travel through them. 29 When I punish the people for their sins and make the country a wasteland, then they will know that I am the Lord."
30 The Lord said, "Mortal man, your people are talking about you when they meet by the city walls or in the doorways of their houses. They say to one another, "Let's go and hear what word has come from the Lord now.' 31 So my people crowd in to hear what you have to say, but they don't do what you tell them to do. Loving words are on their lips, but they continue their greedy ways. 32 To them you are nothing more than an entertainer singing love songs or playing a harp. They listen to all your words and don't obey a single one of them. 33 But when all your words come true-and they will come true-then they will know that a prophet has been among them."
Ezekiel chapter 26 (NLT)
1 On February 3, during the twelfth year of King Jehoiachin's captivity, this message came to me from the LORD:
Ezekiel chapter 26 (TEV)
2 "Mortal man," he said, "this is what the people in the city of Tyre are cheering about. They shout, "Jerusalem is shattered! Her commercial power is gone! She won't be our rival any more!'
3 "Now then, this is what I, the Sovereign Lord, am saying: I am your enemy, city of Tyre. I will bring many nations to attack you, and they will come like the waves of the sea. 4 They will destroy your city walls and tear down your towers. Then I will sweep away all the dust and leave only a bare rock. 5 Fishermen will dry their nets on it, there where it stands in the sea. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken. The nations will plunder Tyre, 6 and with their swords they will kill those who live in her towns on the mainland. Then Tyre will know that I am the Lord."
7 The Sovereign Lord says, "I am going to bring the greatest king of all-King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia-to attack Tyre. He will come from the north with a huge army, with horses and chariots and with cavalry. 8 Those who live in the towns on the mainland will be killed in the fighting. The enemy will dig trenches, build earthworks, and make a solid wall of shields against you. 9 They will pound in your walls with battering rams and tear down your towers with iron bars. 10 The clouds of dust raised by their horses will cover you. The noise of their horses pulling wagons and chariots will shake your walls as they pass through the gates of the ruined city. 11 Their cavalry will storm through your streets, killing your people with their swords. Your mighty pillars will be thrown to the ground. 12 Your enemies will help themselves to your wealth and merchandise. They will pull down your walls and shatter your luxurious houses. They will take the stones and wood and all the rubble, and dump them into the sea. 13 I will put an end to all your songs, and I will silence the music of your harps. 14 I will leave only a bare rock where fishermen can dry their nets. The city will never be rebuilt. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken."
15 The Sovereign Lord has this to say to the city of Tyre: "When you are being conquered, the people who live along the coast will be terrified at the screams of those who are slaughtered. 16 All the kings of the seafaring nations will come down from their thrones. They will take off their robes and their embroidered clothes and sit trembling on the ground. They will be so terrified at your fate that they will not be able to stop trembling. 17 They will sing this funeral song for you:
The famous city is destroyed!
Her ships have been swept from the seas.
The people of this city ruled the seas And terrified all who lived on the coast.
18 Now, on the day it has fallen,
The islands are trembling, And their people are shocked at such destruction."
19 The Sovereign Lord says: "I will make you as desolate as ruined cities where no one lives. I will cover you with the water of the ocean depths. 20 I will send you down to the world of the dead to join the people who lived in ancient times. I will make you stay in that underground world among eternal ruins, keeping company with the dead. As a result you will never again be inhabited and take your place in the land of the living. 21 I will make you a terrifying example, and that will be the end of you. People may look for you, but you will never be found." The Sovereign Lord has spoken.
Jeremiah chapter 46 (TEV)
25 The Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says, ... 27 "My people, do not be afraid, people of Israel, do not be terrified. I will rescue you from that faraway land, from the land where you are prisoners. You will come back home and live in peace; you will be secure, and no one will make you afraid. 28 I will come to you and save you. I will destroy all the nations where I have scattered you, but I will not destroy you. I will not let you go unpunished; but when I punish you, I will be fair. I, the Lord, have spoken."
2 Chronicles chapter 36 (TEV)
15 The Lord, the God of their ancestors, had continued to send prophets to warn his people, because he wanted to spare them and the Temple. 16 But they made fun of God's messengers, ignoring his words and laughing at his prophets, until at last the Lord's anger against his people was so great that there was no escape. 17 So the Lord brought the king of Babylonia to attack them. The king killed the young men of Judah even in the Temple. He had no mercy on anyone, young or old, man or woman, sick or healthy. God handed them all over to him. 18 The king of Babylonia looted the Temple, the Temple treasury, and the wealth of the king and his officials, and took everything back to Babylon. 19 He burned down the Temple and the city, with all its palaces and its wealth, and broke down the city wall. 20 He took all the survivors to Babylonia, where they served him and his descendants as slaves until the rise of the Persian Empire. 21 And so what the Lord had foretold through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: "The land will lie desolate for seventy years, ...."
Jeremiah chapter 51 (NLT)
27 Signal many nations to mobilize for war against Babylon. Sound the battle cry! Bring out the armies of Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz. Appoint a leader, and bring a multitude of horses! 28 Bring against her the armies of the kings of the Medes and their generals, and the armies of all the countries they rule. 29 Babylon trembles and writhes in pain, for everything the LORD has planned against her stands unchanged. Babylon will be left desolate without a single inhabitant. 30 Her mightiest warriors no longer fight. They stay in their barracks. Their courage is gone. They have become as fearful as women. The invaders have burned the houses and broken down the city gates. 31 Messengers from every side come running to the king to tell him all is lost! 32 All the escape routes are blocked. The fortifications are burning, and the army is in panic. 33 For the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: "Babylon is like wheat on a threshing floor, about to be trampled. In just a little while her harvest will begin."
34 "King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has eaten and crushed us and emptied out our strength. He has swallowed us like a great monster and filled his belly with our riches. He has thrown us out of our own country. 35 May Babylon be repaid for all the violence she did to us," say the people of Jerusalem. "May the people of Babylonia be paid in full for all the blood they spilled," says Jerusalem. 36 The LORD says to Jerusalem, "I will be your lawyer to plead your case, and I will avenge you.
2 Chronicles chapter 36 (TEV)
22 In the first year that Cyrus of Persia was emperor, the Lord made what he had said through the prophet Jeremiah come true. He prompted Cyrus to issue the following command and send it out in writing to be read aloud everywhere in his empire:
23 "This is the command of Cyrus, Emperor of Persia.
The Lord, the God of Heaven, has made me ruler over the whole world and has given me the responsibility of building a temple for him in Jerusalem in Judah. Now, all of you who are God's people, go there, and may the Lord your God be with you."
Isaiah chapter 1 (NLT)
1 These visions concerning Judah and Jerusalem came to Isaiah son of Amoz during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah - all kings of Judah.
Isaiah chapter 44 (NLT)
24 The LORD, your Redeemer and Creator, says: "I am the LORD, who made all things. I alone stretched out the heavens. By myself I made the earth and everything in it. 25 I am the one who exposes the false prophets as liars by causing events to happen that are contrary to their predictions. I cause wise people to give bad advice, thus proving them to be fools. 26 But I carry out the predictions of my prophets! When they say Jerusalem will be saved and the towns of Judah will be lived in once again, it will be done! 27 When I speak to the rivers and say, 'Be dry!' they will be dry. 28 When I say of Cyrus, 'He is my shepherd,' he will certainly do as I say. He will command that Jerusalem be rebuilt and that the Temple be restored."
Isaiah chapter 45 (NLT)
6 ... "I am the LORD, and there is no other. 7 I am the one who creates the light and makes the darkness. I am the one who sends good times and bad times. I, the LORD, am the one who does these things.
Isaiah chapter 45 (TEV)
12 "I am the one who made the earth and created human beings to live there. By my power I stretched out the heavens; I control the sun, the moon, and the stars. 13 I myself have stirred Cyrus to action to fulfill my purpose and put things right. ... He will rebuild my city, Jerusalem, and set my captive people free. No one has hired him or bribed him to do this." The Lord Almighty has spoken.
Isaiah chapter 48 (NLT)
12 "Listen to me, O family of Jacob, Israel my chosen one! I alone am God, the First and the Last. 14 ... "Come, all of you, and listen: 'The LORD has chosen Cyrus as his ally. He will use him to put an end to the empire of Babylon, destroying the Babylonian armies.' 15 I have said it: I am calling Cyrus! I will send him on this errand and will help him succeed.
This is the last file in this section. The next section is entitled "The suffering after the Babylonian conquest, and the prophecies of the return of the Jews to Jerusalem", and the first file in it is entitled "The Suffering Of The Victims Of The Babylonian Conquest; And Some Of The Psalms".
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: