ABC:Jeremiah 13

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Verse 14 asserts a contradiction exists with Jeremiah 13:14 (and doubtless other Bible verses where God executes harsh punishments) with the query, "God good to all, or just a few?"[1]

However, both verses are equally correct and valid. God is good to all, and sends His rain on both the just and the unjust. (Mt. 5:45) However, evil warrants punishment from a just God, and while God is longsuffering, such punishment must inevitably result for God to be a good God. A critic cannot question on the one hand why evil exists in the world, and then on the other hand criticize God for punishing evil to stop it from spreading; you cannot have your cake and eat it too so to speak.

In the case of Jeremiah 13, God had been sending prophets warning Israel to change its ways time and time again, yet they insisted on performing such evils as child sacrifice, stealing from the poor, and idolatry - just to name a few of the more egregious. God sent them into captivity again and again, but when they'd cry out to Him, the merciful God would pity His people and save them, time and time again.

Finally, an extremely annoyed God told the Israelites,

In the end, a tender-hearted God chose to save His people once more.

In short, God is good and merciful. God is also just and punishes evil. The Bible repeatedly says, however, that mercy comes after repentance, turning from one's evil ways; and that God punishes evil. Rather than a contradiction, this simply involves the logical conclusion of a God who is both just and merciful, good to all. God is good to all, indeed if He were not He would not give all men a chance to come to salvation, and call all to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9) However, that does not contradict His just punishments on evil. Indeed, the very concept of goodness requires destruction of evildoing.

It is no contradiction for a person to do good to all around them yet still stop evil when they see it, for example a murderer trying to kill someone, while using violence, than it is for a just God to do good to all but still intervene as a last resort to stop particularly heinous evils. God can be good and still punish evil, thus this is not a contradiction.

Verse 14, Again

Jim Meritt of claims the Bible contradicts itself here and asks "Cruel, Unmerciful, Destructive, and Ferocious or Kind, Merciful, and Good"?[2]

First of all, for a full explanation of how God could be justified in His destruction of the Canaanite nations and punishment of Israel, see 'Destruction of Canaanites where it is pointed out that both were being punished for widespread practice of the horrible crime of child sacrifice. Meritt in quoting Jeremiah 13:14 here ignores the fact that the Israelites were being so horribly punished by God for sacrificing their own children by burning them alive.

Concerning Amalek, God wanted to destroy the nation that had cowardly attacked the women and children of Israel. (Exodus 17:16)

Ultimately, the answer to this question of whether God is cruel or kind is both. God is cruel to the wicked and unrepentant and kind and merciful to those who turn from their wicked ways. This answer is reinforced throughout the whole Bible. Making this an Either/Or ignores the truth of the Bible.


  1. Meritt, Jim (1992). A list of Biblical contradictions. Retrieved from
  2. Meritt, Jim (1992). A list of Biblical contradictions. Retrieved from