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This comes at the end of a long list of Israel’s sins and their neighbours’ sins against them, along with God’s warnings of what he’s going to do to each nation in punishment. So why does he tell his prophets before he carries out these punishments?

I can think of two reasons:

First, because he’s gracious and compassionate – he wants to give us one last chance to repent and change our ways, like Nineveh did in response to Jonah’s warning.

Second, because he wants to be sure that he gets the credit – not in the sense that he is greedy for attention, but because he wants to make sure neither Israel nor her neighbours can say ‘Oh, that was just a natural disaster’ or ‘wow, those enemy armies have really been training hard’. He wants to make a clear link between actions and their consequences so that hopefully, eventually, we’ll learn and change our ways.

Can you think of any more reasons?