How did God Punish the Jewish People for Disobedience During the Exodus?

Written By DEXTER

Dexter is a pastor who enjoys reading and studying the Bible to inspire and empower others.

The Jewish people were condemned for their disobedience during the Exodus as God believed they had strayed away from his Laws and His decrees.

These punishments varied and grew in severity through the course of history. Initially, when the Jews objected to Moses’s leadership at the mountain, God was angered and desired to destroy them. He caused a plague of poisonous snakes to be sent to them, which ultimately were destroyed by Moses’s staff.

This act of disobedience was yet again followed by other punishments, such as being denied entry into the Promised Land. As the punishment for this act, God made them wander in the desert for 40 years, as a punishment and as a test of the strength of their faith.

Additionally, this period in the desert was further extended when the spies sent into the land reported back with bad news, informing the elderly of the challenges they would face. As a result, all the people who disobeyed God were destroyed by the plague.

How Did It Start?

It all started with God appearing to Moses and telling him to go to Pharaoh and tell him to let the people of Isreal go. Moses was not in agreement with the plan at first but after a while, he agreed with God.

As such, Moses left the back side of the wilderness, and on he went to Egypt to confront Pharaoh. Moses, after talking with the Elders of Isreal then requested Pharaoh to allow the people of Israel to leave Egypt, but Pharaoh refused to let them go.

God, of course, wasn’t pleased, not that He didn’t expect this response from Pharaoh. So, in response, God issued the Egyptian plague. God instructed Moses and Aaron to bring nine plaques upon the people of Egypt as punishment.

These plaques included the death of all firstborn children in Egypt, hail, locust, and frogs inundating the land, thick darkness, the killing of all livestock, and the turning of the Nile into blood.

Canaan Commandment Punishment

The next punishment that was given to the Jewish people was during their time in Canaan. According to the bible, before they entered the Promised Land, God commanded Moses to inform the people of Canaan, ‘slaves and foreigners, that they have to abide by the laws of the land and respect the God of his people. If they do not do this, they would be subjected to the wrath of God, who would use the land’s resources – such as the crops – against them. Additionally, the Jewish people would also be ordered to fight against non-believers if they were to enter their lands, as part of God’s judgment. Thus, throughout the course of the journey, the Jewish people felt the wrath of God as a result of their disobedience.

Wandering in Wilderness Punishment

The next punishment that was given to the Jews came as a result of their wandering in the wilderness. During this time, the Jews complained about the hardships that they were facing such as a lack of food and water. In response to this, God sent down manna from Heaven to sustain them, along with other miraculous occurrences such as the splitting of the Red Sea. Furthermore, God also continued to test the loyalty of the Jews in the face of adversity. For instance, God commanded the Israelites to build a great altar, a step that would ultimately bring them closer to Him. However, despite this, the people still sinned in various ways such as worshipping the golden calf. As a result, God commanded them to spend a further forty years in the wilderness to repent for their actions.

War Against Enemies Punishment

The next punishment that was sent down from God to the Jewish people was in the form of war. During their time in the Promised Land, the Jews were surrounded by many foes. These enemies included the Philistines, Amalekites, Midianites and others. God used this situation to test the loyalty of his people. Thus, when they were commanded to attack and defeat these enemies, they refused, doubting the strength of God. In response, God punished them with several defeats against their enemies, as a way to teach them about obedience and trust in his power.

Sexual Sin Punishment

The last major punishment that was given to the Jewish people for their disobedience was when God issued a covenant with them to follow the laws that he had set out for their sexual practices. This covenant included Abraham’s, Isaac’s and Jacob’s command to only marry Jewish women and to remain socially and religiously separated from all other nations. When the Jews disobeyed this command, God brought down the wrath of war and devastation upon them. He destroyed cities for their wickedness, and brought plagues and famines for their disobedience.


In conclusion, through the course of time, the Jews faced many punishments for their disobedience towards God’s commands. These punishments ranged from plagues, famine, death, defilement of the land and war, all of which were intended to bring the Jewish people closer to God. Even today, the punishments that God gave for their disobedience can be seen in the courses of Jewish history and serve as a warning to us all.