Asking them for examples of these often results in indignant flounces and abuse, however, because, quite simply, there are none. There are a few statements which, at a stretch, parallel later events, usually events which were entirely predictable anyway - a bit like prophesying that there will be an earthquake in Japan or that the Caribbean will suffer a devastating hurricane sometime soon.
Very many of them are only 'confirmed' later in the Bible and have no extra-biblical evidence, like the alleged birth of Jesus, which apparently also prophesied he would be called Immanuel - a name by which he was never ever known in the Bible. The New Testament 'confirmation' of Old Testament 'prophecies' were written by people like the author of Matthew specifically to make it look like Jesus was the fulfillment of Jewish prophecy to suit a Jewish cultic agenda.
I have even had it claimed that the prophecy about Jesus returning, which is attributed to Jesus himself, is really a fulfilled prophecy because it will be fulfilled at sometime.
No! Really! This apparently convinces some fundamentalists.
But then I was once also assured that the Bible accurately prophesies "the name of the four countries that Europe is divided into today" (sic). Apparently, you need to be imbued with the holy spirit to understand the Bible properly.
Curiously, though, what fundamentalist never acknowledge is the other side of their own argument. If successful prophecies prove the Bible's inerrancy then failed prophecies prove its errancy don't they? Of course, the rehearsed compartmentalisation of belief that many fundamentalists seem very proud of, comes into play here. It is quite possible, with enough practice and the ability to lie to yourself, to believe that, whilst inerrancy turns on successful prophecies, failed prophecies have no bearing on the matter.
So what are these unfulfilled prophecies?
Destruction of TyreFor thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will bring upon Tyrus Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, a king of kings, from the north, with horses, and with chariots, and with horsemen, and companies, and much people.
He shall slay with the sword thy daughters in the field: and he shall make a fort against thee, and cast a mount against thee, and lift up the buckler against thee. And he shall set engines of war against thy walls, and with his axes he shall break down thy towers. By reason of the abundance of his horses their dust shall cover thee: thy walls shall shake at the noise of the horsemen, and of the wheels, and of the chariots, when he shall enter into thy gates, as men enter into a city wherein is made a breach.
With the hoofs of his horses shall he tread down all thy streets: he shall slay thy people by the sword, and thy strong garrisons shall go down to the ground. And they shall make a spoil of thy riches, and make a prey of thy merchandise: and they shall break down thy walls, and destroy thy pleasant houses: and they shall lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water. And I will cause the noise of thy songs to cease; and the sound of thy harps shall be no more heard.
And I will make thee like the top of a rock: thou shalt be a place to spread nets upon; thou shalt be built no more: for I the Lord have spoken it, saith the Lord God.
Although the Bible very clearly states that Nebuchadrezzar will utterly destroy Tyre (Tyrus), in fact he withdrew after a thirteen-year siege, leaving it intact. It was sacked by Alexander The Great 240 years later but still exists today as a major city in Lebanon.
Destruction of EgyptTherefore thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will bring a sword upon thee, and cut off man and beast out of thee. And the land of Egypt shall be desolate and waste; and they shall know that I am the Lord: because he hath said, The river is mine, and I have made it. Behold, therefore I am against thee, and against thy rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt utterly waste and desolate, from the tower of Syene even unto the border of Ethiopia.
No foot of man shall pass through it, nor foot of beast shall pass through it, neither shall it be inhabited forty years. And I will make the land of Egypt desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate, and her cities among the cities that are laid waste shall be desolate forty years: and I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and will disperse them through the countries.
Destruction of Egypt - AgainThus saith the Lord God; I will also make the multitude of Egypt to cease by the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon. He and his people with him, the terrible of the nations, shall be brought to destroy the land: and they shall draw their swords against Egypt, and fill the land with the slain. And I will make the rivers dry, and sell the land into the hand of the wicked: and I will make the land waste, and all that is therein, by the hand of strangers: I the Lord have spoken it.
Ezekiel again. It hardly seems worth mentioning that Nebuchadrezzar didn't destroy Egypt, just as he didn't destroy Tyre. There is no record of rivers drying up or of all the land of Egypt being sold to anyone because it was never Nebuchadrezzar's to sell. He was in fact defeated on his only attempt to invade Egypt.
God Will Protect King Ahaz and Judah From The SyriansAnd it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up toward Jerusalem to war against it, but could not prevail against it. And it was told the house of David, saying, Syria is confederate with Ephraim. And his heart was moved, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind.
Then said the Lord unto Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou, and Shearjashub thy son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's field; And say unto him, Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither be fainthearted for the two tails of these smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin with Syria, and of the son of Remaliah.
Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, have taken evil counsel against thee, saying, Let us go up against Judah, and vex it, and let us make a breach therein for us, and set a king in the midst of it, even the son of Tabeal:
Thus saith the Lord God, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass.
This time it's Isaiah who has bungled his prophecy. Hilariously, we don't need to check the history books to falsify this prophecy. The 'inerrant' Bible does it for us:
Wherefore the Lord his God delivered him into the hand of the king of Syria; and they smote him, and carried away a great multitude of them captives, and brought them to Damascus. And he was also delivered into the hand of the king of Israel, who smote him with a great slaughter.
For Pekah the son of Remaliah slew in Judah an hundred and twenty thousand in one day, which were all valiant men; because they had forsaken the Lord God of their fathers. And Zichri, a mighty man of Ephraim, slew Maaseiah the king's son, and Azrikam the governor of the house, and Elkanah that was next to the king. And the children of Israel carried away captive of their brethren two hundred thousand, women, sons, and daughters, and took also away much spoil from them, and brought the spoil to Samaria.
2 Chronicles 28:5-15
Looks like the author of 2 Chronicles didn't know the prophecies like the authors of the New Testament did! I've said it before and I'll say it again - what the Bible lacked was competent editorial control. Parts of it could almost have been believable if it wasn't for these silly mistakes.
Here's another example of poor editorial control leading to the faux pas of making a prophecy then telling us it wasn't fulfilled:
Driving Out The JebusitesAnd Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites.
As for the Jebusites the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the children of Judah could not drive them out; but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem unto this day.
And all the people that were left of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, which were not of the children of Israel, Their children that were left after them in the land, whom the children of Israel also were not able utterly to destroy, upon those did Solomon levy a tribute of bondservice unto this day.
1 Kings 9:20-21
So even Joshua forgot his own prophecy and the author of 1 Kings was unaware of it too. Makes you wonder just how many Joshuas there were.
Lastly, there is an amusing little 'fulfilled' prophecy recorded by the author of Matthew, who notoriously trawled the Old Testament, or more probably a Greek interpretation of it, looking for prophecies to fit his Jesus story around.
And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene. [My emphasis]
Nowhere in either book of the Bible, nor anywhere outside it, is there any such prophecy. The author of Matthew, not content with taking 'prophecies' out of context and inventing ludicrous tales to fit them around his very Jewish Jesus, has given up searching and has simply made one up.
So, Bible literalists, how do you explain away these failed prophecies in order to put them in the context of an inerrant Bible?