Yahweh remembers the failures in Judah and Jerusalem (Jer 44:21-44:23)

“As for the offerings

That you made

In the towns of Judah,

In the streets of Jerusalem,

Did not Yahweh remember them?

That is you with

Your ancestors,

Your kings,

Your officials,

The people of the land,

Did it not come into his mind?

Yahweh could no longer

Bear the sight

Of your evil doings,

The abominations

That you committed.

Therefore your land

Became a desolation,

A waste,

A curse,

Without inhabitants,

As it is to this day.

It is

Because you burned offerings,

Because you sinned

Against Yahweh.

You did not obey

The voice of Yahweh.

You did not

Walk in his law,

Walk in his statutes,

Walk in his decrees.

Thus this disaster

Has befallen you,

As is still evident today.”

Jeremiah justifies the punishment that they have today, based on their idolatrous sacrifices that they, their ancestors, their kings, their officials, and all the people had made earlier in Judah and Jerusalem. Did they think that Yahweh, their God, would forget this? Yahweh could no longer bear the sight of these evil abominations, so that he made their land desolate, a waste, and cursed, without inhabitants until the present time. They had sinned by offering these burnt sacrifices. They did not obey Yahweh. They would not follow his laws, statutes, or decrees. Thus this disaster has come upon them until the present day. Jeremiah thought that these refugees were too defiant against Yahweh.

The wicked scoundrels (Jer 5:26-5:29)

“‘Wicked scoundrels are

Found among my people.

They take over

The goods of others.

They lurk

Like fowlers,

They set a trap.

They catch human beings.

Like a cage full of birds,

Their houses are full of treachery.

Therefore they have become great.

They have become rich.

They have grown fat.

They have become sleek.

They know no limits

In their deeds of wickedness.

They do not judge

With justice

The cause of the orphans,

To make them prosper.

They do not defend

The rights of the needy.

Shall I not punish them for these things?’

Says Yahweh.

‘Shall I not bring retribution

On a nation such as this?’”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, justifies his stance against the Israelites. This time he cites the wicked scoundrels in the land among his own people. They actually take the goods of others like robbers. They are like bird trappers, but they set their traps for their fellow humans. They are full of tricks that have made them great, rich, fat, and sleek. They have no limits to their wickedness. When they judge, they judge without justice, especially in the cases of orphans and the needy. Why shouldn’t Yahweh punish them? Why shouldn’t he bring retribution on this whole nation?