This is what the book's about. God judges the people as disobedient and wicked, and hands out just punishments. As bad as Jeremiah feels about God's inflicting these terrible punishments, he knows the people deserve it. After all, you can't worship Baal and Chemosh and sacrifice children and expect God to just sit by and watch. Even though the Hebrew Bible is about the relationship between God and the… well, Hebrews, we learn in Jeremiah and other prophetic books that God judges all nations. Nobody gets out without serious damage being done, or at least predicted, when they mess with God's favorite nation. It's interesting that throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, other civilizations acknowledge the Israelite's God also; they just don't happen to worship him. He's pretty strict and hard to please, after all.
Questions About Justice and Judgment
Do you think God's destruction of Judah is totally just? Do you think everyone injured or killed by the fighting—or exiled—deserved what happened?
Is collective judgment and punishment ever justifiable?
Why does God say he's also going to punish the Babylonians for destroying Jerusalem? Weren't they just God's vehicle for punishing Judah?
What kind of society God is trying to shape by all this judgment??