Starting at vs.19 things get pretty disturbing. We find a full description in this chapter of the destruction which took place to Jerusalem. The description was pretty bad up to this point, but then starting at vs.19 it just gets graphic. If you read vs. 20 you hear the questions asked: “should women eat their offspring? Should priest and prophet be killed in the sanctuary of the Lord?” It continues in vs.21: “The young and old are lying on the ground in the streets; my young women and my young men have fallen by the sword.” This has to be what it looked like when the Babylonians came and invaded Jerusalem.
This must be the most difficult time in the history of the Jewish people. The Holocaust was certainly the most tragic in recent history, but this description points not to just a loss of life, which unfortunately the Jewish people have experienced time after time in history, but also a loss of the religious way of life with the destruction of the temple. The loss of the temple had to have been the most tragic blow to the people of Israel in history. This is why there is still conflict and emotion tied into the Wailing Wall and the entire Temple Mount in Jerusalem to this day.
But even in the face of this misery we do not read the author blaming God or asking for deliverance because they are in this position without any fault of their own. They do attribute to the Lord the hand that allowed this invasion to take place, but not in a way that they were angry at God. It was more of a recognition that because we were not faithful, the Lord responded in kind. Real similar to the argument that Job’s friends were making to Job, that somehow he had to have done something wrong or God would not have treated him the way that he did. Job stayed firm in his faith, as did the people of Israel here.
It is interesting how the prophets are spoken of as being deceptive in their casting of visions. You see that in vs.14. They were misleading in their oracles, they gave the people of Israel a wrong vision. I’m not sure things are going to get any better in this book of the Bible.