After the famous attack on the New York on 11 September 2001, people asked why God would allow such a thing. It’s a normal question after a disaster.
No doubt, the people of Judah and their kings, officials, priests, and prophets—who would all have believed they were God’s chosen people—would have asked the same thing when Jeremiah started to warn them of their fate.
The people of Judah at least had an answer before the event. Like the people of Ninevah, they had a warning; and they had time to repent and avoid disaster:
Jeremiah 2:26Israel is like a thief
who feels shame only when he gets caught.
They, their kings, officials, priests, and prophets—
all are alike in this. …
They turn their backs on me,
but in times of trouble they cry out to me,
‘Come and save us!’
But why not call on these gods you have made?
When trouble comes, let them save you if they can!
For you have as many gods
as there are towns in Judah.
Why do you accuse me of doing wrong?
You are the ones who have rebelled,
says the Lord.
Of course, there was hope. They would be saved, albeit through a period of exile:
Jeremiah 5:18-19 ‘Yet even in those days I will not blot you out completely,’ says the Lord. ‘And when your people ask, ‘Why did the Lord our God do all this to us?’ you must reply, ‘You rejected him and gave yourselves to foreign gods in your own land. Now you will serve foreigners in a land that is not your own.’