One of the lines in Star Wars that has always confused me is something that Yoda told Luke once when he was training him on Dagobah in The Empire Strikes Back. Luke wanted to know how he could distinguish the good guys from the bad guys and Yoda said he would know if he was calm and at peace with himself. Then he said: “The Force is used for knowledge and defense. Never for attack.” Now, while this was an interesting idea that the Jedi supposedly believed in they didn’t exactly follow through with that concept with their actions. I mean think about it, for decades the Jedi used violence to try to keep “peace and order” in the galaxy but their ways only begot more war, more enemies, and more suffering. In The Clone Wars Obi-Wan’s old lady friend, Duchess Satine Kryze, confronted him with this truth.
Duchess Satine was the ruler of the once war-torn world of Mandalore and instead of joining either the Separatists or the Republic she decided to keep her world a neutral zone, for she wanted to keep her world out of the conflict and remain as a peaceful nation. On a diplomatic mission to Coruscant with Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker joining her for protection she told Obi-Wan how she felt about the Jedi’s ways.
The Jedi were supposedly the guardians of the galaxy (I’m not trying to actually reference Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.) The inhabitants of the universe looked up to the Jedi Order to save them from the Separatists but the Jedi didn’t even try to achieve peace by fighting war with harmless negotiating. They solved every problem, every crisis, with violence and Satine didn’t believe in that. In her eyes the Jedi were just robed hypocrites using their religion to belittle others and claim dominion over the weak while spouting “wisdom” about the Force and destiny to glorify their violent reasoning to save the galaxy.
The Jedi were so blinded by their own power that they didn’t even sense the ruler of the Republic (who was a Sith lord!) manipulating every event to his own eventual dominion because there was just no way the Jedi could be beaten.
So, long story short, the Jedi were nearly wiped from existence and Yoda and Obi-Wan went into exile, waiting for a new hope to restore order to the galaxy.