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The Humiliation of Babylon


Come down and sit in the dust,

virgin daughter Babylon!

Sit on the ground without a throne,

daughter Chaldea!

For you shall no more be called

tender and delicate.


Take the millstones and grind meal,

remove your veil,

strip off your robe, uncover your legs,

pass through the rivers.


Your nakedness shall be uncovered,

and your shame shall be seen.

I will take vengeance,

and I will spare no one.


Our Redeemer—the L ord of hosts is his name—

is the Holy One of Israel.



Sit in silence, and go into darkness,

daughter Chaldea!

For you shall no more be called

the mistress of kingdoms.


I was angry with my people,

I profaned my heritage;

I gave them into your hand,

you showed them no mercy;

on the aged you made your yoke

exceedingly heavy.


You said, “I shall be mistress forever,”

so that you did not lay these things to heart

or remember their end.



Now therefore hear this, you lover of pleasures,

who sit securely,

who say in your heart,

“I am, and there is no one besides me;

I shall not sit as a widow

or know the loss of children”—


both these things shall come upon you

in a moment, in one day:

the loss of children and widowhood

shall come upon you in full measure,

in spite of your many sorceries

and the great power of your enchantments.



You felt secure in your wickedness;

you said, “No one sees me.”

Your wisdom and your knowledge

led you astray,

and you said in your heart,

“I am, and there is no one besides me.”


But evil shall come upon you,

which you cannot charm away;

disaster shall fall upon you,

which you will not be able to ward off;

and ruin shall come on you suddenly,

of which you know nothing.



Stand fast in your enchantments

and your many sorceries,

with which you have labored from your youth;

perhaps you may be able to succeed,

perhaps you may inspire terror.


You are wearied with your many consultations;

let those who study the heavens

stand up and save you,

those who gaze at the stars,

and at each new moon predict

what shall befall you.



See, they are like stubble,

the fire consumes them;

they cannot deliver themselves

from the power of the flame.

No coal for warming oneself is this,

no fire to sit before!


Such to you are those with whom you have labored,

who have trafficked with you from your youth;

they all wander about in their own paths;

there is no one to save you.


4. Our Redeemer. The Prophet shews for what purpose the Lord will inflict punishment on the Babylonians; that is, for the salvation of his people, as he had formerly declared. (Isaiah 45:4.) But this statement is much more forcible, because he speaks in what may be called an abrupt manner, and like a person awakened out of sleep, when he sees Babylon ruined, which formerly was wont to subdue other nations and trample them under her feet; and he shews that this happens for no other reason than that the Lord shews himself to be the “Redeemer” and defender of his people.

The Holy One of Israel. As if he had said, that not in vain hath he chosen this people, and separated it from other nations. In this transaction he intended to give a display of his power, and on that account added to the title descriptive of his power, Jehovah of Hosts, the designation “Holy.”

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