The Fall of Babylon*

1Come down, sit in the dust,

virgin daughter Babylon;

Sit on the ground, dethroned,

daughter of the Chaldeans.

No longer shall you be called

dainty and delicate.a

2Take the millstone and grind flour,

remove your veil;

Strip off your skirt, bare your legs,

cross through the streams.

3Your nakedness shall be uncovered,

and your shame be seen;

I will take vengeance,

I will yield to no entreaty,

says 4our redeemer,

Whose name is the LORD of hosts,

the Holy One of Israel.

5Go into darkness and sit in silence,

daughter of the Chaldeans,

No longer shall you be called

sovereign mistress of kingdoms.

6Angry at my people,

I profaned my heritage

And gave them into your power;

but you showed them no mercy;

Upon the aged

you laid a very heavy yoke.

7You said, “I shall remain always,

a sovereign mistress forever!”

You did not take these things to heart,

but disregarded their outcome.b

8Now hear this, voluptuous one,

enthroned securely,

Saying in your heart,

“I, and no one else!*

I shall never be a widow,

bereft of my children”—c

9Both these things shall come to you

suddenly, in a single day:

Complete bereavement and widowhood

shall come upon you

Despite your many sorceries

and the full power of your spells;*

10Secure in your wickedness,

you said, “No one sees me.”

Your wisdom and your knowledge

led you astray,

And you said in your heart,

“I, and no one else!”

11But upon you shall come an evil

you will not be able to charm away;

Upon you shall fall a disaster

you cannot ward off.

Upon you shall suddenly come

a ruin you cannot imagine.

12Keep on with your spells

and your many sorceries,

at which you toiled from your youth.

Perhaps you can prevail,

perhaps you can strike terror!

13You wore yourself out with so many consultations!

Let the astrologers stand forth to save you,

The stargazers who forecast at each new moon

what would happen to you.

14See, they are like stubble,

fire consumes them;

They cannot deliver themselves

from the spreading flames.

This is no warming ember,

no fire to sit before!

15Thus do your wizards serve you

with whom you have toiled from your youth;

They wander their separate ways,

with none to save you.

* [47:115] A taunt-song, mocking Babylon, once queen of the nations, now a mere slave.

* [47:8, 10] I, and no one else: Babylon is mockingly presented as making the same claim as the Lord (cf. 45:6, 14, 22; 46:9), a claim that events will soon prove to be false and foolish (v. 11).

* [47:913, 15] Babylon was known for its sorcery and astrology.

a. [47:1] Dt 28:56.

b. [47:7] Is 14:1314.

c. [47:8] Zep 2:15; Rev 18:7.

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