The fall of Babylon
1‘Go down, sit in the dust,
Virgin Daughter Babylon;
sit on the ground without a throne,
queen city of the Babylonians.
No more will you be called
tender or delicate.
2Take millstones and grind flour;
take off your veil.
Lift up your skirts, bare your legs,
and wade through the streams.
3Your nakedness will be exposed
and your shame uncovered.
I will take vengeance;
I will spare no-one.’
4Our Redeemer – the Lord Almighty is his name –
is the Holy One of Israel.
5‘Sit in silence, go into darkness,
queen city of the Babylonians;
no more will you be called
queen of kingdoms.
6I was angry with my people
and desecrated my inheritance;
I gave them into your hand,
and you showed them no mercy.
Even on the aged
you laid a very heavy yoke.
7You said, “I am for ever –
the eternal queen!”
But you did not consider these things
or reflect on what might happen.
8‘Now then, listen, you lover of pleasure,
lounging in your security
and saying to yourself,
“I am, and there is none besides me.
I will never be a widow
or suffer the loss of children.”
9Both of these will overtake you
in a moment, on a single day:
loss of children and widowhood.
They will come upon you in full measure,
in spite of your many sorceries
and all your potent spells.
10You have trusted in your wickedness
and have said, “No-one sees me.”
Your wisdom and knowledge mislead you
when you say to yourself,
“I am, and there is none besides me.”
11Disaster will come upon you,
and you will not know how to conjure it away.
A calamity will fall upon you
that you cannot ward off with a ransom;
a catastrophe you cannot foresee
will suddenly come upon you.
12‘Keep on, then, with your magic spells
and with your many sorceries,
which you have laboured at since childhood.
Perhaps you will succeed,
perhaps you will cause terror.
13All the counsel you have received has only worn you out!
Let your astrologers come forward,
those stargazers who make predictions month by month,
let them save you from what is coming upon you.
14Surely they are like stubble;
the fire will burn them up.
They cannot even save themselves
from the power of the flame.
These are not coals for warmth;
this is not a fire to sit by.
15That is all they are to you –
these you have dealt with
and laboured with since childhood.
All of them go on in their error;
there is not one that can save you.