The Word Made Fresh
1Come and sit in the dust, virgin daughter of Babylon.
Sit on the ground, for you have no throne, daughter of Chaldea.
You shall not be called tender and delicate ever again.
2Take the millstones and grind the meal.
Remove your veil, strip off your robe and uncover your legs,
and wade through the rivers.
3You will be naked when others see you, and you will be ashamed.
I will take revenge and spare no one.
4The LORD Almighty is our Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
5So, sit quietly in the shadows, daughter of the Chaldeans.
You shall no longer be known as the mistress of kingdoms.
6I was angry with my people; that is why I ruined their inheritance.
I gave them over to you, but you showed no mercy.
You burdened the elderly with a heavy yoke.
7You thought you would be their mistress forever,
and you didn’t take these things to heart or remember them.
8Listen now, you who have loved only pleasure
and sit snugly and say to yourself,
“Here I am, and there is no one besides me.
I will never be a widow or experience the loss of children.”
9Now both of these things will overtake you one day in a single moment:
You shall lose your children and you shall become a widow
in spite of your many tricks and the power of your charms.
10You thought that your wickedness made you secure.
You thought no one could see what you were doing.
But you were led astray by your wisdom and knowledge
and you thought to yourself that there was no one like you.
11A bad end will overtake you which your charms cannot avoid.
You will suffer a disaster which you won’t be able to dodge,
and suddenly you will be ruined
by circumstances you didn’t see coming.
12So, keep it up! Cling to the enchantments and sorceries
you have tried so hard to learn from your youth.
Perhaps you will succeed and inspire terror all around.
13You have grown weary of your many counselors.
Let those who study the heavens stand up and rescue you.
Let those who gaze at the stars
predict what will befall you at each new moon.
14But they are like stubble which the fire will consume.
They won’t be able to deliver themselves from the flames.
There are no coals by which they can warm themselves.
There is no fire they can sit beside.
15Those whom you have teamed with can do no more for you.
They have rubbed elbows with you since you were a kid.
But they just wander around their own paths
and none of them can rescue you.
1-4: Babylon’s fate was foretold in chapter 14 and is addressed again here with different imagery. Here Babylon is pictured as a slave girl forced to grind meal at the millstone, publicly stripped and humiliated. “Our Redeemer” is an acknowledgement that the tables have been turned, for Israel was the slave that longed for redemption.
5-7: It will not be the might of Babylon that conquers Israel. God will give Israel into their hands as punishment.
18-11: Babylon has become haughty because of their power, but all Babylon’s gods (beliefs behind their practices of sorcery and incantations) will not keep them from suffering the same fate God had allowed Israel to suffer.
12-15: The astrologers and magicians are challenged to predict what will happen, but they will not be able to provide any comfort.
If we try to skip through life without acknowledging or trying to be obedient to God’s will and God’s ways, God will not bless our endeavors and we will eventually dig our own trap. Begin each day with prayer. End each day with prayer. Acknowledge God to be the LORD of your life and strive to make decisions based on what God wants for you, not on what looks good to you.