1 COME down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon; sit on the ground; there is no throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no longer be called the tender and the delicate.
VERSES 1, 5, 8. The subject here treated of is concerning the profanation of Good and of Truth; for by the “daughter of Babylon” is signified the profanation of Good, and by the “daughter of the Chaldeans” the profanation of Truth. The reason why such things are signified by them is, because they employ the divine Goods and Truths which are in the Word and from the Word as means of bearing rule, whence the Babylonians and Chaldeans regard themselves, or their own dominion, as ends, and the holy things of the church from the Word as means; thus they do not regard the Lord and His dominion as an end, nor their neighbour, and love towards him: To “come down and sit in the dust, and on the ground,” signifies to be in evils and thence in damnation; to “sit in silence” and to “enter into darkness” signifies to be in falses ‘and thence in damnation. To “sit or dwell in security,” denotes to be in confidence that their rule or dominion will remain, and that they shall not perish; “not to sit a widow” and “not to know bereaving or loss of children,” signifies not to be in want of attendants, clients, and worshippers. “There is no throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans; for thou shalt no longer be called the mistress of kingdoms,” signifies that they shall bear rule no longer, because of their subversion and damnation in the day of the Last Judgment, which is treated of in this chapter. A. 687.
Verses 1, 2. That by those who “grind meal,” when mentioned in the Word, are signified those who within the church are in Truth from the affection of Good, and, in the opposite sense, those who within the church are in Truth from the affection of evil, is evident from Isaiah xlvii. 1, 2:- “Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon,” &c. The “daughter of Babylon.” stands for those, with whom the externals appear holy and good, but the interiors profane and evil. (See above, Chap. xiii. and xiv., Exposition.) The “daughter of the Chaldeans” means those with whom the externals appear holy and true, but the interiors are profane and false. To “take a millstone” and to “grind meal” signifies to conclude doctrines from Truths which they pervert; for “meal,” which is either from wheat or from barley, signifies Truths from Good, and, in the opposite sense, Truths which they pervert for the purpose of seducing others. A. C. 4335.
[The correspondence of “grinding meal” may be readily seen, when it is considered that the act of grinding meal is to prepare food for the nourishment of the body; which corresponds to the act of preparing food for the nourishment of the soul, which is done by instructing the mind in the Truths of the Word, and by deriving doctrine therefrom for its spiritual nourishment.]
Verses 1-3. The “daughter of Babylon” is the church, or what professes to be a church, where what is holy is in externals, but what is profane is in the internals. This profanity in the internals consists in this, that they regard themselves and the world as an end, thus dominion and abundance of riches, and the holy things [of the Word and of the church] as means to that end. To “take millstones and grind meal,” is to concoct doctrine from such things as can serve, as means, to that end; to “uncover the hair, make bare the leg [or feet], and to “uncover the thigh,” is, without shame and fear, to prostitute holy externals and internals; thus” thy nakedness shall be revealed,” is to cause what is filthy and infernal, which are the ends, to appear. A. C. 9960.
2 Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks; make bare the leg; uncover the thigh; pass through the rivers.
Verse 2. Uncover the thigh; pass through the rivers.-These things are said of “Babylon” and of “Chaldea.” By ” taking the millstones and grinding meal” is signified to produce falses from evil, and to confirm them by the Word; and by “uncovering the thigh” and by “passing through the rivers” is signified to adulterate Goods by reasonings. A. E. 1182. –
That the “rivers of Chaldea” signify, in a bad sense, reasonings from fallacies and from false doctrines, also from negative principles respecting the Truths of the Word and of the church, see above, Chap. viii. 7, 8, Exposition.
3 Thy nakedness shall be uncovered; even thy shame shall be seen: I will take vengeance; and I will not suffer man to intercede.
Verse 3. To be “naked,” in a bad sense, signifies to be deprived of the knowledges of Truth and of Good, and to “walk naked” denotes a life without such knowledges as the means [of living], thus a life not spiritual, but merely natural; hence to be “naked” signifies a life without the understanding of Truth, because without the will of Good. Thus when it is said- “Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he, walk naked, and they see his shame,” (Rev. xvi, 15.) “not to walk naked” signifies not to be without Truths, and hence without Goods; for they who are without Truths are also without Goods, since all Good is acquired by Truths. Besides, Good without Truth is not Good, nor is Truth without Good, Truth; in order that it be Truth, it must be conjoined with Good, and in order that Good may be Good, it must be conjoined with Truth. There is indeed a Truth without Good, and a Good without Truth; but Truth without Good is dead, and also Good without Truth, for Truth has its esse from Good, and Good has its existere by Truth. From this it is evident that by “walking naked” is signified to be without Truths, and hence without Goods. That to “walk” signifies to be and to live, may be seen in A. E. 787. By the “shame of nakedness,” (Rev. xvi. 15.) are signified filthy loves. But, in a good sense; to be “naked ” signifies to be in innocence and in celestial love, [as was the case with Adam and Eve before the fall, Gen. ii. 25.] To “cover” or to “clothe the naked” signifies to remove, the evils of the will and the falses of the uuderstanding, thus to instruct those who are in ignorance of Truths, and nevertheless desire them. (See Chap. lviii. 7, Exposition.) A. E. 187, 224, 238, 1008. See also Chap. xx. 2-4, Exposition.
4 Our Redeemer, Jehovah of Hosts is His name! the Holy One of Israel!
Verse 4. Jehovah of Hosts.-See Chap. i. 9, 24, Exposition.
5 Sit thou in silence, go into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans; for thou shalt no longer be called the mistress of kingdoms,
Verse 5. By the “daughter of the Chaldeans” is signified the falsification of Truth; and hence by “darkness” are meant the falses of evil, inasmuch as evil falsifies Truth. A. E. 526.
6 I was angry with My people; I profaned My heritage; and I gave them up in to thy hand: thou didst not shew mercy unto them; even upon the aged didst thou lay very heavily thy yoke.
7 And thou saidst, I shall be a mistress for ever: so that thou didst not lay these things to thy heart, neither didst thou remember the end thereof.
Verse 6. As to “anger,” when said of the Lord,
see Chap. i. 24; ix. 12, 17, 21, Exposition.
8 But hear now this, O thou voluptuary, that dwellest in security; that sayest in thy heart, I am, and there is none else beside me; I shall not sit a widow; I shall not know the loss of children:
Verses 8, 9. These things also are said concerning ” Babylon,” and thereby are signIfied the same things as by these words in the Apocalypse:- “I am not a widow, and shall not see mourning; wherefore in one day shall her plagues come to thee, death, and mourning, and famine.” By “widows,” in other parts of the Word, are also signified such of both sexes as are in Good but not in Truth, and yet desire Truth, thus such as are without defence against the false and evil whom however, the Lord defends. They are also understood in the opposite sense, as may be evident from Isa, ix. 17; x. 1, 2; Jer. xv. 7-9. xxii. 3. A. E. 1121.
Verses 8-14. I shall not sit a widow; I shall not know the loss of children, &c.-That “sorcerers” [or witches] are those who conjoin the false of .the evil of self-love to the Truths of faith, and thereby perish, is evident from every particular in the above passage, viewed in the internal sense, for they are there described. The extinction of their spiritual life is described by “widowhood ” and by “bereavement” [or loss of children]. “Widowhood” is the deprivation of Truth, and thence of Good; “bereavement” is the deprivation of Truth and of Good. The origin of the false, as derived from the evil of self-love is described by these words:-“Thy wisdom and thy knowledge have seduced thee; whilst thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and there is none beside me;” and the evil itself of self-love is described by these words:-” Behold, they shall be like stubble; the fire shall burn them up: they shall not deliver their soul from the hand of the flame;”fire” and “flame” denote self-love. That the all of spiritual life is extinct, is described by these words:-“Therefore shall evil come upon thee, which thou shalt not know how to deprecate; and calamity shall fall upon thee, which thou shalt not be able to expiate.” They are called “observers of the heavens, and gazers on the stars, and who know the new moons,” [or “prognosticate concerning the months, see note] from being in external things, without an internal principle; for such see from the external man, and nothing from the internal, thus from natural lumen; and nothing from spiritual light; for “heaven,” the “stars,” and “new moons,” in the internal sense are knowledges and scientiflcs,-in this case, such as are viewed from the world, and not from heaven. A. C. 9188.
9 Yet shall these two things come upon thee in a moment, in one day; loss of children and widowhood: in their perfection shall they, come upon thee; because of the multitude of thy sorceries, and of the great abundance of thine enchantments.
Verses 9, 12. Because of the multitude of thy sorceries, and of the great abundance of thine enchantments, &c.- In the Apoc. xviii. 23:” By thy sorceries were all nations deceived.” By “thy sorceries” [veneficium, poisoning] are meant the abominable arts and schemes by which they have deluded and persuaded the people to worship and adore themselves instead of the Lord, therefore as the Lord; and inasmuch as the Lord is the God of heaven and earth, as He Himself teaches in Matt. xxviii. 18, consequently as gods. That they have transferred the Lord’s divine power to themselves, may be seen above, [Chap: xiv.,Exposition.] and since this is signified by these words, they also signify that by their abominable arts and contrivances they have turned the minds of men from the holy worship of the Lord, to the profane worship of living and dead men and of idols. That nevertheless there will be an end of these things, and that there is already an end of them in the spiritual world, has been shewn in the work on the Last Judgment. This is described in the following words of Isaiah:-“Persist in thine enchantments, O Babylon, and in the multitude of thy sorceries,” &c. (xlvii. 9, 12, 14,. 15.) A. R. 800.
By “sorcery,” when mentioned In the Word, a similar thing is signified as by incantation [or enchantment], and by “incantation”.is understood such a persuasion that a man does not perceIve otherwise than that it is so. Such a kind of persuasion exists amongst certain spirits as closes up, as it were, the understanding of another, and suffocates the faculty of perception; and as well-disposed men among the Babylonish nation [Roman Catholics] are induced and persuaded to believe and to do what the monks say, therefore it is here said that they are seduced by “sorcery.” A.E. 1191.
10 For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, None seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge have Reduced thee; whilst thou hast said in thy heart, I run, and there is none beside me.
11 Therefore shall, evil come upon thee, which thou shalt not know how to deprecate; and calamity shall fall upon thee, which thou shalt not be able to expiate; and destruction shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know.
Verses 10, 11. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge have seduced thee; whilst thou hast said in thy heart, I am, and there is none beside me, &c.-Here also they are described who believe themselves to know all things, and to be intelligent above all others, when yet they know and understand nothing of Truth; wherefore it follows that the understanding of Truth is taken away from them. Their belief that they are more intelligent than all others is understood by these words:-“Thy wisdom and thy knowledge have seduced thee; whilst thou hast said in thy heart, I am, and there is none beside me; and the loss of all understanding of Truth is understood by these words:-” Calamity shall fall upon thee, and destruction shall come upon thee.” A. E. 237.
12 Persist now in thine enchantments; and in the multitude of thy sorceries, in which thou hast laboured from thy youth; if peradventure thou mayest be profited; if thou mayest become terrible.
13 Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let them stand up now, and let them save thee,-the observers of the heavens, the gazers on the stars, they that prognosticate concerning the months,-from the things that shall come upon thee.
Verse 12. As to “enchantments” or “incantations,” and the modes in which they were practised in ancient times, see Chap. iii. 2, Exposition.
14 Behold, they shall be like stubble; the fire shall burn them up: they shall not deliver their soul from the hand of the flame; not a coal to warm at, not a fire to sit before it.
Verses 14, 15. By “merchandising” and “trading,” in the Word, is signified to procure for one’s self spiritual riches, which are the knowledges of Truth and of Goodness; and, in the opposite, the knowledges of what is false and evil, and by these to gain the world, and by the former to gain heaven; wherefore the Lord compared the kingdom of the heavens to “a merchantman seeking goodly pearls.” (Matt. xiii. 45, 46.) By the “merchants of Babylon” no others can be meant than those of the superior and inferior orders in their ecclesiastical hierarchy, because, in Rev. xviii, 23, it is said that they are “the great men of the earth;” and by the means of her delicacies, through which they have become rich, no other things can be meant than dogmatical tenets, through which, as means, they procure for themselves dominion over the souls of men, and thereby also over their possessions and wealth; that they collect these without any proposed end, and fill their treasuries with them, is a known fact; also that they make a traffic with the holy things of the church, as that by means of offerings and gifts presented to monasteries and to their saints and images, and by means of masses, indulgences, and various dispensations they sell salvation, that is, heaven. Who cannot see that if the Popish dominion had not received a check at the time of the Reformation, they would have amassed together the possessions and riches of all the kingdoms of Europe, and in this case would have been sole lords, and all the rest servants? Have they not derived from former ages, when they had power over emperors and kings, whom they could excommunicate and dethrone if they did not obey them, their principal opulence and annual revenues, which are still immense, together with treasuries full of gold, silver, and jewels? The like barbarous dominion many or them have still at heart, and it is kept within bounds solely by tho fear of losing what power they have, if they were to attempt to extend it beyond certain limits. But what use do they make of these vast revenues, treasures, and possessions, except to pamper themselves and gratify their pride, and to confirm their power and dominion to all eternity? From these considerations it may appear what is here signified by the “merchants of the earth,” who have becorne rich through the means of the delicacies of Babylon. A. R. 759.
Verse 14. The fire shall burn them up, &c.-That “fire,” in a bad sense, signifies lusts of evil which consume everything Good and True in the mind and in the church, see Chap. ix. 17-19, and Chap. l. 11, Exposition.
Not a coal to warm at, &c. [implies that their lusts of evil will remain ungratified; hence their torment.]
15 Thus shall they be unto thee, with whom thou hast laboured; thy merchants, [with whom thou hast dealt] from thy youth: they shall wander everyone to his own quarter; none shall save thee.
Verse 15. Every one to his own quarter [or his own way] , denotes that everyone, at the time of judgment, will be reduced to his final state. See Chap. xiii. 14, Exposition.
Author: Emanuel Swedenborg [Compiled by J. H. Smithson 1860]