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 more be called tender and delicate.
2 Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers.
Babylon is pictured here as a proud female, accustomed to luxury and ease, suddenly made poor and brought down to the lowest condition, being compelled to be a slave. To sit in the dust was an expression of mourning and humiliation.
Verse 2 pictures the daughter of Babylon humbled from her place as a queen and a lady of luxury to the place of a slave girl grinding at the mill, humiliated in nakedness and shame. Grinding meal was often put upon slaves as punishment.
To uncover the locks (the hair) means to remove the veil, uncover the face and hair, which would be a disgrace. In that era of history, among Eastern women, having uncovered hair indicated immorality.
To bare the leg, uncover the thigh, and pass over the rivers also pictures shame. It describes lifting up the long train of the robe of the queen or daughter of Babylon in order to pass through the rivers going into slavery and captivity. Making the legs bare and exposing the thighs to pass through the streams, her nakedness would be uncovered and she would be ashamed, exposed to public view as a common person.
I’m reading a book based on the true story of a woman who was imprisoned at a Nazi camp during WWII. One of the ways in which the Nazis controlled the women was to make them strip off all their clothing and stand in line to be judged as healthy and able to work, or sick and sent to the gas chambers and ovens. Often, their heads were shaved to increase their humiliation.
It is amazing to me, as I watch the hems of today’s dresses go ever higher, and the tops go more and more bare, that they feel no sense of embarrassment or shame to expose themselves so completely. There is really nothing much left to the imagination. Nudity has been used for centuries to punish and humiliate prisoners, yet there seems to be no concern at all about the nudity I’m seeing now. It’s nothing new. Styles come and go, and after all there is just so much one can do with design before something has to be recycled. I’ll just be glad when this current trend of very short, very bare dresses goes the way of all other fashion fads.
Christian girls, please don’t be fad followers.