Clothed with strength, clothed with beauty

Yahweh calls Zion from her sleep and excitedly orders her to get dressed (Isaiah 52:1). Like the call to “Awake! Awake!” the order to put on clothes is doubled:

Clothe yourself with strength, Zion.

Clothe yourself in garments of beauty, Jerusalem.

Two observations: First, the call to be clothed in strength is a call to be dressed as Yahweh Himself is dressed, for He “has clothed and girded Himself with strength” (Psalm 93:1). Zion puts on the armor of the Lord, which is to say, the armor that the Lord Himself wears (cf. Isaiah 59:17). But, second, this armor is a robe of beauty, like the garments of the priests: “garments of beauty” is bigdey tif’artek , just like the bigdey . . . lekavod ultif’aret of the high priest (Exodus 28:2, 40).

Strength and beauty go together (Psalm 96:6), and both are dimensions of priestly service, of liturgy.

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