Looking at the weaving of Mary, especially after studying her as the New Eve, immediately suggests a comparison with Adam and Eve’s creation of clothing for themselves after they have sinned against God. By providing a place for the Holy Spirit to weave a new cloth of both divine and human thread in her womb, Mary, as the New Eve, prepares a garment that does not hide the shame of nakedness of humans and cause them to hide from God, but that celebrates the Creator who humbled Himself to enter into His creation and offer Himself up to the wrath demanded by Divine Justice. The flesh of Christ becomes the flesh of redemption because it is through the suffering endured by the Word incarnate that salvation for all creation is achieved.
Mary is also the redeemed Delilah – instead of weaving in order to find the secret of God-given power of her lover, she weaves in cooperation with the Holy Spirit to celebrate the mystery of the God-head’s strength and become his ever-virgin bride.
Perhaps a bit more indirectly, the weaving within Mary’s womb might also be prefigured in the coat of many colors that was given to Joseph, the favored son of the patriarch Jacob. The coat was the source of jealously among Joseph’s brothers, so when they decided to throw him into the pit and then sell him to the Midianites, they first tore his coat from him, as a symbol of their power over him. While the coat did not in itself impute any particular power to Joseph, it was a symbol of the love of his father. In a similar manner, perhaps Jesus felt that he, a mysteriously woven garment, had been torn from its right place when he cried from the cross, “Father, why have You forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:36). The beautiful cloak, his Being, had been torn and covered with blood, just as the brothers of Joseph soaked the coat in blood when they presented it to their father, claiming that Joseph had been killed by a wild animal, becoming a symbol of suffering with little hope for redemption. Similarly, the Jews thought that Jesus had been killed and his following stifled. This was certainly not the case.
There is another scenario that involves Joseph and clothing as well. When he was serving Potiphar, an Egyptian general, Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him. Joseph refused and escaped, but the woman kept his cloak and later accused him of defiling her. Joseph was then thrown into prison, even though he was innocent. Even though Jesus was fully divine, he was also fully human and therefore he was tempted to sin just as we are. However, he resisted temptation and is sinless, just like Joseph did and was (in this scenario). The cloak being torn from Joseph signifies the struggle with which he escaped from temptation, just as Jesus, without sin, was stripped of his flesh and dignity yet did not save Himself from the cruelty of flogging by the soldiers. In neither case does the loss of the garment change the facts of the matter—the identity and innocence of the victim—rather the accidentals of being able to incriminate the men by the casting of the cloak and the death of the body were enough to convince their respective accusers of their claims’ justice.
The two accounts of Joseph are rather difficult to consider through this lens, since the parallel with Christ is not exact. Indeed, the similarities are very interesting, but they do not most accurately describe the reality of the cloth-making described by Proclus. Indeed, the intricate unity of the human and divine elements of this cloth are more of the sense that Christ’s Being in itself is the Garment, as opposed to a suit of flesh that Christ envelopes himself with. With this understanding, attributing a Messianic interpretation to Job 29:14 (“I put on righteousness as my clothing; justice was my robe and my turban) is misleading. Christ himself is righteousness and justice by virtue of the fact that he is fully God as well as fully man. He is not a man who was elevated to God via a costume change.
Considering the role of clothing in the Last Supper tale is also very interesting in this context. In the Gospel of John, when Jesus and the disciples are gathered in the upper room, Jesus is said to take off his outer garment and then wash the feet of his disciples, giving them an example of the service they are to perform for others and thereby fully revealing his intentions for their mission. By subjecting himself to servant-hood in the removal of the outer garment, he does not change in his nature; just as he subjected his God-head to human-ness, so was he able to humble himself to service. It was just as much the nature of God washing the feet of the disciples as it was the nature of the human Jesus. Because of Mary’s humility, her womb was deemed worthy to be the place of the weaving of a unique, shocking, and paradoxical Garment that though “being in the very nature God did not consider equality with God something to be grasped” (Philippians 4:6).
By Mary’s assent to the angel’s message, she is given the honor and duty of weaving the not only the robes of the High Priest prescribed in Exodus 28:39, but also the High Priest Himself, while she simultaneously weaves the Offering that will gain salvation for the whole world. Indeed, more is completed in Mary’s womb than what God created in the womb of Job’s mother (Job asks “[did you not] clothe me with skin and flesh and knit me together with bones and sinews?” Job 10:11). In Mary was the “taking the flesh of an ancient race, without the help, however, of the ancient seed, in order that He might reform it with a new seed, that is, in a spiritual manner, and cleanse it by the removal of all its ancient stains” (Tertullian). Thus is formed a tapestry of both mortal Davidic and everlasting Divine threads that can will to suffer for the salvation of the world.