Text: Isaiah 52:10
"The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations."
To make bare the arm is an ancient metaphor meaning: "Preparation for active work, especially for war." It closely resembles the modern expression "rolling up one's sleeves to do hard work". A more literal rendering of the verse is: "make naked the the stretched-out arm as a monument of holy force."
In ancient times, the "arm" was  symbolic for "power". When the ancients wanted to make known their strong feelings or intent, they would raise an arm and shake the fist. The loose sleeves of their robes would drop downward, revealing the bared arm. This was a commonly recognized sign meaning that there would be no further argument on the matter, prepare for battle.
From Rev. W. Jowett:  "The loose sleeve of the Arab shirt, as well as of the  outer garment leaves the arm so completely free, that in an instant the left hand, passing up the right arm, makes it bare; and this is done when a person, a soldier, for example, about to strike with his sword, intends to give the arm full play." 
 ("Christian Researches  in Syria and the Holy Land", p.208. Published 1826.)
Other Biblical mentions of "arm bearing" can also be found in Isaiah 53:1 and Ezekiel 4:7. 
In the introductory text, Yahweh is portrayed as a swift and mighty warrior fully prepared to inflict a terrible righteous punishment. Ezekiel's use of this phrase imparted imagery well-understood by any of his listeners (readers), both Babylonian and Jew alike.

Copyright by Ancient Bible History - Eden Games Inc.


Your comment will be posted after it is approved.

Leave a Reply