And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine
Or "Byssine": the "Byssus", of which fine linen is made, is said to grow on a tree, in height like to a poplar, and its leaves like a willow, and to be brought out of Judea into Egypt, which the Egyptians used in most of their holy things F17. A dress neat and modest, and not like the attire of the whore of Rome, ( Revelation 17:4 ) and this is said to be
clean and white,
and is interpreted in the next clause:
for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints,
or "righteousnesses"; not good works, or their own righteousness; for though these are evidences of faith, by which the saints are justified, and are what God has prepared for them, that they should walk in them; yet these are not comparable to fine linen, clean and white, but are like filthy rags, and cannot justify in the sight of God; but the righteousness of Christ is meant, and justification by that; for that is the only justifying righteousness of the saints: and though it is but one, yet it may be called "righteousnesses", or "justifications", in the plural number; partly because of the several seasons in which the act of justification passes, first in God's mind from eternity, next on Christ as the surety, when he rose from the dead, and on all the elect in him, and then in the consciences of the saints when they believe, and the sentence of it will be notified and declared to men and angels at the last judgment; and partly because of the many persons that are justified by it, as also because of the excellency of it; so the Jews use the word in the plural number: the Targumist on ( Zechariah 3:4 ) paraphrases the text, "I will clothe thee" (Kwkz) , "with righteousnesses" F18; upon which words Jarchi has this note,
``change of beautiful garments is all one as if it had been said (twykz) "righteousnesses": and because sin is like to filthy garments, righteousness is like to garments beautiful and white.''Christ's righteousness may be compared to fine linen, clean and white, because of its spotless purity; those that are arrayed with it being unblamable and irreprovable, and without spot and blemish, and without fault before the throne; with this the Jewish church will be clothed; all the Lord's people will be righteous, they will have on the best robe, and wedding garment, which was despised by the Jews in Christ's time, who refused to come to the marriage feast; and their being arrayed with it will be owing to the grace of Christ, who grants it; and so Christ's righteousness is called the gift of righteousness, the free gift, and gift by grace, and abundance of grace; and faith, which receives it, and puts it on, is the gift of God, ( Romans 5:15-17 ) ( Ephesians 2:8 ) . Not only the garment is a gift of grace, but the putting of it on is a grant from Christ, and what he himself does, ( Isaiah 61:10 ) ( Zechariah 3:4 ) .
F17 Philostrat. Vita Apollon. l. 2. c. 9. Vid. Apul. Apolog. p. 225. Pausan. l. 5. sive Eliac. p. 294.
F18 See Isa. lxi. 10. & Targum in Hos. x. 12.