4 and 5. The Rod of Aaron and of Jesse.
St. Cyril of Jerusalem writes :
"Thou art the blossoming Rod of Aaron. For truly thou wert the Rod and thy Son the Flower, since from the root of David and Solomon budded forth Christ, our Creator, Almighty God and Lord, the alone Most High ; thou art the Mother of Him who is God and Man—Virgin before birth, Virgin at birth, and Virgin after birth."
St. Ambrose writes :
"There shall come forth a Rod out of the root of Jesse, and a Flower shall rise up out of his root" for the root is the family of the Jews, the Rod is Mary, the Flower is Mary's Christ."
6. Gideon's Fleece.
Thus St. Ephrem:
" The fleece of Gideon, in that it was a receptacle for the dew of Heaven, has prefigured the Virgin, in whom the Word was made Flesh."
And St. Proclus:
"Mary the holy Virgin, Mother of God . . . the most pure fleece watered by rain from Heaven with which the Shepherd clothes His sheep."
"Rightly is Mary compared to a fleece, because from her Fruit garments of salvation are woven for the peoples. Clearly Mary is the fleece, since it was from her tender bosom that the Lamb came forth, who Himself too weaving His Mother's wool, that is to say her flesh, covers with a soft fleece the wounds of all the peoples. For every wound of sin is suffused with the wool of Christ, and is clothed with the garment of Christ, that it may be healed." 4
7. The Cloud that bore the Lord into Egypt.
"Behold the Lord will ascend upon a light cloud, and will enter into Egypt, and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at His Presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst thereof."'
"This," writes St. Ephrem, "is understood of our Lord who, when He appeared as Man in the world, was carried as if upon a light cloud, upon the arms of the Virgin into Egypt," and again : " The cloud on which the Lord rode is a type of the Mother of God, Mary the Virgin."
St. Ambrose gives us the same explanation in various passages of his writings. For example:
"The prophet here foretells that the Lord would come into Egypt, that is, to His afflicted world, on the Virgin. He called Mary a cloud, because she was of flesh ; and light, because she was a Virgin, not burdened by the burdens of marriage. She is also the rod that blossomed into flower, because she was pure, and her virginity she directed with a free heart to God, and was not turned away by the distractions of worldly cares. Therefore it was that from the Cross the Lord gave her to St. John, His most beloved disciple, who had said to his father and mother : " I know you not," and, when called by Christ, left his own father to follow the Word. To such a one is the Virgin given, who knows not his own; to such a one is the Virgin given, who drinks in Wisdom from the breast of Christ; to such a one is the Virgin given, who recognises not his brethren, and knows not his children."