Yahweh calls Zion to shake off her dust (Isaiah 52:2). Dust is the place of mourning; Zion sits in dust and ashes. Adam was made from dust, and in death returned to dust; dust is the grave, and Zion is a new Eve, called out of the grave to rise and sit enthroned. Sitting in dust is parallel to wearing shackles; dust and imprisonment are the same. Zion is called from the prison of exile, like Joseph, raised up to sit with kings. Her bonds are around her neck, as if she were a beast of burden, but Yahweh will break Babylon’s yoke as he broke Egypt’s, and bring Zion back under His own easy yoke.
This is the demonstration of Yahweh’s concern for the poor, those who are ground to the dust: “He raises the poor from the dust, the needy from the ash heap” (1 Samuel 2:8). He fills the hungry with good things. We know He does this because He brought Zion from Babylonian captivity and raised poor Jerusalem from the dust.
Jesus tells His disciples to “shake the dust” off their sandals against the cities that reject their preaching (Matthew 10:14; Mark 6:11; Luke 9:5). This is a sign of cursing, since the dust shaken against the city is the dust of death. But by shaking the dust from their feet, the disciples are also declaring the cities to be outposts of Babylon. The disciples are the true Zion, shaking off the dust to follow Jesus in a final return from exile.