Numbers 6:22–27, The Aaronic Blessing is about the power of blessing and the power of our words. The Scriptures teach us that our words can heal, build up and encourage, or kill, tear down and curse, that the power of life and death is in the tongue. What kind of words come from your mouth—especially to your spouse and children? Charity begins at home. How often do you speak blessings over your children and spouse? Do you bless those who curse you?
The Levitical priesthood was one of YHVH’s blessings or marriage gifts to his bride, Israel. It was given to her at the time of their marriage to him at Mount Sinai. The Aaronic or Priestly Blessings of Numbers 6:22–27 indicate that the priests were to be a conduit of YHVH’s blessings to his people. The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash correctly states it this way: “[The priests did not] have any independent power to confer or withhold blessings—only God can assure people of success, abundance, and happiness—but that part of their Temple service is to be the conduit through which God’s blessing would be pronounced on His people” (p. 762). Hirsch in his commentary on the priestly blessing states that it is Jewish tradition for the human instrument conveying the blessing to raise his hands (vertically and not horizontally) to heaven while reciting this blessing so as not to give the people the impression that the priest is conveying the blessing, but that it is coming from heaven (The Pentateuch Numbers, p. 99, Judaica Press). The Jewish sages further note that in Numbers 6:22–23, the Torah uses the word saying three times to emphasize the fact that the blessings flow from YHVH to the Israelites and are to be passed on to subsequent generations. We are YHVH’s priesthood now (“a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a kadosh nation, a peculiar people,” 1 Pet 2:9). Are you an instrument of blessing everywhere you go? Do you ask YHVH to use you every day to spread the light of his truth and his love to others?
The Aaronic Blessing can be subdivided into three sections:
(a) The First Blessing: May YHVH bless you and safeguard you. The Jewish sages take this to refer to the material and physical blessings that Torah obedience brings as enumerated in Deuteronomy 28:1–14. This includes good health, wealth, divine protection and victory over enemies. YHVH’s blessing and his safeguarding of those blessings from those who would kill, steal and destroy them go hand-in-hand. The sages teach that “the best way for someone to preserve his wealth is to use it for charity and good deeds. That assures him of God’s continued blessing” (Ibid. p. 763).
(b) The Second Blessing: May YHVH illuminate his countenance for you and be gracious to you. The sages teach that this illumination refers to the light of the Torah and they cite Proverbs 6:23, “For the commandment is a lamp and the Torah is a light.” Compare this with what John said about Yeshua in John 1:1–14; 8:12; 9:5. YHVH’s grace involves him granting his people Torah knowledge, wisdom and understanding to utilize Torah properly and fully; to use the insights gained therefrom to comprehend his purposes (Ibid. p. 763).
(c) The Third Blessing: May YHVH lift his countenance and establish peace/shalom for you. In Hebraic thought, the idea of YHVH’s face or countenance shining toward his people is a metaphor of divine grace and favor. Contrariwise, when his face is turned against his people, this represents divine disapproval and shame upon his people (For examples of this in the Scriptures see Pss 4:6; 31:16; 67:1 cp. Lev 17:10; 20:5, 6, 17; Deut 31:17; 2 Chron 30:9; Ps 34:16 ; Jer 44:11; Ezek 7:22.). The sages note that peace is an essential component of the other blessings, for what good is physical blessings and spiritual insight if one’s life is devoid of peace? What is the Jewish concept of peace? It is balance, which is the absence of strife between the opposing forces in one’s life. Sin disrupts this balance and causes strife and warfare as well as creating a barrier between YHVH and his people (Read what Yeshua, the greatest Rabbi of all, taught about this in Matthew 5:23–24.). When such strife and barriers exist causing the negation of peace, what are some things one must do to restore the peace? After all, Yeshua said, “Blessed [Happy] are the peacemakers …” Does peace just happen or is it necessary to exert effort to create it? Can there be peace where there is sin (i.e., Torahlessness)? Does it logically follow that the more our ways line up with the Torah of YHVH, the more our ways are pleasing to him, the more peace we will experience in all our relationships? (Read Proverbs 16:7.)