INTRODUCTION TO Numbers 6
In this chapter is given the law concerning Nazarites, Numbers 6:1; which directs what they were to abstain from, from drinking wine, or any strong liquors, from shaving their heads, and defiling themselves with the dead, Numbers 6:3; and in case of a defilement, directions are given what offerings a Nazarite should bring to be offered for him, Numbers 6:9; and when the time of his Nazariteship was up, an account is given of what rites and ceremonies should then be performed, Numbers 6:13; and the chapter is concluded with the form of blessing the children of Israel, to be used by Aaron and his sons, Numbers 6:22.
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,And the Lord spake unto Moses,.... At the same time, or immediately after the law concerning the woman suspected of adultery was given; with which the following law concerning Nazarites may be thought to have a close connection, as some Jewish writers observe, women being concerned in it as well as men; and as wine leads to adultery, as Jarchi observes, abstinence from it, which the Nazarite's vow obliged to, and forbearance of trimming and dressing the hair, and a being more strictly and closely devoted to the service of God, were very likely means of preserving from unchastity, and any suspicion of it:
saying; as follows.
Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the LORD:Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them,.... Whom the following law only concerned, and not Gentiles; so runs the Jewish canon,"the Gentiles have no Nazariteship, though they may bring their vows and freewill offerings as an Israelite, yet if they vow the vow of a Nazarite, the law of the Nazarite is not obliging on them, or they bound by it; but it is free for them to drink wine, and defile themselves for the dead; for it is written, "speak unto the children of Israel" (q):"
when either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite; or "do a wonderful thing" (r); something unusual and uncommon, and what is out of the way of the men of the world, who give themselves up to pleasure, and have little regard to the worship and service of God; wherefore for a person, a man or woman, to vow abstinence from wine and dress, and from the company of others, and to oblige themselves to strict and close devotion to God, was something singular and surprising. This is to be understood of such persons who were at their own disposal; for such that were in their minority, and under the power of parents, or were married women, if they vowed, their vows did not stand, and their parents or husbands could disannul them, unless they had consented to them by their silence, when they heard them made, Numbers 30:3. There were various sorts of Nazarites; some were appointed by God, as Samson; some were devoted by their parents, as Samuel; and some by themselves, concerning whom is this law more especially; some were perpetual Nazarites, a Nazarite for life, as the two persons just mentioned; though the Jews distinguish between a Samsonian Nazarite, and a perpetual one (s); and some were only for a certain time, according as they vowed:
to separate themselves unto the Lord; the Targum of Jonathan is, "to the name of the Lord"; to the honour of his name. Such persons devoted themselves, and set apart their time to serve the Lord in a stricter and purer manner than others, and therefore were had in great account, Lamentations 4:7; they were types of Christ, who, though he was not strictly a Nazarite, but a Nazarene, yet answered to the Nazarites in his being set apart in divine predestination by his Father to the office of Mediator; in the sanctification of himself, and devoting himself, his time and service, to his Father's glory; and in his being holy and harmless in his life and conversation, and separate from sinners: and they were also emblems of the special people of God, who are a separate people in election, redemption, and calling, and in the intercession of Christ; and as they will be at the last judgment, and to all eternity, and should be now separate from others in their lives and conversations.
(q) Misn. Nazir, c. 9. sect. 1. Maimon & Bartenora in ib. (r) "mirificaverit", Montanus; "si mirandum aliquid fecerit", Munster; and some in Fagius and Vatablus; so Aben Ezra. (s) Misn. Nazir, c. 1. sect. 2.
He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried.He shall separate himself from wine,.... Old or new, as Ben Gersom; from drinking it, any of it: not only from an immoderate and excessive drinking of it, which every man should abstain from, but from drinking of it at all, that he might be more free and fit for the service of God; for prayer, meditation, reading the Scriptures, and attendance on the worship of God in all its branches, and be less liable to temptations to sin; for, as Aben Ezra observes, many transgressions are occasioned by wine, which, if drank immoderately, intoxicates the mind, and unfits for religious duties, excites lust, and leads on to many vices:
and strong drink; any other intoxicating and inebriating liquor besides wine, or any other sort of wines besides such that is made of the fruit of the vine, as wines of pomegranates, dates, &c. or such as are made of barley, as our ale, or of apples and pears, called cider and perry, respectively:
and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink; all the three Targums paraphrase it, vinegar of new wine, and vinegar of old wine, these operating in like manner as wine and strong drink themselves:
neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes; any liquor in which grapes are macerated, as the Targum of Jonathan; or water into which they are squeezed, or which is made of the lees of wine, or is a second sort of wine made of the grapes after they have been pressed, which we call "tiff":
nor eat moist grapes or dried; which have somewhat of the nature and taste of wine, and produce some of the like effects, and may lead to a desire after drinking it; wherefore this, as other things mentioned, are, as Aben Ezra says, a kind of an hedge, to keep at a distance from drinking wine.
All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk.All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree,.... Of its leaves, branches, and fruit, especially the latter, put into any sort of food, or infused into any liquor, or mixed with any sauce for food: the days or time of separation were according as the vow was made, for a shorter or longer time; though the Jews (t) say, where the vow is, absolutely expressed, it is always to be understood of thirty days, during which time the Nazarite was not to eat or drink of any composition that had anything the vine in it:
from the kernels even to the husk; the Jews (u) are divided about the two words here used, which of them signifies the outermost part of the grape, and which the innermost; Ben Gersom agrees with us, but it matters not much who are in the right, since both are forbidden: by this part of the law, the people of God, who are spiritual Nazarites, are taught to live temperately and soberly, and to abstain from all appearance of sin: it is pretty remarkable what the Jews (w) say, that when the son of David comes, it will be free for a Nazarite to drink wine on sabbath days and festivals, though not on week days; from whence it appears, they seem to be conscious of a change of the ceremonial law in his days.
(t) Misn. Nazir, c. 1. sect. 3. & c. 6. sect. 3.((u) Misn. Nazir, c. 6. sect. 2. Aben Ezra in loc. (w) T. Bab. Erubin, fol. 43. 1.
All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no rasor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the LORD, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow.All the days of the vow of his separation,.... Be the time he has vowed to be a Nazarite a week, a, month, or more, even a thousand days, but not less than thirty, as Ben Gersom observes:
there shall no razor come upon his head; he might not shave his beard, nor cut off his locks, and shave his head, nor cut short his locks with a pair of scissors, nor any with anything by which the hair may be removed, as Ben Gersom; nor pluck off his hair with his hands, as Maimonides says (x); but let it grow as long as it would during the time of his separation, which is expressed in the latter part of the verse:
until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the Lord; to his service, to which he wholly addicted himself as long as his vow continued:
he shall be holy; separate from other men, and their practices and customs, and spend his time in holy exercises, in a religious way, and abstain from what might be a temptation to sin, or in the least hinder him in his acts of devotion:
and shall let the locks of his hair grow; two reasons Fagius gives of this part of the law, the one is, because of the mystery of it; letting the hair grow signified an increase of virtue or grace, as Samson's strength was increased and became very great while his hair was not cut; and so spiritual Nazarites, while they are in the way of their duty, grow in grace, and in knowledge of God and Christ, and all divine things, and grow stronger and stronger in the Lord, and in the power of his might; and Ainsworth hints at the same thing, and also supposes it might be an emblem of the subjection of the saints to Christ, as the letting the hair grow was a sign of the woman's subjection to man: the other is, that it was appointed to take the Israelites off of the errors and superstitious they had imbibed in Egypt, by ordering them to perform those rites and ceremonies to the honour of the true God, which they had used in the service of demons; and for this he cites a passage out of Cyrill; but it does not appear, by any good authority, that such a custom obtained among the Egyptians, or any other Gentiles so early; and what were used among them in later times took their rise from hence, and were imitations of this law; though there seems to be no great likeness between this law of Nazariteship and the customs of the Heathens, who used to consecrate their hair to their deities, Apollo, Hercules, Bacchus, Minerva, and Diana: what seems best to agree is what Lucian says (y), who observes, that young men consecrate their beards, and let their hair grow, consecrated from their birth, which they afterwards cut and lay up in vessels in the temple, some of gold, others of silver.
(x) Hilchot Nezirut, c. 5. sect. 11. (y) De Dea Syria.
All the days that he separateth himself unto the LORD he shall come at no dead body.All the days that he separateth himself unto the Lord,.... This phrase is repeated at every new article and branch of the law of the Nazarites, of which what follows is the third; showing that each part of it, during that time, was strictly to be observed:
he shall come at no dead body: not near to any, not even to be in the same place where a dead body lay, nor to touch one, nor to attend the funeral of any, nor be concerned at all about burying the dead; now, as such so defiled were unclean seven days, and during that time might not go into the tabernacle, the Nazarites were strictly cautioned against such pollution, that they might not be detained from the service of God they had devoted themselves unto; see Numbers 19:11.
He shall not make himself unclean for his father, or for his mother, for his brother, or for his sister, when they die: because the consecration of his God is upon his head.He shall not make himself unclean for his father or for his mother, for his brother or for his sister, when they die,.... Aben Ezra adds also, for his wife, and for his daughter, and for others; what even the priests of the Lord, the common priests might do, a Nazarite might not, not come near any of his relations when dead, as to touch them, to close their eyes, or wash their bodies, and provide for their funeral, and attend that, or to be where they were; in this respect they were upon a level with the high priest, who was forbid the same, which shows how sacred these persons were; see Leviticus 21:1; this may instruct spiritual Nazarites to abstain from the company and conversation of sinners, dead in trespasses and sins, and from all dead works and sinful actions, which, as they are deserving of death, are defiling:
because the consecration of his God is upon his head; or that which shows him to be consecrated to God, and separated to his service, is upon his head, namely, his long hair: the Targum of Jonathan renders it, "the crown of his God"; so Aben Ezra observes, that some say that the word "Nazarite" is derived from "Nezer", a crown, in proof of which this passage is produced; and in this respect the Nazarites were not only types of Christ our King and high priest, who is a priest on his throne, and has on his head many crowns, but of the saints who are freed from the power and dominion of sin, and are made kings and priests unto God.
All the days of his separation he is holy unto the LORD.All the days of his separation he is holy unto the Lord. Set apart for his service, separate from all others, especially the dead, and under obligation to abstain from the above things; from drinking wine, from shaving his hair, and from defiling himself for the dead, and to be employed in holy and religious exercises during the time his vow is upon him.
And if any man die very suddenly by him, and he hath defiled the head of his consecration; then he shall shave his head in the day of his cleansing, on the seventh day shall he shave it.And if any man die very suddenly by him,.... In the place where he is, whether house or field, a public or private place, in the tent where he is, as Jarchi; there are two words we render, "very suddenly", which many take to be synonymous; and that being of the same signification, two being used increase the sense, but others think they have a different meaning: the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan render them,"suddenly through ignorance,''understanding it of a chance matter, as when one man is killed by another, not wilfully and through malice, but without intention and design: Jarchi interprets the first of them by violence, and the latter through error or mistake, and so may include both cases; as when a man dies at once, through the force of a disease seizing him, or he is killed by the violent hands of a man, who stabs him in the presence of a Nazarite; or else when this is done ignorantly and through mistake; be it which way it will, if a Nazarite was present:
and he both defiled the head of his consecration: or the consecration of his head, his Nazariteship, that is, his hair, he being polluted by the dead, through being where it was:
then he shall shave his head in the day of his cleansing; which was the seventh day from his defilement, as follows:
on the seventh day he shall shave it; for so many days was a person unclean that had touched a body, of had been where one was, and on the seventh day he was to be cleansed, Numbers 19:11; and this was one way of cleansing the Nazarite, cutting off his locks of hair, which were to grow long, and made him to be a Nazarite; and shave his head for his pollution by the dead, put an end to his Nazariteship; and he was obliged to begin again, and his hair being polluted, must be shaved, and new hair grow to make him a Nazarite again: thus by one single breach of the law of God a man becomes guilty of all, and liable to its curse, and his legal righteousness becomes insufficient to justify him before God, and therefore his own righteousness must be renounced by him in the business of justification; and which, Ainsworth suggests, is the mystery of the Nazarite's head being shaved when polluted.
And on the eighth day he shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons, to the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation:And on the eighth day he shall bring two turtles or two young pigeons to the priest,.... Not a turtledove and a young pigeon, as Ben Gersom observes, but two of one of the sorts, which was the offering of the poorer sort of childbearing women at their purification, and of profluvious persons, men or women, Leviticus 12:8; and this case of the Nazarite's being an uncleanness, could not be purged away but by sacrifice; which was typical of the sacrifice of Christ, by which that unclean thing sin is put away for ever; even the sins of holy things can be moved in no other way; these were to be brought to the priest to be offered by him:
to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation; for being defiled, the Nazarite might not go into the tabernacle, and therefore was to bring his offering to the door of it, where the priest received it of him.
And the priest shall offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, and make an atonement for him, for that he sinned by the dead, and shall hallow his head that same day.And the priest shall offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering,.... That is, one of the turtles or young pigeons for the one kind of sacrifice, and one for the other sort; both being necessary; the one to expiate sin, and the other as a gift to God by way of thankfulness for acceptance of the former:
and make an atonement for him, for that he sinned by the dead; by being where the dead body was, which, though not sinful, in a moral sense, was, in a ceremonial one, and therefore required a sacrifice to atone for it; and which atonement was made by the sin offering typical of Christ, who was made an offering for sin:
and shall hallow his head the same day; consecrate himself to God afresh, particularly the hair of his head, let that grow again and begin his Nazariteship anew; so Jarchi interprets it, to return and begin the account of his Nazariteship.
And he shall consecrate unto the LORD the days of his separation, and shall bring a lamb of the first year for a trespass offering: but the days that were before shall be lost, because his separation was defiled.And he shall consecrate unto the Lord the days of his separation,.... He was to begin his account again, from the time of his shaving his head, and devote as many days to the service of the Lord as what he had vowed before:
and shall bring a lamb of the first year for a trespass offering; we see how much trouble and expense were brought by a single act of pollution, and that involuntary too; how much more need is there of an atoning sacrifice for the sins of men, even for all of them, and for which only the sacrifice of Christ is sufficient?
but the days that were before shall be lost; which were before the pollution, how near soever the time of Nazariteship being at an end was, whether his vow was for thirty days, or a hundred, or a whole year; be it what it will, and the pollution happened on the last of those days, all were lost; he was obliged to begin again, and go through the whole time he at first vowed; and this was the case if he drank the least quantity of wine, or shaved ever so little of the hair of his head, or was any ways polluted by the dead; and this severity, as it may seem, was used to make him cautious that he broke not his vow by any means:
because his separation was defiled; in the case instanced in, by the dead, but it was the same if he broke the law of Nazariteship in any of the other articles of it.
And this is the law of the Nazarite, when the days of his separation are fulfilled: he shall be brought unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation:And this is the law of the Nazarite,.... This has respect either to what goes before; those are the things he is obliged to that vows the vow of a Nazarite; what he is to abstain from during the time of his vow, and what he is to do in case of any defilement; or to what follows after, what is binding upon him, what offerings he is to bring, and what rites and ceremonies are to be observed by him when he has finished his vow:
when the days of his separation, or Nazariteship:
are fulfilled; whether more or fewer; when the time is quite up, and he has gone through his vow without any breach of it:
he shall be brought unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation; it is not said by whom he should be brought, whether by himself or by the priest; the Targum of Jonathan is,"he shall bring himself;''that is, present himself; and so Jarchi and Aben Ezra; which latter adds, or the priest shall bring him by command, whether he will or not, to offer his offering.
And he shall offer his offering unto the LORD, one he lamb of the first year without blemish for a burnt offering, and one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish for a sin offering, and one ram without blemish for peace offerings,And he shall offer his offering unto the Lord,.... The Nazarite was to present his offering at the door of the tabernacle, to the priest, in order to be offered for him to the Lord:
one he lamb of the first year without blemish for a burnt offering; according to the law, manner, and custom of a burnt offering, as Aben Ezra observes, which, whether of the herd or of the flock, was to be a male and unblemished, and not more than a year old, Leviticus 1:3,
and one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish for a sin offering; as was the manner and custom of a sin offering, to be a female, as is remarked by the same writer, see Leviticus 4:32,
and one ram without blemish for peace offerings; all sorts of offerings were offered on this occasion; a "sin offering", though the vow was performed, and not any mistake made, or anything omitted that was known; yet, lest there should be any secret and unknown breach of the law of Nazariteship committed, a sin offering was required: this teaches us that there may be secret and unknown sins committed by the best of men, in their most sacred and solemn services; and that there is no justification before God by the best works of men, find that the purest and most perfect stand in need of the atoning sacrifice of Christ: a "burnt offering" was to be offered, which usually followed the sin offering, as it did here, though mentioned first, see Numbers 6:16; and which was done by way of thanksgiving to God for his acceptance of the sin offering: and "peace offerings" were, as Aben Ezra observes, for joy that he had performed his vow: the burnt offering was wholly the Lord's, the sin offering the priest had his part of, and the peace offerings the Nazarite and his friends ate of, and so everyone had their share in these oblations.
And a basket of unleavened bread, cakes of fine flour mingled with oil, and wafers of unleavened bread anointed with oil, and their meat offering, and their drink offerings.And a basket of unleavened bread,.... As at the consecration of Aaron and his sons, Exodus 29:2; though for peace offerings for thanksgiving leavened bread was offered, Leviticus 7:13,
cakes of fine flour mingled with oil, and wafers of unleavened bread anointed with oil; ten of each sort, as Jarchi says, ten cakes and ten wafers, see Exodus 29:9,
and their meat offering and their drink offering; which always used to attend every sacrifice.
And the priest shall bring them before the LORD, and shall offer his sin offering, and his burnt offering:And the priest shall bring them before the Lord,.... All the above offerings to the altar of burnt offering, and there present them to the Lord in the name of the Nazarite:
and shall offer his sin offering, and his burnt offering: here they stand in the proper order in which they were offered.
And he shall offer the ram for a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the LORD, with the basket of unleavened bread: the priest shall offer also his meat offering, and his drink offering.And he shall offer the ram for a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the Lord,.... After he had offered the other two:
with the basket of unleavened bread; which went along with that:
the priest shall also offer his meat offering, and his drink offering: of which he had his part, and were the usual appendages of other sacrifices; see Numbers 28:1.
And the Nazarite shall shave the head of his separation at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall take the hair of the head of his separation, and put it in the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offerings.And the Nazarite shall shave the head of his separation, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation,.... The Targum of Jonathan is,"and the Nazarite shall shave the head of his separation without,''without the tabernacle, the door of it, where the people assembled together; so that this was to be done publicly, that it might be known of all, and no offence taken at the Nazarite's drinking wine, and concerning himself for the dead, and attending funerals, for by this action it was known that his Nazariteship was at an end; and whereas the hair of the Nazarite was consecrated to the Lord by his vow, and this vow being punctually fulfilled, it was sacred, and to be presented to the Lord, and to be of no use and service to himself or others, and therefore to be all clean shaven off; for, as Maimonides (z) says, if two hairs only were left, nothing was done, and the command of shaving not kept:
and shall take the hair of the head of his separation; being cut off and shaved:
and put it in the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offerings; under the pot or cauldron, as the Targum of Jonathan, in which the ram for the peace offerings was boiled: this was done in the court of the women in later times, at the southeast of which was a chamber called the chamber of the Nazarites, where they bailed their peace offerings, and shaved their hair and cast it under the pot (a); and this might not be put, as before observed, to any other use; if any of it was made use of in a sack that was made of hair cloth, we are told (b) that sack was to be burnt.
(z) Hilchot Nezirut, c. 8. sect. 6. (a) Misn. Middoth, c. 2. sect. 5. T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 16. 1.((b) Misn. Orlah, c. 3. sect. 3.
And the priest shall take the sodden shoulder of the ram, and one unleavened cake out of the basket, and one unleavened wafer, and shall put them upon the hands of the Nazarite, after the hair of his separation is shaven:And the priest shall take the sodden shoulder of the ram,.... The left shoulder, for the right shoulder, which is the heave shoulder of every peace offering, belonged to the priest by another law; and by this law of the Nazarite, he had also the other shoulder, and so had both, which was peculiar to this case; the vow of the Nazarite being a very sacred thing and he being enabled to perform it, a greater expression of gratitude for it was expected and required of him: this shoulder was taken out of the pot in which it was boiled:
and one unleavened cake out of the basket, and one unleavened wafer; one of the ten cakes, and one of the ten wafers, both are mentioned; and which appear by this to be together in the basket of unleavened bread, from whence they were now to be taken, the rest having been offered with the other sacrifices:
and shall put them upon the hands of the Nazarite; the boiled shoulder, and the cake and wafer upon it:
after the hair of his separation is shaven; and cast into the fire; for the waving of these seems to be the last and finishing part of this whole affair.
And the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the LORD: this is holy for the priest, with the wave breast and heave shoulder: and after that the Nazarite may drink wine.And the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the Lord,.... Putting his hands under the Nazarite's, as in other cases where this ceremony was used; and so moving them to and fro, backwards and forwards, upwards and downwards, testifying hereby the goodness of God unto him, his sovereign dominion over him, that all he had depended on him, and was received from him; and that all he did, particularly in keeping his vow of Nazariteship, was through his assistance, and for which he made this grateful acknowledgment by delivering the above, together with what follows, to his priest:
this is holy for the priest, with the wave breast and heave shoulder; besides these which were given him by another law, the wave shoulder of the Nazarite's ram was given him to eat; it was holy, and set apart for his use, and his only, and it belonged not in common to the course of the priests then on duty, but to him only that officiated in this peculiar service; and so it is observed by the Jewish writers (c), that the Nazarite's ram and some other things were not given to every priest, but to him that offered the sacrifice, as it is said, "he shall wave this is holy to the priest"; upon which it is observed, that it follows from hence, that the priest that waves is he that eats the sacrifice:
and after that the Nazarite may drink wine; and cut his hair, and shave his head, and be defiled for the dead as other persons, the vow of his Nazariteship being fulfilled.
(c) Maimon. in Misn. Challah, c. 4. sect. 9.
This is the law of the Nazarite who hath vowed, and of his offering unto the LORD for his separation, beside that that his hand shall get: according to the vow which he vowed, so he must do after the law of his separation.This is the law of the Nazarite, who hath vowed,.... The vow of a Nazarite; what he is obliged to do when his Nazariteship is up:
and of his offering unto the Lord for his separation; of the several offerings required of him, to offer to the Lord, for and upon his going through his Nazariteship, his burnt offering, sin offering, sacrifice of peace offerings, his meat offering and drink offering; together with the basket of unleavened bread, cakes and wafers:
besides that that his hands shall get; the above offerings were what he was obliged unto by the law of God, even though a poor man; but, besides these, it was expected of a man of substance, that he would voluntarily of himself offer more, according to his ability and the length of the time of his Nazariteship:
according to the vow which he hath vowed, so he must do after the law of his separation; there were some things he was obliged to do by his vow, and as he had vowed, there was a necessity upon him to fulfil it; as to abstain from the things he vowed so to do, and that as long a time as he fixed by his vow, and when finished to offer the sacrifices required of him.
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,And the Lord spake unto Moses,.... At the same time perhaps that the above law was given concerning the Nazarites; though why this should follow upon that, and what connection there is between the one and the other, it is not easy to say; the Nazarites were holy persons, and so were the priests; and therefore, according to Aben Ezra and others, the law of the one is joined to the law of the other:
saying; as follows.
Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them,Speak unto Aaron, and unto his sons,.... Aaron and his sons that succeeded him in all after generations, being the persons that were in a public manner to bless the people of Israel, they are particularly addressed, see Deuteronomy 10:8,
saying, on this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel; in such manner and with such words as after expressed; standing upon an eminence, lifting up their hands on high, spreading out their fingers, and raising their voices, and pronouncing the blessing in the Hebrew language, in the name of Jehovah, with their face towards the people; all which, according to the Jewish writers (d), were to be strictly observed:
saying unto them; as follows.
(d) Maimon. Hilchot Neshiut Cappim. c. 14. sect. 11. Gersom in loc.
The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:The Lord bless thee,.... Jehovah, Father, Son, and Spirit; the word "Jehovah" being three times used, and a different accent put to each word, denoting three distinct persons and one Jehovah, according to Deuteronomy 6:4; who are each of them concerned in the blessing of the Lord's people, the spiritual Israel of God; Jehovah the Father blesses with all spiritual blessings, with electing, adopting, justifying, and pardoning grace, with regenerating and calling, and persevering grace, and with eternal life: Jehovah the Son blesses particularly with redeeming grace, and has a concern in all the other blessings; the saints are blessed with them in him, they are all in his hands, they are procured by him, come through him, and are the gifts of his grace: and Jehovah the Spirit blesses as a spirit of regeneration and sanctification, as the spirit of faith, as a comforter, as the spirit of adoption, and as the earnest and sealer of the saints unto the day of redemption:
and keep thee; from, the evil of the world, from the evil one Satan, from the evil of sin, and the power, prevalence, and dominion of it, and from falling totally and finally by it, and keep in a state of grace unto everlasting salvation.
The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:The Lord make his face to shine upon thee,.... Cause himself, the sun of righteousness, to arise and shine upon them, and give both spiritual light and heat unto them; grant his gracious presence, the manifestations of himself, communion with him, clearer discoveries of his love, of interest in him, and an increase of spiritual light and knowledge of his Gospel, and the truths of it, and of his mind and will:
and be gracious unto thee; by granting larger measures of grace out of his fulness, by leading more abundantly into it, and making fresh and frequent applications of it; grace is often wished for from Christ as well as from the Father.
The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.And the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee,.... Show his face and favour, look cheerfully on his people, declare himself well pleased with them in Christ, and appear as smiling upon them through him, indulging them with visits of love, restoring to them the joys of his salvation, and upholding them with his free Spirit; and so causing them to walk pleasantly and comfortably in the ways of God, expecting eternal life and happiness, as God's free gift through Christ:
and give thee peace; all outward needful prosperity, internal peace of mind, through the blood and righteousness of Christ, the peacemaker, and peace giver, and eternal peace in the world to come.
And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel,.... Call them by his name, the people of the Lord; call upon the name of the Lord to bless them, and pronounce the blessing on them in the name of the Lord, in or by the name Jehovah, as Jarchi, three times used in this form of blessing:
and I will bless them; really and truly bless them bless them with blessings indeed; with all sorts of blessings temporal and spiritual; with solid and substantial ones; and such are blessed, and will remain so, their blessings are irrevocable and irreversible; and unless the Lord blesses, in vain do the priests bless, or any of his ministers pronounce a blessing; theirs lies in words and wishes, his in real facts; they can only pray and wish for the blessing, it is he only that can give it, and can ratify and confirm what they declare and pronounce, according to his revealed word. Some refer the relative "them" to the priests, as if the sense was, I will bless the priests that bless Israel, for God will bless them that bless his people; but Aben Ezra thinks it belongs both to Israel, and to the priests, that God would confirm and establish the blessing of the priests pronounced on Israel, and bless the priests also, who needed the divine blessing as well as the people, and being found in the way of their duty, might expect it: the Targum of Jonathan is,"I will bless them in my Word;''his essential Word, Christ, in whom his chosen ones are blessed with all spiritual blessings, and who is the promised seed, in whom all nations of the earth shall be blessed.