Numbers 6:22
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
6:22-27 The priests were solemnly to bless the people in the name of the Lord. To be under the almighty protection of God our Saviour; to enjoy his favour as the smile of a loving Father, or as the cheering beams of the sun; while he mercifully forgives our sins, supplies our wants, consoles the heart, and prepares us by his grace for eternal glory; these things form the substance of this blessing, and the sum total of all blessings. In so rich a list of mercies worldly joys are not worthy to be mentioned. Here is a form of prayer. The name Jehovah is three times repeated. The Jews think there is some mystery; and we know what it is, the New Testament having explained it. There we are directed to expect the blessing from the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of the Father, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, 2Co 13:14; each of which Persons is Jehovah, and yet they are not three Lords, but one Lord.The priestly blessing (compare Ecclus. 36:17) is appointed as a solemn form to be used by the priests exclusively, and in this function their office as it were culminates (compare Leviticus 9:22 note). God Himself provides a formula, through which from time to time, as His people by obedience place themselves in true and right relationship to Him, the authorised mediators may pronounce and communicate His special blessing to them. It was a Jewish tradition that this blessing was given at the close of the daily sacrifice.

The structure of the blessing is remarkable. It is rhythmical, consists of three distinct parts, and mounts by gradual stages to that peace which forms the last and most consummate gift which God can give His people.

From a Christian point of view, and comparing the counterpart benediction of 2 Corinthians 13:14, it is impossible not to see shadowed forth the doctrine of the Holy Trinity (compare Isaiah 6:3; Matthew 28:19). And the three several sets of terms correspond fittingly to the office of the Three Persons in Their gracious work for the redemption of man.

13-20. when the days of his separation are fulfilled, &c.—On the accomplishment of a limited vow of Nazaritism, Nazarites might cut their hair wherever they happened to be (Ac 18:18); but the hair was to be carefully kept and brought to the door of the sanctuary. Then after the presentation of sin offerings and burnt offerings, it was put under the vessel in which the peace offerings were boiled; and the priest, taking the shoulder (Le 7:32), when boiled, and a cake and wafer of the meat offering, put them on the hands of the Nazarites to wave before the Lord, as a token of thanksgiving, and thus released them from their vow. No text from Poole on this verse.

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.

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 22. - The Lord spake unto Moses. It is a matter of mere conjecture at what point of time this command was given. As it concerned the priests and their daily ministration, it would be natural to suppose that it was given at the time when the tabernacle service was set up, i.e., at the precise point fixed by the first verse of the following chapter. That the command was given to Moses, and to Moses alone, and that after the consecration of Aaron to the high priesthood, serves to bring out into clear relief the relative position of the two. Aaron and his sons alone, as the "official" representatives of the Lord, could bless in his name and put . his name upon the people; but the formula of blessing was delivered to Aaron himself through Moses, as the "personal" representative of the Lord, the mediator of the old covenant. Ὁ νόμος. . διαταγεὶς . . ἐν χειρὶ μεσίτου (Galatians 3:19). Our Lord is both the Moses (Acts 3:22) and the Aaron (Hebrews 6:20) - 5 ὁ μεσίτης and ὁ ἀρχιερεὺς - of this dispensation. Numbers 6:22The Priestly or Aaronic Blessing. - The spiritual character of the congregation of Israel culminated in the blessing with which the priests were to bless the people. The directions as to this blessing, therefore, impressed the seal of perfection upon the whole order and organization of the people of God, inasmuch as Israel was first truly formed into a congregation of Jehovah by the fact that God not only bestowed His blessing upon it, but placed the communication of this blessing in the hands of the priests, the chosen and constant mediators of the blessings of His grace, and imposed it upon them as one portion of their official duty. The blessing which the priests were to impart to the people, consisted of a triple blessing of two members each, which stood related to each other thus: The second in each case contained a special application of the first to the people, and the three gradations unfolded the substance of the blessing step by step with ever increasing emphasis. - The first (Numbers 6:24), "Jehovah bless thee and keep thee," conveyed the blessing in the most general form, merely describing it as coming from Jehovah, and setting forth preservation from the evil of the world as His work. "The blessing of God is the goodness of God in action, by which a supply of all good pours down to us from His good favour as from their only fountain; then follows, secondly, the prayer that He would keep the people, which signifies that He alone is the defender of the Church, and that it is He who preserves it with His guardian care" (Calvin). - The second (Numbers 6:25), "Jehovah make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee," defined the blessing more closely as the manifestation of the favour and grace of God. The face of God is the personality of God as turned towards man. Fire goes out from Jehovah's face, and consumes the enemy and the rebellious (Leviticus 10:2, cf. Numbers 17:10; Numbers 20:3; Exodus 13:22; Psalm 34:17), and also a sunlight shining with love and full of life and good (Deuteronomy 30:20; Psalm 27:1; Psalm 43:3; Psalm 44:4). If "the light of the sun is sweet, and pleasant for the eyes to behold" (Ecclesiastes 11:7), "the light of the divine countenance, the everlasting light (Psalm 36:10), is the sum of all delight" (Baumg.). This light sends rays of mercy into a heart in need of salvation, and makes it the recipient of grace. - The third (Numbers 6:26), "Jehovah lift up His face to thee, and set (or give) thee peace" (good, salvation), set forth the blessing of God as a manifestation of power, or a work of power upon man, the end of which is peace (shalom), the sum of all the good which God sets, prepares, or establishes for His people. אל פּנים נשׁא, to lift up the face to any one, is equivalent to looking at him, and does not differ from עינים נשׁא or שׂים (Genesis 43:29; Genesis 44:21). When affirmed of God, it denotes His providential work upon man. When God looks at a man, He saves him out of his distresses (Psalm 4:7; Psalm 33:18; Psalm 34:16). - In these three blessings most of the fathers and earlier theologians saw an allusion to the mystery of the Trinity, and rested their conclusion, (a) upon the triple repetition of the name Jehovah; (b) upon the ratio praedicati, that Jehovah, by whom the blessing is desired and imparted, is the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and (c) upon the distinctorum benedictionis membrorum consideratio, according to which bis trina beneficia are mentioned (cf. Calovii Bibl. illustr. ad h. l.). There is truth in this, though the grounds assigned seem faulty. As the threefold repetition of a word or sentence serves to express the thought as strongly as possible (cf. Jeremiah 7:4; Jeremiah 22:29), the triple blessing expressed in the most unconditional manner the thought, that God would bestow upon His congregation the whole fulness of the blessing enfolded in His Divine Being which was manifested as Jehovah. But not only does the name Jehovah denote God as the absolute Being, who revealed Himself as Father, Son, and Spirit in the historical development of His purpose of salvation for the redemption of fallen man; but the substance of this blessing, which He caused to be pronounced upon His congregation, unfolded the grace of God in the threefold way in which it is communicated to us through the Father, Son, and Spirit.

(Note: See the admirable elaboration of these points in Luther's exposition of the blessing. Luther refers the first blessing to "bodily life and good." The blessing, he says, desired for the people "that God would give them prosperity and every good, and also guard and preserve them." This is carried out still further, in a manner corresponding to his exposition of the first article. The second blessing he refers to "the spiritual nature and the soul," and observes, "Just as the sun, when it rises and diffuses its rich glory and soft light over all the world, merely lifts up its face upon all the world;...so when God gives His word, He causes His face to shine clearly and joyously upon all minds, and makes them joyful and light, and as it were new hearts and new men. For it brings forgiveness of sins, and shows God as a gracious and merciful Father, who pities and sympathizes with our grief and sorrow. The third also relates to the spiritual nature and the soul, and is a desire for consolation and final victory over the cross, death, the devil, and all the gates of hell, together with the world and the evil desires of the flesh. The desire of this blessing is, that the Lord God will lift up the light of His word upon us, and so keep it over us, that it may shine in our hearts with strength enough to overcome all the opposition of the devil, death, and sin, and all adversity, terror, or despair.")

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