Numbers 6:23
Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, On this wise you shall bless the children of Israel, saying to them,
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(23) On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel.—The occasions on which this blessing was used are not recorded. The blessing itself, which marks in a special manner the spiritual character of the chosen people, consists of three double clauses. In each of these three clauses the sacred name Jehovah is repeated, and there is a rising gradation in the blessing invoked, until it culminates in that peace which is the highest of those gifts that God can bestow and that man can possess. There has been commonly recognised in this blessing an allusion to the doctrine of the Trinity. Mention is made in Leviticus 9:22 of a blessing pronounced by Aaron upon the people, but no form of words is found there.

Numbers 6:23. Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons — Among other good offices which the priests were appointed to perform, one was to bless in the name of the Lord, Deuteronomy 21:5. Hereby God put an honour upon them, for the less is blessed of the better, Hebrews 7:7; and hereby he gave great comfort and satisfaction to the people, who were taught to look on the priest as God’s mouth to them, and as blessing them in his name who commands the blessing out of Zion. And the priest was wont to pronounce it as one having authority, with his hands lifted up, and his face toward the people. Now in this he was a type of Christ, who came into the world to bless us, Acts 3:26, as the High-Priest of our profession, and left the earth in the very act of blessing his disciples with uplifted hands, Luke 24:50. Bishop Pearson mentions it as a tradition of the Jews, that the priests blessed the people only at the close of the morning sacrifice, and that they omitted it in the evening, “to show, says he, that in the last days, the days of the Messiah, the benediction of the law should cease, and the blessing of Christ should take place.” On this wise shall ye bless — Thus, or in these words; and yet it is probable they were not confined to these very words. At least we find holy men, as Moses, David, and Solomon, blessing the people in other words. It is remarkable that, in the form here prescribed, the name Jehovah is three times repeated, and each time with a different accent in the original. The Jews themselves think that some mystery is hereby intended; and has not God explained what it is in the New Testament, having directed us to be baptized in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; and to expect the blessing from the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost?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.

Nu 6:23-27. The Form of Blessing the People.

23-27. Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the congregation of Israel, &c.—This passage records the solemn benediction which God appointed for dismissing the people at the close of the daily service. The repetition of the name "Lord" or "Jehovah" three times, expresses the great mystery of the Godhead—three persons, and yet one God. The expressions in the separate clauses correspond to the respective offices of the Father, to "bless and keep us"; of the Son, to be "gracious to us"; and of the Holy Ghost, to "give us peace." And because the benediction, though pronounced by the lips of a fellow man, derived its virtue, not from the priest but from God, the encouraging assurance was added, "I the Lord will bless them."

On this wise, Heb. Thus, in this manner, or in these words; yet so as that they were not tied to these very words, because after this we have examples of Moses and David and Solomon and others blessing the people in other words.

Ye shall bless the children of Israel, to wit, in the public assembly. 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.

Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall {l} bless the children of Israel, saying unto them,

(l) That is, pray for them.

Verse 23. - On this wise ye shall bless. In Leviticus 9:22 it is recorded that Aaron blessed the people, first by himself from the brazen altar of sacrifice, and afterwards in conjunction with Moses, when they came out of the tabernacle; and that he might so bless the people is mentioned as one object of his consecration (Deuteronomy 21:5; and cf. 1 Chronicles 23:13). Blessing in or with the name of the Supreme Being was an important part of all primitive religion, as appears from the case of Melchizedec and Abraham, of Isaac and his sons, of Jacob and Pharaoh. And this act of blessing was far from being a mere expression of good will, or from being a simple prayer; for" without all contradiction the less is blessed of the greater" (Hebrews 7:7), i.e., the blessing must be given by one who stands nearer to God to one who stands less near. The name of God could not be used in blessing save by one who had some right to such use of it, whether as prophet, as priest, or as patriarch. For that name in which the blessing was given was not inoperative, but was mighty with untold spiritual efficacy where rightly used as the name of blessing. To Aaron and to his sons was now confided this use of the Divine name, that all Israel might know and might hear in their appointed words the voice of God himself. Saying unto them. The benediction here appointed consists of three clauses, each complete in itself, and each consisting of two members, the second of which seems to present the application and result in experience of the grace besought in the first. Both, therefore, in its form and its contents this benediction is one of the most profound and most fruitful of the Divine oracles; and this indeed we might have expected, because (if we may venture to say so) God is never so entirely and absolutely himself as in blessing. The completion of the consecration vow was concentrated in the preparation of the ram and the basket of unleavened bread for the peace-offering, along with the appropriate meat-offering and drink-offering.
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