Priestly Blessing, Numbers 6:22-26. In the days of the First and Second Temples this could only be given by a priest because verse 23 tells Moses to instruct Aaron and his sons to say this. With no Temple in Jerusalem it is to be spoken by someone of authority in the congregation. This person is to stand facing the congregation with arms raised. That is easy. It is then to be spoken in Hebrew – not easy for some. Whoever says this is to have knowledge, understanding, and readiness for sacrifice and prayerfulness. There must be commitment on the part of the one who gives this blessing. Notice that literally the positive “will” is used instead of the “may” or just “The LORD bless..”
Verse 24 contains just three Hebrew words. The translation is:
The LORD* will bless you
This is two Hebrew words. The second word is “the LORD*” and the first is “He will bless you” and speaks of material blessing, for life, health, and prosperity per Deut. 28:1-14. The “you” is singular referring both to the individual believer and the congregation as a single, unified body.
And He will keep you
This is the third Hebrew word in the verse and means to guard your material blessings, to protect your life and health, to protect you against all evil, sickness, poverty, and calamity. Again the “you” is singular.
Verse 25 contains five Hebrew words. The translation is:
The LORD* will make His face to shine upon you
“To shine upon you” is the first Hebrew word and this word for shine is also the word for light. It is a symbol of happiness, purity, friendship. God’s face shining upon you symbolizes the outpouring of Divine love and salvation, Ps. 80:20 saying Restore us, O LORD* God of Hosts! Cause Your face to shine upon us, so we will be saved! This represents the gift of knowledge and moral insight as well as friendship with God. In verse 25 “you” is also singular.
And He will be gracious to you.
He will give you grace in the eyes of your fellow men. He will make you lovable and beloved in the eyes of others – believers. You will be respected by the world, applying both to the individual and to Israel as a nation. The LORD* will establish you as a holy people to Himself, as He has sworn to you, if you will keep the commandments of the LORD* your God, and walk in His ways. And all people of the earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD*; and they will stand in awe of you. (Deut. 28:9,10)
Verse 26 contains seven Hebrew words. The translation is:
The LORD* will lift His countenance to you
This is four Hebrew words saying He will turn His attention to you. Again “you” is singular. For Him to turn His attention to you, lifting His head to search you out to cast His loving care upon you.
And He will establish Shalom for you.
This is three Hebrew words and the word usually translated give (give you peace) means much more than that. It means to set, to establish you in Shalom. The LORD* does not just give it and leave it at that, but He sees to it that you are firmly established in Shalom! Shalom, the word normally translated peace, means health, welfare, security, justice, and tranquility, also freedom from all disaster. A Hebrew scholar gave the best English translation of Shalom: “No good thing is withheld.” Y’shua gave us this in Jn. 14:27, saying “Shalom aleikhem.”