The priestly blessing (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.
The Lord bless thee, and keep thee - The second clause here, as in the other three verses, defines more closely the general tenor of the preceding one. The singular number, which is observed throughout, indicates that the blessing is conferred on Israel “collectively.”
Make his face shine - This is an enhancement of the preceding benediction. “The face of God” imports not merely God‘s good will in general, but His active and special regard. With the “face” or “eye of the Lord accordingly is connected alike the judicial visitation of the wicked. Psalm 34:16, and His mercies to the righteous Psalm 4:6.
Lift up his countenance upon thee - i. e. especially direct His thought and care toward thee: compare 2 Kings 9:32, and similar phrases in Genesis 43:29; Genesis 44:21. Through such loving providence alone could the peace of God in which the blessing closes be given.
Put my name upon the children of Israel - i. e. pronounce My Sacred Name over them in blessing them. God will give effect to the benediction pronounced by the priests.
Through Moses was given also the promise: “The Lord shall establish thee an holy people unto Himself, as He hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, and walk in His ways. And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the Lord.... And the Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the Lord thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them.” Deuteronomy 28:9-13. 6T 351.2
The psalmist, speaking by the Holy Spirit, says: 6T 351.3
These promises given to Israel are also for God's people today. They are the messages which the Sabbath brings to us. 6T 351.5Read in context »
To Aaron the high priest and his sons the direction was given: MH 285.1
“On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, MH 285.2
The Israelites failed of fulfilling God's purpose, and thus failed of receiving the blessings that might have been theirs. But in Joseph and Daniel, in Moses and Elisha, and many others, we have noble examples of the results of the true plan of living. Like faithfulness today will produce like results. To us it is written: MH 285.6Read in context »
On the following day Paul began to carry out the counsel of the elders. The four men who were under the Nazarite vow (Numbers 6), the term of which had nearly expired, were taken by Paul into the temple, “to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them.” Certain costly sacrifices for purification were yet to be offered. AA 406.1
Those who advised Paul to take this step had not fully considered the great peril to which he would thus be exposed. At this season, Jerusalem was filled with worshipers from many lands. As, in fulfillment of the commission given him by God, Paul had borne the gospel to the Gentiles, he had visited many of the world's largest cities, and he was well known to thousands who from foreign parts had come to Jerusalem to attend the feast. Among these were men whose hearts were filled with bitter hatred for Paul, and for him to enter the temple on a public occasion was to risk his life. For several days he passed in and out among the worshipers, apparently unnoticed; but before the close of the specified period, as he was talking with a priest concerning the sacrifices to be offered, he was recognized by some of the Jews from Asia. AA 406.2
With the fury of demons they rushed upon him, crying, “Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men everywhere against the people, and the law, and this place.” And as the people responded to the call for help, another accusation was added—“and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place.” AA 406.3Read in context »