Aharonic Blessing

silver amulets

Num 6:22 And YHVH spoke unto Moshe, saying, 23 Speak unto Aharon and unto his Banim, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the Bnei Yisroel, saying unto them, 24 Y’varekhekha YHVH v’yishmerekha (YHVH bless thee, and keep thee); 25 Ya’er YHVH panav eleikha vichunekha (YHVH make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee); 26 Yissa YHVH panav eleikha v’yasem l’kha shalom (YHVH lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee shalom). 27 And they shall put My Shem upon the Bnei Yisroel, and I will bless them.

In the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, there are two silver amulets that were found in Ketef Hinnom southwest of the Old CIty.  These amulets have the oldest copies of the biblical text known today.  They are dated the 6th century BCE and are inscribed with the Aharonic Blessing ( Num 6:24-26).  You can click here to see the amulets at the Israel Museum

What is so extraordinary about this parchment is that it is the oldest surviving fragment of biblical literature. It comes from the era of the First Temple, built by King Solomon. Itis not written in the Hebrew alphabet as we know it today, rather it is in the ancient Semitic script called PaleoHebrew.

The Aharonic Blessing consists of 15 Hebrew words.  

AaronicBlessing.jpg

There is an amazing thing about the structure of the words and letters of this three-line blessing:

Line 1 has: 3 words and 15 (3 x 5) letters.

Line 2 has: 5 words and 20 (4 x 5) letters.

Line 3 has: 7 words and 25 (5 x 5) letters.

First of all, notice that each number is a multiple of five. Five is the number of grace and Torah. Additionally, if we take each of the numbers that are multiplied by 5 here, we have 3, 4, and 5.

If we take those numbers together,  345 is the numerical value of the Hebrew word haShem השם. Think about what is happening here. YHVH is showing us his grace/favor by revealing the name and placing it upon us.    

hashem

Even though, there they are all odd numbers, there is an evenness to the structure. Notice for the numbers for the words 3, 5, and 7, there is one in the middle and an even number of numbers on either side:

1 1 1

1 1 1 1 1

1 1 1 1 1 1 1

In one sense, then, every odd number is balanced or even, and this evenness calls for us to focus our attention to the middle. Let’s look at the middle words in each line.

blessing center

Pulling out the middle words of each line, we get a significant message:

blessing middle

There are numerous references in the Tehillim/Psalms to the picture of the people being saved when YHVH turns his face toward them.

Psalm 80:3 Turn us again, Elohim, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.

Psalm 80:7 Turn us again, Elohim Tzavot, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.

Psalm 80:19 Turn us again, YHVH Elohim Tzavot, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.

Within this priestly blessing, there are actually three blessings.  This first blessing is a general blessing for earthly prosperity.

May YHVH bless you and keep you.

The Hebrew word for bless is barak. 

Barak literally means to kneel.  A berakah is a blessing, but literally means the bringing of a gift on bended knee. 

thorn 6

The Hebrew word for keep is shamar, which means to guard.  It is related to the word shamir.  Shamir means thorn.  When the shepherd was out in the wilderness, he would make a fence out of thorn bushes to protect the sheep from predators.  The shepherd was guarding/keeping his sheep.

So with this Hebraic understanding, we can see YHVH will kneel before us presenting gifts and will guard you with a hedge of protection.

The second part of the blessing points to a spiritual blessing.

Numbers 6:25 Ya’er YHVH panav eleikha vichunekka. [May YHVH make his face shine on you and show you his favor.]

The most intimate contact with YHVH and his children was face to face.

Deu 5:4  “יהוה spoke with you face to face on the mountain from the midst of the fire.

lightThe root of the word for shine is אור or which means light.  This takes us back to the very beginning at points us to Yahshuah.

Gen 1:3  And Elohim said, “Let light come to be,” and light came to be.

We know that this light is not the sun or moon, but the light of the world/Yahshuah. He also tells us that we are to be a light.

Mat 5:14  “You are the light of the world. It is impossible for a city to be hidden on a mountain.

People,s Republic of China, Beijing, Great Wall, Jin Sha Ling sectionNow going back to the second part of this blessing, we have the word favor or graciousness depending on which version you are reading. The Hebrew here is chanan חנן.  The parent root is chen חן .  The pictograph for chet ח is a picture of a wall.  The pictograph for nun ן  is a picture of a seed.  With the word favor or gracious, we see that a continuous wall surrounds the seed. 

With this understanding, YHVH will illuminate the wholeness of his being toward you bringing order for us to be a light/mirror reflection of him and he will be a continuous wall around our seed.

I find it interesting that building a wall is in the current events of today: The Border Wall: How a Potent Symbol is Now Boxing Trump In.

The third part of the  blessing is for wholeness and peace.

Num 6:26  יהוה lift up His face upon you, and give you peace.

Related imageRashi tends to believe that this blessing is a prayer for YHVH to suppress His anger.   The Hebrew word for peace is shalom.  It also means wholeness and completeness. So, YHVH will illuminate the wholeness of his being toward you and he will set you in a place of wholeness and being complete.

Num 6:27  “Thus they shall put My Name on the children of Yisra’ĕl, and I Myself shall bless them.”

keterHis name YHVH that represents His character and attributes was to be placed upon His people.  In the end, we see His name upon His people.

Rev 22:4  And they shall see His face, and His Name shall be upon their foreheads.

In the Torah, we read a description of the first Tabernacle worship service where Aharon lifts up his hands and blesses the people.

Lev 9:22  Aharon then lifted up his hand toward the people and blessed them, and came down from making the sin offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offerings.

priestly-handsIn Temple times, Talmud tells us that the priests would lift up their hands over the people while pronouncing the Aharonic blessing. When they did this, they spread their fingers apart in a way as to make the shape of the ancient letter, shin (ש). 

Traditionally, the shin (ש) is the abbreviation for El Shaddai . By making the sign of this letter while lifting their hands and pronouncing the blessing, they were in a way putting His Name on the children of Israel.

Did Yahshuah ever say the Aharonic blessing? We do find Him blessing His disciples just before He ascended into heaven:

Luke 24:50 And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them.

It seems that Yahshuah’s way of blessing His disciples is consistent with the way that the priests blessed the children of Yisrael. However, isn’t this a problem, since Yahshuah was not a priest from the earthly line of Levi?

Hebrews 7:14 For it is evident that our Adonai arose from Judah, of which tribe Moshe spoke nothing concerning priesthood. 15 And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest 16 who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life. 17 For He testifies: “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” (Psalm 110:4)

After His resurrection, Yahshuah WAS a priest. Of course He was not an Aharonic priest, but He served in a higher priesthood that served the under the Malkitzedek order in the heavenlies.

So as we can see this blessing actually means so much more.  It is YHVH’s way of placing His name on us.  

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