Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Aaronic Blessing

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. Numbers 6:24-26

Most are familiar with the beginning of the Aaronic blessing: “May the LORD bless you and keep you” (Numbers 6:24). We often read or say these words without really knowing what they mean. The words “bless” and “keep” are abstract words which we are familiar with in English. But, the ancient Hebrews were concrete thinkers who relate all things to concrete ideas.

The Hebrew word for “bless” is “barak” which literally means “to kneel.” A berakah is a “blessing” but more literally, the bringing of a gift to another on a bended knee. When we bless God or others, we are in essence, bringing a gift on bended knee. A true king is one who serves his people, one who will humble himself and come to his people on a bended knee.

The Hebrew word for “keep” is “shamar” which literally means “to guard.” [This was also part of Adam's job assignment in the garden] A related word is “shamiyr” which means “thorn.” When the shepherd was out in the wilderness with his flock, he would construct a corral of thorn bushes to protect the sheep from predators, a guarding over of the sheep.

With this more Hebraic concepts of Hebrew words we can now read the beginning of the Aaronic blessing as “May the LORD come to you on bended knee and place a hedge of protection around you.”


  1. Donna,

    Thanks for the link to a great site for studying Hebrew. Since my patriarchial blessing states that I'm of the tribe of Ephraim I always wondered why I was drawn to studying "the things of the Jews." Well, as it turns out, my 3GGfather's name was Jacob Levi Abrahams (b-1775), a Jew who converted to Christianity and became a Methodist Preacher. An old family story relates that he was a real popular and fiery speaker but that he tended to rely too much on the Old Testament (grin).

  2. I love learning about the Hebraic mindset as well-it always makes so much sense! Jeff Benner's website and generous sharing has been a blessing to so many. I have all of the books sold on there, and the free language component is fabulous.

    Thanks for your comments.