May the Lord Bless You and Keep You
Dec 07, 2009 by Helene Dallaire | 1 Comments
"May the Lord bless you and keep you; may He make his face
to shine upon you and have mercy on you; may the Lord lift up his
countenance upon you and cause peace to settle upon you."
- Numbers 6:24-26
In 1979, archaeologists unearthed a small silver amulet with the biblical Hebrew text of Numbers 6:24-26 (Aaron’s blessing) from a concealed burial chamber in Jerusalem. This artifact provides the earliest biblical Hebrew text ever discovered. The amulet measures 1 x 1¾ inches. It was carefully rolled up, and was probably worn as a piece of jewelry around the neck, or possibly as a good luck charm belonging to a superstitious or religious individual. Since the message inscribed on the amulet is a divine blessing, it is possible that the piece of jewelry served to invite blessings on its owner and ward off the possibility of any misfortune.
Every word of this beautiful text is heavy with theological significance. The first verb (brk – “to bless”) echoes God’s promise made to Abram when he was called out of Ur of the Chaldees. God promised that He would bless him and make him into a great nation. The second verb (shmr – “to keep”) reveals God’s protection for his people. And in the light of Psalm 121:4, we are guaranteed that God keeps watch over his people twenty-four hours a day since He never slumbers nor sleeps. The third verb (’wr – “to cause to shine”) reminds us of Moses’ encounter with God on Mt Sinai. So radiant was his face that he had to wear a veil over his head so as not to overwhelm the Israelites with the brightness of glory of the Lord. The end of Aaron’s blessing invites God to impart on his people peace, wholeness, healing, completeness, and quietness of heart, mind, and soul.