This summer I heard for the first time a beautiful song from Numbers 6:23-27, the Aaronic Benediction or also known as the Priestly Blessing. It was sung in English and in Hebrew by a young woman who has a sweet voice, Lindsey Hertzberg. The song was composed by Misha Goetz. I had heard the same blessing voiced before, but the words along with the melody had a different impact on me this time, the presence of God and His desire to bless us was very real!
I started reading some articles to learn more about this priestly blessing. What I found is that traditionally only the priests, descendants of Aaron, were allowed to speak this blessing over God’s people. Another interesting fact I learned is that the priest could never be sad when he had to recite this blessing. If he was grieving the loss of a loved one, for example, he would not be able to voice the blessing. It is so holy that there was a special ritual for the priests to wash themselves in preparation to lift up their hands and bless the people.
I thought this was fascinating! It amazed me how this blessing has been voiced for over three thousand years and how this is one of the oldest biblical texts found according to the late archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon (1987 The Bible and Recent Archaeology, rev. ed., ed. Peter R.S. Moorey. Atlanta: John Knox.). I also learned that the Talmud says that before a priest voices this blessing they must praise God by saying in Hebrew “Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe, who makes us holy with the holiness of Aaron, and has commanded us to bless His people Israel with love.”
I want to pray for Israel, my children, my husband and my community with this love! What an honor to voice this blessing! I have been singing and playing this song nearly every day for my daughter when it is bed time. I have absolute faith that through Jesus Christ I can partake of this blessing and I can voice this blessing.
As I was reading more about priests and the priesthood, I came across these verses from Revelation 1:5-6
“And from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen”
This truth that Christ has made us to be a kingdom of priests brings an awareness of the responsibility I feel to voice this priestly blessing. It needs to be voiced with love! I believe with all my heart our Father wants to bless us and He wants us to be a blessing!
“Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, ‘Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them:
The Lord bless you, and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.’
“So they shall invoke My name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them.”