NUMBERS 6:22-27

22 The Lord said to Moses, 23 ‘Tell Aaron and his sons, “This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:

24 ‘“‘The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face towards you
    and give you peace.’”

27 ‘So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.’


This seems to be given in the second year of the Exodus from Egypt – while the Israelites were encamped in the desert and God was delivering directions and the Law to Moses. So, this seems to me to be an instruction, given by God, for a blessing to be used by the priests on the people for all time. It was a valid blessing then and it is a valid blessing now.


In 1979 Gabriel Barkay was digging in a rock cut tomb at Ketef Hinnom, south west of the old city of Jerusalem. The many burial chambers in this tomb were, of course, empty, but he noticed that one of them had collapsed onto a niche that had been excavated underneath. On digging out the detritus he discovered quantities of very ancient materials – but the most exciting of these were 2 tiny (no more than 3 inches long) silver scrolls. They were so delicate that many museums refused to even try to open them. But, when they were shock waves went round the academic and religious world.

Dated to the early 6th C BC – before the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians, so during the monarchy – these scrolls contained verses from the Old Testament. They pre-date the Dead Sea Scrolls by more than 400 years and remain the earliest and oldest fragments of the Bible in the whole world.

And the text they contained….Numbers 6:24-26 – the “Priestly Blessing”.


Warren Marcus, a Messianic Jew, takes up the story. Seeking to know more of God, he was challenged when an academic friend of his rang him from Israel where he had discovered the story of this historical discovery, had been moved by the text and then been prayed over by Jews with this blessing that completely overwhelmed him with the presence of God. Warren was intrigued and began to look at this prayer – recognising it as the only prayer given by Father God to His people in the whole Bible (Jesus, the Son, of course has given us the Lord’s Prayer). He found that significant, but it didn’t change his life until he began to read it in the original Hebrew and so understood the full import of what each of the words of blessing truly meant. He now reports of experiences around the world, as he explains the full meaning of this prayer of blessing, of people being changed, broken, blessed out of their socks – simply through the process of:

 claiming the blessing for themselves,

praying it out loud,

and receiving the blessing that God promises through it.

So, let’s have a look at what this blessing is really, truly saying. Let’s start with the bit before and the bit after:


22 The Lord said to Moses, 23 ‘Tell Aaron and his sons, “This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:

This is a command – given by God – to the priests of Israel – the ones who stood in the gap between the people of God and God Himself. These priests were to pronounce the blessing of God on the people. To this day this is done every year in the Jewish community and in Jewish homes this is the blessing pronounced by the father on his children. It is the blessing that God wants His people to have – and YOU are His people under the New Covenant. So, it is the blessing that God has for YOU. So, claim it as your own – right now.

27 ‘So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.’

This blessing put the Name of God on the Israelites. The blessing made the Israelites God’s people. This blessing for you is that you ARE His people – full stop! No arguments! No “I’m not good enough”. His Name is on YOU>

But, it’s more than this….the Hebrew for “name” here is “SHEM” which speaks of His Presence being with the one on whom His blessing rests. In the context of the time it meant that God was saying “I will be with you wherever you are and wherever you go”. And He WAS with them throughout the 40 years in the desert where He showed them:

  • Divine favour – He was with them; He guided them; He taught them; He cared for them; He stood for them against all their enemies. He favoured them above all others
  • Angelic protection – against the Egyptians and all others who sought to destroy them in the desert.
  • Supernatural provision – He provided Manna and Quail when they were hungry; water from stuck rocks when they were thirsty; health during the long years; even shoes and clothes that never wore out.

This is for YOU. The Priestly Blessing of God is that He will be with YOU always. His presence is literally with you (by the Spirit) and His divine favour, angelic protection and supernatural provision is for YOU right now – claim it!


24 ‘“‘The Lord bless you and keep you;

In the Hebrew the word LORD is YHVH (often translated as Yahweh or Jehovah). This has the connotation of God’s attributes of love and mercy (as compared to another name of God – “Elohim” which has the context of God’s justice and power). So, the One who loves you totally – with an Agape love – and who is always merciful, is the One who wants to bless you.

The Hebrew word for “bless you” – “baruch” – speaks of a desire and ability to give you both material and spiritual blessings – to give you what you need and want now and to provide you with peace and joy and comfort now and life forevermore.

More than that, the Hebrew word “baruch” literally means “to kneel”! So, the implication of this phrase is “May your Heavenly Father, He who exists, kneel in front of you”. That is awesome and seems almost heretical  But, when you see it in the light of our heavenly Father kneeling in front of us with His arms extended out to us in love like a father to their child, then we get an insight into the wonder of this blessing.

That’s how the One who loves us, kneels down with His arms extended towards us,  wants to bless us – right now – let’s claim it!

The Hebrew for “keep you” – “shamar” – speaks of guarding you, protecting you, taking good care of you. it carries the idea of guarding. A shepherd in the wilderness would build a coral to protect his sheep from predators. They would use stones to fashion a wall and then place thorn bushes on top to keep out predators, such as wolves.

YHWH (our heavenly Father) is saying that He will place a hedge of protection around us, hemming us in with thorns to keep the enemy (predators) from getting to us.

With the divine embrace of our heavenly Father through this Priestly Prayer of the Blessing we are delivered instantly from the enemy’s attacks, whether it be from others, or from spiritual harassment, oppression and in some cases possession.

It is His arms that are likened to a “thorny hedge” of protection. Satan and his demons can never penetrate the security of the arms of YHWH. You are protected from all things. Why? Because G-D sees us as His spiritual sons and daughters because of what Yeshua (Jesus) did on the cross for us.

The One who loves us promises to look after us with His arms around us in a heavenly protective embrace – let’s claim it!


25 the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;

The Hebrew word for face is plural – the sense being of the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit are involved in constantly looking at you, constantly interested in you.

In Hebraic thought, light equates to order and darkness to chaos. Light had to be created first so that YHWH could bring order. When the Priestly Prayer of the Blessing is proclaimed over you by Yeshua (Jesus) our High Priest, you will find that the face of G-D shining upon you brings order. As the Father imparts a portion of Himself upon you, your thoughts will become singular. Your God-given purpose, your calling becomes crystal clear.

The enemy of our soul loves to bring confusion. As the enemy attacks us with circumstances, trials, and challenges, we often find ourselves embroiled in conflicting thoughts. We often become apprehensive and disquieted, and sometimes this leads to oppression or even depression. Many times we are conflicted and puzzled when making decisions. Yet when the face of YHWH (our heavenly Father) begins to shine upon us, we sense that everything is going to be OK. We become single-minded. Our thoughts become aligned with His thoughts.

Just as YHWH said at Creation, “Let there be light,” to bring to order that which was in darkness and chaos, so too this occurs when we can spiritually see His face (panim) because His face is the source of illumination—of light.

The Hebrew word for shine comes from the word “light” and speaks of God’s wisdom. The blessing is that God’s wisdom may enlighten you and that His wisdom guide you and act as a light for your path through life – through the whole of which He is promising to be with you in. Do you want the wisdom of God to direct you and guide you through all your life? – let’s claim it!

The Hebrew word for “gracious” speaks of His Grace and Favour which He wants to give you. He is saying that He wants to bless you even though you have done nothing to deserve it (Grace) – He just wants to bless you anyway because He loves you. He wants to favour you – you are all His favourites – again due to His Grace – we have done nothing to deserve it. Do you want this Grace and Favour – let’s claim it!


26 the Lord turn his face towards you and give you peace.’”

The face is an indication of the heart’s attitude. If we are angry with someone, we turn our face away from them; if we consider ourselves superior to someone, we turn our face to look down on them. But, here God lifts His face to us. The actual Hebrew word used here is “nasah” and means “to lift up and carry you” – like a father who picks their child up in their arms and carries them – carries you. This shows a love and acceptance for us at all times. When we know we have done wrong and are sorry for it, then we have the promise here – the blessing – that God will not turn away from us but will always have His face towards us – like a loving Father to their child. The “showing of the face” speaks of spiritual intimacy. We talk about wanting to seek the face of God – well, the Good News is that He seeks to show us His face – His presence, His intimacy, to be in relationship with us – through this blessing. Let’s claim it!

The Hebrew word for “peace” if, of course, “Shalom” – and speaks of so much more than the end of “strife” or “war” but of an inner peace that passes all understanding, and of a peace between us and God, a peace that is ours, with God, for eternity. For us, this “shalom” is a gift from the “Prince of Peace” – Jesus Christ.


In many ways “blessing” is similar to “grace”. If “grace” is being given what we don’t deserve (where “justice” is getting what we do deserve and “mercy” is not getting what we deserve), then “blessing” is the amazing reality of being given something that we don’t deserve too. So, we are blessed by God who gives us our eternal life, our daily provision and so much more simply because He loves us! And we can be a blessing to one another by supporting and helping and providing for others simply out of our (agape) love for them. And – remarkably – we can be a blessing to God by worshipping Him and giving our lives to Him – He is not “making us do” this and it is such a blessing to Him. What is different – and quite awesome – here is that we can be the conduit of God’s direct blessing on mankind – He has given us the power to literally command a blessing upon others!

There is no magic in the words of this blessing. The power of this blessing does not rest in “how” it is said or “where” it is said or “who” says it. The supernatural power of the Priestly Blessing is in the One who has given it. For it is God, using human intermediaries, telling us how He chooses to bless us.

What is our response going to be? How can it be any other than to earnestly desire it?

So, there are three things that I believe we MUST do:

  1. CLAIM IT: This blessing, given by God Himself, is for Israel – and we are spiritual Israel. The blessing is for US. Do not say that this blessing was simply for the Israelites in the Old Covenant, for it is believed that Jesus Himself – our Great High Priest – prayed this blessing on His disciples as part of the New Covenant  (Luke 24:50 –  “When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them” – many say that the only blessing He would have used would have been the Priestly Blessing). So, start off by claiming it – saying “Yes please LORD! I want this!”
  • PRAY IT:  Others have found that to pray it daily for themselves, and for their families, and their friends, is a great source of encouragement. Now, you might argue that the command of God was for the priests alone to pray this blessing over the people. Well….here is the Good News… ARE a kingdom of Priests – so you have the spiritual authority to pray this blessing.
  • RECEIVE IT: Finally just believe and allow God to pour out this blessing on you. Why would He do this? Well – why else would He have said it if He did not want to do it! And remember that this Blessing should bring us into the permanent presence of God – which should then transform our whole lives