The Lord bless thee - There are three forms of blessing here, any or all of which the priests might use on any occasion. The following is a verbal translation: -
This is a very comprehensive and excellent prayer, and may be paraphrased thus: -
This I suppose to be the spirit and design of this form of benediction. Others will doubtless interpret it after their manner. Several wise and learned men believe that the mystery of the Holy Trinity is not obscurely hinted at in it. God the Father blesses and keeps his followers. God the Son is gracious unto sinners in remitting their offenses, which he died to blot out. God the Holy Spirit takes of the things which are Christ's, and shows them unto genuine Christians, and diffuses the peace of God in their hearts. In a word, Christ, the gift of the Father by the energy of the Holy Spirit, came to bless every one of us by turning us away from our iniquities.
The priestly blessing (compare Leviticus 9:22 note). God Himself provides a formula, through which from time to time, as His people by obedience place themselves in true and right relationship to Him, the authorised mediators may pronounce and communicate His special blessing to them. It was a Jewish tradition that this blessing was given at the close of the daily sacrifice.
The structure of the blessing is remarkable. It is rhythmical, consists of three distinct parts, and mounts by gradual stages to that peace which forms the last and most consummate gift which God can give His people.
From a Christian point of view, and comparing the counterpart benediction of 2 Corinthians 13:14, it is impossible not to see shadowed forth the doctrine of the Holy Trinity (compare Isaiah 6:3; Matthew 28:19). And the three several sets of terms correspond fittingly to the office of the Three Persons in Their gracious work for the redemption of man.
The Lord bless thee, and keep thee - The second clause here, as in the other three verses, defines more closely the general tenor of the preceding one. The singular number, which is observed throughout, indicates that the blessing is conferred on Israel “collectively.”
Make his face shine - This is an enhancement of the preceding benediction. “The face of God” imports not merely God‘s good will in general, but His active and special regard. With the “face” or “eye of the Lord accordingly is connected alike the judicial visitation of the wicked. Psalm 34:16, and His mercies to the righteous Psalm 4:6.
Lift up his countenance upon thee - i. e. especially direct His thought and care toward thee: compare 2 Kings 9:32, and similar phrases in Genesis 43:29; Genesis 44:21. Through such loving providence alone could the peace of God in which the blessing closes be given.
Put my name upon the children of Israel - i. e. pronounce My Sacred Name over them in blessing them. God will give effect to the benediction pronounced by the priests.
The Lord will not disappoint any who put their trust in Him. He will be first and last and best in everything to us. He will be a present help in every time of need. In these last days of service we shall ... be held, and led, and protected, by the power of Christ. May the Lord bless and strengthen you, that your last days may be your best days, fragrant with the softening, subduing influence of His love. The Lord bless and keep you and give you repose in His love, is my most earnest desire for you, my brother. - Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, 31-33 (Letter 70, 1898). RY 112.1Read in context »
Remarriage of S. N. Haskell—We received Brother Haskell's [Elder S. N. Haskell's first wife died in 1894. This letter refers to his second marriage, which took place in 1897, when he was 64 years old.] letter the evening after the Sabbath. We were glad to hear from you that your interests are united as one. May the Lord bless this union, that you may be a strength and support to one another at all times. May the peace of God rest upon you, is my sincere desire and earnest prayer. “Go, stand and speak ... To the people all the words of this life” [Acts 5:20]. TSB 33.1
I am pleased, Brother Haskell, that you have a helper [Mrs. Haskell]. This is that which I have desired for some time. The work in which we are engaged has made us one in Christ Jesus to diffuse the knowledge of Jesus Christ. It is your privilege to have happiness in your new relation to each other, in ministering the gospel to those who are in darkness and error. We can sympathize and unite in the grand work that you and I love, and which is the one great object ever before us, the enlargement of the kingdom of Christ and the celebration of His glory. In everything which relates to this we are united in bonds of Christian fellowship, in companionship with heavenly intelligences.... TSB 33.2
Because of the light given me, I am fully possessed with the conviction that through your united agencies, as sanctified instrumentalities, light shall be reflected to the salvation of many souls that are now in darkness and error. I know you have not lived unto yourselves but unto Him whom you love and whom you serve and worship.—Letter 74a, 1897. TSB 33.3Read in context »
The Lord will keep you and bless you. All your hope, I know, is in Jesus, and you may rest in His love. The angels of God will be round about you. You may rest in our Lord in quiet faith, and ever believe He has your life “hid with Christ in God.” UL 164.6Read in context »
Through Moses was given also the promise: “The Lord shall establish thee an holy people unto Himself, as He hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, and walk in His ways. And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the Lord.... And the Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the Lord thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them.” Deuteronomy 28:9-13. 6T 351.2
The psalmist, speaking by the Holy Spirit, says: 6T 351.3
These promises given to Israel are also for God's people today. They are the messages which the Sabbath brings to us. 6T 351.5Read in context »