The Aaronic Blessing
By Jeff A. Benner



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yevarekh'ka yhvh vayishmarekha

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 related 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". 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 concept of Hebrew words we can now read the beginning of the Aaronic blessing as, "Yahweh will kneel before you presenting gifts and will guard you with a hedge of protection". The remaining portions of the Aaronic blessing can also be examined for its original Hebraic meaning revealing the following:

Yahweh will kneel before you presenting gifts and will guard you with a hedge of protection, Yahweh will illuminate the wholeness of his being toward you bringing order and he will beautify you, Yahweh will lift up his wholeness of being and look upon you and he will set in place all you need to be whole and complete.