How is the Priestly Blessing connected to the covenant?

 

Last week we read parshat Naso, which included the Priestly Blessing (Birchat ha Cohanim) of Numbers 6:22-27 and it brought to mind the question: How is the Birchat ha Cohanim connected to the Promised blessings of the covenant?


The priestly blessing was given to the Aaronic priesthood to bless the Israelites and begins and ends with a promise to bless, barach in Hebrew.  When Elohim blesses a nation or inidvidual, it is used in the context of prospering or exalting them, which is a type of favor. See etymology here: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/h1288/kjv/wlc/0-1/ ]

 

The Priestly Blessing

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

24 “YHWH bless you and keep you;

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

26 YHWH turn his face toward you and give you peace.”’

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

 

What an amazing privilege of Elohim’s promise to bless or prosper and favor His children! As with all things in Torah, Yah’s promises must be understood in the context of covenant. 

 

Torah teaches us that Elohim’s blessings are conditional - contingent upon our obedience to his covenant, which was first made with Avraham and later with the entire nation under the Prophet Moshe.  In truth, Elohim promises to bless those who obey His covenant, while those who break it will reap the curses, which are quite severe.  

 

Thus, when a priest invokes the Priestly Blessing (Birchat ha Cohanim) of Numbers 6:22-25 (Parsha Naso), he is consciously invoking the Holy Name in order to pronounce the blessings of the covenant upon His obedient ones.  

 

In this same consciousness, we should approach our appeal for blessings as covenant keepers - with the knowledge of what is required of us and what to expect by faith.

 

Here are some of the blessings Elohim has promised to His servants organized by 6 of the most prominent categories (alliterated).  Adding them to memory will allow us to pray with and bless with knowledge as well as testify of His faithfulness as He favors our lives.

 

 

PROGENITY

“And it was in the night time when YHWH spoke these words unto me: ‘I will multiply thee, and thy seed after thee, like unto these; and if thou canst count the number of sands, so shall be the number of thy seeds.” Gen. 13.14

“Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.” 3 Abram fell facedown, and Elohim said to him, 4 “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. 5 No longer will you be called Abram ; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. 6 I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you.” Gen. 17.2-6

“I will multiply your descendants so that they will be as numerous as the stars in the sky, and I will give them all these landsAll the nations of the earth will pronounce blessings on one another using the name of your descendants. All this will come to pass because Abraham obeyed me and kept my commandments, my charge, my statutes, and my laws.” Gen. 26.4-5

 

PROMISED LAND

“On that day YHWH made a covenant with Abram and said, ‘To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates.”  Gen. 15.18

“The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their Elohim.” Gen. 17.8

 

PROSPERITY

“3 ‘If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments so as to carry them out, then I shall give you rains in their season, so that the land will yield its produce and the trees of the field will bear their fruit. ‘Indeed, your threshing will last for you until grape gathering, and grape gathering will last until sowing time. You will thus eat your food to the full and live securely in your land.”  Leviticus 26.3-5 

Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do.  Dt. 29:9

 

PROTECTION/PEACE

“I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Gen. 12.3

“But if you shall indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy to your enemies, and an adversary to your adversaries.”  Exodus 23:22

‘I shall also grant peace in the land, so that you may lie down with no one making you tremble. I shall also eliminate harmful beasts from the land, and no sword will pass through your land.  ‘But you will chase your enemies and they will fall before you by the sword;  five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall before you by the sword.   Leviticus 26.6-7

 

PRESTIGE

1“Now it shall be, if you diligently obey YHWH your Elohim, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, YHWH your Elohim. will set you high above all the nations of the earth.  2“All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey YHWH your Elohim: 3“Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.”  Dt. 28.1-3

 

PRIESTHOOD

“I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your Elohim and the Elohim of your descendants after you.” Gen. 17.7

“Now therefore, if you will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure to me above all people: for all the earth is mine.” Exodus 19:5

‘Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you. ‘I will also walk among you and be your Elohim, and you shall be My people. ‘I am YHWH your Elohim, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so that you would not be their slaves, and I broke the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect.”  Leviticus 26.11-13

 

This is not all of the promised blessings, but represent some of the most consistent themes.  How can you use this knowledge?  Feel free to use these categories for further studies on this topic.  What inspirations or reflections do you have on these scriptures? Are there any others you’d like to add to the list?  Here is one more:

“If you will diligently listen to the voice of YHWH your Elohim, and will do that which is right in his sight, and will give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases on you, which I have brought on the Egyptians: for I am YHWH that heals you.” Exodus 15:26

 

Peace and blessings to you and yours and thanks for reading!  One Love, Makedah

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