Aaron’s Blessing for the People (Numbers 6:22–27)

Bible Commentary / Produced by TOW Project

One of the chief roles of the Levites is invoking God’s blessing. God ordains these words for the priestly blessing:

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. (Num. 6:24-26)

God blesses people in countless ways—spiritual, mental, emotional, and material. But the focus here is on blessing people with words. Our good words become the moment of God’s grace in the lives of people. “So they shall put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them,” God promises (Num. 6:27).

The words we use in our places of work have the power either to bless or curse, to build up others or to tear them down. Our choice of words often has more power than we realize. The blessings in Numbers 6:24-26 declare that God will “keep” you, be “gracious” to you and give you “peace.” At work our words can “keep” another person—that is, reassure, protect, and support. “If you need help, come to me. I won’t hold it against you.” Our words can be full of grace, making the situation better than it otherwise would be. We can accept responsibility for a shared error, for example, rather than shifting the blame by minimizing our role. Our words can bring peace by restoring relationships that have been broken. “I realize that things have gone wrong between us, but I want to find a way to have a good relationship again,” for example. Of course, there are times we have to object, critique, correct, and perhaps punish others at work. Even so, we can choose whether to criticize the faulty action or whether to damn the whole person. Conversely, when others do well, we can choose to praise instead of keeping silent, despite the slight risk to our reputation or cool reserve.