The Aaronic Blessing: A Wish or a Promise? (Devotional Moment)

The Aaronic Blessing: A Wish or a Promise?

In Numbers six God himself instructed that Aaron was to bless with the following blessing:

“The LORD bless you [יְבָרֶכְךָ֥] and keep you [וְיִשְׁמְרֶֽךָ]; The LORD make His face shine [יָאֵ֨ר] upon you, And be gracious to you; The LORD lift [יִשָּׂ֨א] up His countenance upon you, And give you peace [וְיָשֵׂ֥ם].” ’“So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them [אֲבָרֲכֵֽם].” (Num 6:24-27 NKJV)

While the typical translation catches the gist of the blessing, there is more than could be gathered.

The nearly unanimous translation translates the verbs in what is known as a third person command or jussive which is to say that person A is suggesting or hoping that person C will do something (generally on behalf of person B). Thus the translation of “the LORD bless you” carries with it the speaker (in this case Aaron) is calling upon the LORD to do something. Though this is a possible translation, I would like to suggest another reading; the future indicative.

The future indicative is indicating what will (certainly) happen in the future. Though the difference between these understandings is only a nuance, I suggest the application to our lives is enormous. While the jussive reflects a wish or a hope of what God will do, the indicative reflects what will most certainly be. Thus, the LORD will bless you, and the LORD will keep you. The LORD will make his face to shine upon you and will be gracious. He will lift up his face and He will give peace. The indicative reading is strengthened by God’s own words in verse 27 where he says that he will bless.

While the jussive reading is grammatically possible, the indicative reading gives the reader greater confidence: the LORD will bless; not just maybe!  With that promise, walk confidently with your God!