Here’s a beautiful blessing from the book of Numbers:
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26)
This blessing fits nicely into Old Testament Week. It’s the oldest blessing in the entire Bible. Not only that, it’s the oldest known biblical text found by archaeologists. An amulet bearing this blessing was found dating all the way back to before 586 B.C. when the first temple was destroyed.
It’s been used as a blessing in Jewish services for centuries. It’s often recited in Christian services as well. It’s even permeated pop culture. It’s the first line in the Bob Dylan song Forever Young. In the movie Deep Impact, Morgan Freeman (playing the President) quotes it just as a comet is about to smash into Earth. It’s also the inspiration behind Star Trek’s “live long and prosper” greeting and the Vulcan Hand Salute made famous by Leonard Nimoy as Dr. Spock. Nimoy grew up in a Jewish home and based the salute on a similar “V” gesture priests make while giving the blessing.
Here’s a translation from the Ancient Hebrew Research Center that illuminates a few more details:
Yahweh (he who exists) will kneel before you presenting gifts, and will guard you with a hedge of protection, Yahweh (he who exists) will illuminate the wholeness of his being toward you bringing order and he will provide you with love, sustenance and friendship, Yahweh (he who exists) 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.
MAY THE LORD BLESS YOU
AND KEEP YOU TODAY
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