Verse 3. This last verse is the answer from the temple to the pilgrims preparing to depart as the day breaks. It is the ancient blessing of the high priest condensed, and poured forth upon each individual pilgrim.
The LORD that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion. Ye are scattering and going to your homes one by one; may the benediction come upon you one by one. You have been up to Jehovah's city and temple at his bidding; return each one with such a benediction as only he can give -- divine, infinite, effectual, eternal. You are not going away from Jehovah's works or glories, for he made the heaven above you and the earth on which you dwell. He is your Creator, and he can bless you with untold mercies; he can create joy and peace in your hearts, and make for you a new heaven and a new earth. May the Maker of all things make you to abound in blessings.
The benediction comes from the City of the Great King, from his appointed ministers, by virtue of his covenant, and so it is said to be "out of Zion." To this day the Lord blesses each one of his people through his church, his gospel, and the ordinances of his house. It is in communion with the saints that we receive untold benisons. May each one of us obtain yet more of the blessing which cometh from the Lord alone. Zion cannot bless us; the holiest ministers can only wish us a blessing; but Jehovah can and will bless each one of his waiting people. So may it be at this good hour. Do we desire it? Let us then bless the Lord ourselves. Let us do it a second time. Then we may confidently hope that the third time we think of blessing we shall find ourselves conscious receivers of it from the Ever blessed One. Amen.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 3. The LORD that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion. He doth not say, the Lord that made the earth bless thee out of heaven; nor, the Lord that made heaven bless thee out of heaven; but "bless thee out of Zion." As if he would teach us that all blessings come as immediately and primarily from heaven, so mediately and secondarily from Zion, where the Temple stood. If ever, therefore, we would have blessings outward, inward, private, public, secular, spiritual; if ever we would have blessing in our estate, blessing in our land, blessing in our souls, we must pray for it, and pray for it here, in Zion, in God's house: for from the piety there exercised all blessings flow, as from a fountain that can never be drawn dry. -- Abraham Wright.
Verse 3. The LORD that made heaven and earth, etc. The priestly benediction brings God before us in a twofold character. He is described first as the Creator of the universe. He is described, in the second place, as dwelling "in Zion." In the first aspect, he is represented as the God of nature; in the second, as the God of grace. When I contemplate him as the Creator of the universe, there is abundant proof that he can bless me. When I contemplate him as dwelling in the Church, there is abundant proof that he will bless me. Both of these elements are essential to our faith. --N. M`Michael.
Verse 3. The LORD that made heaven and earth, etc. As the priests were called upon to bless God in behalf of the people, so here they bless the people in behalf of God. Between the verses we may suppose the previous request to be complied with. The priests, having blessed God, turn and bless the people. The obvious allusion to the sacerdotal blessing ( Numbers 6:23-27 ), favours the optative construction of this verse, which really includes a prediction -- the Lord will bless thee. --Joseph Addison Alexander.
Verse 3. The LORD bless thee. All men lie under the curse, till God brings them into the fellowship of his church, and pronounce them blessed by his word, as "The LORD bless thee" doth import. --David Dickson.
Verse 3. The LORD bless thee out of Zion. The Church is the conservator of Divine revelation; the Church is the offerer on earth of true worship; it consists of a company of priests, a royal priesthood, part of whose mission is "to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." The Church is the heritor of the covenants. God's covenants are made with his Church, and his promises are addressed chiefly to his Church. The Church is the scene of special Divine ministrations, God shows himself to his Church as he does not to that which is called the world. It is also the scene of special heavenly influences: and in a sense next to that in which God is said to reside in heaven, the Church is the dwellingplace of the Most High. Now, what is it to be blessed out of Zion? It is surely to be blessed with Zion's blessings, and to have Zion's endowments and gifts rendered sources of advantage and profit to us. -- Samuel Martin.
Verse 3. Bless thee. The singular instead of the plural "bless you", because the words are taken from the form used by the High Priest in blessing the people. Numbers 6:24 . -- J.J. Stewart Perowne.
Verse 3. Bless thee. It is addressed to the church as one person, and to each individual in this united, unit like church. --Franz Delitzsch.