• God blesses his people when he bestows on them some gift temporal or spiritual ( Genesis 1:22 ; 24:35 ; Job 42:12 ; Psalms 45:2 ; Psalms 104:24 Psalms 104:35 ).

  • We bless God when we thank him for his mercies ( Psalms 103:1 Psalms 103:2 ; Psalms 145:1 Psalms 145:2 ).

  • A man blesses himself when he invokes God's blessing ( Isaiah 65:16 ), or rejoices in God's goodness to him ( Deuteronomy 29:19 ; Psalms 49:18 ).

  • One blesses another when he expresses good wishes or offers prayer to God for his welfare ( Genesis 24:60 ; 31:55 ; 1 Samuel 2:20 ). Sometimes blessings were uttered under divine inspiration, as in the case of Noah, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses ( Genesis 9:26 Genesis 9:27 ; Genesis 27:28 Genesis 27:29 Genesis 27:40 ; 48:15-20 ; 49:1-28 ; Deuteronomy 33 ). The priests were divinely authorized to bless the people ( Deuteronomy 10:8 ; Numbers 6:22-27 ). We have many examples of apostolic benediction ( 2 Corinthians 13:14 ; Ephesians 6:23 Ephesians 6:24 ; 2 th Ephesians 3:16 Ephesians 3:18 ; Hebrews 13:20 Hebrews 13:21 ; 1 Peter 5:10 1 Peter 5:11 ).

  • Among the Jews in their thank-offerings the master of the feast took a cup of wine in his hand, and after having blessed God for it and for other mercies then enjoyed, handed it to his guests, who all partook of it. Psalms 116:13 refers to this custom. It is also alluded to in 1 Corinthians 10:16 , where the apostle speaks of the "cup of blessing."

    These dictionary topics are from
    M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition,
    published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.

    Bibliography Information

    Easton, Matthew George. "Entry for Bless". "Easton's Bible Dictionary". .



    This word is found more frequently in the Old Testament than in the New Testament, and is used in different relations.

    (1) It is first met in Genesis 1:22 at the introduction of animal life upon the earth, where it is written, "And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply," etc. The context furnishes the key to its meaning, which is the bestowal of good, and in this particular place the pleasure and power of increase in kind. Thus it is generally employed in both Testaments, the context always determining the character of the bestowal; for instance (where man is the recipient), whether the good is temporal or spiritual, or both.

    Occasionally, however, a different turn is given to it as in Genesis 2:3 the King James Version, where it is written, "And God blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it." Here the good consists in the setting apart and consecrating of that day for His use.

    (2) In the foregoing instances the Creator is regarded as the source of blessing and the creature the recipient, but the order is sometimes reversed, and the creature (man) is the source and the Creator the recipient. In Genesis 24:48, for example, Abraham's servant says, "I bowed my head, and worshipped Yahweh, and blessed Yahweh, the God of my master Abraham," where the word evidently means to worship God, to exalt and praise Him.

    (3) There is a third use where men only are considered. In Genesis 24:60, her relatives "blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of ten thousands" (the King James Version "millions"), where the word expresses the wish or hope for the bestowal of the good designated. There are also instances where such a blessing of man by man may be taken in the prophetic sense, as when Isaac blessed Jacob (Genesis 27:4,27), putting himself as it were in God's place, and with a sense of the Divine concurrence, pronouncing the good named. Here the word becomes in part a prayer for, and in part a prediction of, the good intended. Balaam's utterances are simply prophetic of Israel's destiny (Numbers 23:9,10,11,23 margin, Numbers 23:24).

    Although these illustrations are from the Old Testament the word is used scarcely differently in the New Testament; "The blessing of bread, of which we read in the Gospels, is equivalent to giving thanks for it, the thought being that good received gratefully comes as a blessing"; compare Matthew 14:19 and Matthew 15:36 with 1 Corinthians 11:24 (Adeney, HDB, I, 307).

    See also \BENEDICTION\.

    James M. Gray

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.

    Bibliography Information
    Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'BLESS'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.