The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26
I covered this benediction last summer, but I like it so much I wanted to share it again.
The Dead Sea Scrolls were until recently our oldest copies of Biblical text. But in 1979 professor Judith Hadley was assisting archaeologist Gabrial Barkey in excavating a site in Jerusalem. She saw something resembling a metal pencil cap in a burial cave. It was a sensational find a tiny silver scroll of great antiquity. And another was found nearby. These tiny amulets dated back to the Hebrew monarchy 7 centuries before Christ. They were so small and fragile they tool several years to clean and open safely.
When they there unrolled, scientists found the world’s oldest copy of a Biblical text, the words of Numbers 6:24-26. These ancient lyrics have been set to music many time, but I tend to lean towards the classic tune set by Peter Christian Lutkin.
Lutkin was born in Wisconsin in 1888 and devoted his life to church music. He studied the masters in Europe and excelled on the organ. He helped start the American Guild of Organists and died in 1931 in Chicago.
D.L. Moody once commented on Numbers 6 saying, “Here is a benediction that can give all the time without being impoverished. Every heart may utter it every letter may conclude with it, every day may begin with it, every night may be sanctified by it. Here is blessing keeping, shining, the uplifting upon our poor life of all heaven’s glad morning. It is the Lord Himself who gives us this bar of music from heaven’s infinite anthem.”