Bible Bites - Shalom - Numbers 6:23-26
Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them, The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. - Numbers 6:23-26
Shalom is probably a word many of us are familiar with. Its a word you may hear in certain Christian circles, and something you're likely to hear among Jewish people around the world. Usually, in English, we see it translated as, Peace, but is that really an accurate translation? Do we really understand what Shalom means?
I feel the translation of the word shalom as peace is both simultaneously accurate, while at the same time really falling far short of the true meaning of the word. What do I mean by that? Well, if we look at the true meaning of the word, Shalom, we'll see in the end, the net result of shalom is peace, but not in the way we traditionally think of peace.
In English, we commonly define peace as an absence of any disturbance or tranquility.
Shalom in Hebrew has a more all encompassing meaning.
In Hebrew the word is defined as :
completeness, soundness, welfare, peace
completeness (in number)
safety, soundness (in body)
welfare, health, prosperity
peace, quiet, tranquility, contentment
peace from war
favor in relationships
to be well
When we realize the fullness of the Hebrew word Shalom, we see God's Word in a new light. When we come across the word in scripture, particularly in the Aaronic blessing at the top of this article, we see God isn't just talking about tranquility and freedom from disturbance. God is blessing with completeness, favor, health, prosperity, joy, and yes, peace.
So, if we have all of the things shalom contains in its meaning, we will of course have peace, complete peace that passes all understanding!
Father, we thank you for the beautiful word, Shalom. We thank you for the wonderful gift of your shalom, this wholeness, and complete peace that truly passes all understanding. Help us to be so completely surrendered to you and in tune with you that we truly have your shalom, and those around us feel your shalom in our presence. We pray that you make us vessels of your shalom carrying it everywhere we go and spreading it to everyone You put in our path!
We pray Father, that you bless us and keep us; that You make your face to shine upon us and be gracious to us; that You lift up your countenance upon us and that You and give us your shalom. In Jesus' mighty name we pray. Amen!