Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 4: Harmony of the Law, Part II, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at sacred-texts.com
22. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
22. Et loquutus est Jehova ad Mosen, dicendo:
23. Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them,
23. Alloquere Aharon et filios ejus, dicendo, Sic benedicetis filiis Israel, dicendo eis:
24. The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
24. Benedicat tibi Jehova, et custodiat te:
25. The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
25. Lucere faciat Jehova faciem suam super re, et misereatur tui:
26. The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
26. Attollat Jehova faciem suam ad te, et constituat tibi pacem.
27. And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them.
27. Et ponent nomen meum super filiosIsrael, et ego benedicam eis.
22. And the Lord spake unto Moses. A part of the sacerdotal duties, of which mention is constantly made in the Law, is here briefly set forth; for God says that He had appointed the priests to bless the people. To this David seems to allude in the words:
"We have blessed you out of the house of the Lord.”
This doctrine is especially profitable, that believers may confidently assure themselves that God is reconciled to them, when He ordains the priests to be witnesses and heralds of His paternal favor towards them. The word to bless is often used for to pray for blessings, which is the common duty of all pious persons; but this rite (as we shall see a little farther on) was an efficacious testimony of God’s grace; as if the priests bore from His own mouth the commandment to bless. But Luke shews that this was truly fulfilled in Christ, when he relates that “He lifted up His hands,” according to the solemn rite of the Law, to bless His disciples. (Lu 24:50.) In these words, then, the priests were appointed ambassadors to reconcile God to the people; and this in the person of Christ, who is the only sufficient surety of God’s grace and blessing. Inasmuch, therefore, as they then were types of Christ, they were commanded to bless the people. But it is worthy of remark, that they are commanded to pronounce the form of benediction audibly, and not to offer prayers in an obscure whisper; and hence we gather that they preached God’s grace, which the people might apprehend by faith.
24. The Lord bless thee. Blessing is an act of His genuine liberality, because the abundance of all good things is derived to us from His favor as their only source. It is next added, that He should “keep” the people, by which clause lie intimates that He is the sole defender of the Church, and protects it under His guardianship; but since the main advantage of God’s grace consists in our sense of it, the words, “and make His face shine on you,” are added; for nothing is more desirable for the consummation of our happiness, than that. we should behold the serene countenance of God; as it is said in Ps 4:6,
"There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us."
Thus then I interpret this clause, that the people may perceive and taste the sweetness of God’s goodness, which may cheer them like the brightness of the sun when it illumines the world in serene weather. But immediately afterwards the people are recalled to the First cause; viz., God’s gratuitous mercy, which alone reconciles Him to us, when we should be otherwise by our own deserts hated and detested by Him. What follows, “The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee,” is a common phrase of Scripture, meaning, May God remember His people; not that forgetfulness can occur in Him, but because we suppose that He has cast away His care of us, unless He actually gives proof of His anxiety for our welfare. Finally, it is added, may He “establish peace upon his people,” which others translate a little less literally, 197 “put thee into peace:” and since this word signifies not only rest and a tranquil state, but also all prosperity and success, I willingly embrace this latter sense, although even its proper signification is not disagreeable to me. 198
27. And they shall put my name. Although Jerome has rightly translated this, “They shall call upon my name:” yet since the Hebrew phrase is emphatic, I have preferred retaining it; for God deposits His name with the priests, that they may daily bring it forward as a pledge of His good will, and of the salvation which proceeds from thence. The promise, which is finally subjoined, gives assurance that this was no empty or useless ceremony, when He declares that He will bless the people. And hence we gather, that whatsoever the ministers of the Church do by God’s command, is ratified by Him with a real and solid result; since He declares nothing by His ministers which He will not Himself fulfill and perform by the efficacy of His Spirit. But we must observe that He does not so transfer the office of blessing to His priests, as to resign this right to them; for after having entrusted this ministry to them, He claims the accomplishment of the thing for Himself alone.
“Peace — this word generally signifieth all prosperity, and the perfect enjoying of all good things; it is opposed to war, Ec 3:8; to discord and emnity, Eph. 2:14, 15; Lu 12:51; to tumult and confusion, 1Co 14:33; and to all adversity, Gen. 43:27, 2 Kings 4:26 Job 16:33 [sic]; and is therefore added for a conclusion of blessings, Ps 29:11, and Ps 125:4; 1Pe 5:14. This peace is obtained by Jesus Christ, Eph. 2:14, 15, 17; Ro 5:1; and enjoyed by the Holy Ghost, Rom. 8:6, 9, and Ro 14:17.” — Ainsworth in loco.
This latter sentence is much abbreviated in Fr.