The word Shalom means much more than just peace. This word has so much depth of meaning, I would encourage you to meditate upon the various meanings and grasp the concept that it encompasses every area of your life: spiritual, physical, emotional, mental, relational, employment, financial and health.
The Hebrew characters that you see above spell the word Shalom pronounced shah-LOHM. Hebrew is read right to left and the names of the letters (in the graphic above) are: Shin, Lamed, Vav, Mem sofit.
The Hebrew Bible is called the TaNaKH. These letters are an acronym for the following sections of Scripture:
- Torah (commandments & instructions)
- Nevi’im (prophets)
- Ketuvim (writings including Psalms and Proverbs)
The Hebrew Bible corresponds to the Old Testament in the Christian Bible. The word shalom is used 397 times in the TaNaKH and is most often translated as peace. The large number of times this word is used gives us a clear indication of how important a word it is.
Shalom means much more than peace. Here is a short list to give you a fuller meaning of this wonderful Hebrew word: peace, wholeness, wellness, well-being, safe, happy, friendly, favor, completeness, to cause to be at peace, to make peace, peace offering, secure, to prosper, to be whole, to be victorious, contentment, tranquility, quiet, and rest. This word is also used is a general greeting or farewell.
First use of the word:
Genesis 15:15: And thou shalt go to thy fathers in shalom; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.
Numbers 6:26 conclusion of the Aaronic (Priestly) Blessing: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee shalom
Psalm 34:14: …seek shalom, and pursue it
Psalm 122:6 – 8: Pray for the shalom of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Shalom be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions sakes, I will now say, Shalom be within thee.
Isaiah 9:6: For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulders: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
Meaning of Shalom in ancient Hebrew
“To break/destroy the authority that binds us to chaos.”
The Aaronic Blessing
Posey’s thoughts: Numbers 6:22-27 gives us the prayer that Abba (Father) gave to Moshe and Aaron, to speak over the children of Yisrael. Verse 27 gives these instructions:
“Thus they shall put My Name on the children of Yisra’ĕl, and I Myself shall bless them.”
When we pray this blessing upon ourselves and others it is a way to put the name of Yahweh upon us, so that He can bless us. This is a specific instruction from the Creator of the Universe to us, to put us in the position He declared, so that He can bless us.
Study of the Aaronic Blessing by Jeff Benner
YHVH bless you and keep you;
YHVH make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you
YHVH lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.
Keep: (shamar H:8104) – This verb comes from the corral of thorns erected by a shepherd while out at night with his flocks and is best translated as “guarding” and preserving.”
Face: (paniym H:6440) – The face reflects the many different moods, emotions, and thoughts of the person. This Hebrew word can mean the face but also the “presence” or the “wholeness of being” of an individual.
Shine: (or [H:215]) – This verb means “to give light” or “to shine” and is equated with bringing about order as light illuminates or reveals what has been dark.
Gracious: (hhanan H:2603) – A nomad’s camp consisted of many family tents, arranged in a circle, and was viewed as a place of beauty. Not just the appearance of beauty but the action, a place of warmth, love, friendship, community and sustenance. This verb is the expression of these concepts.
Countenance: ( paniym [ H:6440], pg. 40) – This is the same Hebrew word as before meaning “face.”
Give: (siym H:7760) – This Hebrew verb means to “set down in place.”
Peace: (shalom H:7965) – This noun is derived from the verbal root shalam meaning to “restore” in the sense of replacing or providing what is needed in order to make someone or something whole and complete. The noun shalom is used for one who has, or has been provided, what is needed to be whole and complete.
With the Hebraic understanding of each of these Hebrew words, we can better understand the meaning of the Aaronic blessing as it was understood by the Ancient Hebrews.
YHVH will kneel before you presenting gifts,
and he will guard you with a hedge of protection,
YHVH will illuminate the wholeness of his being
toward you, bringing order, and
he will provide you with love, sustenance, and friendship,
YHVH will lift up the wholeness of his being and
look upon you,
and he will set in place all you need
to be whole and complete.
To read a personal prayer that you can pray for peace/shalom, click here.
Shalom Upon You,