The Berean Expositor
Volume 45 - Page 249 of 251
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The use of the term momos to refer to blemishes in the sacrificial victim is the one
adopted by the translators of the LXX, and upon consulting the original Hebrew we
discover that the Greek word momos occurs 17 times in the LXX and translates but one
Hebrew word mum, meaning blemish, blot or spot. (Some concordances list m'um
separately.) This Hebrew word is translated "blemish" 16 times, "blot" twice, and "spot"
three times, one reference, namely Deut. 32: 5, being translated mometos, which
leaves but three occurrences which are translated by some other Greek word.
There are two passages in Job which are translated from the LXX into English as
"For thus shall thy countenance shine again, as pure water" (Job 11: 15).
"If too I have touched gifts with my hands" (Job 31: 7).
In the first passage Zophar the Naamathite is urging Job to put away wickedness,
which he supposed was the cause of Job's affliction. In the second passage Job maintains
his integrity and brings his defence to a close. The value of these two passages is that the
"blemishlessness" of the Levitical sacrifice employs a word that originally pertained to
the realm of morals, "blame" being predicated only of moral intelligent creatures,
"blemishlessness" being its equivalent in non-moral types.  This moral meaning
reappears in the book of Proverbs, as we might have anticipated, where it occurs in
Prov. 9: 7, and which the LXX is translated by the English "shall disgrace himself".
A somewhat problematic passage is that found in Deut. 32: 5 where the A.V. reads
"They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of His children: they are a
perverse and crooked generation".
This the R.V. retranslates as follows:
"They have dealt corruptly with Him, they are not His children, it is their blemish:
they are a perverse and crooked generation."
Coming now to the employment of the term in the Levitical law, we find that it is used
of the physical condition of both priest and offering:
"Speak unto Aaron, saying, Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath
any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God" (Lev. 21: 17).
A list follows that includes being blind, lame, flat-nosed, anything superfluous, scurvy
or scabbed.
Concerning the offering, it is written:
"Ye shall offer at your own will a male without blemish . . . . . but whatsoever hath a
blemish, that shall ye not offer: for it shall not be acceptable for you . . . . . it shall be
perfect to be accepted" (Lev. 22: 19-21).
The fact that the word "blemish" originally had a moral significance shows that the
Levitical sacrifices were no dead formalism, which the prophets repudiated, demanding