Leviticus 21:20
Or crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(20) Or crookbackt.—Rather, or whose eyebrows cover his eyes. This is the sense given to this clause during the second Temple. Hence the ancient Chaldee version of Jonathan translates it, “whose eyebrows lying cover his eyes.” That is, the hair, of the eyebrows are so thick, heavy, and long, that they join together and cover his eyes, thus interfering with his eyesight, and rendering him unsightly in appearance.

Or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye.—Better, or hath a cataract or a fusion of the white and black in his eye, as the administrators of the Law during the second Temple interpret the two defects here spoken of.

Or be scurvy, or scabbed.—According to the authorities in the time of Christ, both these are kinds of ulcers or scurvy; the former is a scab which is dry both within and without, whilst the second is a scab which is moist within and dry without, and which clings to a man till he dies.

Or hath his stones broken.—That is, one whose testicles are injured. This included several kinds of defectiveness, which are exhibited in the different renderings of the ancient versions, but all refer to the same seat of the blemish.

21:1-24 Laws concerning the priests. - As these priests were types of Christ, so all ministers must be followers of him, that their example may teach others to imitate the Saviour. Without blemish, and separate from sinners, He executed his priestly office on earth. What manner of persons then should his ministers be! But all are, if Christians, spiritual priests; the minister especially is called to set a good example, that the people may follow it. Our bodily infirmities, blessed be God, cannot now shut us out from his service, from these privileges, or from his heavenly glory. Many a healthful, beautiful soul is lodged in a feeble, deformed body. And those who may not be suited for the work of the ministry, may serve God with comfort in other duties in his church.A dwarf - One who is small and wasted, either short, as in the text, or slender, as in the margin. It is hardly likely that dwarfishness would be overlooked in this enumeration. So most critical authorities.

Scurry or scabbed - These words most probably include all affected with any skin disease.

16-24. Whosoever he be … hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God—As visible things exert a strong influence on the minds of men, any physical infirmity or malformation of body in the ministers of religion, which disturbs the associations or excites ridicule, tends to detract from the weight and authority of the sacred office. Priests laboring under any personal defect were not allowed to officiate in the public service; they might be employed in some inferior duties about the sanctuary but could not perform any sacred office. In all these regulations for preserving the unsullied purity of the sacred character and office, there was a typical reference to the priesthood of Christ (Heb 7:26). No text from Poole on this verse.

Or crookbackt,.... That has a protuberance, or bunch upon his back, one that we commonly call "hunchbacked"; the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem paraphrase it,"whose eyebrows lying cover his eyes;''and so Jarchi, interprets it, the hair of whose eyebrows is long and lying; and so other Jewish writers understand it of some deformity about the eyes, the hair of the eyebrows being thick and heavy over them, and so hinder the sight, at least it makes the person not so sightly and graceful; it is said (b), he that hath no eyebrows, or but one eyebrow, is the "Gibben" (the word here used) spoken of in the law, Leviticus 21:20,

or a dwarf; one of a small stature, as Aben Ezra, as generally hunchbacked persons are, and so unfit to attend the altar, being scarce able to reach up to it, and do the business of it, as well as must make a very mean appearance; but the above Targums understand this also of some blemish about the eyes, paraphrasing it"or he that has no hair on his eyebrows,''just the reverse of the former; Jarchi seems to understand it of a thin small film upon the eye; though something of that kind seems to be intended in the next clause:

or that hath a blemish in his eye; a mixture, a confusion, or rather a suffusion in it, as the above Targum; in which, as one of them says, the white is mixed with the black, and with which agrees what is said in the Misnah (c), where it is asked, what is the confusion or suffusion? the white which spreads in the his, and enters into the black of the eye; it seems to be a white speck in the pupil of the eye, and so Jarchi, Kimchi (d), and others interpret it:

or be scurvy or scabbed; both these were kinds of ulcers, according to the Jewish writers, particularly Jarchi, who says of the first, that it is a dry scab within and without; and of the other, that it is the Egyptian scab, which is moist without and dry with it; and so the Targum of Jonathan:

or hath his stones broken; this is differently interpreted in the Misnah (e), and by other Jewish writers; some say it signifies one that has no testicles, or only one; so the Septuagint and the Jerusalem Targum: others, whose testicles are broken or bruised, so Jarchi: or are inflated, so Akiba, Aben Ezra, and the Targum of Jonathan; some understand it of an "hernia" or rupture, when a man is burstened: all which may in a moral and mystical sense signify either some defect in the understanding, or vices in the heart or life, which render unfit for public service in the sanctuary.

(b) Becorot, c. 7. sect. 2.((c) Ib. c. 6. sect. 2.((d) Ut supra, (Sepher Shorash.) rad. (e) Becorot, c. 7. sect. 5.

Or crookbackt, or a dwarf, {o} or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken;

(o) Or that has a web or pearl.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
20. a dwarf] lit. thin, hence shrunk, withered.

a blemish] lit. a confusion, obscurity.

Leviticus 21:20גּבּן a hump-backed man. דּק, lit., crushed to powder, fine: as distinguished from the former, it signified one how had an unnaturally thin or withered body or member, not merely consumptive or wasted away. בּעינו תּבלּל mixed, i.e., spotted in his eye, one who had a white speck in his eye (Onk., Vulg., Saad.), not blear-eyed (lxx). גּרב, which occurs nowhere else except in Leviticus 22:22 and Deuteronomy 28:27, signifies, according to the ancient versions, the itch; and ילּפת, which only occurs here and in Leviticus 22:22, the ring-worm (lxx, Targ., etc.). אשׁך מרוח, crushed in the stones, one who had crushed or softened stones; for in Isaiah 38:21, the only other place where מרח occurs, it signifies, not to rub to pieces, but to squeeze out, to lay in a squeezed or liquid form upon the wound: the Sept. rendering is μόνορχις, having only one stone. Others understand the word as signifying ruptured (Vulg., Saad.), or with swollen testicles (Juda ben Karish). All that is certain is, that we are not to think of castration of any kind (cf. Deuteronomy 23:2), and that there is not sufficient ground for altering the text into מרוח extension.
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