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Question 119.


I am an English only speaker who often uses an English translation of the Septuagint in my Biblical studies. When I find variations in the Septuagint from the other English translations that I use, I try to look up the actual Greek definitions to understand the differences.
In Exodus 40:2 my English translation of the Septuagint reads:
2 On the first day of the first month, at the new moon, thou shalt set up the tabernacle of witness, While the King James Version and most all other English translations read:
On the first day of the first month shalt thou set up the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation. Most English translations leave out the "at the new moon" phrase that the Septuagint has.
My question is about the Greek word used for "new moon". When I look up
νουμηνίᾳ in my Greek lexicon, I have not been able to find the word. Is this the word for new moon and does it always mean new moon or does it have other meanings as well?

Thank you in advance for any help that you can provide.
Michael S.

Answer to Question 119.


Dear Michael,

If your dictionary is modern Greek then it won't have the word νουμηνίᾳ because it is an ancient Greek word. Literally it is a compound word of new and month but it means new moon. The Israelites didn't have a fixed calendar like we have today. The religious authorities waited for confirmation from two of three witnesses of the sighting of the first sliver of the new moon to announce the first day of the new month. The word νουμηνίᾳ is also found in verse 15 of the same chapter according to the Septuagint (verse 17 in the KJV).

Nουμηνίᾳ could also be translated as the Feast of the new moon because every new moon was a religious feast in which the Jews were obliged to observe, by attending religious worship, and offering sacrifices (see Numbers 28:11). In this sense it is also used by St. Paul in his Epistle to the Colossians (2:16) "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days]".


In Christ

Fr. Christopher Klitou