God and Homsexuality: Part 4 – “Eunuchs Who Have Been So From Birth” Matt 19

* WARNING* Today’s post is rather lengthy but, in my defense…it needed to be. 😉

Another week has gone by and it is time to discuss another passage from the scriptures that relates to homosexuality. Today I want to cover Matthew 19:3-12 mainly because of the discussion about whether or not people are born homosexual as well as whether it is “natural” or against nature. it is vital to have this discussion as we move into the New Testament verses regarding same sex relations.

And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”

The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” But he said to them, “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.”

The context of this section is marriage and divorce, let’s start with that. Jesus is approached by the Pharisees about whether or not the divorce practices of the day were lawful. Jesus answers  by telling them what God said to Adam and Eve. The Pharisees are unsatisfied with this answer and say, “But what about Moses?”  Jesus tells them that the law of Moses in regard to divorce were given because of the hardness of people’s hearts not because God wanted people to get divorced. Jesus has in essence brought marriage back to before the law and said the ideal is for people to get married, become one and not to separate and return to the homes of their families. Once again, Jesus makes it about the law of love.

Now the disciples decide to get involved in the conversation, they say, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” What comes next has always seemed really odd to me. Jesus starts talking about eunuchs! What do eunuchs have to do with it? Is Jesus just changing the subject or what? No, he isn’t changing the subject he is just expanding it to include the sexual minorities of the day. This appears to be a list of the people who should not marry members of the opposite sex. So the disciples say to Jesus, “this is hard, maybe its better for men and women not to get married” and Jesus says, “No, this is hard but the reason not to marry isn’t because it is difficult but rather is because of: how one was born, something that was done to them, or their choice not to marry for the sake of the Kingdom.”  These three groups are listed as: #1. “eunuchs who have been so from birth”, #2. “eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men” and #3. “eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven”.

Ok, now let’s address these three groups in reverse order.
#3. “eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven” – This phrase is also translated as, “others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven”, “some choose not to marry for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven”, and “others have decided to be celibate because of the kingdom of heaven”. It seems clear that these are people who have decided to abstain from sex with women for the sake of the Kingdom.

#2. “eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men” – This phrase referred to castrated males. This was a very common practice and was frequently done “early enough in his life for this change to have major hormonal consequences” and was “carried out on the soon-to-be eunuch without his consent in order that he might perform a specific social function.”

#1. “eunuchs who have been so from birth” –  AHA!!! Now we get to brass tacks! What exactly does this mean? Some say it means that Jesus is acknowledging that men can be born homosexual and some say that Jesus is merely referring to people who are born without testicles or who are impotent.

According to the Brown, Driver, Briggs, Gesenius Hebrew Lexicon, the Hebrew word for eunuch is saris and its derivatives. Saris is believed to be an Assyrian loan word. A secondary meaning of saris, from the Hebrew, is to castrate but Jesus speaks with divine authority when He teaches that not all eunuchs are castrated, Matthew 19:12. According to Jesus, some eunuchs are born that way, in distinction from a man who has been physically castrated.

Prominent evangelical professor, Dr. Robert Gagnon who believes all homosexual practice is sinful, put it this way,

Probably “born eunuchs” in the ancient world did include people homosexually inclined, which incidentally puts to the lie the oft-repeated claim that the ancient world could not even conceive of persons that were congenitally influenced toward exclusive same-sex attractions…

John J. McNeil, is a Jesuit Priest and also earned his PhD in Philosophy from Louvain University in Belgium asserts,

The first category, those born as eunuchs, is the closest description we have in the bible of what we understand today as a person with a homosexual orientation.

In the book, Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality, Jack Rogers makes some very insightful points about this passage.

Many commentaries focus on the discussion about divorce and miss the larger point of the passage. But look carefully: Jesus is asked a question about heterosexual marriage and divorce and immediately broadens the conversation to acknowledge three different types of sexual minorities in that culture…That is stunning, especially given that “the eunuch was persona non grata both socially and religiously” in that culture.

It is clear that Jesus did not see humanity as universally heterosexual.  Jesus recognized and acknowledged many types of sexual difference–even in a society in which such difference would have been downplayed, hidden, or even punished.

…the text which immediately precedes Jesus’ discussion of eunuchs, Jesus stands up for women. As Boheche observes, “Jesus counsels mutuality between husband and wife, rather than affirming the traditional laws of divorce which favored the husband.” And in the text which immediately follows our text, Jesus blesses the little children, another group who would have been largely ignored at the time.

Rogers also ties this passage to the story of Philip and Ethopian eunuch. He makes several good points here as well. First that an “angel of the Lord” directed Phillip to go down the road that led him to the encounter. Then the Holy Spirit directed him again to, “Go over to the chariot and join it.” He goes on to point out that this eunuch was the first Gentile to be baptized, and he was not just a Gentile but was a foreigner of a different race and ethnicity who also belonged to a sexual minority who was not fully welcome in the worship community. His baptism signaled a seismic shift in who was allowed to be a part of God’s Kingdom (The True Magic Kingdom).

It is also significant that the Eunuch was reading from the book of Isaiah. Theodore Jennings Jr., professor of biblical and constructive theology at Chicago Theological Seminary, discusses this fact extensively. He makes the point, “The Isaiah being read by the eunuch is the same prophet who specifically includes eunuchs in the divine dispensation.” Let’s look at the passage from Isaiah that the eunuch was reading:

Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter and like a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opens not his mouth. In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth.” (Isa. 53:8)

Nancy Wilson of the Metropolitan Community Church says,

The term ‘cut off’ is a reference to the curse that was placed on anyone that was exiled, executed by capital punishment, or did not reproduce. The Ethiopian eunuch was reading a prophesy of a Messiah with whom he could identify!”

Isaiah is also significant because it reverses previous prohibitions against eunuchs in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. In Isaiah 56:4-5 it says:

For thus says the LORD:
To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths,
who choose the things that please me
and hold fast my covenant,

I will give, in my house and within my walls,
a monument and a name
better than sons and daughters;

I will give them an everlasting name
that shall not be cut off.

The Eunuch had been visiting the temple in Jerusalem to worship, he was reading his own copy of the book of Isaiah (which would have been very rare) so it is quite likely he was aware of this text.
He was a man of faith and God honored it. The Holy Spirit could have chosen anyone to be the first Gentile convert and the Holy Spirit chose an black, African, sexual minority and his story was a picture of faith and commitment that was met with radical grace and inclusiveness.

In these two passages along with the parable of the good Samaritan we see God over and over expand the story. First he includes a hated, alien, outcast, “half-breed” Samaritan who exemplifies what it means to love your neighbor. Then he takes a question about heterosexual marriage and divorce and expands the conversation to include sexual minorities. Finally, the Holy Spirit guides Phillip to baptize the Ethiopian eunuch! In all three cases the formerly marginalized are welcomed and honored just as they are. That is the good news. Jesus welcomes the outcast, the marginalized, all races, all peoples, women, children, the disabled, the poor, the widow and even sexual minorities. The trajectory of scripture moves toward redemption. Isaiah makes it clear that eunuchs are being included in the Kingdom and Jesus makes it clear that there are “born eunuchs”; People whose natural attraction is not toward the opposite sex. From these passages we can conclude that at the very least, that Jesus was aware of sexual minorities, he didn’t condemn them, and that we are to welcome them into our worship communities.

47 thoughts on “God and Homsexuality: Part 4 – “Eunuchs Who Have Been So From Birth” Matt 19

    • His comments about men who have been eunuchs from birth could also refer to Asexuality. These are people who have no interest in sex at all. Currently, it’s estimated that 1% of the population is Asexual.

      • Tom says:

        one percent ??? that’s pretty low why would Jesus touch on such a small percent especially over thousands of years readers would have to relate to what Jesus said and gay population too would be definite as well as your point as well as anyone that couldn’t be natural to reproduce

  1. Some grist for your mill:

    † εὐνοῦχος, † εὐνουχίζω
    1. In the NT this word occurs only at Mt. 19:12 and Ac. 8:27 ff. The LXX has εὐνοῦχος but not εὐνουχίζειν.
    Outside the NT1 εὐνοῦχος (εὐνή, ἔχω), is used not only of men but of castrated animals2 and of fruits and plants which have no kernel or seed.3 In Soph. Fr., 721 (TGF, 301) εὐνοῦχα ὄμματα is used of “sleepless, wakeful or even watchful eyes.” The verb4 is often found in both act.5 and pass.6 and metaphor, with the obj.γῆν, Philostr. Vit. Ap., VI, 42 or with the obj. φάρμακον, Oribasius, Collectionum Medicarum Reliquiae, VIII, 2, 8 (ed. J. Raeder [1928] in Corpus Medicorum Graecorum, VI, 1, 1).
    2. To the Gks. the castration of living creatures is fundamentally alien. It is first found in the Orient. There eunuchs are the servants and overseers of women and later the confidants of nobles and princes, often rising to high positions of state. It is through oriental influence that eunuchs appear in the Gk. world. This influence is particularly clear in the cults of Asia Minor, esp. in the cult of Cybele, then of Attis and the Ephesian Artemis. Here depriving of manhood plays a role as a cultic act, and eunuch priests occupy a prominent place. It is rare outside Asia Minor. Castrated priests are called βάκηλοι or γάλλοι. The term εὐνοῦχος ἱερεύς is found in Vett. Val., 86, 34. Of the various theories7 as to the origin and meaning of self-emasculation and a priesthood of eunuchs the most probable is that which supposes that is is based on the desire to be like the godhead physically as well as spiritually. The crucial point is transformation into the mode of being of deity. Hence a realistic striving after mystica unio must be regarded as the essential root of cultic self-castration. He who has become similar to the deity is taken from the world. By the new relationship to the godhead he has become a new being. It is thus natural that the life of the emasculated should be dedicated to the deity. Their own act of heroic greatness, of a power which overcomes themselves and destroys their previous being, makes them ἁγνοί. They acquire the character of sanctity, have certain functions to perform at cultic festivals and enjoy public honour and recognition.8 εὐνουχία and παρθενία are regarded as equivalent in Athenag. Suppl., 33.9
    3. In the OT the castration of both men and animals is forbidden; it contradicts the divine will in creation, There were thus no eunuchs in Israel itself. The royal courts were an exception. Strict legal forces opposed the practice. They rejected it as a symptom of disintegration incompatible with the exclusiveness of the chosen people of Yahweh. They were ultimately concerned to ward off alien internationalising tendencies. Clear evidence is to be found in Dt. (e.g., Dt. 17:16 ff.). In Dt. 23:2–9 it is laid down that no eunuch is to be received into the congregation of Yahweh. It is hard to decide how far the rejection of the practice is for theological reasons, i.e., because the divinely created and natural state of sexual potency is destroyed, and how far it is due to a desire to maintain a natural, healthy patriarchal cultic order. Both impulses were probably operative.
    There is a different emphasis in the prophets. In the third part of Isaiah a universalist tendency present in earlier prophecy finds challenging expression in the statement that eunuchs will be allowed to enter the congregation (Is. 56:3–5). There is, of course, no question of a new cultic norm. A particularly difficult case is selected to show the boundless nature of the loving-kindness of Yahweh.
    The strictly legal view determined the practice at least from the time of Ezra.
    The eunuch is called סָרִיס in the OT. This word also has another meaning in the OT. In 2 K. 25:19 סָרִיס the is a man with a military commission. Jensen10 and Zimmern11 think that the origin of סָרִיס is to be found in an Assyrian ša rēši, ša rīši, strictly the captain at the head. סָרִיס thus denotes military rank as well as a eunuch. The סָרִיס does not have to be a eunuch. In Gn. 39:1 Potiphar is called a סָרִיס of Pharaoh. Acc. to Gunkel12 סָרִיס in Gn. 39:1 is to be regarded as an addition of the redactor.
    The Septuagint13 translates סָרִיס 31 times as εὐνοῦχος, 7 times in Da. as ἀρχιευνοῦχος (רַב־סָרִיס) and twice as σπάδων. רַב־סָרִיס. in Jer. 39:13 is taken to be a proper name (Ραβσαρίς) by Θ (Ἰερ. 46:13). At Ἰερ. 45:7 == Jer. 38:7 all the transl. except the LXX have ἀνὴρ εὐνοῦχος for אִישׂ סָרִיס. At Ἰερ. 41:19 == Jer. 34:19 the LXX has δυνάστης for סָרִיס.14 This emendation leads us to suspect that the LXX abides by the regulation of Dt. which excludes those who are mutilated from the cultus.15 The εὐνοῦχος of the LXX is often used, like εὐνοῦχος and סָרִיס elsewhere, for high military and political officials; it does not have to imply emasculation.16 Thus in Ἰερ. 52:25 the εὐνοῦχος is an ἐπιστάτης τῶν ἀνδρῶν τῶν πολεμιστῶν. In 2 Ἐσδρ. 11:11 (Neh. 1:11) εὐνοῦχος is a vl. for οἰνοχόος. In Est. 1:21 the word is used where one ought to have a proper name. In Est. and Da. it always denotes officers of the household of the king or queen.
    At the time of Jesus strong Hellenistic influences gave strength to the more liberal view alongside the legal and traditional. Joseph. tells us in Bell., 1, 488 that the three chamberlains of Herod were eunuchs; and Joseph. himself had a δοῦλος εὐνοῦχος as the teacher and mentor of his boy (Ant., 6, 492).
    4. Rabbinic Judaism thinks basically in terms of creation. The Rabbis teach unanimously that it is the duty of every Israelite to have children. He who does not sins against a divine command (Gn. 1:28: פְּרוּ וּרְבוּ). In S. Lv. on 22:2417 the Lv. passage, which in this first instance forbids only the offering of castrated animals, is taken to be a general prohibition of castration. For Rabb. Judaism the castration of men or animals is thus transgression of an express command of God.
    In Jeb., 8, 4–6 there is a distinction between the סְרִיס אָדָם, the one emasculated by men,18 and the סְרִיס חַמָּה, the one emasculated by nature.19 In Nidda, 5, 9 a twenty-year old youth to whom nature has denied all sexual potency is called a סָרִיס.20
    For the Rabbis marriage was an unconditional duty. There is only one known instance of a celibate Rabbi. In T. Jeb., 8, 4 we are told that Ben ’Azzai remained unmarried. He justified his attitude in the words: “My soul cleaves to the Torah; there is no time for marriage; may the world be maintained by others.” He was sharply blamed by other Rabbis.21 In b. Sota, 4b it is assumed that he was divorced, and acc. to b. Ket., 63a he had relations with the daughter of Akiba. The point of these statements is obviously to take from his unmarried state something of the blame which attached to it acc. to the Rabbinic view. The same Ben ’Azzai did, of course, proclaim the duty of marrying as a command, thus accepting theoretically the uniform line of Rabb. teaching. In T. Jeb., 8, 4 he says: “He who does not see to the continuation and propagation of the race (as commanded in Gn. 1:28), may he be accounted by Scripture as if he diminished the (divine) image.”
    In this connection we may again refer to S. Nu. § 99 and § 103 (on Nu. 12:1, 8).22 Miriam and Aaron complain that Moses has had no intercourse with his wife Zipporah and that he has thus violated a duty. But God justifies the conduct of Moses on the ground that He has required continence from him for the sake of his mission. Thus God can in certain special instances and at particular times dispense from the command of Gn. 1:28 which is otherwise binding on men. Normally the divine will in creation, which seeks the perpetuation and increase of the race, is to be fulfilled.
    J. Jeremias23 concludes from the unanimous teaching of the Rabbis that Paul, who at his conversion was an “ordained scholar,” must have been a widower rather than a bachelor. It is open to question whether this thesis can be brought into harmony with 1 C. 7, where Paul describes celibacy as a χάρισμα (→ I, 652). The personal confession of Paul in 1 C. 7:7 is best understood if we assume that he had never married.24 But there is not sufficient evidence on which to base a firm decision.
    5. Jesus Himself transcends the Rabbinic view. In Mt. 19:12 he differentiates three categories of εὐνοῦχοι: 1. those who are so from birth; 2. those who are mutilated; and 3. those who have emasculated themselves διὰ τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν. The only problem is whether the third group have made themselves εὐνοῦχοι literally or figuratively. Now one may hardly assume that Jesus had any contact with circles exposed to Hellenistic influences. Hence He cannot have had in view literal physical castration. He would have a horror of this like all true Jews. He is thinking rather of those who for the sake of the kingdom of God voluntarily renounce the sexual life and marriage. These men concentrate their energies on a goal which lies beyond the tasks posed by natural factors. The same idea is present as with the εὐνοῦχος ἱερεύς, but the practice is quite different. The goal to be attained is the establishment of the kingdom of God on earth. In this saying Jesus is thinking primarily of Himself, and perhaps of the Baptist. The pronouncement makes it plain that the early Church could renounce natural goods as well as enjoy them.25 The order of creation is affirmed by the Gospel, but it can also be denied for the sake of the kingdom, whose new order transcends the old order of creation.
    6. In Ac. 8:27 ff. we read of the eunuch of Queen Candace who comes to faith and is baptised. Here the prophetic saying in Is. 56:3, 4 finds its true and complete fulfilment. The eunuch is no longer shut out from the kingdom of God and the Christian community.26
    7. Mt. 19:12 had a strong influence on the early Church.27 Cl. Al. (Strom., III, 7, 59) takes εὐνουχίζειν figuratively, speaking of a εὐνουχίζειν ἑαυτὸν πάσης ἐπιθυμίας.28 Origen took the saying quite literally and emasculated himself, though later he repented of his act.29 The saying is often given a literal sense in early exegesis.30
    In the matter of admitting those mutilated to the ministry, the early Church followed Jewish tradition. It accepted the principle that only those without physical blemish should serve at the altar. Any who were castrated through no fault of their own might be admitted, but those who emasculated themselves were excluded.31 Canons 21–24 of Const. Ap. (VIII, 47, 21–24) give clear directions in this matter. They run as follows:
    εὐνοῦχος εἰ μὲν ἐξ ἐπηρείας ἀνθρώπώ ἐγένετό τις ἢ ἐν διωγμῷ ἀφῃρέθη τὰ ἀνδρῶν ἢ οὕτος ἔφυ, καὶ ἔστιν ἄξιος ἐπισκοπῆς, γινέσθω, (sc. ἐπίσκοπος).
    ὁ ἀκρωτηριάσας ἑαυτὸν μὴ γινέσθω κληρικός• αὐτοφονευτὴς γάρ ἐστιν ἑαυτοῦ καὶ τῆς τοῦ θεοῦ δημιουργίας ἐχθρός.
    εἴ τις κληρικὸς ὢν ἑαυτὸν ἀκρωτηριάσθω• φονεὺς γάρ ἐστιν ἑαυτοῦ.
    λαϊκὸς ἑαυτὸν ἀκρωτηριάσας ἀφοριζέσθω ἔτη τρία• ἐπίβουλοσγάρ ἐστι τῆς ἑαυτοῦ ζωῆς

    † † before the heading of an article indicates that all the New Testament passages are mentioned in it.
    † † before the heading of an article indicates that all the New Testament passages are mentioned in it.
    NT New Testament.
    NT New Testament.
    1 V. the individual instances in Liddell-Scott, 724 s.v. εὐνοῦχος. In the pap. P. Lond., IV, 1447, 171 (8th cent.); also BGU, III, 725, 14 and 29 (7th cent.). Cf. Preisigke Wört., s.v.
    2 Cf. P. Masp., II, 141, Fol. VII, Recto line 4 (6th cent.); Philostr. Heroic., I, 3. The verbal adj. εὐνουχιστέον (τοὺς μόσχους), Geoponica (H. Beckh, 1895), XVII, 8, 2.
    3 Among the Pythag. εὐνοῦχο is the name for θρῖδαξ (salad), Athen., II, 80 (p. 69e). Cf. also ibid., XIV, 66 (p. 652 a).
    Soph. Sophocles, of Athens (496–406 B.C.), the real poet of the Athens of Pericles, ed. A. C. Pearson, 1924.
    Fr. Fragmenta (-um).
    TGF Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta, ed. A. Nauck, 1889.
    4 V. Liddell-Scott, 724, s.v. εὐνουχίζω.
    5 Luc. Cronosolon, 12.
    pass. passive.
    6 Gal. De Semine, I, 15 (IV, p. 750, Kühn): Dio C., 68, 2.
    obj. object.
    Philostr. Flavius Philostratus, of Lemnos, representative of the Second Sophistic School, author as commissioned by the empress Julia Domna (d. 217), wife of Septimius Severus, of a life, containing many marvellous happenings, of the Neo-Platonic philosopher and thaumaturge, Apollonius of Tyana. His Heroicus is written in the same strain, ed. C. L. Kayser, 1870.
    Vit. Ap. Vita Apollonii.
    obj. object.
    Gks. Greek.
    Gk. Greek.
    esp. especially.
    Vett. Val. Vettius Valens, later Greek astrologist (2nd century A.D.), ed. W. Kroll, 1908.
    7 V. the express treatment of this question by L. H. Gray in ERE, V, 579, s.v. “Eunuch.”
    8 BCH, 44 (1920), 84, No. 16 (Inscr. from Lagina): οἱ σεμνότατοι τῆς θεᾶς εὐνοῦχοι; BGU, III, 725, 29: εἰς τὸν εὐδοκιμ[ώτατον] ἄπα Ὄλ εὐνοῦχον. Cf. A. D. Nock, “Eunuchs in Ancient Religion,” ARW, 23 (1925), 25–33.
    Athenag. Athenagoras, of Athens, Christian Apologist, who came over from Platonism and wrote a defence of Christianity to the Emperor Marcus Aurelius in 177, ed. E. Goodspeed in Die ältesten Apologeten, 1914.
    Suppl. Supplicatio.
    9 On this whole section cf. also E. Fehrle, Die kultische Keuschheit im Altertum (1910), esp. 104 ff.
    OT Old Testament.
    OT Old Testament.
    OT Old Testament.
    10 Zeitschr. f. Assyriologie, 7 (1892), 174, n. 1.
    11 ZDMG, 53 (1899), 116, n. 2.
    12 Komm. z. Gn. (1901), 379.
    13 In the section on the LXX I am much indebted to G. Bertram.
    transl. translated
    14 Ἀ and Ἄλλ: εὐνοῦχος.
    15 Cf. S. Mowinckel, Zu Deuteronomium, 23, 2–9, Acta Orientalia, I (1923), 82 ff.
    16 Cf. also Sir. 20:4 (though not Sir. 30:20).
    vl. varia lectio.
    Joseph. Flavius Josephus, Jewish author (c. 37–97 A.D.) in Palestine and later Rome, author in Greek of the Jewish War and Jewish Archaeology, which treat of the period from creation to Nero, ed. B. Niese, 1887 ff.
    Bell. Bellum Judaicum.
    Joseph. Flavius Josephus, Jewish author (c. 37–97 A.D.) in Palestine and later Rome, author in Greek of the Jewish War and Jewish Archaeology, which treat of the period from creation to Nero, ed. B. Niese, 1887 ff.
    Ant. Antiquitates.
    17 Cf. Str.-B., I, 807.
    Rabb. Rabbis,
    Jeb. Jebamot, Mishnah-, Tosefta-, Talmud tractate Marriage of those related by Marriage (Strack, Einl., 45).
    18 This is one who after birth loses the power to reproduce through human action. V. K. H. Rengstorf, Jebamot (1929), 106. Cf. Mt. 19:12: εὐνοῦχοι ὑπὸ ἀνθρώπων.
    19 This is one who lacks the power to reproduce by nature. V. Rengstorf, op. cit., 107 and cf. Mt. 19:12: εὐνοῦχοι ἐκ κοιλίας μητρός.
    Nidda Nidda, Mishnah-, Tosefta-, Talmud tractate The Menstruant.
    20 Cf. E. Munk, Nichtjuden im jüdischen Religionsrecht (1932), 91.
    T. Tosefta (Strack, Einl., 74 ff.), ed. G. Kittel-H. Rengstorf, 1933 ff.
    Jeb. Jebamot, Mishnah-, Tosefta-, Talmud tractate Marriage of those related by Marriage (Strack, Einl., 45).
    21 Cf. Str.-B., I, 807.
    b. Babylonian Talmud when before tractates from the Mishnah.
    Sota Sota, Mishnah-, Tosefta-, Talmud tractate Suspected Adultress.
    acc. according
    b. Babylonian Talmud when before tractates from the Mishnah.
    Ket. Ketubbot, Mishnah-, Tosefta-, Talmud tractate Rules for Marriage (Strack, Einl., 46).
    acc. according
    Rabb. Rabbinic.
    T. Tosefta (Strack, Einl., 74 ff.), ed. G. Kittel-H. Rengstorf, 1933 ff.
    Jeb. Jebamot, Mishnah-, Tosefta-, Talmud tractate Marriage of those related by Marriage (Strack, Einl., 45).
    S. Nu. Sifre Numeri, Tannaitic Midrash on Numbers (Strack, Einl., 201), ed. H. G. Horovitz, 1917.
    22 I owe this reference to K. G. Kuhn.
    23 J. Jeremias, “War Paulus Witwer?” ZNW, 25 (1926), 310 ff.; also under the same title ZNW, 28 (1929), 321 ff.
    24 Cf. on this pt. E. Fascher, “Zur Witwerschaft des Paulus und der Auslegung von 1 C. 7,” ZNW, 28 (1929), 62 ff.; H. Windisch, Paulus und Christus (1934), 129.
    25 Cf. Schl. Mt., 574.
    26 This important official of Queen Candace is not a proselyte (→ προσήλυτος) in the specific sense of one who is circumcised and has undertaken to observe the whole Mosaic Law. It can hardly be argued from Is. 56:3 ff. that he is a real proselyte. For here we have a prophetic vision and demand which can hardly be fulfilled at this point in Judaism. He obviously belongs to the group of adherents of the faith of the God of Israel whom Lk. in Ac. calls σεβόμενοι or φοβούμενοι τὸν θεόν. (Cf. on this pt. H. W. Beyer, NT Deutsch, V, 37; Zn. Ag., 313.) It is remarkable, however, that he has a copy of Isaiah, since non-Jews had difficulty in procuring such books.
    27 Cf. the discussion by W. Bauer in “Matth. 19:12 und die alten Christen” in Nt.liche Studien G. Heinrici dargebracht [1914], 235 ff.
    Cl. Al. T. Flavius Clemens Alexandrinus, of Athens, but doing his main work in Alexandria (150–215 A.D.), a leading representative of Christian culture, ed. O. Stählin, 1905 ff.
    Strom. Stromata.
    28 V. also Strom., III, 15, 99, 4: οἱ μὲν εὐνουχίσαντες ἑαυτοὺς ἀπὸ πάσης ἁμαρτίας.
    29 Cf. Eus. Hist. Eccl., VI, 8. He had changed his mind concerning the exegesis of Mt. 19:12.
    30 For examples cf. W. Bauer, loc. cit.
    31 For details cf. L. H. Gray, op. cit. (ERE, V, 583).
    Const. Ap. Constitutiones Apostolorum, a collection of early Christian writings (3rd–4th century A.D.), ed. F. X. Funk, 1905 ff.
    Schneider Johannes Schneider, Berlin (Vol. 1–2, 8), Berlin/Breslau (Vol. 3), (Vol. 4), Berlin (Vol. 5, 7).
    . Vol. 2: Theological dictionary of the New Testament. 1964- (G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley & G. Friedrich, Ed.) (electronic ed.) (765–768). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

  2. And here is the referenced Talmud discussion that distinguishes between types of eunuchs:

    8:4 A Said R. Joshua, “I have heard that:
    B “The eunuch performs the rite of halisah, and they perform the rite of halisa with his wife.
    C “And:
    “The eunuch does not perform the rite of halisah, and they do not perform the rite of halisah with his wife.
    D “And I cannot explain [the conflict between the two sayings].”
    E Said R. Aqiba, “I shall explain [the conflict between the two sayings].
    F “A eunuch castrated by man performs the rite of halisah, and they perform the rite of halisah with his wife,
    G “because there was a time in which he was valid [as a husband].
    H “A eunuch by nature does not perform the rite of halisah, and they do not perform the rite of halisah with his wife,
    I “because there was never a time in which he was valid.”
    J R. Eliezer says, “Not so, but:
    K “A eunuch by nature performs the rite of halisah, and they perform the rite of halisah with his wife,
    L “because he may be healed.
    M “A eunuch castrated by man does not perform the rite of halisah, and they do not perform the rite of halisah with his wife,
    N “because he may never be healed.”
    O Testified R. Joshua b. Beterah concerning Ben Megusat, who was in Jerusalem, a eunuch castrated by man, and they subjected his wife to levirate marriage—
    P thus confirming the opinion of R. Aqiba.
    8:5 A A eunuch does not perform the rite of halisah and does not enter into levirate marriage.
    B And so: a sterile woman does not perform the rite of halisah and is not taken in levirate marriage.
    C The eunuch who performed the rite of halisah with his deceased childless brother’s widow has not rendered her invalid [for marriage into the priesthood].
    D [If] he had sexual relations with her, he has rendered her invalid [for marriage into the priesthood],
    E for it is an act of sexual relations of the character of fornication.
    F And so: a sterile woman with whom the brothers have performed the rite of halisah—
    G they have not rendered her invalid [for marriage into the priesthood].
    H [If] they had sexual relations with her, they have rendered her invalid [for marriage into the priesthood],
    I for it is an act of sexual relations of the character of fornication.
    8:6 A A priest, a eunuch by nature, who married an Israelite girl, feeds her heave offering.
    B R. Yose and R. Simeon say, “A priest who bore sexual traits of both sexes who married an Israelite girl feeds her heave offering.”
    C R. Judah says, “A person lacking revealed sexual traits who was torn and turned out to be a male should not perform the rite of halisah, for he is deemed equivalent to a eunuch.”
    D A person bearing traits of both sexes marries but is not taken in marriage.
    E R. Eliezer says, “[Those who have sexual relations with] a person bearing traits of both sexes are liable on his account for stoning as is he who has sexual relations with a male [Lev. 20:13].”

    halisah The ceremony which severs the bond between a man and the widow of his brother who has died childless (Dt. 25:7–9).
    Neusner, J. (1988). The Mishnah : A new translation (355–356). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

  3. DeeAnna says:

    You always get my brain wheels a-turning. I’ve been thinking about this since I read it yesterday. I haven’t even peeked at what Eric posted above; looks like it’s worth a read too. But my thoughts are already so jumbled I thought I’d share what YOU inspired in me.

    1) I found your empasis on the “minorities” to be very thought provoking. More specifically, I thought of how the concept of “minority” is a very modern day thing, the way you mean it. I would say that in Biblical times, women, children, Gentiles, slaves, etc. were looked at as “lesser” or “other,” which isn’t (I believe) what the word “minority” means in our culture today. Looking it up (because that’s always fun for me), minority simply means the smaller number or part. Politically speaking, though, you’re kinda right on: “A member group having little power or representation relative to other groups within a society.”

    But I’d say, and forgive me, this will be crudely put as I haven’t really quite processed what I’m thinking here. This is a verbalizing as I go kinda thing, but I’d say: Jesus didn’t come for political change (John 18:36 and John 6:15). He came to change our hearts and perceptions, and the way we treat each other as a response to His Love for us. So… Thinking this… I think I’m more and more having a problem with the idea of “minority/majority.” I just really, really don’t like groupings and divisions. Now, I know: Society says. I know. But society is stupid. Society isn’t the way it would be if Christ were the Boss. I’m trying to play by His rules, not theirs, if that makes sense. I keep thinking Galations 3:28 over and over again. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” That’s been heavily on my mind since reading this. All divisions erased. All “one.”

    Okay, so that leads me to this thought: The Jews were probably the most elite minority ever, right? God’s chosen people? The ONLY chosen people, ever? So they’re the smaller number or part, compared to all the Gentiles ever, right? And let’s be honest, traditionally throughout history the Jewish people haven’t had a whole lot of polical power either. Even back in Ceasar’s (Jesus’) day; the Hebrews were simply not highly regarded politically. Paul was a Roman citizen, yes. But he was the exception, not the rule. Most Jews didn’t have power or influence.

    And Jesus himself? Isaiah 53:2-3. There was definitely nothing powerful about him, politically speaking. He had zero representation among other groups because there was no group he truly belonged to. Only Son of Man, right? So I’d say he’s the most minor minority in the history of ever. Okay, follow me on this one. Jesus’ life, his death, his teachings, all of it, point to erasing the divisions. He made the minority (Jews) and majority (Gentiles) one through his blood. He made male and female one through his sacrifice. He freed all the captives, broke the bonds of sin and made us all-even the slaves!- free, thus making slave and free one. He didn’t do any of this politcally. Isaiah 42 is wonderful.

    Okay, so Jesus, IMO, made us all exactly the same. Thus I reject the idea of “minority/ majority.” Do I think society rejects this idea? Nope. But it’s my job to walk in truth, love, and grace, right? So, thanks to you, I’ve fully processed why I so despise the idea of anyone being labeled or “grouped.” Thank you for that. You might have noticed how quickly I jumped to your defense when someone tried to label you, but until just now I didn’t know why I so passionately felt that needed to be done.

    I realize that I pick over words a lot. I don’t want you to feel beat down that I dislike your words. I just feel our language is so flimsy, and fails to communicate what we truly mean so much of the time. Often, our words communicate something we never intended too! So, I’m not telling you that word can’t mean something different to you. Just sharing what it now means to me. 🙂 It may help you, I hope, also to understand why I don’t believe it is better or less offensive to call a man the D-word, or to accuse men of being walking reproductive bits who just can’t control themselves around those “temptresses” that are women (sarcasm). I think it’s offensive to both sexes equally. It would have to be equal, if we truly are one, as I believe we are. So, I’m a feminist, but I’m a menimist (lol) too.

    2) I don’t understand at all your interpretation of what Jesus meant by the word “eunich.” Eunich, simply defined: 1-A castrated man, usually employed in a palace or in charge of a harem. 2- A male deprived of testes or external genitals. 3- One who lacks virility or power. The idea, quite frankly, is that a eunich is a man who cannot have sex with a woman. Jesus’ list indicates there are men who don’t “get busy” because of how they’re born, men who can’t have sex because of something that was done to their genitals to prevent intimacy, or men who CHOOSE not to have sex for religious reasons.

    Now, you’ll get no argument from me whatsoever that there are men who are born unable or unwilling to have sex with a woman because they are attracted to other men. I’m not one of “those Christians” who believes that people can’t be born gay. Again, sometime I’ll tell you why face to face. I also don’t believe that it’s unnatural. C.S. Lewis has a lot of great insight on homosexuality in his book “Surprised by Joy.” You should read it sometime. He agrees with my view that homosexuality is neither a “greater evil” than any other sin, nor does it deserve to be treated as such by believers. There is also much discussion about how natural a state sex is; yes, even homosexual sex. Sexual creatures having sex: Hi, hello NATURE. So you and I are utterly and completely on the same page when it comes to the fact that people can be born gay, and that it is NATURAL for those people to have sex. God made us sexual beings. All. Of. Us.

    Now, where we differ goes waaaaay back to me believing in the idea of “original sin,” or more specifically, the idea that all of what’s “natural” for humans isn’t necessarily evidence that those “natural” behaviors are in God’s will. I know Kent doesn’t believe in this idea, and I don’t know how to reconcile with the two of you on that issue. It’s plainly Biblical to me. But since I know it’s an area of disagreement, I shall set it aside and instead focus on the above areas where we DO agree.

    Okay, here’s the nitty gritty: Jesus’ words had nothing to do with what you said about “being inclusive.” This is a plain question and answer session.

    Disciples: Seriously? We can’t ever get divorced? Better to never marry then!

    Jesus: Well, not everyone will like this, but yeah. But if you don’t marry, be like a “euncich” and never hook up. If you MUST have sex, then you should marry. But if you can stay celibate, then yep, leave the marrying to less disciplined individuals.

    So, yeah, he acknowledged that there are different reasons men choose not to have sex. Some are born unable to have sex (Btw, this isn’t just gay men. There are men born with all kinds of things preventing them from being intimate with a woman. Boiling it down to JUST homosexuality is (I think) overreaching.), some are forced into celibate life, and some chose it. And Jesus says any of these are better than the sin of divorce.

    3) The eunich reading Isaiah: Here’s where your inclusivity argument truly belongs. We could almost add this to Galations 3:28, “Nor is there eunich and virile male.” Except that would be blasphemy. Don’t really add that. But you see my point, no? Yes, ALL belong with Jesus. Regardless of name, race, gender, physcial disability, past choices, etc. His blood covers ALL. Equally. Hallelujah! I just love my God. So I have to get a little Christian nerdy there. 🙂

    Love you Michelle!

    • APeene says:

      Are you aware that 1 in 100 people are born with ambiguous genitalia? The doctors and parents, historically, have made the decision to mutilate the genitals to turn the child into a “boy” or “girl” (usually a girl), regardless of what their chromosomes are or what their orientation would be. They must turn them into one gender or the other, or how will the church know whether to condemn them as a homosexual sinner? Also, approximately 1 in 426 are born with unusual sex chromosome combinations. In other words, a person may have sex chromosomes that are XXY or XXXY or even just a single X. In case you don’t know, typically XX is associated with female and XY with male.

      In your view, or perhaps the view of a church you are affiliated with, which gender are these people “ok” to fall in love with, have sex with, marry? Either way they go, they are committing a homosexual act. Perhaps you would like to make your choice based on what their genitalia look like.

      There are also very rarely, 1 in 65,000 people born as hermaphrodites—including male and female genitalia. Do they get a free pass by the church? Either sex is ok and they are not considered homosexual sinners?

      There are other conditions, one known as androgen insensitivity syndrome (1 in 20,000), where the person has XY chromosomes (male) and sometimes ambiguous genitalia, but other times an enlarged clitoris, short vagina and thin labia, and then at puberty they develop breasts and body curves. Who do you, and the church give permission for this person to fall in love with, have sex with, and marry without including them in your homosexual sinner catagory? Chromosomes say male, but body says female… it’s a tough one.

      Here is a scenario:
      A person who does not start menstruating as expected during adolescence goes to a physician to find out why. The physician discovers this person–whose outward appearance (including no penis) and sense of self are both female–has no uterus or ovaries, but instead has male (XY) chromosomes. Is this person male or female?

      M. Diamond (who did groundbreaking sexuality studies in the 70’s, 80’s into the 2000’s) states: “we cannot always define a person’s sex (or make assumptions about his or her gender identity) simply on the basis of the appearance of the genitals. Sexual identity is prenatally organized as a function of the genetic-endocrine forces, regardless of the appearance of the genitals.” (Henslin p204).

      If the church and the bible are so clear cut about homosexuality, please answer the above questions.
      Thank you,

      • AP,
        Excellent points. I find that people tend to pretend these folks don’t exist, but when you figure that there are over 7 billion people in the world that means 1 in 100 = 70,000,000. Either these people have to remain single and abstinent or they run the risk of sinning by choosing to marry the wrong gender.

      • Aren’t you both right?

        Michelle is correct that Jesus is listing people who can’t or don’t enter into marriage.

        APeene is correct in that this includes a divers many people.

        Perhaps you are both missing the fact that Jesus is liberating “Eunuchs” from marriage and the accompaning male/female gender norms. At the same time, Jesus is affirming that sex is designed for marriage.

        • Ben says:

          I think, and APeene, please correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like the frustration which APeene is conveying is based on the interpretation that Jesus is “liberating” sexual minority “eunuchs” from marriage into an existence where they are forced to be celibate, which according to Paul is a gift that few have. I don’t know what level of contact different folks here have had with sexual minorities, but I can tell you definitively, that most sexual minorities, like most heterosexuals, do not have the gift of celibacy. How is forced celibacy fair for sexual minorities who don’t have this gift?

  4. DeeAnna says:

    Or, to put it another way: Jesus “changed” the definition of eunuch from “man who CAN’T have sex with woman” to “man who can’t or WON’T have sex with woman.” That’s more like the terms you’re thinking in, right? So yes, in a way, I guess I can see how this would be more “inclusive” by making eunichs less of a rarity in Hebrew culture. (They, btw, weren’t such a rarity other places, and had influence too. They were a personal minority but not necessarily a political minority.) Anywho, yeah, Jesus could be viewed as saying, “That guy with no external genitals isn’t much different than the man who chooses celibacy.”

    But it’s not correct to say he was trying to communicate that a man who has sex with another man is no different than a priest who chooses to stay celibate for religious reasons. Just re-wording it so you’ll see why I don’t agree with the argument you made. Okay, done for sure now.

  5. Don Johnson says:

    In Mat 19 Jesus is correcting seven (7!) misinterpretations of Scripture that the Pharisees made. Many do not even recognize what the question in Mat 19:3 means. If you want to know more see David Instone-Brewer’s works on divorce or I can try to explain, but it gets into the Mishnah.

      • Don Johnson says:

        Matthew 19:3-12 Outline in Cultural Context from Mishnah
        3: Phar.: Is Hillel;s Divorce for “Any Matter” in Torah?
        4-6: Jesus: Gen 1-2 marriage is two for life!
        7: Phar.: Why did God command divorce?
        8: Jesus: God permits divorce for hard heart, did not command it
        9: Jesus: Divorce for ‘Any Matter’ is invalid!
        10: Disciples: Better not to marry! (An attempt to trump Jesus)
        11-12: Jesus: Marriage not required!! (Jesus double trumps them)

        The crucial insight is that Jesus does not answer the question posed by v. 3 until v. 9 this is shown by the indents above.

        Jesus Corrects 7 Torah Interpretations by Pharisees
        1. God designed marriage to be monogamous, not polygamous
        2. God wants marriage to be lifelong
        3. Divorce is not mandatory, even for adultery
        4. * Divorce for ‘Any Matter’ is invalid
        5. Husband is capable of committing adultery
        6. Marriage not required, some are celibate
        7. Infertility/repulsiveness divorces are invalid

    • Don Johnson says:

      I agree that “eunuchs that have been so from birth” is the category in which to place intersex people. Part of the challenge in reading any book of the Bible is that it was written in a different language in a different culture with different categories of organizing reality.

  6. Thanks for this, Im finding this series very interesting. Im amazed how you managed to turn the Matthew 19 passage into one about homosexuality though. Homosexuality is not explicitly mentioned in that Matthew 19 passage, and you selectively cite those who believe it’s implicit, but dont cite those who dont feel it isnt implicit. Then you ignore your bias by the time you reach your conclusion, and you start concluding things based on conjecture that you dont acknowledge. :/

    • What do you mean by ‘Homosexuality is not explicitly mentioned in that Matthew 19?’ To begin, the word and concept of ‘homosexuality’ did not exist in Jesus’ time as it exists today. However, we can deduce that the term ‘Born Eunuchs’ applied to men we consider homosexuals today, for one, they were not attracted to women, two, their disinterest in women were shown in their sexual desires for other men and three, they engaged in sex with other men. Aren’t these traits still a major part of the characterization of homosexuals today? Therefore, why is it so hard to accept that Jesus was indeed referring to gays? In addition, for those who care to insist that ‘Eunuchs’ are simply castrated men, well those castrated men were also used for sex with other men; Jesus would be aware of this and did not speak against it, so this also support the argument by gays and advocates.

      • I happen to be someone who was not born gay, and not born a eunich. I don’t engage in masterbation or sex with any parties. I consider myself a eunich for god. I think he was trying to show the different grades of eunichs. If your born one (missing testicles or impotent) , If your made on by men (they would cut off testicles if you were caught stealing, thats where TESTIFY comes from you would have to put your balls on the line ! ) and those that choose out of the love and faith for the creator to give up worldly passions and pursue true love. Like the statisonline says homosexuals arn’t mentioned and I believe because it has nothing to do with them.

  7. Who is like God? says:

    I believe eunuchs are natural transgender with no necessity to add feminine hormones. These are the ones who are born that way. These who are men made by men, means who are made priests. Those who are made for the sake of the kingdom of heaven, are those who seek for the sake of the Kingdom of God, and keep the celibate law in honor of God and Jesus. He who is able, to accept it. Let him able to receive it, none of them is acceptable before the people. This is what I have transcribed the scriptures of the Mathew Bible. Jesus condemned also Sodomites when he said, if Sodomites would have not rejected the prophets then Sodom and Gomorrah would have been here since today. The day comes that the it shall be like Sodom and Gomorrah in the city of Tyrus that it shall be tolerable in that city. Woe, to the city of Samaria and Tyrus…….

  8. Who is like God? says:

    There is another example, of a eunuch who was Dionysus Bacchus. He has had pigeon chest well proportioned and perfect. He has had the face of a woman who looks like an angel, and was the god of wine. Dionysus Bacchus is an eunuch male, who was born that way with female traits and male.

  9. Who is like God? says:

    In my understanding eunuch is gay male decent, or a gay man who vows to keep celibate or a gay man who seeks to be celibate for the sake of the kingdom. Sodomite means a gay prostitute male, or whore-monger, or a man who whores after other men for money purposes. Being eunuch is not sin. Being a sodomite is sin. It is the same, being a woman is not sin, but being a harlot is sin. It is the same level of morality. Eunuch who is a decent man is well seen by God. A gay man who seeks for sex for sexual purposes, disappoints God. Let’s say that eunuch can be a third gender. These are my opinions. I hope you are not offended by these terms. I hope some guys do not get offended by my words about homosexuality. I am just giving my opinions just like you and me and expressing my thesis about homosexuality and eunuch. Perhaps, I misrepresented, and I beg you to disregard this because maybe it may be a wrong thesis. Who knows? Maybe, eunuch is gay. Maybe, eunuch are gays who loves each other. This is something that only God knows. I consider myself an eunuch who was born that way. That’s it. My opinion. I respect yours and you respect mine. Let us put in order as a civilized people.

  10. Who is like God? says:

    I believe eunuchs who are born that way, who have female parts, are consigned to have surgery operation to become a female. Is this wrong thesis? Perhaps. Eunuchs are castratis, or male who are castrated by their male parts, for the sake of the kingdom of God, and some priests are castrated to be eunuchs in the catholic church. It happens. In ancient times, princes or guardians of the wife of the king were castrated to take care of their wives. Princes sometimes were eunuch were castrated and also if they find out they were homosexual, were assigned to be castrated and sometimes, when the male prince has had uncontrollable lusts with women were consigned to be castrated. In ancient times, the laws of castration were set up in Ireland or England times, when they castrated princes to lead them to take care of the king’s wives and it also happened in Babylonia kingdom and Assyrian kingdom. Because they believed that celibate was the highest grade and the highest morality and if someone was celibate was fortunate to sit before the kings and queens or obtain highest places in the palaces of the king. Eunuchs were the servants of the kings who were princes to take care of the king’s wives. This is what I have learned and read the capitula of medieval times.

  11. Tim says:

    The only commonality between the 3 types of eunuchs Jesus describes is that they don’t have a “natural” attraction to women, hence they aren’t candidates to be married. There is no indication that the eunuchs were sexually attracted to men, nor is any sense of homosexuality suggested.

  12. Jim says:

    What a twisted way to interpret scripture! Tell me, how do gay people procreate? To defend immorality, you neatly left out the beginning of your text – Matt 19:4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?

    He made Adam & Eve, not Adam & Steve. Why? For procreation! You will note that in the biological makeup of the 2 genders, their sexual organs complement each other. Only the fallen nature humans can twist it to be the reverse.

    • Josh says:

      who said gay people are supposed to recreate? the simple fact that they can’t proves that they shouldn’t. your adam and steve remark suggests that all people are gay and nobody can procreate. and who said procreation is the primary objective? not even jesus said that. wait, what was it again? love God and love your neighbor. nothing about procreation in there.

  13. Josh says:

    good stuff here. i wrote a very similar blog on thegodarticle.com. we came to the same conclusions. glad someone else has written about this!

  14. Sandbur says:

    Isaiah 56:4-5 NRSV

    For thus says the Lord:
    To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths,
    who choose the things that please me
    and hold fast my covenant,
    I will give, in my house and within my walls,
    a monument and a name
    better than sons and daughters;
    I will give them an everlasting name
    that shall not be cut off.

  15. craytoncreation says:

    You are saying that Jesus is using the same term to refer to both practicing homosexuals and celibate heterosexuals. What then is the definition of “eunuch” such that it encompasses both? From the passage, a eunuch doesn’t “receive” marriage. Is this your definition?

    It seems to me that the more straight forward reading is that “eunuch” is Jesus’s catchall term for people who don’t have sex and thus don’t “receive” marriage. If one is to read homosexuality into the passage anywhere then perhaps it should be in the third category where, despite functioning organs, individuals do not receive marriage.

    • Where do we get the idea from that Jesus’ identification of Eunuchs are men who abstain from sex? The emphasis is not on the sexual abstinence, but rather on MARRIAGE abstinence. It is well documented that Eunuchs who were ‘made so by man’ were engaging in sex with women, be it orally or penetratively; depending on their ability to become erect: others engaged in anal sex, which was very common among the Romans in Jesus’ time. However, these castrated men, were not allowed to marry, because they could not produce offspring. As for Eunuchs for the kingdom of God, these men did not marry, not because they lack the ability to have sex, but because their service to God would not allow them to do so, as they would then have to leave their wives and children behind as they journey far to do God’s will or their religious conviction had them to interpret holiness to mean separation from women etc. But this does not say these ‘religious Eunuchs’ were not engaging in sex, because it is chronicled that Monks would engage in sex with other men, Gnostic Christians who did not marry were also reported to engage in sexual acts. Therefore, one should not believe to be a Eunuch means celibacy.

      • Brother Ben says:

        The point I (CraytonCreation, sorry, two IDs) missed is that Jesus is not talking primarily about sexual activity, but marriage. However, I think that sexual activity and marriage have a close tie, and Jesus is relying on that closeness in his explanation.

        Why does Jesus say that Eunuchs who are “born that way” are unable to enter into marriage? What disciminating factor is Jesus using? Is he saying homosexuals cannot marry because marriage should only be between a man and a woman? I don’t think that is the point he is making; so what is it about eunuchs that disallows them from receiving marriage?

        I could dance longer, but I think the answer is as plain as day. Castration. Now, this may be explicit castration, as with the second group. It may be in the gray area of a congenital condition as with the first. Or it may be a willful turn from marriage (I’m inclined to think this is not merely self-castration).

        Is Jesus putting homosexuals in the first or third category? I don’t think he is identifying them at all. They likely fall into all 4 categories (adding those in marriage as the fourth category). These are not categories of sexuality but in how people respond to the call toward marriage.

        And I will add that the virtue of sexual activity outside of marriage is well documented in many passages of the bible, including the preceding verse about it being grounds for adultery.

  16. Keith says:

    I have written this to show you the flaw in your theory about “Born Eunuchs” being homosexual men. I have an enlightened mind in this matter, one that males can not have, because they are men, they are the makers of sperm(seed), that which gives them the right to be called man or men by the laws of the Almighty All Knowing God, and which is written down in all of his Holy Scriptures for the enlightened to truly understand.

    Men have sperm that is used during intercourse with a woman, too create offspring (Sons,Daughters and Eunuchs). The man’s sperm joins with the woman’s ovum (egg), thus causing procreation. This is known as man laying with woman. It is the act of depositing ones sperm (seed) into the woman’s vagina to try to produce a child or children.

    So as Jesus Stated in Matthew 19: 12 – For their are eunuchs that were born such from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs that were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs that have made themselves eunuchs on account of the kingdom of heavens. They that are able to receive this, let them receive it.

    Now let me explain this, well you know what males and females are, but apparently you need to be schooled as to what an eunuch is. A born eunuch can not be a homosexual man, because a born eunuch has no sperm (seed) only men have that gift from Almighty God. And only man can spill their sperm (seed) inside another man, and receive the wrath of God Almighty for the sin of man laying with man, or homosexuality as it is known today.
    Eunuchs born from their Mother’s womb are different genders than male and female, they are eunuch genders, let me explain further, thanks to science and medical technology today, we can now see what the Almighty God knows since before we are born. Male gender has the sex chromosomes of XY, and the female gender has the sex chromosomes of XX, eunuch gender has the sex chromosomes that can contain both of the sets of chromosomes of both the male gender and the female gender chromosomes or more or less of either X OR Y chromosomes. Science today gives male looking born eunuch’s many titles, some of which is Klinefelters syndrome or a variation of it call Klinefelters mosaic syndrome, for example the gender chromosomes for Klinefelters mosaic persons or born eunuchs of the past that are born of their mother’s womb are XYXXY, what all of the eunuch’s have in common, is that they can not procreate, meaning the born eunuchs that may look like males but have no sperm (seed) to deposit into a woman to procreate with her, to cause the creation of Sons, Daughters and Eunuchs. Thus eunuchs cannot procreate, yet in most cases they can have sexual relationships with each other or any of the other genders such as males and females. But born Eunuchs are, infertile the void of sperm. Now you may say to me how could someone from a thousand years ago or further back or even a hundred years ago before the time of science know if someone was a born eunuch or not, well that is easy, even though they may look like males, there are some differences, such as the size of the skull which falls between the size of a males and a females, the unusually long arms longer than males and females, the male looking born eunuchs for instance, the area of the scrotum is smaller, because of the non functioning and deformed testicles, and usually have more feminine looking bodies, breast tissue and more rounded features, the body and facial hair of the male looking born eunuch may be spare to non-existent. As to the sexuality of the born eunuchs they are heterosexual because they are the opposite gender of both males and females. But unlike males and females they don’t have the same drive or urge for sex as much as the procreating males and females. This is the first part of what Jesus says about “eunuchs born of their mother’s womb”.

    Now the second part of what Jesus said which pertains to,” eunuchs that were made eunuchs by men”, these eunuchs are not born with out sperm (seed), and they were born male, they had the gift of procreation removed from them by other men, their sex organs were either removed entirely or only had their testicles removed. This usually happened to male slaves taken in battle, so they could better serve there masters, by being submissive and less likely to cause violence again his master or his master property, their master’s also required them castrated so that could not procreate, so there was no worry of their master’s women becoming pregnant by them depositing their sperm (seed) into their master’s women. Depending on the damage done to their sex organs when castrated, controlled whether or not if they could have intercourse. Even though their testicles were removed they would still have sexual urges to some degree, but their masters had no worry of finding his women pregnant by his male slaves.

    Now as the the third part of what Jesus said about eunuchs, “there are eunuchs that have made themselves eunuchs on account of the kingdom of heavens”. Some people think that he is talking about people who remain celibate, such as some priests and monks, but this is flawed, seeing they are not eunuchs, they have sperm (seed) but prefer not to use the gift of procreation, so celibrate men are not eunuchs. But back in the time before, during and after the time Jesus came, there were men who castrated themselves, some where pagans would did it for their pagan Goddess they worshipped, but some followed the teaching of God Almighty and still castrated themselves, to not being tied down to a family and to better serve their Almighty God and spread his Holy Scriptures.

    So, “they that are able to receive this, let them receive it.

    Now that I have explained why eunuchs, whether they be born eunuchs, made by men eunuchs or made by their own hand eunuchs, they all have one thing in common, NO SPERM (SEED), can not deposit sperm into a woman, can not procreate with women, but provided they still have a working penis and it can get hard they can penetrate the woman or women but no offspring shall they receive from the sexual act of intercourse. Now you may say that what I said about born eunuchs is false, and you may use what science says about Klinefelters persons, that they are male because they have a Y chromosome or two, but Almighty God knows more than any scientist will ever know about human kind because he created us. Almighty God by his design males or men have sperm (seed) in which to procreate with women. So Klinefelters persons even thought they may look like males or men, they are born eunuchs in the eyes of Almighty God.

    Now I will address your theory that homosexual men are eunuchs because they don’t find women sexually attractive, eunuchs do find women sexually attractive, but either by being born eunuch or by the hand of man or their own hand, they may or may not be able to penetrate a woman sexually, but can pleasure her in other sexual ways that don’t involve penis insertion into the woman vagina. Homosexual men find the female body repulsive, not attractive, they prefer to penetrate men for the pleasure of sexual intercourse, they deposit their sperm inside each other, rather than inside a woman for procreation. You see a homosexual man or men, still have the ability to produce sperm (seed) for procreation, even though they don’t use it for procreation, they still have it, the sin of homosexuality or men laying with men, has nothing to do with men loving one another it has to do with wasting your sperm (seed) inside of a man, rather than depositing it inside a woman where it was designed by God Almighty to go for the purpose of creating offspring. So it is ok to love your fellow man, but not to unload your sperm inside of him, sperm is for the creation of offspring.

    So, as I see it, there is one way and only one way for two men to have sexual intercourse with one another without incurring, the wrath of Almighty God, for the sin of man laying with man as man lays with woman. They must do as it says in the third verse about eunuchs, that Jesus said, they must make themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven, or to clarify it, they must remove what will cause the offence against Almighty God, they must have no sperm (seed) to waste inside another man, only by castrating themselves, by removing their testicles, will they be able to have intercourse as a man does, but have no sperm (seed) to unload inside his male lover and offend Almighty God. So the only way for a homosexual or gay man or men too be called eunuchs and not offend Almighty God is to be castrated.

    Now if you are wondering how I know this is what Jesus meant in Matthew 19:12 of the Holy Scriptures, well the reason I am so enlightened about this subject is that I am a born eunuch, born from my mother’s womb. So I have a better perspective then does a man or a woman on what exactly a born eunuch is and how we see the world around us, and how we see the glories of God Almighty, our minds are not always clouded with the urge for sexual conquest as we so observe in the other genders of male and female that we share this earth with, by the glory of God Almighty.

  17. Keith says:

    Oh to answer another question, mentioned on the board here, the reason marriage is mentioned in Matthew 19 is that by God Almighty’s rules for procreation is that men and women marry for to procreate, to have offspring. To make a stable environment for to raise a family. But only men and women can marry, meaning only those that can procreate to bring forth offspring.

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