BIBLE HISTORY DAILY

Eunuchs in the Bible

What is a eunuch in the Bible?

But he said to them, “Not everyone can accept this teaching, 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 others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.”
—Matthew 19:11–12

stephen-patterson

Stephen J. Patterson discusses what Jesus meant when he referred to “eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.”

Should the above words of Jesus from the Gospel of Matthew be taken literally? Is he saying that men—who can—should emasculate themselves?

The initial question that prompted this controversial teaching about eunuchs in the Bible actually concerned marriage.
When asked about marriage and divorce in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus informs his crowd that anyone who divorces—other than for reasons of unchastity—and marries another, commits adultery (Matthew 19:9).

Upon hearing this, his disciples respond, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry” (Matthew 19:10). Jesus then says there are indeed some who are called to be eunuchs “for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.”

What is a “eunuch” in the Bible passage? Is Jesus talking literally about castration—or just metaphorically about celibacy? Stephen J. Patterson, the George H. Atkinson Chair of Religious and Ethical Studies at Willamette University, addresses this question about eunuchs in the Bible in his Biblical Views column “Punch Thy Neighbor” in the May/June 2015 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review. He believes that the passage should be taken literally—that Jesus is talking about castration:

Scholars squeamish at the thought of Christian castrati have sometimes insisted that this passage must be referring metaphorically to celibacy. But that is nonsense. If Matthew’s author had meant to speak of celibates (parthenoi), he knew perfectly well how to do that. In a religious context, eunuch had to mean eunuch, else he would simply have confused his audience. In the Book of Matthew, Jesus advises men (who can) to emasculate themselves!

This interpretation is as controversial and countercultural today as it would have been in the days of Jesus—a time saturated with masculine dominance and power. In the Roman world of “phallo-dominance,” castration would have set anyone apart. Stephen J. Patterson explains that Matthew’s eunuchs “remov[ed] the thing that ancients most associated with male power and dominance. This is how they chose to embody the kingdom of heaven on earth.”


In the free ebook Who Was Jesus? Exploring the History of Jesus’ Life, examine fundamental questions about Jesus of Nazareth. Where was he really born—Bethlehem or Nazareth? Did he marry? Is there evidence outside of the Bible that proves he actually walked the earth?

Yet not everyone agrees with Stephen J. Patterson on this issue. Birger A. Pearson thinks that this passage about eunuchs in the Bible should be taken metaphorically. He makes the case that Jesus is speaking in hyperbole in his BAR article “Did Jesus Marry?”:

While some people in the early Church took Jesus’ saying literally, we should understand it as a case of deliberate hyperbole, such as is found in other of his injunctions (see, for example, Matthew 5:27–30 on adultery: “… If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.”) The point Jesus is making about the eunuch is that it is possible for a man to live on earth as he would in God’s kingdom, where there is neither marriage nor procreation. Jesus is challenging people who are “able to receive it” to live a life of celibacy for the sake of the kingdom, and thus to live now as though the future kingdom had already come.

While there will likely always be debate about this passage, both sides can agree that Jesus’ teaching ran contrary to the majority’s opinion about power and dominance in the Roman Empire. For more information about eunuchs in the Bible—and a literal interpretation of Matthew 19:11–12—read the full Biblical Views column “Punch Thy Neighbor” by Stephen J. Patterson in the May/June 2015 issue of BAR.

——————

BAS Library Members: Read the full Biblical Views column “Punch Thy Neighbor” by Stephen J. Patterson in the May/June 2015 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

Not a BAS Library member yet? Join the BAS Library today.


Read more articles about eunuchs in the Bible in the BAS Library:

Birger A. Pearson, “Did Jesus Marry?” Bible Review, Spring 2005.

P. Kyle McCarter, Jr., “Biblical Detective Work Identifies the Eunuch,” Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 2002.

J. Daniel Hays, “From the Land of the Bow,” Bible Review, August 1998.

Yehudah Rapuano, “Riches at Ein Yael: Did Philip Baptize the Eunuch at Ein Yael?” Biblical Archaeology Review, November/December 1990.


This Bible History Daily feature was originally published on May 4, 2015.


 


48 Responses

  1. Rinatus says:

    With what evidence to prove that popes and fathers have secret marriages??

  2. fraser Crest says:

    It does not matter all that much, really. If it was not meant for you, you wouldn’t understand, right? Maybe it does refer to the old practice of castration (didn’t eunuchs attend to princesses and queens, like in “History of the World” by Mel Brooks, where Madeline Khan inspects the eunuchs and a slutty dance is performed in front of the candidates and if they get aroused, then they knew they were not eunuchs? Which only meant their nuts were snipped, it did not mean they had no genitalia at all). That “practice” is virtually unheard of today. Celibacy among the clergy has been a failed experiment since it’s inception to prevent the clergy from willing church property to their children and the church having to support big families. I say “failed” because, throughout its existence within Catholicism, there are reported abuses, including many popes who were married or had mistresses and scads of children, secret marriages, affairs and children as a result, and child sexual abuse and rape, and evidence of infanticide and unmarked graves. It is a failed system.

  3. RSJ says:

    Jesus was clearly talking about a male that was born “different” if he had meant a man who just chose to be single he’d have used a different word….you can argue whether this has any relevance to homosexuality being a born trait but it was obvious Jesus was saying that some men were BORN different and it was OK for them to be single…why can a man be born a Eunuch (meaning an effeminate male or one who was not capable of having sex with a woman) but the idea that someone is born with the desire for the same sex be impossible?

  4. barbara says:

    If you are not called to it why object it is not a commandment I am called to this as a woman and Jesus gives the Grace to fulfil it as any thing He calls us to do don’t marvel at the denial of self .Pick up your cross and follow HIM..Become one with Him .

  5. Pier Tulip says:

    The kingdom of heaven can only be reached without sexual intercourse. The development of this assertion leads us to hypothesize an alternative Eucharistic food. From: Krst – Jesus a solar

  6. Michael Newton says:

    the obvious connection here is to the well attested practice of self-castration that some followers of the Anatolian earth goddess Cybele enacted – an initiation rite in to the after-life mysteries that the goddess promised. While no sanctuaries to Cybele have been discovered ( so far) in the Holy Land, it was a cult practised empire-wide, and thus knowledge of its beliefs and processes of self-sacrifice required to attain a proper belonging to the cult would have been available.

  7. ใน says:

    Jesus refers to his own experience. He was able to re-enter the Kingdom of Heaven, here and now because of the removal of testosterone.

  8. David says:

    Great post Joy

  9. David says:

    What I believe He is talking about it not castration at all, but those who choose to accept being celibate should do so, if they can accept it.

    Not everyone can abstain from sex or block out the temptation.

  10. Joy says:

    I can hardly believe some of the translations people come up with. I was truly
    hoping for a more spiritual understanding of Jesus’s words. Once again I am
    disappointed in the commentaries. After all it was his words that I truly want to understand. The question to him was about marriage and divorce. Then we are led into the subject of eunuchs. At the time this was written a eunuch was
    a chamberman or one in a place of great trust in a household one who would have not only the trust of the master of the house but also the ear. He was not
    always castrated. That practice was a much more eastern practice and yes the harem was over seen by men who were castrated but also eastern monks castrated themselves to give their whole devotion to whom they worshiped.
    Also there were men born who had no testicles or only one. Or they had a penis and testicles so small they were mistaken for girls and vice versa.
    When the disciples said would it be better to not marry at all I was hoping for a much clearer message myself. I’m always brought back to how frustrated
    Jesus would get with his disciples because they couldn’t understand the parables. I have to wonder how frustrated he must be with us having eyes to see and ears to hear. So I think I will go for a simpler more obvious translation. Devotion to God and His Son Jesus Christ is the highest of all loves and it is a living spiritual love. No matter how you are made the right thing is the only thing that matters. Love is the answer.

  11. Mary says:

    Romans 1 clearly says that a man with a man and woman with a woman is not right or natural.

  12. Mary says:

    If someone is born without genitals it doesn’t mean that their chromosomes in that area are not there. Regardless of genitals or not doctors always know if it is a boy or girl.

  13. Mary says:

    1Corinthians 7 DOES NOT mean that man can marry man and woman can marry woman NO WHERE DOES IT SAY THAT!

  14. james warren says:

    I always thought Jesus was perhaps telling a larger truth that love of Yahweh has nothing to do with what sorts of sex organs [or lack of them] one may possess.

    I would like to be respectfully challenged and informed if I am wrong. After all, I have long given up the notion that I can read minds or guess intentions of anyone living 2,000 years ago!

  15. Bill says:

    THANK-YOU BRIAN!!!
    I appreciate you talking about that elephant in the room. If God made us all in his image, and many of us are born without normal genetalia – or chromosomal profiles, then He, at least, understands that we are not all either 100% male, or 100% female.
    Bill

  16. MaraNatha says:

    I don’t get why it is so hard to understand these sayings. A eunuch was a man who was not sexually active and couldn’t procreate or was celibate. He became this way in one of the following ways; 1)born that way. He wasn’t “born gay” and I’m sick of the LGBT community and false Christians saying this! God clearly detests homosexuality. To be born a eunuch mean’t you were born with a physical defect of the male genitalia. 2)Another way one became a eunuch was through castration, usually done to men who oversaw a king’s harem. 3)And the last way to become a eunuch involved celibacy, abstaining from sex and devoting your life to the service of the Lord. A eunuch(of #1 & #2) of the seed of Aaron was not allowed to become a priest (Lev 21:20 and surrounding verses). It was considered a blemish when pertaining to the priesthood.
    All three types of eunuchs had one thing in common. They were not sexually active!! And this totally throws out the false assumption of homosexuality (eunuchs being “born that way”) being okay in the Bible!

    How did I come to my conclusion of eunuch? A careful study of Scripture, praying for wisdom, examining all viewpoints and coming to the logical conclusion.

  17. Joseph maritim says:

    Maritim: I have found this an interesting topic for a biologist with little knowledge on religious studies. My community (The kipsigis of kericho county, Kenya) for a long time practised female genital mutilation. the practice has not been totally been eliminated. I wonder if this is in any way related with castration, especially in the context of making one pure.

  18. Johnson D. Choppala, Founder- President of OASIS International Eunuch Welfare, Inc. says:

    I want to draw your attention to what Paul said of another case of physical mutilation, circumcision. Romans 2:29 “but he is, a jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision IS THAT OF THE HEART, in the spirit,not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God”.
    You are an eunuch if you take an oath of celibacy for purity before God. Man sees the outside while God sees the inside. BE BLESSED!

  19. Johnson D. Choppala, Founder- President of OASIS International Eunuch Welfare, Inc. says:

    I am Johnson Choppala, Founder president of

    I want to draw your attention to what Paul said of another case of physical mutilation, circumcision. Romans 2:29 “but he is, a jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision IS THAT OF THE HEART, in the spirit,not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God”. You are an eunuch if you take an oath of celibacy for purity before God. Man sees the outside while God sees the inside. BE BLESSED!

  20. Christopher says:

    The bibles given to me essentially say that one would forgo marriage for the Kingdom, or lives like a eunuch for the sake of the Kingdom. There is what Paul says in 1 Corinthian 7, and also no example of anyone emasculating themself for the Kingdom throughout the entire Bible. There is the example of the baptism of a eunuch that landed I believe Philip into a spot to hangout with our Living Lord Jesus, but we are not told nor do I assume Philip to have been a eunuch. Also what drove off many followers was God’s true claim of HIM being the living bread. And a circumcision was done after the gospels to appease Jewish believers (I think that castration would have driven Jews away from the truth).

    To me self emasculation seems difficult. I mean it is easier to not marry than it is to marry. It is easier to not marry than to emasculate yourself. And our Lord’s yoke is easy, HIS burden light. I’ve seen clips of people doing this. I also read reports of someone who emasculated animals, and one day he emasculated himself. He was a Christian, yet even he had to go to the ICU or at least the emergency room because of infection. I also heard stories of people who try to emasculate themselves and end up hurting themselves while being unsuccessful and still have to go to the emergency room. My belief in Christ keeps me out of the doctors. You would also only do this to yourself with faith in our Lord Jesus which I do have, yet if I can move mountains with my faith then why not remove my genitals with faith?

    There is also Jesus’ statements on the log in your own eye, and the whole “he who can grab hold of this” let him. No joke its like the log in your eye seems to be your penis, and its like I can spiritually grab hold of my penis. Spiritually its like a worm scooting about my body. I’ve noticed this after thinking about Matthew 19:12. It almost pulled me away from God. Something actually brought me to my knees, and it was like I was barely hanging on to my faith until I realized I miss read the verse in “my” bible.

    It hurts a bit the thought of cutting off my boys because I’ve always wanted two is better than one when two become one flesh love, and Jesus is a God of love. Its also an understanding that most eunuchs become fat after. Paul goes on to say though that, “He wishes agitators to emasculate themselves.” And he calls circumcision mutilation. Its like The Holy Bible is right and perfect. We are flawed. There is Elohim, and the devil is red. We are to be as we are when Christ calls us. Eunuchs are not circumsized or uncircumcised they are with nothing to circumsize. Also castrated men are not able to lawfully attend the Lord’s assembly, just like women are to keep quiet in the assembly (keep in mind though law abiding and God fearing women were sought after by leaders for God’s advice).

    One night I slept with the NIV under my pillow and I woke up crying real tears. Then I tried it with the KJV and I had this sort of commical dream of me trying to pull myself out of the bible. It was like I sat on the bible and was sinking into it butt first as though the bible had turned into a portal. Then I had another dream, and this voice asked me something and I told it, “because I don’t want to cut off my parts.” But something is up though with my dreams. Like visions and dreams I feel like have been tampered with by demonic forces. And by her magic spell she lead the nations astray. One example is my brother-in-law, who hates me for my faith, told me the dream I was about to tell him before I told him; and I had told no one else this dream. Then I had a dream with a masonic teacher in it and in the dream students block the passage way to the theater until she says, “No! Let him enter.” Then later that morning my sister takes me to Kroger, and there the teacher is waiting for me in disguise no less. Like waiting for me tapping her foot because I had just written this new praise a couple days ago. So I know something is up with my dreams. But somethings happen in real life that happen in my dreams that match dream interpretations from online. I also know that something happens when a man is castrated. There is a reason why guys had it done to other guys, and its is more than for reasons of making a man in capable of sex. Eunuchs can still recieve, and finger bang, and the eunuchs who have just their testicles removed can still have sex with their penis. Its like something special happens to you when you’re castrated by another, but something really special could happen when you castrate yourself for your mother the New Jerusalem.

    Matthew 19:12 is the most controversial verse in the whole bible in my opinion. It is the verse that differs the most between other versions. And I noticed something; the king james, American, English, and Holman bibles, bibles by the state or for a group of people (excluding the bible for Jews) say castration is done for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. The International, Living, God’s word versions say essentially celibacy to where one is safeguarding himself even from the uncleanness caused by male ejaculation for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. Versions are written to counter other versions because they disagree with Matthew 19:12. It seems that there maybe more versions saying one should emasculate themselves, but there are more copies in use of versions that state celibacy in Matthew 19:12. I know its a serious deal. Like if you remove your penis and balls for the sake of the kingdom of heaven something will happen, you will be changed drastically. But I don’t want to be effeminate, or a submissive homosexual because this would bar you entery into heaven. But better than having no private parts is having your flesh crusified and bearing the wounds of Christ. We’re not supposed to boast in our flesh, and to be an open example (except with charity and prayer). No matter what I’m not ashamed. I personally don’t hate the KJV (probably the most popular of all the bibles that command castration) but I’ve always choose the NIV before I even realized the difference. I will say the first english version translated made by the printing press states chaste, and the church defines chaste as being pure by will not mutilation (the first english version states gelded which is like complete removal of everything.) And an example of a eunuch by birth that I came across is this guy who appeared on the Doctor Oz show who had his penis and testicles yet could not conceive marriage because his genitals remained as they were when he was a boy. He had no pubic hair, and he could not ejaculate. He was tall with the body of a man, but I think like he lacked facial hair, and body hair. Still though, not a eunuch in the modern sense of the word, but fits the example of the first set of eunuchs mentioned in Matthew 19:12 (also some versions I think state “not sex minded” like functioning parts but no drive.) If anyone has castrated himself for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven I would like to talk to them, and if I’m guided to do so I’ll let you guys know how things go!

  21. John P says:

    Why is the first part of the text avoided? Those who were that way since birth. Seems that every time a scholar comes across a difficult text, it’s simply ignored. Any answers here?

  22. Richard Wilson says:

    Mathew 19:10-12 Jesus is not instructing men to emasculate themselves. Jesus (PBUH) is merely describing three subsets of eunuchs. Eunuch are neither male or female but eunuch. The Noble Qur’an instructs that Allah created Male, Female and those who are non–procreative (eunuch). The Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) consistent with Jesus (PBUH) instructs that all men who are able to engage in coitus with a woman should marry. However, those who did not have the “defining skill” of a male (e.g. the ability to engage in coitus with the woman) should not marry for it would “unerve him”. All men who lacked the ” defining skill” were eunuch by default. In that time period, simply being born with male genitalia did not determine male gender. What determined whether one was male was having both the genitals and the “defining skill of a male”. The historical and archival record supports this little known fact. Eunuchs are a separate gender variant. Also, the church’s limited definition of eunuch doesn’t stand-up to the archival record. For example, the laws of Persia, Babylon, Rome document that castrated citizens could not own property or get married. However, eunuchs could own property and get married. Code of Hammurabi is the first and oldest legal code in history. In the code one finds laws governing the natural born children of eunuch. How could a eunuch have natural born children, if the eunuch was castrated as the church would have you beleive. Its important to note that these ancient empires were theocracies, thus laws reflected the religious beliefs of these societies. Eunuchs for the kingdom are not emasculated. The church should reconcile their teachings with the facts that are available in the historical and archival record.

  23. Daniel says:

    To this Day i only know love that comes from the GRACE OF GOD,mIGHT AS WELL GROW IN THAT. the things of the world perish and these days GOOD luck putting all your hope trust and love in a Female that was created from a male. Ill go with the love from above. did i mention i was poor and love not the things of the world what am i even talking about my HOPE is for the kingdom of God. Present day Kingdom of man NO THANKS.

  24. Daniel says:

    What is a eunuch in the Bible? Ever since i read the eunuch saying by Jesus ive always wanted to receive it. well 10 years later and after many many many failings due to STIMULANTS and free adultery i mean porn led to sexual immorality alot worse than i started out with. but as someone going eunuch today 9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a] 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.1 Corinthians 6:9-11…..in other words id rather go eunuch than sin. Thanks be to the power of God…im thinking about a wife but as the apostle paul says ….Each person should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.1 Corinthians 7:20…
    33but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, 34and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. 35This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.…1 Corinthians 7:33-35

  25. Arthur Tracy says:

    I did not know that meaning

  26. The Oncoming Storm says:

    jesus was not advocating the practice of castration in ANY way. if one looks at the preceding verses, he was discussing divorce and how it can lead to adultery. one of the disciples (presumably peter) asked him if it was advisable to marry at all then. how does 19:11 start? “Not all men make room for the saying, but only those who have the gift,” as in the gift of reproduction which is indicated by the discussion of castration.

    he ends verse 12, not by saying “let anyone accept this who can,” as if referring to the act of castration, but “Let the one who can make room for it make room for it,” in regards to having a wife. in other words, he was saying that the one who can make room for being married and who is willing to accept the charge of “one flesh”, then let them make room for it.

  27. deborahw45 says:

    Brain,
    Verse 5 simply says ‘do not defraud’. Please do not add words to this. It does NOT say ‘do not refuse” or do ‘not do deprive’. There are many times where refusal is the correct thing to do (request for a three-some) and many times that one spouse may feel deprived (following childbirth). The preceding chapter of Corinthians speaks of ‘immoral’ sexual situations. Paul is continuing his talk and answering questions. If you have sexual desires ‘here is the way to handle that’ – get married…….is what he is saying. But you don’t get married and continue to act like you are single are continue to be immoral. It is up to the married spouses to work out the rest. Each have the exact same authority. Each can ‘refuse’ for a valid reason, each may feel ‘deprived’ for a valid reason – but neither spouse should permanently and intentionally defraud the other of sexual relationships. That’s what marriage is for – a sexual relationship to fight off Satan’s temptation.

  28. Mark says:

    Based on number 12, Thomas’ comment.

    Thomas, it’s not as simple as you say. Notwithstanding, if a young boy shows feminine tendencies, it not natural — it reflects the curse.

    “The teaching in Matthew 19 therefore would give gay men the option of celibacy or a monogamous, loving relationship with another man — not pederasty, rape, orgies or temple prostitution. True, that interpretation contradicts the purity code of Leviticus, but it is in keeping with teachings that Christians need not be circumcised.”
    No — Matthew 19 would not give homosexuals any options whatsoever since it was theologically precluded long before; and God never let up even slightly in its condemnation, which crescendoed in the well known 1Corinthians 6:9, making certain they understood they could never enter the kingdom of God — in that condition — they would have to repent. No way to spin that lifestyle into acceptability. That would be pure eisegesis.
    A male and female living in a sexual relationship have the option to marry, and therefore be blessed. Homosexuals have no such option.
    The purity code? That is the law of God, not some modern psychology seminar.
    You are also forgetting about the moral law, which never ceased along with the dietary laws. Circumcision is not a problem — Paul was talking to Jews who had to learn to comprehend the impact of the New Covenant, and had to unwind from centuries of conditioning; otherwise, circumcision in-and-of-itself is fine to do.

  29. ralph ellis says:

    >>Chavoux says
    >>Josephus was a Galilean; does that make him a eunuch as well?

    Not all Christians are priests. Not all Galileans were eunuch Galli. As Jesus said, “Let those who can accept this, do so”. And as pseudo-Lucian said, certain of the Galileans whipped themselves into a frensy during a parade, and whipped off their testicles and threw them through a window. And if a lady caught them, she had to give the Galli a dress. But note it was just a few, not all.

    And as you know, Josephus was as anti-circumcision as Saul was, so the chances of Josephus becoming a Galli castrate was nil to nonexistent. Face facts – Jesus was a Gallilean and had Galli among his disciples. But which one? Peter?

    Ralph

  30. Chavoux Luyt says:

    Josephus was a Galilean; does that make him a eunuch as well?

  31. ralph ellis says:

    >>Ralph, you are nuts. The land of Galilee has nothing to do with Galli.
    >>The name of Galilee comes from the Hebrew HaGalil and has nothing
    >>to do with eunuchs. You are confusing Hebrew culture with Roman culture.

    Do you ever do any research, before posting? The Galli eunuchs were technically illegal within the Roman Empire. This was a Syrian cult that originated in Parthia, and arrived in Syria courtesy of Queen Thea Muse Ourania and the resulting Edessan monarchy.

    The Galli had nothing to do with Rome, and everything to do with the Galileans – just as Josephus Flavius clearly says. Please read Jewish War before posting again.

    Ralph

  32. ralph ellis says:

    >>Ralph?! Let’s do some research in reality before following false trails.
    >>“Galli” has nothing whatsoever to do with “Galilean”. The former is
    >>Latin, the latter is an English transliteration of Hebrew.

    Err, wrong entirely. The Galli came mostly from Syria and spoke Aramaic, not Latin. Same as the eunuch Emperor Elagabalus was Syrian, and spoke Aramaic.

    In case you have forgotten, castration was forbidden within the Roman Empire, so the name Galli would hardly be Latin, would it. This was one of the main reasons that Elagabalus was eliminated so early in his career – it was not appreciated that the emperor was castrated and dressed like a woman.

    Oh, and by the way, Josephus Flavius says that the Galileans were indeed the castrated Galli. Are you going to argue with Josephus too? Like, he was only there at the time, and witnessed them slaughtering people during the Jewish Revolt.

    Ralph.

  33. Brian says:

    If a man castrates himself, he is no longer a “eunuch who choose to be so.” Instead, he would be moved to the other category of eunuchs “made so by men”.

    Jesus taught LGBT people are born naturally from our mother’s womb in Matthew 19:11-12, as he delineates 3 types of eunuchs:

    Celibates, castrated men, and BORN eunuchs.

    Jesus exempts all 3 types from hetero marriage.

    If Born Eunuchs are not celibate, nor castrated, nor entering into heterosexual marriage, that means BORN EUNUCHS must include LGBT people.

    http://brianbowenministries.com/1-born-this-way.html

    Then Paul ordains same sex marriage for these very same born eunuchs in 1 Corinthians 7:8-9, after ordaining marriage for heterosexual couples in 1 Corinthians 7:1-7…

    …and even goes so far as to recognize same sex divorce in 1 Corinthians 7:15

    Jesus said to them, Not all men can accept this saying, but it is for those to whom the capacity to receive it has been given.

    For there are eunuchs who have been born incapable of marriage; and there are eunuchs who have been made so by men; and there are eunuchs who have made themselves incapable of marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.

    Let him who is able to accept this accept it. Matthew 19:11-12

    In doing so, Jesus leaves two questions unanswered:

    1. Is it better to engage in sexual relations without ever marrying in order to avoid the act and penalty of adultery?

    2. Who are the born eunuchs Jesus exempted from heterosexual marriage, and why did He exempt them?

    It’s important to pause here and recognize that Jesus was teaching Jewish people living under the Old Covenant, and not Christians who now live under the New Covenant. While recognizing this distinction, the Apostle Paul is confronted with these same questions in a letter he received from the Christian Church in Corinth. We will see him answer the 1st question in 1 Corinthians 7:1-7, and see him answer the 2nd question in 1 Corinthians 7:8-9 as he addresses two distinctly separate groups of unmarried people:

    1 Now as to the matters of which you wrote me. It is well [and by that I mean advantageous, expedient, profitable, and wholesome] for a man not to touch a woman [to cohabit with her] but to remain unmarried.

    2 But because of the temptation to impurity and to avoid immorality, let each [man] have his own wife and let each [woman] have her own husband.
    1 Corinthians 7:1-2

    We see in verse 1 that the people Paul begins speaking of are unmarried, and recognize that indeed some people in the early Church believed Jesus’ Disciples were correct in deciding not to marry in order to prevent adultery. Recognizing the sexual immorality the Disciples’ approach of not marrying could lead to, Paul specifically says in verse 2 to let each man have his own wife and each woman have her own husband. He goes on to add very specific reasoning for his conclusion:

    3 The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights (goodwill, kindness, and what is due her as his wife), and likewise the wife to her husband.

    4 For the wife does not have [exclusive] authority and control over her own body, but the husband [has his rights]; likewise also the husband does not have [exclusive] authority and control over his body, but the wife [has her rights].

    5 Do not refuse and deprive and defraud each other [of your due marital rights], except perhaps by mutual consent for a time, so that you may devote yourselves unhindered to prayer. But afterwards resume marital relations, lest Satan tempt you [to sin] through your lack of restraint of sexual desire.

    So that answers the 1st question. At first glance, Paul’s answer seems to overlook Jesus’ teaching that not all men could accept marrying heterosexually, but when we read verses 6-7 we see Paul recognize that Jesus indeed exempted some men (eunuchs) from heterosexual marriage. He first addresses celibate eunuchs saying:

    6 But I am saying this more as a matter of permission and concession, not as a command or regulation.

    7 I wish that all men were like I myself am [in this matter of self-control]. But each has his own special gift from God, one of this kind and one of another. 1 Corinthians 7:6-7

    Here we see the Apostle Paul make the same exemption from heterosexual marriage for one of the three types of eunuchs Jesus mentioned in Matthew 19:12; (those who choose to not marry and remain celibate). Paul clarifies in verses 6-7 that his teaching “each man” and “each woman” to marry in verse 2 is not a command or regulation for every man, but instead is a matter of permission and concession to anyone so choosing to refrain from sexual relations. He further verifies he is speaking here of the celibate eunuchs as he only speaks of men, and does not mention women in verses 6-7, just as Jesus did in Matthew 19:11-12. Paul emphasizes here that his statement on marriage in verses 1-2 are focused on preventing sexual immorality for those who are not gifted with God given celibacy. It’s also important to notice that Paul considers celibacy only one gift from God while recognizing there is yet another God given gift pertaining to marriage as well, and that every man has either one or the other kind of these God given gifts.

    In verses 8-9, we will now see Paul recognize Jesus’ teaching on marriage in relation to another of the three types of eunuchs Jesus exempted from heterosexual marriage (the born eunuchs) whom Paul refers to as “unmarried people.” In doing so, Paul recognizes that if Jesus had specifically exempted eunuchs from heterosexual marriage, they were obviously “unmarried” at the time Paul wrote this letter. But it’s important to recognize that in verses 8-9, Paul addresses these “unmarried people” separately and apart from the unmarried people he addressed in verses 1-2, and separately and apart from the celibate eunuchs whom he addressed in verses 6-7, and now says:

    8 But to the unmarried people and to the widows, I declare that it is well (good, advantageous, expedient, and wholesome) for them to remain [single] even as I do.

    9 But if they have not self-control (restraint of their passions), they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame [with passion and tortured continually with ungratified desire]. 1 Corinthians 7:8-9

    For the first time since verses 1-2 we see Paul once again address women. We saw Paul had already clarified in verses 6-7 that his teaching “each man” to marry a person of the opposite gender in verses 1-2 was not intended to include every human being, but only those men who were so inclined to engage in relations with women. We further already saw he went on to clarify he did not intend his teaching to be a command or regulation toward celibate eunuchs being forced to marry contrary to their will and gifting. So far, Paul has addressed the same men and women inclined toward heterosexual marriage that Jesus taught on in Matthew 19:3-10, as well as the celibate eunuchs Jesus taught on in Matthew 19:11-12. Which leaves now only the castrated eunuchs, and the born eunuchs for Paul to address.

    Paul clearly predicates his ordination of marriage in 1 Corinthians 7:8-9 on “it is better to marry than burn.” This means the eunuchs he is addressing here does not apply to castrated eunuchs (who would have had no sexual capacity or desire), but instead is addressing the born eunuchs (some of which must have had both sexual capacity and desire, based on Paul’s predication of marriage for them).

    Full exposition with Scripture flow charts that color code and track Jesus’ and Paul’s teaching on heterosexual and same sex marriage here: http://brianbowenministries.com/ch-2-eunuch-marriages.html

  34. Daniel Kline says:

    Lynne, seems you collect practices from minorities around the world, especially in India, for your comment. If Jesus did not include those dastardly deeds, it is because that evil had not emerged on earth in His region. Please consider historical settings and contemporaneous values in judging Jesus. The remark above seems well aligned with much radical feminism, that insists today’s version of morality (with the absurd notion that all male activity must be feminized, made gentle, made undemanding and non-governing), a notion that seems to be gaining traction in the US. God made men to be men and women to be women. Each has his or her role, and it is an attack on God and on nature to try to make all humans to have the same nature. I am not suggesting you hold these disgusting notions, but that the above statement seems to bend that way. In His day Jesus elevated women, gave them place and standing and protection not often practiced in the world of His day. I will stick with Him, and seek to practice true honor and blessing in humility with my wife and my children, and with all in my influence. This is His way.

  35. Lynne Burgess says:

    If Jesus says that adultery is the only reason for divorce, what about beating their wives, throwing acid in their faces and burning them alive ?
    In this passage, it doesn’t sound as though Jesus had any respect for women. Maybe that is why it continues to this day. Women were worth nothing except to sexually satisfy themselves as continues to happen today !

  36. Tom B. says:

    Within the Christian gay community, there is a school of thought that believes Jesus is including gay men in the category of “born eunuch.” This interpretation seems plausible in light of modern research that indicates homosexuality originates at birth or early in childhood, long before a boy could make any rational “choice” of sexual orientation. The teaching in Matthew 19 therefore would give gay men the option of celibacy or a monogamous, loving relationship with another man — not pederasty, rape, orgies or temple prostitution. True, that interpretation contradicts the purity code of Leviticus, but it is in keeping with teachings that Christians need not be circumcised nor follow a kosher diet. The interpretation may be regarded as heresy by some, but I see it as in line with the Isaiah 56 prophecy that eunuchs and foreigners (Gentiles) will one day be welcomed in God’s house and affirmed by God.

  37. Kurt says:

    As used in the Bible, what does the term “eunuch” mean?
    At times, the word may refer to a man who was castrated. In Bible times, some men were castrated as punishment or on being captured or enslaved. Trusted men who had been castrated oversaw the women’s quarters, or harems, in royal households. For example, the eunuchs Hegai and Shaashgaz served as guardians of the wives and concubines of Persian King Ahasuerus, who is thought to be Xerxes I.—Esther 2:3, 14.

    However, not all whom the Bible calls eunuchs were actually castrated. Some scholars say that the term was also used in a broader sense to refer to an official assigned to duties in the court of the king. This appears to be the sense in which the term is applied to Ebed-melech, the associate of Jeremiah, and to the unnamed Ethiopian to whom the evangelizer Philip preached. Ebed-melech evidently was a high-ranking official, for he had direct access to King Zedekiah. (Jeremiah 38:7, 8) And the Ethiopian is described as a royal treasurer who “had gone to Jerusalem to worship.”—Acts 8:27.
    http://www.jw.org/en/publications/magazines/wp20150101/eunuchs-shepherds-in-bible-times/

  38. Gene R. Conradi says:

    Literal eunuchs were those who were born such because of birth defects or who were made that way by accident or mutilation. However, there were also those who freely made themselves eunuchs. Though eligible for marriage, they exercised self-control and remained single “on account of the kingdom of the heavens.” Like Jesus, they chose the state of singleness so that they could devote themselves to Kingdom service. They were neither born with the gift of singleness nor granted such a gift. They actually made room for it. That is, they deliberately acquired the gift.

    Building upon what Jesus said, the apostle Paul explained that while all Christians—single or married—can serve God acceptably, single ones who are ‘settled in their heart’ about their status “do better.” How so? Married people must divide their time and energy to please and care for their mate. On the other hand, single Christians can apply themselves to the Lord’s service without that obligation. They consider their position a “gift” from God.—1 Cor. 7:7, 32-38.
    http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2012849

  39. RANDY PITT says:

    It was a cruel joke Saul alias Paul did to the followers of Christ to say cut off your private so you don’t breed more Christian was the reason behind Roman Paul, Damascus Documents and the Qumran Community.

  40. Elena says:

    Middle Eastern repartee is filled with hyperboles. Jesus’ tells parables full of them, think 100 fold harvest. He made people laugh and laugh hard. We, in urban and suburban settings, have little appreciation for his earthy humor.

    Paul does much the same when challenging some of his listeners abt circumcision, Gentiles, and being made a eunuch.

  41. Arleine von Wagner says:

    There is a very misguided assumption here that eunuchs are unable to have sex. This is quite untrue – they can, do, did. Modern example is medical castration (vasectomy) over total physical castration. Many boys who were made eunuchs so their high soprano singing voice would not change, were able to have sex later as adults. Eunuchs are unable to procreate. Eunuchs in the harems taught the young girls how to please a man(whomever owned them), physically as well as verbally instructed.

    Modern squeamishness, puritanism or whatever has twisted this subject up so much to make it more confusing than it must have been at the time of Yehsua.

  42. Mario Hernandez says:

    The Hebrew Matthew gospel of Shem Tov says it a little different, it basically talks about those who subjugate the desire rather than making oneself eunuch.

  43. Joseph Burke says:

    Ralph, you are nuts. The land of Galilee has nothing to do with Galli. The name of Galilee comes from the Hebrew HaGalil and has nothing to do with eunuchs. You are confusing Hebrew culture with Roman culture.

  44. Bryan says:

    Ralph?! Let’s do some research in reality before following false trails. “Galli” has nothing whatsoever to do with “Galilean”. The former is Latin, the latter is an English transliteration of Hebrew. The former is plural for “Gallus”, the eunuch priest of a Roman cult (similar to militant transgender groups of today) that predates the time of Jesus by a very long time and which Jesus would have no involvement with. The latter is a citizen of “Galilee”, which is itself an English transliteration of Hebrew “hagalil” which can be stated as “the state”, “the district”, or “the circle”, used to reference a political or governmental area. Wow.

  45. Daniel Kline says:

    What I would also point out, is that castration may solve some biological issues, but psychological addictions are another matter altogether. History is full of the accounts of emasculated men who still loathed their polluted minds.

  46. Daniel Kline says:

    The central issue here, the heart issue, involves the problems associated with male sexuality in any culture. Whatever view one takes on this, the final word of Jesus in the passage in question helps us see how hard moral purity is for the man. Without controversy, all men who see themselves as in the image of God, and who have devoted themselves to His service, find themselves vexed by the chemical brew of adolescence, the heavy burden of bodily urges, and the enormous power of the IN YOUR FACE NUDITY many cultures ancient and modern practiced. I myself vowed a vow of moral purity at age 16, and now at 67 rejoice that God has always provided a way of escape, chiefly monogamous heterosexual Christian marriage, where my thirst for nudity and intimacy are fully quenched. To God be the Glory. His grace and His ways are truly wonderful in the context of the humility of “trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.” (John H Sammis, in the hymn, “Trust and Obey”

  47. ralph ellis says:

    The cult of the eunuchs in Syria were followers of Cybele and Attis, and their high priests were called the Galli or the Galileans. And Jesus was, of course, a Galilean himself, which is why he was asking his disciples to become eunuchs. See Jesus, King of Edessa.

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48 Responses

  1. Rinatus says:

    With what evidence to prove that popes and fathers have secret marriages??

  2. fraser Crest says:

    It does not matter all that much, really. If it was not meant for you, you wouldn’t understand, right? Maybe it does refer to the old practice of castration (didn’t eunuchs attend to princesses and queens, like in “History of the World” by Mel Brooks, where Madeline Khan inspects the eunuchs and a slutty dance is performed in front of the candidates and if they get aroused, then they knew they were not eunuchs? Which only meant their nuts were snipped, it did not mean they had no genitalia at all). That “practice” is virtually unheard of today. Celibacy among the clergy has been a failed experiment since it’s inception to prevent the clergy from willing church property to their children and the church having to support big families. I say “failed” because, throughout its existence within Catholicism, there are reported abuses, including many popes who were married or had mistresses and scads of children, secret marriages, affairs and children as a result, and child sexual abuse and rape, and evidence of infanticide and unmarked graves. It is a failed system.

  3. RSJ says:

    Jesus was clearly talking about a male that was born “different” if he had meant a man who just chose to be single he’d have used a different word….you can argue whether this has any relevance to homosexuality being a born trait but it was obvious Jesus was saying that some men were BORN different and it was OK for them to be single…why can a man be born a Eunuch (meaning an effeminate male or one who was not capable of having sex with a woman) but the idea that someone is born with the desire for the same sex be impossible?

  4. barbara says:

    If you are not called to it why object it is not a commandment I am called to this as a woman and Jesus gives the Grace to fulfil it as any thing He calls us to do don’t marvel at the denial of self .Pick up your cross and follow HIM..Become one with Him .

  5. Pier Tulip says:

    The kingdom of heaven can only be reached without sexual intercourse. The development of this assertion leads us to hypothesize an alternative Eucharistic food. From: Krst – Jesus a solar

  6. Michael Newton says:

    the obvious connection here is to the well attested practice of self-castration that some followers of the Anatolian earth goddess Cybele enacted – an initiation rite in to the after-life mysteries that the goddess promised. While no sanctuaries to Cybele have been discovered ( so far) in the Holy Land, it was a cult practised empire-wide, and thus knowledge of its beliefs and processes of self-sacrifice required to attain a proper belonging to the cult would have been available.

  7. ใน says:

    Jesus refers to his own experience. He was able to re-enter the Kingdom of Heaven, here and now because of the removal of testosterone.

  8. David says:

    Great post Joy

  9. David says:

    What I believe He is talking about it not castration at all, but those who choose to accept being celibate should do so, if they can accept it.

    Not everyone can abstain from sex or block out the temptation.

  10. Joy says:

    I can hardly believe some of the translations people come up with. I was truly
    hoping for a more spiritual understanding of Jesus’s words. Once again I am
    disappointed in the commentaries. After all it was his words that I truly want to understand. The question to him was about marriage and divorce. Then we are led into the subject of eunuchs. At the time this was written a eunuch was
    a chamberman or one in a place of great trust in a household one who would have not only the trust of the master of the house but also the ear. He was not
    always castrated. That practice was a much more eastern practice and yes the harem was over seen by men who were castrated but also eastern monks castrated themselves to give their whole devotion to whom they worshiped.
    Also there were men born who had no testicles or only one. Or they had a penis and testicles so small they were mistaken for girls and vice versa.
    When the disciples said would it be better to not marry at all I was hoping for a much clearer message myself. I’m always brought back to how frustrated
    Jesus would get with his disciples because they couldn’t understand the parables. I have to wonder how frustrated he must be with us having eyes to see and ears to hear. So I think I will go for a simpler more obvious translation. Devotion to God and His Son Jesus Christ is the highest of all loves and it is a living spiritual love. No matter how you are made the right thing is the only thing that matters. Love is the answer.

  11. Mary says:

    Romans 1 clearly says that a man with a man and woman with a woman is not right or natural.

  12. Mary says:

    If someone is born without genitals it doesn’t mean that their chromosomes in that area are not there. Regardless of genitals or not doctors always know if it is a boy or girl.

  13. Mary says:

    1Corinthians 7 DOES NOT mean that man can marry man and woman can marry woman NO WHERE DOES IT SAY THAT!

  14. james warren says:

    I always thought Jesus was perhaps telling a larger truth that love of Yahweh has nothing to do with what sorts of sex organs [or lack of them] one may possess.

    I would like to be respectfully challenged and informed if I am wrong. After all, I have long given up the notion that I can read minds or guess intentions of anyone living 2,000 years ago!

  15. Bill says:

    THANK-YOU BRIAN!!!
    I appreciate you talking about that elephant in the room. If God made us all in his image, and many of us are born without normal genetalia – or chromosomal profiles, then He, at least, understands that we are not all either 100% male, or 100% female.
    Bill

  16. MaraNatha says:

    I don’t get why it is so hard to understand these sayings. A eunuch was a man who was not sexually active and couldn’t procreate or was celibate. He became this way in one of the following ways; 1)born that way. He wasn’t “born gay” and I’m sick of the LGBT community and false Christians saying this! God clearly detests homosexuality. To be born a eunuch mean’t you were born with a physical defect of the male genitalia. 2)Another way one became a eunuch was through castration, usually done to men who oversaw a king’s harem. 3)And the last way to become a eunuch involved celibacy, abstaining from sex and devoting your life to the service of the Lord. A eunuch(of #1 & #2) of the seed of Aaron was not allowed to become a priest (Lev 21:20 and surrounding verses). It was considered a blemish when pertaining to the priesthood.
    All three types of eunuchs had one thing in common. They were not sexually active!! And this totally throws out the false assumption of homosexuality (eunuchs being “born that way”) being okay in the Bible!

    How did I come to my conclusion of eunuch? A careful study of Scripture, praying for wisdom, examining all viewpoints and coming to the logical conclusion.

  17. Joseph maritim says:

    Maritim: I have found this an interesting topic for a biologist with little knowledge on religious studies. My community (The kipsigis of kericho county, Kenya) for a long time practised female genital mutilation. the practice has not been totally been eliminated. I wonder if this is in any way related with castration, especially in the context of making one pure.

  18. Johnson D. Choppala, Founder- President of OASIS International Eunuch Welfare, Inc. says:

    I want to draw your attention to what Paul said of another case of physical mutilation, circumcision. Romans 2:29 “but he is, a jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision IS THAT OF THE HEART, in the spirit,not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God”.
    You are an eunuch if you take an oath of celibacy for purity before God. Man sees the outside while God sees the inside. BE BLESSED!

  19. Johnson D. Choppala, Founder- President of OASIS International Eunuch Welfare, Inc. says:

    I am Johnson Choppala, Founder president of

    I want to draw your attention to what Paul said of another case of physical mutilation, circumcision. Romans 2:29 “but he is, a jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision IS THAT OF THE HEART, in the spirit,not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God”. You are an eunuch if you take an oath of celibacy for purity before God. Man sees the outside while God sees the inside. BE BLESSED!

  20. Christopher says:

    The bibles given to me essentially say that one would forgo marriage for the Kingdom, or lives like a eunuch for the sake of the Kingdom. There is what Paul says in 1 Corinthian 7, and also no example of anyone emasculating themself for the Kingdom throughout the entire Bible. There is the example of the baptism of a eunuch that landed I believe Philip into a spot to hangout with our Living Lord Jesus, but we are not told nor do I assume Philip to have been a eunuch. Also what drove off many followers was God’s true claim of HIM being the living bread. And a circumcision was done after the gospels to appease Jewish believers (I think that castration would have driven Jews away from the truth).

    To me self emasculation seems difficult. I mean it is easier to not marry than it is to marry. It is easier to not marry than to emasculate yourself. And our Lord’s yoke is easy, HIS burden light. I’ve seen clips of people doing this. I also read reports of someone who emasculated animals, and one day he emasculated himself. He was a Christian, yet even he had to go to the ICU or at least the emergency room because of infection. I also heard stories of people who try to emasculate themselves and end up hurting themselves while being unsuccessful and still have to go to the emergency room. My belief in Christ keeps me out of the doctors. You would also only do this to yourself with faith in our Lord Jesus which I do have, yet if I can move mountains with my faith then why not remove my genitals with faith?

    There is also Jesus’ statements on the log in your own eye, and the whole “he who can grab hold of this” let him. No joke its like the log in your eye seems to be your penis, and its like I can spiritually grab hold of my penis. Spiritually its like a worm scooting about my body. I’ve noticed this after thinking about Matthew 19:12. It almost pulled me away from God. Something actually brought me to my knees, and it was like I was barely hanging on to my faith until I realized I miss read the verse in “my” bible.

    It hurts a bit the thought of cutting off my boys because I’ve always wanted two is better than one when two become one flesh love, and Jesus is a God of love. Its also an understanding that most eunuchs become fat after. Paul goes on to say though that, “He wishes agitators to emasculate themselves.” And he calls circumcision mutilation. Its like The Holy Bible is right and perfect. We are flawed. There is Elohim, and the devil is red. We are to be as we are when Christ calls us. Eunuchs are not circumsized or uncircumcised they are with nothing to circumsize. Also castrated men are not able to lawfully attend the Lord’s assembly, just like women are to keep quiet in the assembly (keep in mind though law abiding and God fearing women were sought after by leaders for God’s advice).

    One night I slept with the NIV under my pillow and I woke up crying real tears. Then I tried it with the KJV and I had this sort of commical dream of me trying to pull myself out of the bible. It was like I sat on the bible and was sinking into it butt first as though the bible had turned into a portal. Then I had another dream, and this voice asked me something and I told it, “because I don’t want to cut off my parts.” But something is up though with my dreams. Like visions and dreams I feel like have been tampered with by demonic forces. And by her magic spell she lead the nations astray. One example is my brother-in-law, who hates me for my faith, told me the dream I was about to tell him before I told him; and I had told no one else this dream. Then I had a dream with a masonic teacher in it and in the dream students block the passage way to the theater until she says, “No! Let him enter.” Then later that morning my sister takes me to Kroger, and there the teacher is waiting for me in disguise no less. Like waiting for me tapping her foot because I had just written this new praise a couple days ago. So I know something is up with my dreams. But somethings happen in real life that happen in my dreams that match dream interpretations from online. I also know that something happens when a man is castrated. There is a reason why guys had it done to other guys, and its is more than for reasons of making a man in capable of sex. Eunuchs can still recieve, and finger bang, and the eunuchs who have just their testicles removed can still have sex with their penis. Its like something special happens to you when you’re castrated by another, but something really special could happen when you castrate yourself for your mother the New Jerusalem.

    Matthew 19:12 is the most controversial verse in the whole bible in my opinion. It is the verse that differs the most between other versions. And I noticed something; the king james, American, English, and Holman bibles, bibles by the state or for a group of people (excluding the bible for Jews) say castration is done for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. The International, Living, God’s word versions say essentially celibacy to where one is safeguarding himself even from the uncleanness caused by male ejaculation for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. Versions are written to counter other versions because they disagree with Matthew 19:12. It seems that there maybe more versions saying one should emasculate themselves, but there are more copies in use of versions that state celibacy in Matthew 19:12. I know its a serious deal. Like if you remove your penis and balls for the sake of the kingdom of heaven something will happen, you will be changed drastically. But I don’t want to be effeminate, or a submissive homosexual because this would bar you entery into heaven. But better than having no private parts is having your flesh crusified and bearing the wounds of Christ. We’re not supposed to boast in our flesh, and to be an open example (except with charity and prayer). No matter what I’m not ashamed. I personally don’t hate the KJV (probably the most popular of all the bibles that command castration) but I’ve always choose the NIV before I even realized the difference. I will say the first english version translated made by the printing press states chaste, and the church defines chaste as being pure by will not mutilation (the first english version states gelded which is like complete removal of everything.) And an example of a eunuch by birth that I came across is this guy who appeared on the Doctor Oz show who had his penis and testicles yet could not conceive marriage because his genitals remained as they were when he was a boy. He had no pubic hair, and he could not ejaculate. He was tall with the body of a man, but I think like he lacked facial hair, and body hair. Still though, not a eunuch in the modern sense of the word, but fits the example of the first set of eunuchs mentioned in Matthew 19:12 (also some versions I think state “not sex minded” like functioning parts but no drive.) If anyone has castrated himself for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven I would like to talk to them, and if I’m guided to do so I’ll let you guys know how things go!

  21. John P says:

    Why is the first part of the text avoided? Those who were that way since birth. Seems that every time a scholar comes across a difficult text, it’s simply ignored. Any answers here?

  22. Richard Wilson says:

    Mathew 19:10-12 Jesus is not instructing men to emasculate themselves. Jesus (PBUH) is merely describing three subsets of eunuchs. Eunuch are neither male or female but eunuch. The Noble Qur’an instructs that Allah created Male, Female and those who are non–procreative (eunuch). The Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) consistent with Jesus (PBUH) instructs that all men who are able to engage in coitus with a woman should marry. However, those who did not have the “defining skill” of a male (e.g. the ability to engage in coitus with the woman) should not marry for it would “unerve him”. All men who lacked the ” defining skill” were eunuch by default. In that time period, simply being born with male genitalia did not determine male gender. What determined whether one was male was having both the genitals and the “defining skill of a male”. The historical and archival record supports this little known fact. Eunuchs are a separate gender variant. Also, the church’s limited definition of eunuch doesn’t stand-up to the archival record. For example, the laws of Persia, Babylon, Rome document that castrated citizens could not own property or get married. However, eunuchs could own property and get married. Code of Hammurabi is the first and oldest legal code in history. In the code one finds laws governing the natural born children of eunuch. How could a eunuch have natural born children, if the eunuch was castrated as the church would have you beleive. Its important to note that these ancient empires were theocracies, thus laws reflected the religious beliefs of these societies. Eunuchs for the kingdom are not emasculated. The church should reconcile their teachings with the facts that are available in the historical and archival record.

  23. Daniel says:

    To this Day i only know love that comes from the GRACE OF GOD,mIGHT AS WELL GROW IN THAT. the things of the world perish and these days GOOD luck putting all your hope trust and love in a Female that was created from a male. Ill go with the love from above. did i mention i was poor and love not the things of the world what am i even talking about my HOPE is for the kingdom of God. Present day Kingdom of man NO THANKS.

  24. Daniel says:

    What is a eunuch in the Bible? Ever since i read the eunuch saying by Jesus ive always wanted to receive it. well 10 years later and after many many many failings due to STIMULANTS and free adultery i mean porn led to sexual immorality alot worse than i started out with. but as someone going eunuch today 9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a] 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.1 Corinthians 6:9-11…..in other words id rather go eunuch than sin. Thanks be to the power of God…im thinking about a wife but as the apostle paul says ….Each person should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.1 Corinthians 7:20…
    33but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, 34and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. 35This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.…1 Corinthians 7:33-35

  25. Arthur Tracy says:

    I did not know that meaning

  26. The Oncoming Storm says:

    jesus was not advocating the practice of castration in ANY way. if one looks at the preceding verses, he was discussing divorce and how it can lead to adultery. one of the disciples (presumably peter) asked him if it was advisable to marry at all then. how does 19:11 start? “Not all men make room for the saying, but only those who have the gift,” as in the gift of reproduction which is indicated by the discussion of castration.

    he ends verse 12, not by saying “let anyone accept this who can,” as if referring to the act of castration, but “Let the one who can make room for it make room for it,” in regards to having a wife. in other words, he was saying that the one who can make room for being married and who is willing to accept the charge of “one flesh”, then let them make room for it.

  27. deborahw45 says:

    Brain,
    Verse 5 simply says ‘do not defraud’. Please do not add words to this. It does NOT say ‘do not refuse” or do ‘not do deprive’. There are many times where refusal is the correct thing to do (request for a three-some) and many times that one spouse may feel deprived (following childbirth). The preceding chapter of Corinthians speaks of ‘immoral’ sexual situations. Paul is continuing his talk and answering questions. If you have sexual desires ‘here is the way to handle that’ – get married…….is what he is saying. But you don’t get married and continue to act like you are single are continue to be immoral. It is up to the married spouses to work out the rest. Each have the exact same authority. Each can ‘refuse’ for a valid reason, each may feel ‘deprived’ for a valid reason – but neither spouse should permanently and intentionally defraud the other of sexual relationships. That’s what marriage is for – a sexual relationship to fight off Satan’s temptation.

  28. Mark says:

    Based on number 12, Thomas’ comment.

    Thomas, it’s not as simple as you say. Notwithstanding, if a young boy shows feminine tendencies, it not natural — it reflects the curse.

    “The teaching in Matthew 19 therefore would give gay men the option of celibacy or a monogamous, loving relationship with another man — not pederasty, rape, orgies or temple prostitution. True, that interpretation contradicts the purity code of Leviticus, but it is in keeping with teachings that Christians need not be circumcised.”
    No — Matthew 19 would not give homosexuals any options whatsoever since it was theologically precluded long before; and God never let up even slightly in its condemnation, which crescendoed in the well known 1Corinthians 6:9, making certain they understood they could never enter the kingdom of God — in that condition — they would have to repent. No way to spin that lifestyle into acceptability. That would be pure eisegesis.
    A male and female living in a sexual relationship have the option to marry, and therefore be blessed. Homosexuals have no such option.
    The purity code? That is the law of God, not some modern psychology seminar.
    You are also forgetting about the moral law, which never ceased along with the dietary laws. Circumcision is not a problem — Paul was talking to Jews who had to learn to comprehend the impact of the New Covenant, and had to unwind from centuries of conditioning; otherwise, circumcision in-and-of-itself is fine to do.

  29. ralph ellis says:

    >>Chavoux says
    >>Josephus was a Galilean; does that make him a eunuch as well?

    Not all Christians are priests. Not all Galileans were eunuch Galli. As Jesus said, “Let those who can accept this, do so”. And as pseudo-Lucian said, certain of the Galileans whipped themselves into a frensy during a parade, and whipped off their testicles and threw them through a window. And if a lady caught them, she had to give the Galli a dress. But note it was just a few, not all.

    And as you know, Josephus was as anti-circumcision as Saul was, so the chances of Josephus becoming a Galli castrate was nil to nonexistent. Face facts – Jesus was a Gallilean and had Galli among his disciples. But which one? Peter?

    Ralph

  30. Chavoux Luyt says:

    Josephus was a Galilean; does that make him a eunuch as well?

  31. ralph ellis says:

    >>Ralph, you are nuts. The land of Galilee has nothing to do with Galli.
    >>The name of Galilee comes from the Hebrew HaGalil and has nothing
    >>to do with eunuchs. You are confusing Hebrew culture with Roman culture.

    Do you ever do any research, before posting? The Galli eunuchs were technically illegal within the Roman Empire. This was a Syrian cult that originated in Parthia, and arrived in Syria courtesy of Queen Thea Muse Ourania and the resulting Edessan monarchy.

    The Galli had nothing to do with Rome, and everything to do with the Galileans – just as Josephus Flavius clearly says. Please read Jewish War before posting again.

    Ralph

  32. ralph ellis says:

    >>Ralph?! Let’s do some research in reality before following false trails.
    >>“Galli” has nothing whatsoever to do with “Galilean”. The former is
    >>Latin, the latter is an English transliteration of Hebrew.

    Err, wrong entirely. The Galli came mostly from Syria and spoke Aramaic, not Latin. Same as the eunuch Emperor Elagabalus was Syrian, and spoke Aramaic.

    In case you have forgotten, castration was forbidden within the Roman Empire, so the name Galli would hardly be Latin, would it. This was one of the main reasons that Elagabalus was eliminated so early in his career – it was not appreciated that the emperor was castrated and dressed like a woman.

    Oh, and by the way, Josephus Flavius says that the Galileans were indeed the castrated Galli. Are you going to argue with Josephus too? Like, he was only there at the time, and witnessed them slaughtering people during the Jewish Revolt.

    Ralph.

  33. Brian says:

    If a man castrates himself, he is no longer a “eunuch who choose to be so.” Instead, he would be moved to the other category of eunuchs “made so by men”.

    Jesus taught LGBT people are born naturally from our mother’s womb in Matthew 19:11-12, as he delineates 3 types of eunuchs:

    Celibates, castrated men, and BORN eunuchs.

    Jesus exempts all 3 types from hetero marriage.

    If Born Eunuchs are not celibate, nor castrated, nor entering into heterosexual marriage, that means BORN EUNUCHS must include LGBT people.

    http://brianbowenministries.com/1-born-this-way.html

    Then Paul ordains same sex marriage for these very same born eunuchs in 1 Corinthians 7:8-9, after ordaining marriage for heterosexual couples in 1 Corinthians 7:1-7…

    …and even goes so far as to recognize same sex divorce in 1 Corinthians 7:15

    Jesus said to them, Not all men can accept this saying, but it is for those to whom the capacity to receive it has been given.

    For there are eunuchs who have been born incapable of marriage; and there are eunuchs who have been made so by men; and there are eunuchs who have made themselves incapable of marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.

    Let him who is able to accept this accept it. Matthew 19:11-12

    In doing so, Jesus leaves two questions unanswered:

    1. Is it better to engage in sexual relations without ever marrying in order to avoid the act and penalty of adultery?

    2. Who are the born eunuchs Jesus exempted from heterosexual marriage, and why did He exempt them?

    It’s important to pause here and recognize that Jesus was teaching Jewish people living under the Old Covenant, and not Christians who now live under the New Covenant. While recognizing this distinction, the Apostle Paul is confronted with these same questions in a letter he received from the Christian Church in Corinth. We will see him answer the 1st question in 1 Corinthians 7:1-7, and see him answer the 2nd question in 1 Corinthians 7:8-9 as he addresses two distinctly separate groups of unmarried people:

    1 Now as to the matters of which you wrote me. It is well [and by that I mean advantageous, expedient, profitable, and wholesome] for a man not to touch a woman [to cohabit with her] but to remain unmarried.

    2 But because of the temptation to impurity and to avoid immorality, let each [man] have his own wife and let each [woman] have her own husband.
    1 Corinthians 7:1-2

    We see in verse 1 that the people Paul begins speaking of are unmarried, and recognize that indeed some people in the early Church believed Jesus’ Disciples were correct in deciding not to marry in order to prevent adultery. Recognizing the sexual immorality the Disciples’ approach of not marrying could lead to, Paul specifically says in verse 2 to let each man have his own wife and each woman have her own husband. He goes on to add very specific reasoning for his conclusion:

    3 The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights (goodwill, kindness, and what is due her as his wife), and likewise the wife to her husband.

    4 For the wife does not have [exclusive] authority and control over her own body, but the husband [has his rights]; likewise also the husband does not have [exclusive] authority and control over his body, but the wife [has her rights].

    5 Do not refuse and deprive and defraud each other [of your due marital rights], except perhaps by mutual consent for a time, so that you may devote yourselves unhindered to prayer. But afterwards resume marital relations, lest Satan tempt you [to sin] through your lack of restraint of sexual desire.

    So that answers the 1st question. At first glance, Paul’s answer seems to overlook Jesus’ teaching that not all men could accept marrying heterosexually, but when we read verses 6-7 we see Paul recognize that Jesus indeed exempted some men (eunuchs) from heterosexual marriage. He first addresses celibate eunuchs saying:

    6 But I am saying this more as a matter of permission and concession, not as a command or regulation.

    7 I wish that all men were like I myself am [in this matter of self-control]. But each has his own special gift from God, one of this kind and one of another. 1 Corinthians 7:6-7

    Here we see the Apostle Paul make the same exemption from heterosexual marriage for one of the three types of eunuchs Jesus mentioned in Matthew 19:12; (those who choose to not marry and remain celibate). Paul clarifies in verses 6-7 that his teaching “each man” and “each woman” to marry in verse 2 is not a command or regulation for every man, but instead is a matter of permission and concession to anyone so choosing to refrain from sexual relations. He further verifies he is speaking here of the celibate eunuchs as he only speaks of men, and does not mention women in verses 6-7, just as Jesus did in Matthew 19:11-12. Paul emphasizes here that his statement on marriage in verses 1-2 are focused on preventing sexual immorality for those who are not gifted with God given celibacy. It’s also important to notice that Paul considers celibacy only one gift from God while recognizing there is yet another God given gift pertaining to marriage as well, and that every man has either one or the other kind of these God given gifts.

    In verses 8-9, we will now see Paul recognize Jesus’ teaching on marriage in relation to another of the three types of eunuchs Jesus exempted from heterosexual marriage (the born eunuchs) whom Paul refers to as “unmarried people.” In doing so, Paul recognizes that if Jesus had specifically exempted eunuchs from heterosexual marriage, they were obviously “unmarried” at the time Paul wrote this letter. But it’s important to recognize that in verses 8-9, Paul addresses these “unmarried people” separately and apart from the unmarried people he addressed in verses 1-2, and separately and apart from the celibate eunuchs whom he addressed in verses 6-7, and now says:

    8 But to the unmarried people and to the widows, I declare that it is well (good, advantageous, expedient, and wholesome) for them to remain [single] even as I do.

    9 But if they have not self-control (restraint of their passions), they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame [with passion and tortured continually with ungratified desire]. 1 Corinthians 7:8-9

    For the first time since verses 1-2 we see Paul once again address women. We saw Paul had already clarified in verses 6-7 that his teaching “each man” to marry a person of the opposite gender in verses 1-2 was not intended to include every human being, but only those men who were so inclined to engage in relations with women. We further already saw he went on to clarify he did not intend his teaching to be a command or regulation toward celibate eunuchs being forced to marry contrary to their will and gifting. So far, Paul has addressed the same men and women inclined toward heterosexual marriage that Jesus taught on in Matthew 19:3-10, as well as the celibate eunuchs Jesus taught on in Matthew 19:11-12. Which leaves now only the castrated eunuchs, and the born eunuchs for Paul to address.

    Paul clearly predicates his ordination of marriage in 1 Corinthians 7:8-9 on “it is better to marry than burn.” This means the eunuchs he is addressing here does not apply to castrated eunuchs (who would have had no sexual capacity or desire), but instead is addressing the born eunuchs (some of which must have had both sexual capacity and desire, based on Paul’s predication of marriage for them).

    Full exposition with Scripture flow charts that color code and track Jesus’ and Paul’s teaching on heterosexual and same sex marriage here: http://brianbowenministries.com/ch-2-eunuch-marriages.html

  34. Daniel Kline says:

    Lynne, seems you collect practices from minorities around the world, especially in India, for your comment. If Jesus did not include those dastardly deeds, it is because that evil had not emerged on earth in His region. Please consider historical settings and contemporaneous values in judging Jesus. The remark above seems well aligned with much radical feminism, that insists today’s version of morality (with the absurd notion that all male activity must be feminized, made gentle, made undemanding and non-governing), a notion that seems to be gaining traction in the US. God made men to be men and women to be women. Each has his or her role, and it is an attack on God and on nature to try to make all humans to have the same nature. I am not suggesting you hold these disgusting notions, but that the above statement seems to bend that way. In His day Jesus elevated women, gave them place and standing and protection not often practiced in the world of His day. I will stick with Him, and seek to practice true honor and blessing in humility with my wife and my children, and with all in my influence. This is His way.

  35. Lynne Burgess says:

    If Jesus says that adultery is the only reason for divorce, what about beating their wives, throwing acid in their faces and burning them alive ?
    In this passage, it doesn’t sound as though Jesus had any respect for women. Maybe that is why it continues to this day. Women were worth nothing except to sexually satisfy themselves as continues to happen today !

  36. Tom B. says:

    Within the Christian gay community, there is a school of thought that believes Jesus is including gay men in the category of “born eunuch.” This interpretation seems plausible in light of modern research that indicates homosexuality originates at birth or early in childhood, long before a boy could make any rational “choice” of sexual orientation. The teaching in Matthew 19 therefore would give gay men the option of celibacy or a monogamous, loving relationship with another man — not pederasty, rape, orgies or temple prostitution. True, that interpretation contradicts the purity code of Leviticus, but it is in keeping with teachings that Christians need not be circumcised nor follow a kosher diet. The interpretation may be regarded as heresy by some, but I see it as in line with the Isaiah 56 prophecy that eunuchs and foreigners (Gentiles) will one day be welcomed in God’s house and affirmed by God.

  37. Kurt says:

    As used in the Bible, what does the term “eunuch” mean?
    At times, the word may refer to a man who was castrated. In Bible times, some men were castrated as punishment or on being captured or enslaved. Trusted men who had been castrated oversaw the women’s quarters, or harems, in royal households. For example, the eunuchs Hegai and Shaashgaz served as guardians of the wives and concubines of Persian King Ahasuerus, who is thought to be Xerxes I.—Esther 2:3, 14.

    However, not all whom the Bible calls eunuchs were actually castrated. Some scholars say that the term was also used in a broader sense to refer to an official assigned to duties in the court of the king. This appears to be the sense in which the term is applied to Ebed-melech, the associate of Jeremiah, and to the unnamed Ethiopian to whom the evangelizer Philip preached. Ebed-melech evidently was a high-ranking official, for he had direct access to King Zedekiah. (Jeremiah 38:7, 8) And the Ethiopian is described as a royal treasurer who “had gone to Jerusalem to worship.”—Acts 8:27.
    http://www.jw.org/en/publications/magazines/wp20150101/eunuchs-shepherds-in-bible-times/

  38. Gene R. Conradi says:

    Literal eunuchs were those who were born such because of birth defects or who were made that way by accident or mutilation. However, there were also those who freely made themselves eunuchs. Though eligible for marriage, they exercised self-control and remained single “on account of the kingdom of the heavens.” Like Jesus, they chose the state of singleness so that they could devote themselves to Kingdom service. They were neither born with the gift of singleness nor granted such a gift. They actually made room for it. That is, they deliberately acquired the gift.

    Building upon what Jesus said, the apostle Paul explained that while all Christians—single or married—can serve God acceptably, single ones who are ‘settled in their heart’ about their status “do better.” How so? Married people must divide their time and energy to please and care for their mate. On the other hand, single Christians can apply themselves to the Lord’s service without that obligation. They consider their position a “gift” from God.—1 Cor. 7:7, 32-38.
    http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2012849

  39. RANDY PITT says:

    It was a cruel joke Saul alias Paul did to the followers of Christ to say cut off your private so you don’t breed more Christian was the reason behind Roman Paul, Damascus Documents and the Qumran Community.

  40. Elena says:

    Middle Eastern repartee is filled with hyperboles. Jesus’ tells parables full of them, think 100 fold harvest. He made people laugh and laugh hard. We, in urban and suburban settings, have little appreciation for his earthy humor.

    Paul does much the same when challenging some of his listeners abt circumcision, Gentiles, and being made a eunuch.

  41. Arleine von Wagner says:

    There is a very misguided assumption here that eunuchs are unable to have sex. This is quite untrue – they can, do, did. Modern example is medical castration (vasectomy) over total physical castration. Many boys who were made eunuchs so their high soprano singing voice would not change, were able to have sex later as adults. Eunuchs are unable to procreate. Eunuchs in the harems taught the young girls how to please a man(whomever owned them), physically as well as verbally instructed.

    Modern squeamishness, puritanism or whatever has twisted this subject up so much to make it more confusing than it must have been at the time of Yehsua.

  42. Mario Hernandez says:

    The Hebrew Matthew gospel of Shem Tov says it a little different, it basically talks about those who subjugate the desire rather than making oneself eunuch.

  43. Joseph Burke says:

    Ralph, you are nuts. The land of Galilee has nothing to do with Galli. The name of Galilee comes from the Hebrew HaGalil and has nothing to do with eunuchs. You are confusing Hebrew culture with Roman culture.

  44. Bryan says:

    Ralph?! Let’s do some research in reality before following false trails. “Galli” has nothing whatsoever to do with “Galilean”. The former is Latin, the latter is an English transliteration of Hebrew. The former is plural for “Gallus”, the eunuch priest of a Roman cult (similar to militant transgender groups of today) that predates the time of Jesus by a very long time and which Jesus would have no involvement with. The latter is a citizen of “Galilee”, which is itself an English transliteration of Hebrew “hagalil” which can be stated as “the state”, “the district”, or “the circle”, used to reference a political or governmental area. Wow.

  45. Daniel Kline says:

    What I would also point out, is that castration may solve some biological issues, but psychological addictions are another matter altogether. History is full of the accounts of emasculated men who still loathed their polluted minds.

  46. Daniel Kline says:

    The central issue here, the heart issue, involves the problems associated with male sexuality in any culture. Whatever view one takes on this, the final word of Jesus in the passage in question helps us see how hard moral purity is for the man. Without controversy, all men who see themselves as in the image of God, and who have devoted themselves to His service, find themselves vexed by the chemical brew of adolescence, the heavy burden of bodily urges, and the enormous power of the IN YOUR FACE NUDITY many cultures ancient and modern practiced. I myself vowed a vow of moral purity at age 16, and now at 67 rejoice that God has always provided a way of escape, chiefly monogamous heterosexual Christian marriage, where my thirst for nudity and intimacy are fully quenched. To God be the Glory. His grace and His ways are truly wonderful in the context of the humility of “trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.” (John H Sammis, in the hymn, “Trust and Obey”

  47. ralph ellis says:

    The cult of the eunuchs in Syria were followers of Cybele and Attis, and their high priests were called the Galli or the Galileans. And Jesus was, of course, a Galilean himself, which is why he was asking his disciples to become eunuchs. See Jesus, King of Edessa.

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