Eunuch, castrated human male.From remote antiquity, eunuchs were employed in the Middle East and in China in two main functions: as guards and servants in harems or other women’s quarters, and as chamberlains to kings. This article is part of our Christian Terms catalog exploring words and phrases of Christian theology and history. Let anyone accept this who can” (19:12). Hegai is mentioned a couple times in the book of Esther as “the king’s eunuch, who [was] in charge of the women” (Esther 2:3). We need to stop saying every human is clearly either one or the other, male or female, because Jesus is the Truth, and to say so is not to tell the truth. In the Bible, the Hebrew word saris (eunuch), refers to a man in some sort of service to a ruler, but castration isn’t always a part of the story. Eunuch Meaning: Physical Condition Is Unclear. The prophesies in these two (identical) verses likely refer to castration. In summary, we have discovered that there were prophetesses of God who were virgins, were married and were widows. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from [their] mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. But no physical condition of castration or impotence is mentioned, nor is it likely because Potiphar had a wife (Genesis 39). The word eunuch can refer only to the title of a court officer or important official to a ruler. But He said to them, "Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given. They were the ones the king told “to bring before him Queen Vashti, wearing her royal crown, in order to display her beauty to the people and nobles, for she was lovely to look at. Jesus highlights eunuchs because, as a rule, they didn’t marry. To date, historians have found evidence for almost a dozen female presbyters dating from the second to the fifth century. Eunuch comes from the Ancient Greek word εὐνοῦχος (eunoukhos), first attested in a fragment of Hipponax, the 6th century BC comic poet and prolific inventor of compound words. Where there are Jezebels, you will always find eunuchs and false prophets. Several eunuchs hold a candidate down while a sharp knife lops off the penis and testicles in one strike. Eunuchs were castrated males who guarded an emperor’s harem and some were used in positions of leadership and government. This term is used as an official title also in Jeremiah 39:3 and Jeremiah 39:13. Whichever of the young women who pleased the king got to be queen. Of those 45 occurrences, the Greek Septuagint translates it as eunouchos 31 times in the OT. One day I read in the Bible that Jesus said there were eunuchs who were born so from their mother's womb.1 To my knowledge, a eunuch was a man who had been castrated, so how could he be born that way? He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. There were men who probably were born without testes, which might not have had a sex drive toward women. (with a listing of secondary sources) by Mark Brustman . “For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. In a world where there were clear divisions between male and female, they were neither or they were both. Rab-saris means “chief eunuch,” specifically to an Assyrian or Babylonian king. In 2 Kings 18:17, more literal translations like the ESV, KJV, NASB, and CSB use the term “the Rab-saris” instead of “chief officer,” used in the NIV, or “field commander,” which is used in the NLT. All rights reserved. The eunuch was traveling back home from worshipping in Jerusalem. The one being able to receive it, let him receive it." In Esther 2:15, Hegai is reported to have given her advice, which helped Esther succeed in becoming the queen. He was reading from the book of Isaiah but didn’t understand the messianic prophecy until “an angel of the Lord” (vs. 26) instructed Philip to “go over and join this chariot” (vs. 29). The other 39 mentions of eunuchs in the Old Testament focus on the social status and roles of the eunuch rather than his physical condition. For example, Potiphar was an officer (saris) to Pharaoh (Genesis 37:36). He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. What does it mean to be a Christian saint? The Hebrew word saris-eunuch, is found 45 times in the Old Testament, translated in the King James Bible as eunuch 17 times, chamberlain 13 times, officer 12 times and Rabsaris, 3 times. 4. While Jesus taught on marriage in Matthew 19:1-12, he mentioned eunuchs living lives of singleness in verse 12: “For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Karkas are named as the seven eunuchs who served King Xerxes. The second part of the verse says: "and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men;" These would be the man-made or castrated eunuchs. 2 Fortunately for us, Jesus was an expert on eunuchs. Hathak was one of Queen Esther’s eunuchs who informed her about Haman’s plan to annihilate the Jews in area (Esther 4:1-9). No. “But as some of these [eunuchs] rose to be confidential advisers of their royal master or mistresses, the word was occasionally employed to denote persons in such a position, without indicating anything of their proper manhood.”. He made himself a eunuch for the kingdom of heaven's sake: Matthew 19.12. Eunuchs that were castrated prior to puberty generally don’t ever experience the secondary sexual characteristics such as body and facial hair, deeper voice and muscle growth. They were the ones the king told “to bring before him Queen Vashti, wearing her royal crown, in order to display her beauty to the people and nobles, for she was lovely to look at. Castrated eunuchs were obviously unable to procreate, but the eunuchs mentioned in Isaiah 56:3-5 and Matthew 19:12 were not necessarily castrated, although they are recorded as living in chastity or unable to procreate for one reason or another. Eunuchs were used as a sign of status and affluence and the wealthy members of ancient Chinese society also utilized the services of eunuchs within their … "For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother's womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Greer's thesis is that the "traditional" suburban, consumerist, nuclear family represses women sexually, and that this devitalises them, rendering them eunuchs.The book was published in London in October 1970. But this lifestyle isn’t the only representation of a eunuch. He that is able … I think there were many types of eunuchs in Jesus's day. Postscript: June 16, 2020. The disciples said to Him, “If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry.” Eunuch Meaning: Unable to Procreate or Choosing a Life of Celibacy. 1 And although the meaning of the word isn't always clear, it generally refers to a castrated male, or a man who, for one reason or another, is not attracted to women. Also, the eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men were those appointed by the king to be servants in the king’s palace. This conversion story of the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:26-39 shows that eunuchs are welcome in God’s kingdom through faith in Jesus Christ. Also, the Jewish Talmud has a list of possible ways one may be … King James Bible They are often essential to the narratives, and they are celebrated. As a eunuch was someone in charge of the bed chamber(s) in a palace or large home, “jealous” Eastern rulers often required the eunuch to be one “deprived of their virility,” as Smith’s Bible Dictionary expresses. Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Karkas are named as the seven eunuchs who served King Xerxes. John Gill’s commentary provides a thorough explanation of the three kinds of eunuchs in this verse, defining them as either impotent from birth, castrated by men, or one who voluntarily chose a life of celibacy in order to be freer to serve God’s kingdom. Does the Bible talk about self-love / loving self. Why Did God Withhold from His Most Faithful in the Bible? The born eunuchs in the above verse from Matthew are referring to homosexual men. Because of their physical limitations, they were also used for harem guards and body servants of the king. Sure, they're mentioned here and there in the Bible, but what do they have to do with homosexuality? Jesus answers, “For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who had made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Copyright 2011-2021 Got Questions Ministries - All Rights Reserved. There is the story of the eunuch in the Bible that sought out Jesus to learn of his teachings. Definition and Examples. I ecourage Christians who are struggling with LGBTQ issues to do a study of the eunuchs in the Bible. An Ethiopian eunuch is unnamed but Acts 8:26-39 says he was “an important official in charge of all the treasury” of the Queen of Ethiopia. The Kama Sutra, which was written before the birth of Christ, has a section for eunuch/eunuch intercourse -- so it was known that some eunuchs were sexual beings (at least with each other). Some biblical accounts imply a eunuch’s castration such as in Isaiah 39:7 and 2 Kings 20:18. Eunuchs In the Bible — Created By God. You will find weak, insecure men who use gossip, whisper campaigns, smear campaigns, and propaganda to … Christian Truth. A eunuch could also be someone who performed work typical of eunuchs, although he remained perfectly capable of having sex—i.e., “eunuch” in … The one who can accept this should accept it.” Explanation and Commentary of Matthew 19:12 The intent of purposeful castration was to cause infertility and eliminate sexuality. Eunuchs in the Bible are typically defined as castrated men placed in charge over a king’s harem of wives and concubines. Answer: The eunuchs of the Bible were usually castrated males or those incapable of reproduction due to a birth defect. The Female Eunuch is a 1970 book by Germaine Greer that became an international bestseller and an important text in the feminist movement. Consider Jesus’s statement that “some were born eunuchs” (Matt. The eunuchs of the Bible were normally castrated males or those unable of reproduction due to a birth deficiency. It is possible, although the Bible doesn't say, that Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were eunuchs in Nebuchadnezzar's court (Isaiah 39:5-7; Daniel 1:3-7). the inability to produce off spring In Matthew 19:12, Jesus mentions eunuchs in the context of whether it is good to marry. Harbona is mentioned again in Esther 7:9 as the eunuch who informed King Xerxes about “the gallows that Haman prepared for Mordecai” (ESV). The most significant passage in the Bible about eunuchs occurs in Matthew 19. 19:12). What Is a Eunuch in the Bible? In context he is addressing marriage not gender. Some Eunuchs Were Gay Men “Then Philip opened his mouth and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus” (vs. 35) and baptized the eunuch in some nearby water. The boys would be used for duties close to the king, sometimes important political roles; since eunuchs would be unable to leave a genetic legacy, it was thought they would be more loyal to their monarch. A broader definition includes men who are impotent or who are voluntarily celibate. There were at least four designations of the word "eunuch" in the Bible. Jesus is not affirming that eunuchs constitute a third gender option or an exception to maleness and femaleness. Saris (or cariyc) is the Hebrew word for eunuch, occurring 45 times in the Old Testament (OT). Biblical MeaningWhat is Fornication?Meaning of Shekinah GloryThe difference between Grace and Mercy. The one who can accept this should accept it.”. Shaashgaz was another eunuch of King Xerxes who was “in charge of the concubines” (Esther 2:14). China has a long history with the use of Eunuchs and many emperors routinely made them a part of their court. they were called eunichs. The word "eunuch" occurs 27 times in 23 verses in the King James Version of Bible. Now this man had four virgin daughters who were prophetesses.Acts 21:8-9 (NASB) Just as God did not give us the name of Isaiah’s wife, who was a prophetess, God does not give us the names of these four virgin daughters. India's Nirvan eunuchs undergo castration with methods much like the ancient Asians experienced, explains the U.S. National Library of Medicine. But when the attendants delivered the king’s command, Queen Vashti refused to come” (Esther 1:10-12). Jesus is not affirming that eunuchs constitute a third gender option or an exception to maleness and femaleness. After the Babylonian king Xerxes removed Queen Vashti from her royal position, the king called for select young women to be brought into his harem, under the care of Hegai. If only Jesus were … Eunouchos is also used four times in the New Testament. When deciphering the root words and original meaning of saris, it’s uncertain if the word originally meant “unable to procreate” or “castrated.” It’s possible the role of the saris may have influenced this meaning later to include impotent or castrated. It was a normal custom in ancient times for rulers to castrate some of their servants and/or advisers in order to restrain and subdue them. Other Eunuchs in the Bible. Berean Literal Bible For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother's womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of the heavens. “Since some of these important officials, in certain cultures, were castrated because of their occupations (such as guarding the harem), it is not surprising that, by a quite normal process of semantic change, the expression came to denote a castrated man.”. The acerbic poet describes a particular lover of fine food having "consumed his estate dining lavishly and at leisure every day on tuna and garlic-honey cheese paté like a Lampsacene eunoukhos." “In the story of Esther, it is even rather probably that the saris mentioned in Esther 1:10, 12; 2:3, 14-15; 4:4-5, being attached to the service of the royal harem, had been castrated, through this cannot be stated with certainty,” according to this United Bible Societies article.