Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Eunuchs-Where They Also Gay?

Something to think about...
1. Eunuchs were not always made, some were born.

Matthew 19:12"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.
He who is able to accept this, let him accept it."
2. Eunuchs were outsiders, not accepted into regular society.
Commentary:Jesus' remark (see above) about celibacy is graphic and would certainly seize the attention of Jewish listeners; Jewish people did not allow eunuchs into the covenant (Deut 23:1; though compare Is 56:4-5; Tannehill 1975:136-37). Although some sectarians in the wilderness may have preferred celibacy, mainstream Jewish society regarded marriage and childbearing as solemn responsibilities (Keener 1991a:72-78). A metaphor of such shame and sacrifice testifies to the value of the kingdom of God for which anyone would pay such a price (Tannehill 1975:138-40). By embracing both shame and temporary self-control, Joseph to a lesser extent models the nature of this demand (1:25; compare 1 Cor 7).
3. Eunuchs hung out with fabulous ladies!

Esther 2:3"Let the king appoint overseers in all the provinces of his kingdom that they may gather every beautiful young virgin to the citadel of Susa, to the harem, into the custody of Hegai, the king's eunuch, who is in charge of the women; and let their cosmetics be given them.
Esther 2:14 in the evening she hath gone in, and in the morning she hath turned back unto the second house of the women, unto the hand of Shaashgaz eunuch of the king, keeper of the concubines; she cometh not in any more unto the king except the king hath delighted in her, and she hath been called by name.
4. But it was okay because they were just friends!

Wisdom of Sirach 30:20. "He sees things with his eyes, and groans, like a eunuch embracing a girl groans."
The context is about how a rich man who is ill is worse off than a healthy poor man, because his illness makes him turn off to the good things in life like food.
Wisdom of Sirach 20:4. Literally, "A man who exerts justice by force of arms is like the desire of a eunuch to take a girl's virginity."
I take this to mean that in both cases there is an internal contradiction or paradox.
(Although the writings known as the Apocrypha are often not included in Protestant Bibles, they were translated and included in the original King James Bible of 1611)
4. Eunuchs will be part of God’s kingdom, despite being outside the mainstream culture.

Isaiah 56 Salvation for Others

3 Let no foreigner who has bound himself to the LORD say, "The LORD will surely exclude me from his people." And let not any eunuch complain, "I am only a dry tree." 4 For this is what the LORD says: "To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant- 5 to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off. 6 And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD to serve him, to love the name of the LORD , and to worship him, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant- 7 these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer."

Famous Biblical Eunuchs:
Potiphar, the Egyptian official who bought Joseph as a slave (remember the P’s wife who hit on Joseph? Unsatisfied, unfulfilled perhaps?).
The killers of Jezebel;
The black court official Ebedmelech, who saved the prophet Jeremiah from the dungeon;
The court officials of Nebuchadnezzar who raised Daniel;
The servants who plotted against Esther's father and the other servants who exposed the plot;
The court official from Ethiopia whom Philip baptized;
The military leaders from Israel, Judah, Assyria, and Babylonia.

eu·nuch n. A castrated man employed as a harem attendant or as a functionary in certain Asian courts.
A man or boy whose testes are nonfunctioning or have been removed
Informal. An ineffectual, powerless, or unmasculine man.
[Middle English eunuk, from Latin eunchus, from Greek eunoukhos : eun, bed + -okhos, keeping (from ekhein, to keep. See segh- in Indo-European Roots).]
eunuch·ism n. Word History: The word eunuch does not derive, as one might think, from the operation that produced a eunuch but rather from one of his functions. Eunuch goes back to the Greek word eunoukhos, "a castrated person employed to take charge of the women of a harem and act as chamberlain." The Greek word is derived from eun, "bed," and ekhein, "to keep." A eunuch, of course, was ideally suited to guard the bedchamber of women.
Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth EditionCopyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

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