Some have taken
Jesus’ statements in Matthew 19:9-12 about divorce and remarriage as an
indication that he condemned homosexuality by omission, confirming that
heterosexuality is the only “normal” relationship possible. On closer
examination, it would seem that just the opposite is true. Jesus is
talking about eunuchs and defines them as those who are unable (or unfit)
to function in marriage for one of three reasons:
- They were born that way and so
are intrinsically eunuchs.
- They were made to be eunuchs by
- They made themselves eunuchs for
the sake of the kingdom of heaven.
In our culture,
the word eunuch is commonly understood to be a reference to castrated males.
The Hebrew word saris (#5631) often translated to the English word
eunuch, is used to refer to men, who sometimes for political reasons in some
eastern cultures, were castrated to insure no threat through procreation.
But this condition was not synonymous with eunuchry in general. Eunuchs
were often trusted officials with great responsibility and political power.
The Old Testament often uses the word chamberlains, court officials
or officers when translating the word saris and can easily be
missed when reading the English versions. This same meaning belongs to the
Greek word eunukos (#2135). Eunuchs were often in charge of harems;
responsible for the protection and care of the wives of the king because they
posed no threat sexually. They were overseers of the beauty treatments for
the women to make them presentable to the king (Esther 2:3, 12-13). The
Ethiopian Eunuch was the treasure keeper (Acts 8:27) for Queen Candace.
Often Eunuchs were recognized for their spiritual sensitivity and wisdom and
were chosen to advise the king. Daniel and the Hebrew children were
eunuchs in the court of King Nebuchadnezzar.
that Hezekiah’s children would become eunuchs in the palace of the king of
Babylon (2 Kings 20:16-18). This was fulfilled when Daniel and the three
Hebrew children (Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) who were described as
“beautiful men” (Daniel 1:4), were presented as eunuchs to King
Nebuchadnezzar’s court. The chief of the king’s eunuchs, Ashpenaz, gave “tender
love” (Daniel 1:9) to Daniel. The Hebrew word used here is checed
(#2617), meaning affectionate love. The modern translations have
watered this down significantly. Checed is used 250 times in the
Old Testament and translated 174 times to “love”, but for some reason
when referring to Ashpenaz’s relationship to Daniel, the New International
Version says “favor and sympathy”.
It is important to
note and clarify that eunuchs and homosexuals are not synonymous terms.
However, in Matthew 19:11, Jesus indicates that whoever the eunuchs are, they
are that way because of the gift of God given to them. J. H. Thayer
identifies them as being “(b) naturally incapacitated for marriage or
begetting children.” Sterility can certainly incapacitate a man from
begetting children, but what can incapacitate one from marriage? Tom
Horner in his book Jonathan Loved David: Homosexuality In Biblical Times
indicates from his research that wherever eunuchs were present, there is the
presence of overt homosexual activity, or at least a very strong possibility of
it. James Tinny, the late founder of Faith Temple in Washington, D.C.
taught that eunuchs who served as royal chamberlains must of necessity be
emotionally or psychologically homosexual or they would not be trustworthy.
A heterosexual man, even though he may be physically emasculated, would
still have a heterosexual drive to caress and kiss.
Because of their
incapacitation toward marriage for whatever reason, the Jews regarded eunuchs as
cut-off from their heritage since children were seen as the only way of
extending yourself passed this life. Isaiah 53:1-8 is the passage the
Ethiopian Eunuch was reading when Philip joined him by direction of the Holy
Spirit to explain how he (the Messiah) could be cut-off with no
descendants (verse 8). Jesus, therefore, was also a eunuch.
who choose what pleases God and keep His covenant, have a promise from God, that
He will give them a “name better than sons and daughters…an everlasting name
that will not be cut-off” (Isaiah 56:4-5). This promise is for us who
are set apart for God’s service as eunuchs ministering to the bride of Christ,
His church. In this function, we are working toward readying the bride for
the return of the bridegroom in order to present her spotless and without
blemish, purified to love without hypocrisy.