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Frequently Asked Questions About Christianity, Answered Honestly!

What are Eunuchs?
-by Tony Warren

There is a myth in some circles, that those people identified as eunuchs in scriptures were homosexuals. This idea is totally ridiculous, has no Biblical merit, and is based upon nothing but supposition. It is indeed astounding that any learned person could come to such a contrived or self-serving conclusion, based on the facts. Of course when you have people that are determined to base their interpretations on the social climate of the day or the imaginations of men's hearts, it becomes quite understandable. Because then it is easy for people to formulate palatable conclusions and read any belief they want "into" the scriptures. But this is obviously a teaching that is not found in scripture, and any Theologian worth his salt can righteously come to no other conclusion.

The word eunuch in the old testament is the Hebrew word [caric](pronounced saw-reece'), meaning to be castrated. And by extension it means to be celibate or figuratively to live unmarried. In practical application, Kings and Rulers would often use castrated men or eunuchs, as those who were charged with the management and care of women's chambers. This was done for obvious reasons, since it would be impossible for them to have sexual relations with the women that were under their care. Thus they were the ideal guardians of harems and servants quarters. For this reason the word [caric] is also translated chamberlain in scripture. Because it illustrates those who were given charge of the bed chambers of women. For example:

Ester 2:3

  • "And let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather together all the fair young virgins unto Shushan the palace, to the house of the women, unto the custody of Hege the king's chamberlain, keeper of women; and let their things for purification be given them:"
These eunuchs, or as it is translated chamberlains here, were trusted and charged with keeping the harem of virgins, concubines, maids and female servants for the King. Again:

Ester 2:14

  • "In the evening she went, and on the morrow she returned into the second house of the women, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the king's chamberlain, which kept the concubines: she came in unto the king no more, except the king delighted in her, and that she were called by name."
That word translated chamberlain is the exact same word [caric] that is also translated eunuch in scripture. this is because eunuchs were generally given much authority over women's quarters and had the management of these chambers. And nothing in scripture gives even the slightest hint or suggestion that this word implies homosexuality. These ideas are the fables and imaginations from the minds of of men, little more than the wishful thinking of those with an agenda.

In the new testament the Greek word eunuch is [eunouchizo], which literally means to "hold bed." And it is made up of the root Greek words [enue] meaning bed, and the verb tense [echo], meaning to hold, as in possession. By extension it means the chamberlain or holder of the women's bed chambers, who was normally castrated to be celibate and charged with that task. So basically, it has the very same meaning as the old testament word does. In it's narrowest technical sense, it means (either literally or figuratively), a celibate or emasculated man. as these were those who were often used as chamberlains. We can also see a vivid example of this word used for this service illustrated in the Ethiopian eunuch who had charge of the Queen's Chamber.

Acts 8:27

  • "And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,"
For a man to hold such authority in matters under the queen, he was usually a eunuch or a castrated person, so that he was no threat to lie with the queen or her female servants. This was the normal operation of those who were in position to deal with a harem of women in these cultures.

So, as we've clearly seen, the word is used to illustrate a castrated or celibate person. And it is self evident from scripture that God uses the word in the New Testament in this application. It is a common misconception that the word is "always" used in scripture for castrated males. But while that is the root meaning, by extension the word identifies anyone who won't have sexual union with a woman. For example anyone who, for conscience sake, will not enter into sexual union, has by implication made himself a eunuch or a celibate man. Jesus Himself uses the word signifying those abstaining from sexual union, choosing to remain single or unmarried (celibate).

However, there is not a single phrase anywhere in scripture declaring or implying that homosexual activity or lifestyle is related to eunuchs. God having already condemned the practice of homosexuality many times, would not in contradiction to this precept, call homosexuals (if they were eunuchs) Christians. And so these arguments by some people that these eunuchs are homosexuals, is an untenable position, without any biblical foundation. The word eunuch can mean a castrated man, but by extension it can also mean any man who has cut himself off from having sexual relations with women. ie, any man who has for one reason or another denied himself women, sexually. Not to be confused with the word "homosexual," which means men who are attracted to other men, or women who are attracted to other women. These are totally different words with totally different definitions. For example, Christ spoke of those who "would not marry" for the kingdom of God's sake, and called them eunuchs. Because these were men who would remain single or celibate so that they could better serve God.

Matthew 19:12

  • "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. He that is able to receive it, let him RECEIVE It."
Jesus says there are men who will not have sexual union with women for many reasons, and He lists some of these reasons. He says some people will not have sexual union at all as they were born without the ability to be in union with a woman (as from birth defects or being sexually impotent) from their mother's womb. In other words, because of being born unable to perform because of physical circumstances.

Others will be eunuchs (never have sexual union) because someone has taken it upon themselves to physically make them that way. Either by castration, so as to be chamberlains, or as slaves were often castrated, or because of the cruelty of men. In our day one might even be castrated for medical reasons.

And Christ also declares that others will never have sexual union because of the Kingdom of God's sake. In other words, because, like the Apostle Paul (Who wished that all were as he, Unmarried - 1st Corinthians 7:7-9
 1st Corinthians 7:7-9
  • "For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.
  • I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.
  • But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn."
). Those who remain unmarried for the Kingdom of God's sake do so by design, in order to place all their emphasis and talents on Christ, and not on caring for a wife. God calls these eunuchs, and obviously He is not referring to homosexuals. For Christ to say some have made themselves homosexuals for the kingdom of God's sake, would be blasphemy!

So we have Christ giving all sorts of reasons why one would have no sexual union (be a eunuch). Because God never intended that all people would get married. Therefore, the point is that it is not a failure or a cause for despair if one remains a eunuch or in the celibate state. And it very well may be a special calling of God, or something that is for the best, according to the will and purpose of God.

Indeed, Christ says in Matthew that it is not for everyone to have sexual union in marriage, but he who can receive it, let him receive it. He who will never marry does not need the law against divorce, but to he who does decide to marry, Jesus says it is "till death do them part." A one flesh union that cannot be torn asunder. Therefore, to them, these words of Christ about divorce and two flesh becoming one, apply. So the word eunuch clearly applies to celibate men, as well as castrated men.

Those who attempt to have this word eunuch mean homosexuality, actually have Jesus saying in that chapter that some were born "homosexuals" for the kingdom of God's sake. And that is a ludicrous statement for any sound Christian man to make. But just another example of the wild justifications and rationalizations of man. We have Biblical proof that these eunuchs cannot be homosexuals.

These questions having been answered, the question now is, "why then do so many people today think that these verses that speak of eunuchs, are talking about homosexuality?" The answer is the social engineering and political correctness that is running rampant in our society today. It's the way of the world today to turn everything upside down, and esteem bad as good, and good as bad. It is the way of the world to make quoted scripture seem un-compassionate evil legalism, and smooth and compromising words of nullification seem good christian compassion. The world makes those who bear faithful witness to truth, the bad guys, while those who say, "ye are all saved and shall have peace," seem loving and Christ-like. It is the creeping apostasy and sloppy exegesis mixed with carnal or humanistic thinking, that has brought these abominable ideas into the Churches. And frankly, many professed Christians today just don't really care what the word of God says. They just want to be called a Christian and to live in peace with the world, and like the world. They are just too deceived to understand that this kind of peace with the world, is enmity with God.

Isaiah 4:1

  • "And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach."
If we simply want to call ourselves Christian, and yet have no desire to put on Christ's apparel, then that is not to be Christian at all. We may make the claim our reproach is taken away, but the truth is, living as the world means we are Christian in name only. In our day, many are called by Christ's name, but refuse to put on the robe of the Christ's righteousness. They want to put on their own apparel. And it is for this reason that abominations like (supposed) excuses for Homosexuality has come up into our Churches. It is for these reasons that ideas like, "eunuchs must be homosexuals," have found a resting place there. But there is no Biblical warrant for, and ample warnings against such abominations.

    May the Lord who is most Gracious, keep us rooted firmly in Him, that we might endure to the end, through our hour of great trial and tribulation.

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Copyright ©1999 Tony Warren
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Created 10/4/99 / Last Modified 05/17/10
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