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2001 Translation

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    Eunuchs

    When we hear the word eunuch, we usually think of a man that has been castrated, because that’s what the term has come to mean through the years. However, when someone is described as a eunuch in the Bible, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he was sexually mutilated. In fact, during the reigns of faithful kings of IsraEl, such mutilation would have been considered repulsive; For a sexually-mutilated person, by Law, couldn’t serve as a Priest or worship at the Temple of Jehovah.

    Does this mean that God dislikes men whose testicles have been forcibly or accidentally removed? No, surely the reason why God created this law was because He knew that some men, in their desire to better serve Him, may have considered castrating themselves in order to remove any carnal desires…
    And He clearly didn’t want that to happen.
    So God gave them a law that disallowed religious participation by any that were castrated.

    But, notice that the Greek word eunuch doesn’t really carry the meaning of castration.
    Rather, it means bed keeper.
    Nevertheless, most bed keepers (or harem watchers) for kings were in fact castrated to keep them from temptation.

    Yet, eunuchs are frequently mentioned in the Bible as holding other offices (take the Ethiopian Eunuch as an example) that didn’t necessarily require castration.
    So, why were men that didn’t watch over harems later referred to as bed keepers?
    Because the term had come under common use to apply to all of the most-trusted servants of kings.

    You might notice, for example, that Potiphar (the Egyptian man to whom JoSeph was sold) was referred to as a eunuch (gr. Eunouchos) of Pharaoh at Genesis 39:1, though the account tells us that he was a married man who had sired children.

    But, was DaniEl (who served under the chief Babylonian eunuch) in fact a eunuch?
    His position as a special servant to the king would indicate that he held such a title.

    Then, is it possible that he had been castrated?
    Well, since he was an early captive from JeruSalem, he was likely a member of its nobility or royalty;
    And notice what the prophecy that God gave to King HezekiAh (at Isaiah 39:7) says about this:
    ‘They will take your children – those whom you have fathered – and make them eunuchs in the houses of the Babylonians.’

    In the above case, the Greek word that we have translated as eunuchs is castrati (one that has been sexually mutilated). And the fact that there is no mention of DaniEl having a wife or children, and that none of his descendants are listed among those that returned to JeruSalem, makes this a possible conclusion.