Eunuch
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Smith's Bible Dictionary
Eunuch

"The English form of the Greek word which means bed-keeper . In the strict and proper sense they were the persons who had charge of the bed-chambers in palaces and larger houses. But as the jealous and dissolute temperament of the East required this charge to be in the hands of persons who had been deprived of their virility, the word eunuch came naturally to denote persons in that condition. But as some of these 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." -Abbott.

ATS Bible Dictionary
Eunuch

In the courts of oriental monarchs, the charge of the female and interior apartments is committed to eunuchs. Hence the word came to signify merely a court officer. Such were Potiphar, Joseph's master, Genesis 39:17, and the treasurer of Queen Candace, Acts 8:27. Our Savior speaks of some who "have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake;" that is, who have voluntarily abstained from marriage, in order more effectually to labor for the kingdom of God, Matthew 19:12; and the apostle Paul commends the same abstinence in certain exceptional cases in time of persecution, 1 1 Corinthians 7:26,27. See GAZA.

Easton's Bible Dictionary
Literally bed-keeper or chamberlain, and not necessarily in all cases one who was mutilated, although the practice of employing such mutilated persons in Oriental courts was common (2 Kings 9:32; Esther 2:3). The law of Moses excluded them from the congregation (Deuteronomy 23:1). They were common also among the Greeks and Romans. It is said that even to-day there are some in Rome who are employed in singing soprano in the Sistine Chapel. Three classes of eunuchs are mentioned in Matthew 19:12.
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
1. (n.) A male of the human species castrated; commonly, one of a class of such persons, in Oriental countries, having charge of the women's apartments. Some of them, in former times, gained high official rank.

2. (v. t.) Alt. of Eunuchate.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
ETHIOPIAN EUNUCH

e-thi-o'-pi-an u'-nuk eunouchos:

A man who occupied a leading position as treasurer at the court of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, and who was converted and baptized by Philip the deacon (Acts 8:27-39). Being a eunuch, he was not in the full Jewish communion (compare Deuteronomy 23:1), but had gone up to Jerusalem to worship, probably as a proselyte at the gate. During his return journey he spent the time in studying Isaiah, the text which he used being that of the Septuagint (compare Professor Margoliouth, article "Ethiopian Eunuch" in HDB). On meeting with Philip the deacon, who was on his way to Gaza, he besought of him to shed light upon the difficulties of the Scripture he was reading, and through this was converted. The place of his baptism, according to Jerome and Eusebius, was Bethsura: by some modern authorities, eg. G A. Smith, it has been located at or near Gaza. The verse containing the confession of the eunuch, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God," is omitted either in whole or in part by some texts, but Hilgenfeld, Knowling, etc., regard it as quite in keeping with the context. Tischendorf, Westcott and Hort, Revised Version (British and American) text, etc., uphold the omission. The verse occurs in the body of the King James Version, but is given only as a footnote in the Revised Version (British and American) and the American Standard Revised Version. The diligence with which the eunuch pursued his reading, the earnestness with which he inquired of Philip, and the promptness with which he asked for baptism-all testify to the lofty nature of his character.

C. M. Kerr

EUNUCH

u'-nuk (caric; spadon; eunouchos):

Primarily and literally, a eunuch is an emasculated man (Deuteronomy 23:1). The Hebrew word caric seems, however, to have acquired a figurative meaning, which is reflected in English Versions of the Bible where "officer" and "chamberlain" are found as renderings (compare Genesis 37:36; Genesis 39:1, where caric is applied to married men; Esther 4:4). The barbarous practice of self-mutilation and the mutilation of others in this way was prevalent throughout the Orient. The religious disabilities under which men thus deformed labored under the Mosaic law had the effect of making the practice abominable to the Jews as a people (Deuteronomy 23:1 Leviticus 22:23-25). The law excluded eunuchs from public worship, partly because self-mutilation was often performed in honor of a heathen god, and partly because a maimed creature of any sort was deemed unfit for the service of Yahweh (Leviticus 21:16; Leviticus 22:24). That ban, however, was later removed (Isaiah 56:4, 5). On the other hand, the kings of Israel and Judah followed their royal neighbors in employing eunuchs (1) as guardians of the harem (2 Kings 9:32 Jeremiah 41:16), and (2) in military and other official posts (1 Samuel 8:15 margin; 1 Kings 22:9 margin; 2 Kings 8:6 margin; 2 Kings 23:11 the King James Version margin; 2 Kings 24:12, 13 margin; 2 Kings 25:19 margin; 1 Chronicles 28:1 margin; 2 Chronicles 18:8 margin; Jeremiah 29:2; Jeremiah 34:19; Jeremiah 38:7; compare Genesis 37:36; Genesis 40:2, 7 Acts 8:27). Josephus informs us that eunuchs were a normal feature of the courts of the Herods (Ant., XV, vii, 4; XVI, viii, 1). From the single reference to the practice in the Gospels (Matthew 19:12), we infer that the existence and purpose of eunuchs as a class were known to the Jews of Jesus' time. There is no question with Jesus as to the law of Nature: the married life is the norm of man's condition, and the union thereby effected transcends every other natural bond, even that of filial affection (Matthew 19:5, 6).

But He would have His hearers recognize that there are exceptional cases where the rule does not hold. In speaking of the three classes of eunuchs (Matthew 19:12), He made a distinction which was evidently well known to those whom He addressed, as was the metaphorical use of the word in application to the third class well understood by them (compare Lightfoot, Horae Hebrew et Talmud; Schottgen, Horae Hebrew, in the place cited.).

How Origen misunderstood and abused the teaching of this passage is well known (Euseb., HE, VI, 8), and his own pathetic comment on the passage shows that later he regretted having taken it thus literally and acted on it. His is not the only example of such a perverted interpretation (see Talmud, Shabbath 152a, and compare Midrash on Ecclesiastes 10:7). The Council of Nicea, therefore, felt called on to deal with the danger as did the 2nd Council of Aries and the Apos Canons (circa 21). (Compare Bingham's Ant, IV, 9.)

It is significant that Jesus expresses no condemnation of this horrible practice. It was in keeping with His far-reaching plan of instilling principles rather than dealing in denunciations (John 3:17; John 8:11). It was by His positive teaching concerning purity that we are shown the lines along which we must move to reach the goal. There is a more excellent way of achieving mastery of the sexual passion. It is possible for men to attain as complete control of this strong instinct as if they were physically sexless, and the resultant victory is of infinitely more value than the negative, unmoral condition produced by self-emasculation. These "make themselves eunuchs" with a high and holy purpose, "for the kingdom of heaven's sake"; and the interests created by that purpose are so absorbing that neither time nor opportunity is afforded to the "fleshly lusts, which war against the soul" (1 Peter 2:11). They voluntarily forego marriage even, undertake virtual "eunuchism" because they are completely immersed in and engrossed by "the kingdom of heaven" (compare John 17:4 1 Corinthians 7:29, 33; 9:5 and see Bengel, Gnomon Novi Test. in the place cited and Clement of Alexandria., Strom., iii.1).

See MARRIAGE.

LITERATURE.

Driver," Deuteronomy," ICC, Deuteronomy 23:1; Commentary on Matthew, in the place cited. by Morison and Broadus; Neander, Ch. Hist, II, 493; Wendt, The Teaching of Jesus, 72; The Expositor, IV, vii (1893), 294; Encyclopedia Brit, article "Eunuch."

George B. Eager

Greek
2135. eunouchos -- a eunuch
... a eunuch. Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine Transliteration: eunouchos Phonetic Spelling:
(yoo-noo'-khos) Short Definition: a eunuch, keeper of the bed-chamber ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/2135.htm - 7k

2134. eunouchizo -- to make a eunuch of
... to make a eunuch of. Part of Speech: Verb Transliteration: eunouchizo Phonetic Spelling:
(yoo-noo-khid'-zo) Short Definition: emasculate, castrate Definition: I ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/2134.htm - 6k

Strong's Hebrew
5631. saris -- eunuch
... saris or saris. 5632 . eunuch. Transliteration: saris or saris Phonetic Spelling:
(saw-reece') Short Definition: officials. ... chamberlain, eunuch, officer. ...
/hebrew/5631.htm - 6k

3752. Karkas -- a eunuch of Ahasuerus
... a eunuch of Ahasuerus. Transliteration: Karkas Phonetic Spelling: (kar-kas') Short
Definition: Carkas. ... Of Persian origin; Karkas, a eunuch of Xerxes: ...
/hebrew/3752.htm - 5k

8657. Teresh -- a eunuch of Ahasuerus
... 8656, 8657. Teresh. 8658 . a eunuch of Ahasuerus. Transliteration: Teresh
Phonetic Spelling: (teh'-resh) Short Definition: Teresh. ...
/hebrew/8657.htm - 5k

5. Abagtha -- a eunuch of Ahasuerus
... 4, 5. Abagtha. 6 . a eunuch of Ahasuerus. Transliteration: Abagtha Phonetic
Spelling: (ab-ag-thaw') Short Definition: Abagtha. Word ...
/hebrew/5.htm - 5k

904. Bigthan -- a eunuch of Ahasuerus
... 903, 904. Bigthan or Bigthana. 905 . a eunuch of Ahasuerus. Transliteration:
Bigthan or Bigthana Phonetic Spelling: (big-thawn') Short Definition: Bigthan. ...
/hebrew/904.htm - 6k

903. Bigtha -- a eunuch of Ahasuerus
... 902, 903. Bigtha. 904 . a eunuch of Ahasuerus. Transliteration: Bigtha
Phonetic Spelling: (big-thaw') Short Definition: Bigtha. ...
/hebrew/903.htm - 5k

2726. Charbona -- eunuch of Ahasuerus
... Charbona or Charbonah. 2727 . eunuch of Ahasuerus. Transliteration: Charbona or
Charbonah Phonetic Spelling: (khar-bo-naw') Short Definition: Harbona. ...
/hebrew/2726.htm - 6k

7249. Rab-saris -- perhaps "chief eunuch," an official of the ...
... perhaps "chief eunuch," an official of the Assyr. ... From rab and a foreign word for
a eunuch; chief chamberlain; Rab-Saris, a Babylonian official -- Rab-saris. ...
/hebrew/7249.htm - 6k

828. Ashpenaz -- a Bab. eunuch
... a Bab. eunuch. Transliteration: Ashpenaz Phonetic Spelling: (ash-pen-az') Short
Definition: Ashpenaz. ... eunuch NASB Word Usage Ashpenaz (1). Ashpenaz. ...
/hebrew/828.htm - 5k

968. Bizzetha -- a eunuch of Ahasuerus
... 967, 968. Bizzetha. 969 . a eunuch of Ahasuerus. Transliteration: Bizzetha
Phonetic Spelling: (biz-thaw') Short Definition: Biztha. ...
/hebrew/968.htm - 5k

Library

On Eutropius, the Eunuch, Patrician and Consul.
... Homily I. On Eutropius, the eunuch, Patrician and Consul. 1. "Vanity of
vanities, all is vanity""it is always seasonable to utter ...
/.../chrysostom/on the priesthood/homily i on eutropius the.htm

The Conversion of the Ethiopian Eunuch.
... LECTURES LECTURE XI. THE CONVERSION OF THE ETHIOPIAN EUNUCH. Chap. viii.26-40. ... The
Ethiopian eunuch was a person of distinguished zeal and devotion. ...
/.../dick/lectures on the acts of the apostles/lecture xi the conversion of.htm

Sapor King of Persia is Excited against the Christians. Symeon ...
... Chapter IX."Sapor King of Persia is Excited against the Christians. Symeon, Bishop
of Persia, and Usthazanes, a Eunuch, Suffer the Agony of Martyrdom. ...
/.../the ecclesiastical history of sozomenus/chapter ix sapor king of persia.htm

John Draws Down Upon Himself the Displeasure of Many Persons of ...
... Book VI. Chapter V."John draws down upon Himself the Displeasure of Many
Persons of Rank and Power. Of the Eunuch Eutropius. As ...
/.../the ecclesiastical history of scholasticus/chapter v john draws down upon.htm

A Meeting in the Desert
... 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 ...
/.../maclaren/expositions of holy scripture the acts/a meeting in the desert.htm

part v.
... before the Emperor; and he, expecting easily to draw over all men to his side by
means of Liberius, writes to him, and sends a certain eunuch called Eusebius ...
/.../athanasius/select works and letters or athanasius/part v.htm

Chapter xxxix
... 1-4. And as for Joseph he was brought down to Egypt, and Potiphar, a eunuch of
Pharaoh's, captain of the bodyguard, an Egyptian man, bought him from the ...
/.../christianbookshelf.org/leupold/exposition of genesis volume 1/chapter xxxix.htm

Introduction to the Two Homilies on Eutropius.
... His place in the favour and confidence of Arcadius was soon occupied by the
eunuch Eutropius. The career of this person was a strange one. ...
/.../chrysostom/on the priesthood/introduction to the two homilies.htm

The Gospel in Samaria
... "And, behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace queen
of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to ...
/.../white/the acts of the apostles/lesson 11 the gospel in.htm

Conference Between Liberius, Pope of Rome, and the Emperor ...
... Eusebius the Eunuch [538] foolishly interposed.""It was demonstrated at the council
of Nic├Ža that he held opinions entirely at variance with the catholic ...
/.../chapter xiii conference between liberius pope.htm

Thesaurus
Eunuch (20 Occurrences)
... Some of them, in former times, gained high official rank. 2. (vt) Alt. of
Eunuchate. Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia. ETHIOPIAN EUNUCH. ...
/e/eunuch.htm - 22k

Rab-saris (3 Occurrences)
... The first part, rabh, signifies "great" or "chief," the second, caric, is
the title for eunuch or chamberlain. The ... eunuchs. See EUNUCH. ...
/r/rab-saris.htm - 9k

Rabsaris (3 Occurrences)
... The first part, rabh, signifies "great" or "chief," the second, caric, is
the title for eunuch or chamberlain. The ... eunuchs. See EUNUCH. ...
/r/rabsaris.htm - 10k

Ethiopian (11 Occurrences)
... Easton's Bible Dictionary Ethiopian eunuch. The chief officer or prime minister
of state of Candace (qv), queen of Ethiopia. ... J. Oscar Boyd. ETHIOPIAN EUNUCH. ...
/e/ethiopian.htm - 18k

Polygamy
... POLYGAMY. po-lig'-a-mi: 1. Meaning of the Term 2. Origin of Polygamy 3. The Old
Testament and Polygamy 4. Polygamy Unnatural The Eunuch 5. Weakness of Polygamy ...
/p/polygamy.htm - 19k

Hegai (3 Occurrences)
... Easton's Bible Dictionary Eunuch, had charge of the harem of Ahasuerus
(Esther 2:8). Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia. HEGAI; HEGE. ...
/h/hegai.htm - 8k

Candace (1 Occurrence)
... The queen of the Ethiopians whose "eunuch" or chamberlain was converted to Christianity
by the instrumentality of Philip the evangelist (Acts 8:27). ...
/c/candace.htm - 8k

Chamberlain (14 Occurrences)
... The Hebrew word saris, thus translated in Esther 1:10, 15; 2:3, 14, 21, etc., properly
means an eunuch (as in the marg.), as it is rendered in Isaiah 39:7; 56:3 ...
/c/chamberlain.htm - 14k

Philip (37 Occurrences)
... little inhabited, and hence called "desert." As he travelled along this road he
was overtaken by a chariot in which sat a man of Ethiopia, the eunuch or chief ...
/p/philip.htm - 32k

Women's (9 Occurrences)
... they may gather together all the beautiful young virgins to the citadel of Susa,
to the women's house, to the custody of Hegai the king's eunuch, keeper of the ...
/w/women's.htm - 9k

Bible Concordance
Eunuch (20 Occurrences)

Acts 8:27 He arose and went; and behold, there was a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was over all her treasure, who had come to Jerusalem to worship.
(WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Acts 8:30 So Philip ran up and heard the eunuch reading the Prophet Isaiah. "Do you understand what you are reading?" he asked.
(WEY)

Acts 8:31 "Why, how can I," replied the eunuch, "unless some one explains it to me?" And he earnestly invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
(WEY)

Acts 8:34 The eunuch answered Philip, "Who is the prophet talking about? About himself, or about someone else?"
(WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Acts 8:36 As they went on the way, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, "Behold, here is water. What is keeping me from being baptized?"
(WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Acts 8:38 He commanded the chariot to stand still, and they both went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him.
(WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Acts 8:39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, and the eunuch didn't see him any more, for he went on his way rejoicing.
(WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Genesis 37:36 And the Medanites have sold him unto Egypt, to Potiphar, a eunuch of Pharaoh, head of the executioners.
(YLT)

Genesis 39:1 And Joseph hath been brought down to Egypt, and Potiphar, a eunuch of Pharaoh, head of the executioners, an Egyptian man, buyeth him out of the hands of the Ishmaelites who have brought him thither.
(YLT)

Deuteronomy 23:1 He that is a eunuch, whether he have been crushed or cut, shall not come into the congregation of Jehovah.
(DBY)

1 Kings 22:9 And the king of Israel calleth unto a certain eunuch, and saith, 'Hasten Micaiah son of Imlah.'
(YLT)

2 Kings 8:6 And the king asketh at the woman, and she recounteth to him, and the king appointeth to her a certain eunuch, saying, 'Give back all that she hath, and all the increase of the field from the day of her leaving the land even till now.'
(YLT)

2 Kings 23:11 And he causeth to cease the horses that the kings of Judah have given to the sun from the entering in of the house of Jehovah, by the chamber of Nathan-Melech the eunuch, that 'is' in the suburbs, and the chariots of the sun he hath burnt with fire.
(YLT)

2 Kings 25:19 and out of the city he hath taken a certain eunuch who is appointed over the men of war, and five men of those seeing the king's face who have been found in the city, and the head scribe of the host, who mustereth the people of the land, and sixty men of the people of the land who are found in the city,
(YLT)

Esther 2:3 Let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather together all the beautiful young virgins to the citadel of Susa, to the women's house, to the custody of Hegai the king's eunuch, keeper of the women. Let cosmetics be given them;
(WEB YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Esther 2:14 In the evening she went, and on the next day she returned into the second women's house, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the king's eunuch, who kept the concubines. She came in to the king no more, unless the king delighted in her, and she was called by name.
(WEB YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Esther 2:15 Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, came to go in to the king, she required nothing but what Hegai the king's eunuch, the keeper of the women, advised. Esther obtained favor in the sight of all those who looked at her.
(WEB YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Isaiah 56:3 Neither let the foreigner, who has joined himself to Yahweh, speak, saying, "Yahweh will surely separate me from his people;" neither let the eunuch say, "Behold, I am a dry tree."
(WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Jeremiah 38:7 Now when Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, a eunuch, who was in the king's house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon (the king then sitting in the gate of Benjamin),
(WEB KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Daniel 1:3 The king spoke to Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring in certain of the children of Israel, even of the seed royal and of the nobles;
(Root in WEB KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT RSV)

Subtopics

Eunuch

Eunuch: Baptism of the Ethiopian

Eunuch: General Scriptures Concerning

Eunuch: Influential Court officials

Eunuch: Prohibited from Certain Privileges of the Congregation

Eunuch: Those Who Voluntarily Became (Continent, Probably) for the Kingdom of Heaven's Sake

Related Terms

Rab-saris (3 Occurrences)

Rabsaris (3 Occurrences)

Ethiopian (11 Occurrences)

Polygamy

Hegai (3 Occurrences)

Candace (1 Occurrence)

Chamberlain (14 Occurrences)

Philip (37 Occurrences)

Women's (9 Occurrences)

Executioners (32 Occurrences)

Ebed-melech (6 Occurrences)

Ebedmelech (6 Occurrences)

Member (20 Occurrences)

Shaashgaz (1 Occurrence)

Baptised (46 Occurrences)

Custody (27 Occurrences)

Evangelist (2 Occurrences)

Baptized (52 Occurrences)

Chariot (102 Occurrences)

Eunice (1 Occurrence)

Keeper (72 Occurrences)

Harem (8 Occurrences)

Eunuchs (33 Occurrences)

Officer (70 Occurrences)

Virgins (33 Occurrences)

Visited (40 Occurrences)

Zethar (1 Occurrence)

Nathan-melech (1 Occurrence)

Nathanmelech (1 Occurrence)

Nebushazban (2 Occurrences)

Uncle (14 Occurrences)

Official (45 Occurrences)

Girls (27 Occurrences)

Gabatha

Won (24 Occurrences)

Inspectors (10 Occurrences)

Invited (49 Occurrences)

Immersion

Inquired (74 Occurrences)

Important (39 Occurrences)

Trine

Triune

Teresh (2 Occurrences)

Treatments (3 Occurrences)

Rejoicing (90 Occurrences)

Recounteth (13 Occurrences)

Rank (42 Occurrences)

Resumed (2 Occurrences)

Ethiopians (11 Occurrences)

E'bed-Mel'ech (6 Occurrences)

Earnestly (78 Occurrences)

Diana (5 Occurrences)

Dungeon (15 Occurrences)

Mustereth (2 Occurrences)

Medanites (1 Occurrence)

Mehuman (1 Occurrence)

Please (324 Occurrences)

Purifications (3 Occurrences)

Prevents (3 Occurrences)

Prevent (32 Occurrences)

Biztha (1 Occurrence)

Bagoas

Buyeth (10 Occurrences)

Commissioners (7 Occurrences)

Citadel (20 Occurrences)

Can'dace (1 Occurrence)

Concubines (18 Occurrences)

Cosmetics (3 Occurrences)

Caught (110 Occurrences)

Appointeth (28 Occurrences)

Advised (8 Occurrences)

Abihail (6 Occurrences)

Ab'ihail (6 Occurrences)

Arisen (24 Occurrences)

Artemis (5 Occurrences)

Adopted (10 Occurrences)

Africa (1 Occurrence)

Assos (2 Occurrences)

Snatched (15 Occurrences)

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