For thus said the LORD to the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant;…
From the points of view of the earlier Judaism, eunuchs and strangers were persons placed under special disability. Neither could take full share in national or sanctuary privileges (Deuteronomy 23:1-8). To understand the feeling towards eunuchs we must remember the two prevailing ideas among the Jews, which made offspring seem so desirable.
1. A man found a sort of quasi-immortality in the feeling that he would live over again in his children.
2. It was possible to any Jewish parents that they might be progenitors of the promised Messiah. Eunuchs were persons who, either by reason of physical infirmity or cruel custom, could not have children born to them. They were despised because of their infirmity. The prophet assures such that the new spiritual kingdom of Messiah would have room for them, and gather them, as well as the foreigners and strangers, into its embrace, and even put special honour on them if they were found men of faith. "The prophet's whole conception of the Gentiles in relation to the religion of Israel is unexampled in the Old Testament for its admirable width, depth, and grandeur." The term "dry tree" is still a phrase used in the East of a person of either sex who has no children. Roberts, writing of Hindoo customs, says, "People without posterity, of both sexes, are called dry trees; which, strictly speaking, means they are dead, having neither sap, nor leaves, nor fruit." Matthew Arnold says, "It must be remembered that, attached to a great Eastern court like that of Babylon, were a multitude of eunuchs, some of whom had perhaps adopted the religion of Israel. It is probable, also, that some of the Jewish youths were taken for the court service as eunuchs, and their countrymen would afterwards have been likely to abhor them on that account." These considerations will enable us the better to feel the exquisite tenderness and mercifulness of this passage. The general topic suggested is the gracious way in which the gospel kingdom embraces all the disabled. This may be illustrated from -
I. THOSE UNDER PHYSICAL DISABILITIES.
II. THOSE UNDER RACE-DISABILITIES.
III. THOSE UNDER SOCIAL DISABILITIES.
IV. THOSE UNDER MENTAL DISABILITIES.
V. THOSE UNDER DISABILITIES FROM PAST EVIL LIVING. Christ's salvation is for man as man. In his kingdom there are found black and white, bond and free. Its gate is open to whosoever will. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant;