Let’s Talk About Eunuchs

I think it’s a pretty common occurrence, but I’ve noticed that the older I get, the less I care about sex.  When I was a teenager, I thought having sex was one of the most important things in the world; I lusted, I obsessed, I dreamed about it.  In my early twenties, I still thought of sex often and I still desired it, but it had lost much of its mystical importance.  Now, as I’m approaching thirty, I’ve realized that I hardly care about it at all.  If some magical genie appeared out a lamp or whatever and gave me the choice between having all the sex I want for the rest of my life, but having no romantic attachment or having a loving celibate relationship, it would be a no brainer.  I think this is why, at this point, I’m very open to either a mixed orientation marriage or a celibate gay relationship; in both situations, physicality is going to take a distant back seat to the emotional part of the relationship and that’s more than OK with me.  Now you maybe be wondering what this has to do with eunuchs.  Well, I’m getting to that.

11 Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”  -Matthew 19:11-12

When I read this passage, I find myself wondering, “Am I one of ‘those to whom it has been given?’ Can I ‘accept this?'”  To really know that, I need to determine what “it” and “this” are and for that, I need to have a full and accurate description of the word eunuch.  I looked up all the instances of it’s use in the Bible and virtually all of them seemed to use the word interchangeably with the word servant, sometimes seeming to imply a certain type of servant.  I read through several definitions of this word from various Bible dictionaries and though most of them associated the word eunuch with those unable to have sex, many also suggested that was merely the origin of the word and that it was also often used to describe a person in a position typically held by someone who had be castrated.  This leads me to conclude that Jesus is likely referring to someone who will serve Him without the interference of sex.

The next question, then, is whether the benefit of a sexless servant is in the lack of sex or the foregoing of romantic attachments.  From the aforementioned research, it sounds like the primary purpose of making someone a eunuch was to ensure that the servant could be trusted around women (primarily the king’s concubines) which suggests that lack of sex drive was the primary motive.  I also found it interesting that many of the definitions I read, when talking about eunuchs, inextricably attach sex and marriage.  Strong’s Concordance go so far as to describe a eunuch as “someone who abstains from marriage (sexual relations) to be solely devoted to God.”  Notice how “sexual relations” is used parenthetically after marriage as if you can’t have one without the other?  With all this in mind, how does Jesus’ metaphor apply to our situation today?

To me, it sounds like any type of celibate relationship would not have been considered a true marriage, though that is, admittedly based only on Biblical resources with no actual biblical citations to back them up.  It seems that two people in a committed relationship (no matter their gender) sans-sex would still be considered “eunuchs” in Jesus’ eyes.  Is this conclusion accurate?  Who knows?  Does it matter?  Probably not.  Did I go off on a huge tangent for no apparent reason?  Yes.  Well, that’s all I’ve got.  Over and out.

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