A scholarly response on what the Hebrew and Aramaic Bible says concerning LGBTI people.
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Who were the homosexuals in the Bible? Jesus said this: “For there are eunuchs who were born so from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. To him who can comprehend, that is enough.” (Matthew 19:12 Lamsa). The Aramaic word m'haym-ne (plural) is translated as eunuchs here, but literally means: trusted ones, faithful ones and believers. These "trusted ones" were also servants such as chamberlains, bedroom guards, eunuchs and officers. Additionally, m’haym-ne meant homosexual men because they were trusted around women that were married or were not of their family. They weren’t a threat in committing adultery with other mens’ wives or in having pre marital sex with the women of the nation.
The born eunuchs in the above verse from Matthew are referring to homosexual men. The second part of the verse says: "and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men;" These would be the man-made or castrated eunuchs. Also, the eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men were those appointed by the king to be servants in the king’s palace. Some of these were prisoners of war, captives, and exiles (Isaiah 39:7 Lamsa). The third part of this verse should be read as: "and there are believers who made themselves celibates for the sake of the kingdom of heaven."
Throughout the ancient nations that included Egypt, Babylon, Assyria and Persia; homosexuals were exalted to such positions as eunuchs that watched the women of the harem. Because of the mistrust of men, heterosexual or bi-sexual men were castrated; but homosexual men didn’t need to be. Eunuchs also had a recognized place in homosexual prostitution, and youths chosen as catamitic favorites were sometimes castrated. Homosexuality was long confused with eunuchry. Like effeminacy and hermaphroditism, eunuchry was sometimes thought of as creating a woman-man. The following verses will show that the Bible defines the trusted ones (or eunuchs) as homosexual men.
“Now God had brought Daniel into favour and [tender] love with the prince(sar- ruler, captain) of the eunuchs.” (Daniel 1:9 KJV). The first underlined word is from the Hebrew word khe-sed, which means loving-kindness, mercy and favor, and is translated as favour in this verse. The second underlined word is from the Hebrew word ra-kha-mim, which is translated as tender love here, but means love. Daniel was given favor and love (plural) in the presence of the prince of the eunuchs. Most likely the intimate word ra-kha-mim, meaning love, was given to Daniel because he was handsome (See Dan. 1:4).
A second evidence where the Bible shows that eunuchs are gay men is in (Daniel 14:2 NAB), which says: "Daniel was the king's favorite and was held in higher esteem than any of the friends of the king." In the Aramaic Old Testament, the word friends is replaced with the Aramaic word raḥ-mow, which means "lovers of him [i.e. the king]." Raḥ-mow is from the singular Aramaic word raḥ-ma (or raḥme), which means love. Chapters 13-14 are in the Catholic canon of scripture. The Aramaic Old Testament contains fourteen chapters of Daniel. The Aramaic text of Daniel also has “the song of the three children” (Or, “Prayer of Hananiah and his companions” – Aramaic name for that portion) after verse twenty-three of Chapter Three. Dr. Lamsa, being a Protestant, just left out the additional parts of Daniel and Esther, plus the Deuterocanonical books. Dr. Lamsa did insert an extra sentence in verse 23 that is not in the Masoretic text, but in the Aramaic and Greek text of Daniel.
The translators of the New American Bible translated the Greek word sym-bi-o-tes as favorite, but that is incorrect. Sym-bi-o-tes, according to Liddell & Scott means: one who lives with, companion. That matches with the Aramaic text, which says that Daniel …was living with the king.
The additional words or text found in the Old Testament book of Daniel in both the Aramaic and Greek texts are probably not inspired. I included this verse from the Aramaic text to show that an Aramaic speaker would have understood eunuchs to be active homosexual men; as they were often the king’s lovers. Boga (or Bagoas Greek pronunciation) was the eunuch lover of Darius the Persian and eventually became the lover of Alexander the Great.
There is good reason to believe the so-called Deuterocanonical books are inspired (at least most of them) but no good reason to believe the additions to Esther and Daniel are inspired. These additions are not in the original Hebrew text of either Esther or Daniel.
THE FOLLOWING SHOWS WHERE SARIS APPEARS IN THE BIBLE; SINCE IT ISN’T ALWAYS TRANSLATED AS EUNUCH IN THE ENGLISH BIBLE LIKE IT IS IN THE GREEK BIBLE.
In the Hebrew Old Testament, the word sa-ris is translated two ways in the NKJV Old Testament. It is translated as eunuch and officer. The KJV also translated sa-ris as a chamberlain. It is also left untranslated with an additional word as Rabsaris and Rab-saris (i.e. Rab Sa-ris), which means chief eunuch. The Hebrew word sa-ris is translated as m'haym-na in the Aramaic Old Testament, with the exception of two places, which are in bold print below. Dr. George Lamsa translated the word m'haym-na as officer and eunuch in his English Translation of the Aramaic Bible (Old and New Testaments). The following shows where the words sa-ris and m’haym-na appear in the Bible.
(Note: The NAB dishonestly translates the word “eunuch” as “afflicted man” from the Greek text of Sirach 30:20; plus deletes words.)
ARAMAIC WORD M'HAYM-NA TRANSLATED AS: Eunuch
Matthew 19:12 & Acts 8:27,34,36,38-39
Now, is this verse taken out of context?: “For there are eunuchs who were born so from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. To him who can comprehend, that is enough.” (Matthew 19:12 Lamsa). This verse is found when Jesus is speaking about marriage between a man and a woman. Then Jesus goes on and quotes this verse talking about people that it wouldn’t be good for them to marry because of the way they were born, or because of a situation, or because of their choice. - In order to get a correct interpretation of a verse, you have to know the definition of the words and the way the verse is used in the context. But also, in regards to the New Testament Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John), Jesus a lot of times changed the subject in his teaching or when he was asked questions. Some of his words may appear to be out of context to a reader when they are not. So we have to go by the definitions for the word m'haym-na- Eunuch. Now this verse is actually not out-of-context in regards to men that it wouldn’t be good for them to marry a woman (wife). It would not be good for a homosexual man to marry a woman because he lacks the sexual perophone receptors that enable him to be attracted to a woman. It should be noted that a homosexual is impotent toward a woman. The other two reasons why a male wouldn’t be able to marry a woman are obvious by the meaning of the word m’haym-na and its associations.
Another thing that needs to be pointed out is Jesus’ last statement in verse twelve. He said this about the eunuchs that it wouldn’t be good for them to marry a woman: “…To him who can receive(or accept) [it], shall receive(or accept) [it]." The last part is usually written elliptically as "let him receive it." The word spaq means "to receive, accept," when it accompanies the word mil-tha [word, statement, saying, message] (see Jn. 8:37). It also appears in the previous verse when Jesus says: "...not every man accepts(sa-peq)[or shall be accepting] this saying(mil-tha), but to whom it is given." (Matt. 19:11). However, it literally and mostly means “to be sufficient, enough, adequate; to suffice” (See Deut. 3:26; Matt. 6:34; Jn. 6:7, etc.). Jesus may have meant all three of those meanings with his use of the word spaq.
This last statement is written (or constructed) the same way as Jesus' other statements of "he that has ears to hear, let him hear" or "he that has eyes to see, let him see." I don't see any reason to translate one of spaq's meanings for the first occurrence and then one of its other meanings for the second occurrence as Dr. Lamsa translated that statement as "..to him who can comprehend, that is enough.” I also don't believe "comprehend" is a good translation for spaq in any of the Biblical Scriptures. Spaq was translated into Greek as cho-reo “to receive” (KJV) or can mean “to receive with the mind, accept" (NKJV).
Lastly, it is unlikely that Jesus’ reference to a born eunuch is referring to a straight impotent man. I can’t picture a straight man accepting his impotence or seeing his situation as being sufficient if he is lusting after a woman. Also, a lot of gay men marry women because they don’t know the truth about what the Hebrew and Aramaic Bible teaches. A lot of the men that are impotent toward their wives are homosexuals.
A COMPENDIOUS SYRIAC DICTIONARY
m'hay-min, m'haym-na, m'hay-man-tha a believer, a Christian, faithful, trustworthy, an eunuch
(Syriac Dictionary, edited by J. Payne Smith 1998, pg 255).
This Syriac Dictionary stops short of defining m’haym-na as an effeminate, but it does define the phrase “man of the woman” (gwar ni-sha-ya) as meaning: an hermaphrodite, a eunuch, effeminate. (Syriac Dictionary, edited by J. Payne Smith 1998, pg 59).
Foreign Language Lexicons (or Dictionaries) don’t always give all the meanings of a word. If we go by only the definitions given by this Syriac Dictionary, then we would have a hard time understanding what Jesus meant by his use of “born eunuchs.”
See the Eunuchs (cont.) sub page to get proof of the definitions for the word m'haym-na (translated as eunuch). I also cover certain beliefs about eunuchs that are accepted, that may not be false, but that the Bible does not support as absolute truth regarding eunuchs. Pictures of eunuchs are shown with information under the "Esther's Eunuchs" sub page.