Eye of a Needle

What is the source of the phrase Jesus uses when he says, “It is easier for a *camel to go through the eye of a needle * than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God”?

I read once, long ago that there was a gate in Jerusalem called the eye of the needle because it was so narrow that only one person at a time could walk through it, and no pack animals could get through. However, another interpretation I just read was that there was a colloquialism of the Babylonians which stated that an elephant couldn’t get through the eye of a needle and Jesus just substituted camel, since there are no elephants in Palestine.

Anyone?
Thanks in advance,
nianka

I’ve heard speculation that “camel” was shorthand for a camel hair rope commonly used in that time and place that tends to fray. Such a line would be difficult indeed to pass through an eye of a needle.

“The Aramaic word gamla means camel, a large rope and a beam. The meaning of the word is determined by its context. If the word riding or burden occurs then gamla means a camel, but when the eye of a needle is mentioned gamla more correctly means a rope. There is no connection anywhere in Aramaic speech or literature between camel and needle, but there is a definite connection between rope and needle.”

There is a current thread that is discussing this topic, among others…

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=726162#post726162

In A Commentary on the New Testament, prepared by the Catholic Biblical Association, in 1942, it says, in part, in reference to Matthew 19:23-26:A camel through an eye of a needle is a proverbial expression meaning that something is impossible. Similar paradoxical expressions are found not only in the Talmud but also in Greek and Latin literature. To try to explain camel by a similar-sounding Greek word meaning “rope,” or to interpret an eye of a needle as meaning a low gate in the walls of a city through which pedestrians, but hardly camels, can pass, are futile attempts to whittle down the force of Christ’s words.

If similar expressions are found in the (Jewish) Talmud, and in Greek and Latin literature, it would not be surprising to find a similar expression in Babylonian literature as well. Remember, the Jews were taken into exile to Babylon for a while.

If he had been in America, Jesus would have have said like, “It is harder for a rich man to enter the kindgom of heaven than for a pig to fly.”

[quote=Lost&Found]There is a current thread that is discussing this topic, among others…

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=726162#post726162
[/quote]

Thank you! :slight_smile: When I did a search, it wouldn’t take all the words, just “needle”.
nianka

[quote=Lost&Found]There is a current thread that is discussing this topic, among others…

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=726162#post726162
[/quote]

From the above named forum, I found this:
But if the needle refers to the Gate (enter through the narrow gate), there was a gate so named ‘eye of the needle’ in Roman fortress architecture. But… a camel could not pass through it, loaded or unloaded. (Even on its knees).
It is not the mid sized door in a door, as often seen, but a very narrow opening that only a child messenger could fit through.
It was easily guarded.

P.S. in the partially excavated wall of Jerusalem the eye of the needle gate exists – maintained by the Fransiscans. You can go through it for tourism purposes as only the bottom part exists.
It isn’t a very effective person stopper anymore.
Huiou Theou
Senior Member

[quote=nianka]What is the source of the phrase Jesus uses when he says, “It is easier for a *camel to go through the eye of a needle *than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God”?..Anyone?
Thanks in advance,
nianka
[/quote]

If you were a Protestant you’d need no help! You could just interpret it yourself! The Holy Spirit would guide you to the correct meaning - which could be different from person to person too!

Or was that miss-self-interpret?:rotfl:

Jesus gave us a Church to lead us. Follow His Church. Ask for help from it. Catholics will give you the help you need here on this forum.

God bless,

heard a priest say this in a sermon: in Jesus’ day there was a type of rope made of camel hair, and you would refer to as “camel” just as instead of saying “nylon stockings” you just say “nylons”. He was saying it is easier to thread a common sewing needle with rope than for a rich man to enter heaven. Whatever its literal meaning, the phrase is an idiom, which most commentators take to mean an exaggeration used as a figure of speech.

[quote=nianka]What is the source of the phrase Jesus uses when he says, “It is easier for a *camel to go through the eye of a needle * than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God”?

I read once, long ago that there was a gate in Jerusalem called the eye of the needle because it was so narrow that only one person at a time could walk through it, and no pack animals could get through.
[/quote]

the “gate theory” is not true. there was no such gate.

[quote=DeFide]I’ve heard speculation that “camel” was shorthand for a camel hair rope commonly used in that time and place that tends to fray. Such a line would be difficult indeed to pass through an eye of a needle
[/quote]

the translation is true, that the word could be translated rope but it is not the case here.

[quote=Todd Easton]A camel through an eye of a needle is a proverbial expression meaning that something is impossible.
[/quote]

we have a winner!!

Jesus is saying that it is nearly impossible for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. remember, the love of money is the root of all evil. there is nothing wrong with money in and of itself, but to have a lot of it when others are starving and struggling in this world does point to a certain level of “love of money”, at least above loving others. i’m not here to judge anyone, i’m just saying we all need to be careful with how we view, treat, and use money. you can have too much. i personally believe to keep any more than what you need is not wise. you can disagree with me if you want but that’s what i see in scripture and the life of the early (very socialist looking) church.

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