Isaiah 56 and eunuchs


Is 56:3 Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the LORD say
“The LORD will surely separate me from his people”;
and let not the eunuch say,
“Behold, I am a dry tree.”
4 For thus says the LORD:
“To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths,
who choose the things that please me
and hold fast my covenant,
5 I will give in my house and within my walls
a monument and a name
better than sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name
which shall not be cut off…” [RSV-2CE]

Does this seem to suggest that individuals with same-sex attraction (essentially eunuchs) have an opportunity for glory in eternity in exchange for their free-will holiness?


eunuch (n.) “castrated man”.

Nothing about homosexuality here.


The general principle of Scriptures directed toward all unmarried or barren persons is the same as for SSA people.

If you don’t have a legit way to have spouse and children on earth, but you obey the Lord’s commands including staying chaste, God will give you various rewards both on earth now and in the afterlife.

So in that sense, you could quote not just the “eunuchs” part, but the entire passage. But there are many other passages that also apply.


This prophecy was shown its first fulfillment in the Book of Acts.
Eunuchs were not allowed to be one of the People, not allowed to convert to Judaism. So, in the book of Acts we see a Eunuch, who was a “God Fearer”, a foreigner and a eunuch foreigner at that. He loved God, wanted to be one of God’s “People”, wanted to be in the Covenant. But he was not allowed.
Then came Jesus, and the New Covenant prophesied by Isaiah. And then came this eunuch reading Isaiah 53, and then came Philip who explained Isaiah and Jesus and inclusion in the People, in the Kingdom established by God to the eunuch. He wanted to be one of these who are citizens of God’s Kingdom where before he could not be one of the Jews. “Here is water; what is to prevent you from baptizing me and granting me citizenship with the People under this King who is the Son of God?” He was granted inclusion, citizenship, a Name better than he could have had as a Jew.

Anyone who wants to be one with Jesus and follow him, wants to be one of the People, can ask, “Will you baptize me?” We are following Jesus, not cultural nor popular appetites. If anyone hungers to follow Jesus and “join himself to the Lord”, let him never say, “The Lord will reject me as one of his People”.

Read on in Is 56

“And the foreigners **who join themselves to the Lord,
to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord,
and to be his servants,**everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it,
and holds fast my covenant—
7these I will bring to my holy mountain,
and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
will be accepted on my altar;
for my house shall be called a house of prayer
for all peoples.”
8The Lord God,
who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares,
“I will gather yet others to him
besides those already gathered".

The question is, do you “love the name of the Lord?” and do you want “to be his servants?” Or do you want the Lord to justify the behavior that you love more than anything? What do you want? oneness with God? or the the tree that looks pleasing to the senses, a delight to the eye? Isaiah was showing God talking to those who wanted nothing but Him and told them that this day was coming.


The scripture verse talking about the Eunuch has 3 criteria for being a Eunuch.

  1. Castration - typical of that day for men comforting concubines who belonged to a man with multiple wives. He was a servant and made a Eunuch to physically prevent sex acts with another man’s wife.

  2. Willingness of the male to become a Eunuch which was typical of slaves granted freedom yet choosing to remain a servant and where castration is part of it. A Eunuch was typically castrated by force or willingly for whatever reason.

  3. Third option is the inability to enjoy sex acts because they were born with a deformity and didn’t have the function. Many people would categorize the Eunuch under this point because of an internal struggle that may lead an individual to a life time of celibacy because of struggles beyond his or her control. This is when celibacy isn’t a choice, it becomes the only option because that person may be unable to get married and have children for obvious reasons. Such a person chooses holiness above satisfying desires contrary to biblical standards regarding marriage.

Think about it… The willingness to suffer, to take up potentially a weightier cross than the average person, it is possible the more one suffers the more one enters into the place where Jesus suffered. It’s a sobering thought to deny oneself pleasures, to grieve much loss, to never know the companionship like that of marriage. It’s one thing to choose it than it is to have it forced upon you if you want to be a faithful Catholic. Such individuals can be easily compared to as living Martyrs for the gospel, a kind of witness. The church lifts up those who are killed for the faith and in one sense homosexuals know a kind of Martyrdom that few understand. I could be wrong but I would say a homosexual could relate to and take in what is taught through the Eucharist. I would think much would depend on the weight of the cross each person forced into celibacy is called to take up. There is something shared in the sufferings of Christ and our own suffering. Could the scripture verses of the Eunuch be for the homosexual who chooses celibacy and a chaste life in Christ for the sake of the gospel? I would think it can be applied but I wouldn’t say with 100% certainty one can. However, regardless of that being the case or not when it comes to surrendering our sexuality to God with God there is more not less. So the one struggling with same sex attraction may feel they’re being asked to give up a lot but in all truth we’re asked to surrender this to God not so that we can live a life of obligation towards holiness but so that we can receive the more that God had always intended. Whether that something more is experienced here or with eternal rewards. There is always more with God and with Him it’s always good.


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