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This translation error has been perpetuated into almost every language in which the Scriptures has been printed.
The Scriptural statements are almost identical to each other in English. There is some variation in Greek. The needle in MattithYAH [Matthew] and YAHchanan Mark [Mark] is a rafic. In Luke it is a belone. Both refer to needles used in sewing.
There are a few variations of the following. The usual explanation of the meaning of the text, is as follows:
There was in a Jerusalem city wall, a narrow gate known as the "eye of the needle". It was very difficult for a camel to pass through this gate. Either the camel would have to be unloaded or pass through on its knees.
There is a slight problem with this explanation, in that there is no evidence there ever was such a gate.
In the fifteenth century, some theologians presented the notion that the "eye of the needle" was to mean a small gate entrance to a city. Apparently the architect designing the gates, forgot about all the camels that needed to get inside the city!
Luke clears this up, by carefully using the Greek word for a surgeon's needle, nullifying this interpretation.
YAHshua selected the eye of the needle because it was the smallest opening. The rope because it was an impossible situation.
"... Again I tell you, it is easier for a rope to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Yahweh."
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, "Who then can be redeemed?"
YAHshua looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with Yahweh all things are possible."
MattithYAH [Matthew] 19:16-24 and also cf. 6:24
YAHchanan Mark [Mark] 10:23-27 and also cf. 9:19
Luke 18:15-25 & 1 Timothy 6:10
* The above I have copied from a submission made to the Quiz Competition 2000 that was put on by Burwood Adventist Community Church. At the time I had copied this, I had changed the names out of reverence for the Name of our Heavenly Father and Creator. In the following sources I have left them as is.
* I have been informed by e-mail that the above is not true. The e-mail reads:
At your web site, you say,
The original Greek tells not of a camel, but a rope ... When it was translated into Latin, kamilos (rope) was confused with kamelos (camel).
In fact, the original Greek says kamelos (camel), not kamilos (rope). The latter is found in a few late manuscripts/lectionaries, mostly 11th century or later, and in one 9th or 10th century manuscript. The oldest manuscripts are unanimous in reading kamelos, i.e., camel.
Jeff Smelser www.netgreek.net www.centrevillechurchofchrist.org
* I then replied back asking what these "oldest manuscripts" were and he sent the following reply.
All of the following have kamelos (camel). Codices:
Sinaiticus - 4th century
Vaticanus - 4th century
Ephraemi - 5th century
Bezae Cantabrigiensis - 5th century
Regius - 8th century
Washington Freer - 4th/5th century - This one is local for me - It is in the Freer Gallery here in D.C.
Dublinensis - 5th/6th century
Add to that list numerous minuscules, the manuscripts comprising families 1 and 13, the great bulk of the so called "majority text" manuscripts (the byzantine mss), and early quotations from the passage from Origen and Chrysostom. Add to that the testimony of the earliest translations which were made as early as the 3rd and 4th century, and the evidence is overwhelming. There is no basis for claiming the original text had "rope."
A question has arisen as to whether "camel" should not be more correctly rendered "rope" in this instance. In fact, George M. Lamsa's translation uses the word "rope" in the main text, and a footnote on Matthew 19:24 reads: "The Aramaic word gamla means rope and camel." Also, the Greek words for rope (ka' mi los) and camel (ka' me los) are very similar, and it has been suggested that there was a confusion of the Greek words. It is noteworthy, though, that a Greek-English Lexicon by Liddell and Scott defines ka' mi los as "rope," but adds, "perhaps coined as an emendation of the phrase, '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,'" thus indicating that ka' me los, rather than ka' mi los, appeared in the Greek text.
In the oldest extant Greek manuscripts of the Gospel of Matthew, the Sinaitic Manuscript, The Vatican Manuscript No. 1209, and the Alexandrian Manuscript, the word ka' me los appears. *The indications are that Matthew wrote his account of the life of Jesus first in Hebrew and then translated it into Greek. He knew, therefore exactly what Jesus said and meant, and hence he knew the proper Greek word and that word according to the oldest extant Greek manuscripts, was ka' me los. There is good reason therefore, for believing "camel" to be the correct rendering. (From: Aid to Bible Understanding, pp. 282, Published by the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, New York, N.Y.)
* I find no evidence that Mattithyah [Matthew] had made a Greek translation from his original Hebrew writings. I believe this to be only speculation by the author of the above.
Jesus and all the Jews spoke a language called Aramaic, and the word "gamla" meant either a camel or a large rope, just as we have words which are spelled the same, but have different meanings. And some of the earlier translators or copyist must have taken the wrong meaning here. For no one would ever talk about a camel going through a needle's eye. But every Jewish house had several large ropes, that were used to tie bundles on the backs of men and animals.
And even with the largest 6 inch needles that were used for sewing rugs and tents, it would be impossible to force one of these large ropes through the needle's eye. (From: A New Accurate Translation of the Greek NEW TESTAMENT into simple Everyday American English by Julian Anderson)
Julian Anderson is a retired professor of Classical and Biblical Greek, Seminary professor, Lutheran pastor, and successful publisher of Bible study materials.
* The above is the very first source that I came upon some years ago that gave an alternate explanation of the '... camel through the eye of the needle ...' passages.
* Paul Haanen sent me an e-mail on 11-25-03 saying, "There is another detail that is missing in the rope vs. camel discussion.
In my Greek-Dutch dictionary "kamilos" is translated as "anchor rope". Since an anchor rope is quite thick and impossible to put into a needle, this adds significantly to the meaning of the saying:
"... Again I tell you, it is easier for an anchor rope to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Yahweh." When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, "Who then can be redeemed?" YAHshua looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with Yahweh all things are possible."
I came across this whilst doing some research on the matter after receiving revelation from God. I can’t pretend to have any Greek or Hebrew understanding, in my knowledge, education and understanding. I am but a fool. I do however believe that God has given me some revelation in this.
Let me start by referring to the King James.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the Kingdom of heaven.
Again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.” Matt 19:23-24
Notice Jesus says “hardly” he doesn’t say never but hardly, giving the impression that it is possible (not very often or not many shall be able to) but possible.
If this was being compared with a rope or even a real camel and a sowing needle, then it would be wrong because you can not say a rope shall hardly enter the eye of a needle, but it shall never enter, because it is NOT possible.
Also Jesus say it is “easier” for a camel to enter the eye of a needle than a rich man (who shall hardly enter) the kingdom of God.
He does not say it is as easy or as hard, but it is easier
Therefore if a rich man shall hardly (at least one or a few, at least in someway at some stage) enter the kingdom,
Yet it is easier (not harder or impossible) but easier for a camel to enter the eye of a needle. Then surely it is possible and had happened several times that a camel could enter through the eye of a needle.
This being the case it can not be giving reference to a rope or a real camel and a sowing needle because it is impossible for a rope to enter a sowing needle, yet it is MORE possible then something that is “hardly” but at least possible.
Let us also look at the context and try to have some understanding of why Jesus give this example.
Did he randomly pick something out of place and ridiculous when trying to compare a rich man entering a kingdom or city, i.e the kingdom or city of heaven.?
Is it not more likely that whilst comparing a man entering a kingdom or city he use the example of a Camel entering a city gate.
More so the city of Jerusalem of all cities.
A man can only enter the kingdom (city) of heaven through Jesus (the gate).
It is a good comparison then to talk of a camel entering a city gate more sow then a rope entering a sowing needle.
The following scripture which “When the disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible”.
It is impossible for men to be saved by themselves rich or poor, but only with God can they be saved. Only through Jesus (the gate) can they be saved, anything else is impossible.
It is not saying it is impossible for a camel to get through the eye of a needle but impossible for men to be saved without God.
It is MORE possible for a camel to enter the eye of a needle (city gate) then it is for a man to enter the city of heaven without going through Jesus (the gate)
Even so with God there is something a man has to do to be saved. He has to humble himself and repent, an act of doing so is to get down on ones knees and humble themselves before God.
In the same way a camel supposedly had to get down on it’s knees in order to enter.
Finally there is also suggestion of a camel being unloaded of it’s possessions and getting down on it’s knees, does this not sounds familiar to the instruction Jesus gives the rich man. “go and sell (unload) all of your possessions.
In response to your writings about the eye of the needle I would like to shine some light onto the subject that most and maybe all Christians don't even come close to understanding and it might even be harder for a non christian but I'd like to give it a shot. enjoy.
The Eye of the Needle
By Dan Ellison
Fundamental are kind of like Principles. They are the means to an end. There the methods we use to get the job done right with out compromising our values. You might even say that Fundamentals and Principles are more important then the goals because they take us to were we are suppose to be. In the case of a solider it's using the basic fundamental of cover and concealment from the enemy to say his life. In my case I us the principles to teach my horse to do all the things we need to do the job. But I have found that if I concentrate on the goal instead of the principles or fundamentals the job is done half ass... pardon the expression. One day God told me to make a circle and list along the lines of the circle all the principles He was teaching me and the parallel principles I use to teach my horse. It didn't take long before I realized I didn't make my circle big enough. And then He told me to put the goal in the middle of the circle. Which was the hope of heaven and that perfect reconciliation with God... like Adam had in the Garden. And then He told me to make another circle outside of the principle circle and list all the opposites of these principles... you know the put offs as the Bible would say... Example ...Truth would be on the principle line and lie's would be on the Put Off's line which is on the outer circle. At first I noticed that my drawing had become a bulls eye or a target. I didn't give it much thought until later at a Bible study at William's home (He's a user at our church) when the passage of the parallel of the Rich Man and the eye of the needle came up. Luke 18:25
For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
And that's when it hit me that my diagram wasn't a target so mush, as it was an eye. It was the eye of the needle. Let me explain something about camels so you understand what I'm talking about. They are pray animals just like a horse. They have eyes on the side of their head so they can look out for predators. Predators live in caves. Like the wolf, bear, lion, and yes even men. Pray animals and predators have had for along time a very bad relationship and that is mainly because the predator wants to eat the pray animal. What I have noticed is that my pray animal, my horse, which most likely feels the same way about predators as the camel, is quick to change his behavior when I change my behavior. I other words, if I stop acting like a predator he'll stop acting like a pray animal. And what does a pray animal do when it is afraid?... he runs away. It doesn't think it runs. Why, because the world has thought the pray animal that in order to survive he must run. Thinking will get you killed. There are a few exceptions to this mindset, but for the most part all pray animals run when they are afraid and faced with a predator. And how can I stop acting like a predator? Straight-line thinking, rudeness, …madly all the put-offs the
Bible says we shouldn’t be like. Is to put on the attitude of God by focusing on His principles. These are the principles of relationship, and I believe what Paul would call the secrets of the kingdom.
Now most Bible scholars believe that the eye of the needle was a gate to the side of the main gate into the city. This gate was smaller and thus it made it more difficult for anyone to enter with out the gate guard knowledge. One pastor told me the other day that the packs from the animals had to be removed before they could pass through the gate. Now I can only imagine that this gate due to the thickness of the walls looked more like a cave then a gate. Do you remember who lives in caves? I can see the camels taking one look at that and saying, "NO way am I going through that hole". And this is exacting what a horse says when we want him to go into a horse trailer. He sees that trailer and says "A Cave, predators live in caves. There is no way your getting me into that trailer".
Here are where the principles come into this. Now the horse weighs 1200 lbs., so I can't muscle him into the trailer. I must first understand why the horse will not go into the trailer (Jer. 29:11). Obviously the fear of prey animals like we discussed earlier. And then I must take a look at the principles God uses to get us to over come what fears we have. Did you know that God applies pressure on us and then releases the pressure when we give in the direction He wants us to give? The book of James in the New Testament talks about this very thing. This is the basic principle that God uses on us time and time again.