Isaiah 56 – Strangers included in the Blessing & The Eunuch

You would think that being a eunuch would be horrible, but then it might be good, possibly keep you out of trouble with women.  Paul wasn’t a eunuch and he managed, but he was truly walking with You.  

“For I would that all men were even as I myself.  But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.

Ancient Egyptian Beads Found in a 5,000-Year-Old Tomb
After a century of uncertainty, researchers have confirmed that the iron used to weld 5,000-year-old Egyptian beads fell from the sky—in the form of a meteorite, that is.

The nine small beads were excavated in 1911 from a tomb in Gerzeh, an ancient cemetery in northern Egypt. Early chemical testing showed traces of nickel, leading scientists to believe they were made from meteoric iron.

The beads were prized as exotic artifacts, strung together on a necklace with precious minerals like gold and carnelian. (Related: “Oldest North American Rock Art May Be 14,800 Years Old.”)

Fast forward a few decades to the 1980s, when a fragment from the beads was retested to determine its composition using newer technology called an electron microprobe. The results revealed concentrations of nickel that were too low to confirm whether the iron came from a meteorite.

Still, some scientists remained unconvinced that the beads were entirely man-made, which was an alternative explanation.

I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.

But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn” (1 Cor 7:-9).

Not being in a relationship can get really lonely and boring, but life is much simpler and actually better when we just walk with You.  Even the hard times aren’t that bad when we walk with You.

1 Thus saith the LORD, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed.

2 Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.

3 Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.

“Eunuch” – eunuchs were excluded from the assembly of the Lord but they could still be part of God’s people (see Acts 8:27, 38-40).

4 For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my Sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant;

5 Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.

6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;

7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called a house of prayer for all people.

Archaeologists Baffled
Archeologists have been left scratching their heads after the unearthing of part of an ancient Egyptian sphinx in northern Israel.

The find has prompted Egyptologists to speculate as to how the stone-carved mythical creature travelled so many miles from its original resting place.

Some speculate that it may have been looted from the Egyptians thousands of years ago, while others suggest it was likely to have been given by Egypt as a gift to its neighbours.

It has taken almost a year for the paws and forearms of the granite statue to be painstakingly restored, exposing hieroglyphic writing.

The writing reveals that the sphinx was dedicated to Egyptian ruler Mycerinus, who ruled circa 2500 BC and was builder of the smaller of Giza’s three great pyramids.

It is the first statue ever to have been found that was created for the leader, and the first time an Egyptian statue has ever been found in the ancient Levant region – today’s Israel, Lebanon and Syria

The writing also says: “Beloved by the divine souls of Heliopolis.”

“House of prayer for all people” – Solomon may have anticipated this in his prayer of dedication for the temple (1 Kgs 8:41-43).

Jesus had a problem when people turned the temple into a Wal-Mart and overthrew the tables (Matt 12:12-13).

8 The Lord GOD which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.

9 All ye beasts of the field come to devour, yea, all ye beasts in the forest.

10 His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.

11 Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, everyone for his gain, from his quarter.

12 Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and tomorrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant.

“Tomorrow shall be…more abundant” – cf. the words of the rich fool in Lk 12:19.

The Eunuch

The compassion of God is poignantly illustrated in the reference to the eunuch in Isaiah 56:3-5, an allusion that must be understood in light of Deuteronomy 23:1, a text forbidding eunuchs from entering the assembly of the Lord.

The word translated “eunuch” in Isaiah is saris, which is most likely a loanword from an Akkadian phrase meaning “one at the head of [the king].”  As is probably true in Hebrew, the Akkadian meaning evolved from the more general sense of “officer, official” to “castrated official.”

Potiphar, in Genesis 39:1 was a saris, but this early use of the word meant only “official,” not “eunuch.”  However, the time frame and context of Isaiah 56:3-4 need that the reader understand saris as “a castrated person.”

Although some have attempted to relate this reference to a historical reality, specifically to a return of exiles who had served as castrated officials in foreign courts (perhaps including Nehemiah), the primary focus should stay on the message:

What defiles a person before God is not physically deformity but an unrepentant heart (cf. Matt 5:10-20).

The divine promise to give a “memorial” and a name to the faithful eunuch is quite profound.  A eunuch could never have attained a memorial or passed along his name by means of having children.

Also, the deliberate choice of the Hebrew noun “hand” (translated “memorial”) and the verb “cut off” in v. 5 is remarkable.  In the ancient Near East the word hand was often used euphemistically for the male genitals.

Clay cuneiform tablet naming the Babylonian officer, chief eunuch, Nabu-sharrussu-ukin, as mentioned in the Bible, Book of Jeremiah. Neo-Babylonian Dynasty, c.587 BC.

God will give a symbolic overturning in eternity of what has been taken away from the eunuch in the present.  The prophetic foreshadowing, possibly of Nehemiah and certainly of the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8, is striking.

Drugs, even marijuana, can take us away from You because our minds check out different avenues, like alcohol does if you drink to much.  There are a couple states where marijuana is now legal so I figure things are going to get worse.

But I figure that’s a good thing because the world has to get worse before Jesus comes back.  I figure marijuana and homosexuality being legalized is the beginning of a bad world getting much, much worse, and with Obama as president – what more can you ask for?

So when did people first start using drugs?