“Jesus never mentioned homosexuality”. This is a comment that we read almost anytime the subject of homosexuality and the Bible comes up. But is it true? Well, since the science of sexual orientation did not exist until the late 19th century and there was no Hebrew, Aramiac, or Koine Greek equivalent to homosexual or homosexuality prior to that time, it is technically true. That, however, does not mean that there were no gay folks in the ancient past. There were. So, how was it dealt with and were there other categories (or words) that gay folks got lumped in with? Many believe that gay folks (or, at least gay men) were included in what Jesus referred to as “born eunuchs” in Matthew 19:12.
Some religious elders were quizzing Jesus about marriage in Matthew 19. They wanted to know if divorce was allowed. Jesus basically says no. Then they want to know why Moses allowed divorce. Jesus told them it was because of the hardness of your hearts, and that it was not that way in the beginning. And, He told them that they could only divorce their wives as a result of “fornication.” Then His disciples wanted to know if it was better NOT to get married at all, that being the case. This was Jesus’ reply:
For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. (KJV)
Now, who are these eunuchs who are born that way from their mother's womb? We know of the folks who are castrated, and we know of those who choose to be celibate for the kingdom's sake. Who the other eunuchs are is somewhat debatable, but many Christians believe that they include homosexuals. This is understandable considering historical evidence.
There is quite a bit of evidence in the literature of the time that suggests that the term "born eunuch" or "natural eunuch" was used to describe men who were not attracted to women, were not infertile, and had sex with men. Homosexuals, in a word.
Josephus probably wrote the most interesting thing, in which he abjured the use of "born eunuchs" as harem attendants. It seems the bored women in the harem would get these eunuchs drunk, seduce them and become pregnant.
If this subject is of interest to you, you can find out more here.
Jesus was not necessarily the first to state such a thing. This is what the prophet Isaiah had to say about eunuchs.
Isaiah 56:4-5I don't think that it is likely that Isaiah was speaking about castrated males or those born deformed. Compare that passage to this one:
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.
Deuteronomy 23:1Thus, a modern definition of eunuch is meaningless in the context of the Old Testament texts.
He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord.
8:54 PM PT: I also believe that FTM's would be included in the category of "born eunuch".