"Some Issues of Transmission, Translation, and Transliteration: The Camel and the Needle, Baal, Ashurbanipal, and Eusebius."

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"Some Issues of Transmission, Translation, and Transliteration: 

The Camel and the Needle, Baal, Ashurbanipal, and Eusebius."

[first posted 5/1/09]


Question #1: 

Hi Bob, I found this interesting and wondered your thoughts on it. When in Israel, we were told this same story of the needle gate. It did sound beautiful but when you think of it, not all who entered Jerusalem had camels, so there would be no reason for them to remove their belongings and humbly enter on their knees to the Holy City. Only camels would have that honor. I added one small comment towards the end. Read on and let me know your thoughts,

We've been told that in Yisra'el there was a small area in Jerusalem for animals to pass through called the 'needle gate'. The camel could not enter Jerusalem unless it first stooped down and had all of its' baggage removed. The story goes that after dark, when the main gates in Jerusalem were shut, travelers or merchants would have to use this smaller gate, through which the camel could only enter unencumbered and crawling on its knees! This is a "great sermon material, with the parallels of coming to YHWH on our knees without all our baggage. A lovely story and an excellent parable for preaching but unfortunately unfounded! From at least the 15th century, and possibly as early as the 9th but not earlier, this story has been put forth, however, there is no evidence for such a gate, nor record of reprimand of the architect who may have forgotten to make a gate big enough for the camel and rider to pass through unhindered," says one web site. The often-quoted explanation of this idiom is unfounded. Unfortunately, the issue with the camel and the eye of the needle is not an idiom but a bad translation. This 'opens up a whole new can of worms,' as a separate issue of mistranslating the texts and the need to search for the truth. What did Yahshua really mean? To find this answer let's consider the teaching of Rabbi Moshe Konichowsky and his study Bible. The Restoration Scriptures True Name Edition is correct as translating the Master. "It is easier for a large rope to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the malchut of YHWH," Mark 10:25. Within the RSTNE, the study notes clarify this "gemala"Another possible solution comes from the possibility of a Greek misprint. The suggestion is that the Greek word kamilos ('camel') should really be kamEAlos, meaning 'cable, rope', as some late New Testament manuscripts actually have here. Hence it is easier to thread a needle with a rope rather than a strand of cotton than for a rich man to enter the kingdom. A neat but unnecessary solution! (This notation is from something else that I found when researching the Hebrew and Greek words for camel. From what I could find in Strong's concordance, the Greek word for camel comes from the Hebrew word for camel which could explain the possibility of a mix up in intended meanings. They sure sound very similar and I would suppose they could be misunderstood. If you think about it, it would be easier for a camel to go thru the needle gate in Jerusalem than it would be for a rope to go thru the eye of a needle.) can mean rope, or camel and here in context it means rope." Again, with idioms and phrases that look like idioms, we must "study to show yourself approved." As you can see from the idioms we have studied together and one bad translation, we should not just settle for what we have always been taught. Idiomatic expressions and the changes that occur when the Writings are taken out of the Hebrew language can really mix up the truth. We should not gloss over the confusing "contradictions" in the Scriptures. Nor should we mix up the modern and the ancient. We need to learn, learn to study and learn to live the Hebrew culture.

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