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Matthew 19:24

It is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye (eukopwteron estin kamhlon dia trhmato rapido eiselqein). Jesus, of course, means by this comparison, whether an eastern proverb or not, to express the impossible. The efforts to explain it away are jejune like a ship's cable, kamilon or rapi as a narrow gorge or gate of entrance for camels which recognized stooping, etc. All these are hopeless, for Jesus pointedly calls the thing "impossible" (verse Mark 26 ). The Jews in the Babylonian Talmud did have a proverb that a man even in his dreams did not see an elephant pass through the eye of a needle (Vincent). The Koran speaks of the wicked finding the gates of heaven shut "till a camel shall pass through the eye of a needle." But the Koran may have got this figure from the New Testament. The word for an ordinary needle is rapi, but, Luke ( Luke 18:25 ) employs belonh, the medical term for the surgical needle not elsewhere in the N.T.

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