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Holman Bible Dictionary


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Small slender instrument used in sewing with an eye at one end through which thread is passed. The needles of New Testament times were similar in size to modern needles with the exception of our smallest needles. Needles were most often made of bronze, though bone and ivory were also used. Jesus' teaching that “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” (Matthew 19:24 ; compare Mark 10:25 ; Luke 18:25 ) illustrates the impossibility of a rich person's being saved apart from the intervention of God who does the impossible (Matthew 19:26 ). Some late Greek manuscripts read rope (kamilos ) for camel (kamelos ). This attempt to dull the sharp edge of Jesus' saying runs counter to the context. The use of the term needle's eye for a gate of Jerusalem is an interpretive fiction, again designed to make Jesus' word more palatable. No such gate exists.

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Needle'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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