Needle's Eye

NEEDLE’S EYE (Gr. raphis). The expression is found only in Christ’s statement “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Matt.19.24; Mark.10.25; Luke.18.25). Jesus probably intended to teach that it is utterly absurd for a man bound up in his riches to expect to enter the kingdom of God. There is a rabbinical parallel phrase: “an elephant through a needle’s eye.”

NEEDLE’s EYE (ῥαφίς, G4827, sewing needle, βελόνη, G1017, a dart). The needle’s eye is that of which Christ spoke in Matthew 19:24; Mark 10:25; Luke 18:25. The needle was a familiar household item, making Christ’s statement quite meaningful to His listeners. The three synoptists record different word combinations in giving this expression, the most interesting variation being Luke the physician’s choice of the word for a surgical needle where the other two had spoken of a sewing needle. The expression prob. does not refer to a small gate in the wall of Jerusalem, but to the impossibility of a camel’s passing through the hole in an ordinary small needle, and hence to the comparable impossibility of entering the kingdom of God by mere human means.