Matthew 19:12

For there are some eunuchs, who were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, who were made eunuchs of men: and there are eunuchs, who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.
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Cornelius a Lapide

AD 1637
There are eunuchs, &c. Who when they might be husbands, become eunuchs for Christ"s sake, says S. Jerome. Christ here speaks of three sorts of eunuchs1. Those who are such by nature2. Those who have been made eunuchs artificially, that they may guard queens and noble matrons3. Those who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of Heaven"s sake. Christ here alludes to Isaiah lvi3 , 4 , 5 , where the prophet foretells that there should be such eunuchs in Christ"s church, and promises them a name better than of sons and daughters, yea an everlasting name. Made themselves eunuchs: This expression has two meanings1. That it is in our power with God"s grace to make ourselves eunuchs, i.e, chaste and celibate, and to keep so by a perpetual vow. This is the force of the verb, have made themselves, signifying a moral inability to beget children. If it were not Song of Solomon , He would have said, There are who make themselves eunuchs, or who endeavour to do so. But he says, have made them...

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
And there are eunuchs, who have made themselves eunuchs It is not to be taken in the literal sense, but of such who have taken a firm and commendable resolution of leading a single life. He that can receive it, let him receive it. Some think that to receive, in this and the foregoing verse, is to understand; and so will have the sense to be, he that can understand what I have said of different eunuchs, let him understand it; as when Christ said elsewhere, he that hath ears to hear, let him hear. But others expound it as an admonition to men and women, not to engage themselves in a vow of living a single life, unless, after a serious deliberation, they have good grounds to think they can duly comply with this vow, otherwise let them not make it. Thus St. Jerome on this place, and St. Chrysostom where they both expressly take notice, that this grace is granted to every one that asketh and beggeth for it by prayer. (Witham) To the crown and glory of which state, let those aspire who fee...

Hilary of Poitiers

AD 368
The cause in one item he assigns nature; in the next violence, and in the last his own choice, in him, namely, that determined to be so from hope of the kingdom of heaven.


AD 420
There are three kinds of eunuchs, two carnal and the third spiritual. One group are those who are born this way. Another are those who are made into eunuchs by captivity or for pleasuring older women. The third are those who “have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven” and who become eunuchs for Christ though they could be whole men. The last group are promised the reward. The other two, for whom chastity is not a matter of willing but necessity, are due nothing at all. We can put it another way. There are eunuchs from birth who are of a rather frigid nature and not inclined to lust. There are others who are made eunuchs by men, those who are made so by philosophers, others who are made weak toward sex from their worship of idols, and still others who by heretical persuasion feign chastity so as to falsely claim the truth of religion. None of the above is receptive to the kingdom of heaven. Only the person who for Christ seeks chastity wholeheartedly and cuts off sexual imp...


AD 420
A wife is a grievous burden, if it is not permitted to put her away except forthe cause of fornication. For what if she be a drunkard, an evil temper, or of evil habits, is she to be kept? The Apostles, perceiving this burdensomeness, express what they feel; “His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man beso with his wife, it is not good to marry.”. But let none think, that wherein He adds, “save they to whom it is given,” that either fate or fortune is implied, as though they were virgins only whom chance has led to such a fortune. For that is given to those who have sought it of God, who have longed for it, who have striven that they might obtain it.That He says therefore, “Save they to whom it is given,” shows that unless we receive the aid of grace, we have not strength. But this aid of grace is not denied to such as seek it, for the Lord says above, “Ask; and ye shall receive.”. He speaks of three kinds of eunuchs, of whom two are carnal, and one spiritual. One, those who ar...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
For it is a lighter thing to contend with himself, and his own lust, than withan evil woman. And the Lord said not, It is good, but rather assented that it is not good. However, He considered the weakness of the flesh; “But he said unto them, All cannot receive this saying;” that is, All are not able to do this. Then to show that this is possible, He says, “For there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men;” as much as to say, Consider, had you been so made of others, you would have lost the pleasure without gaining the reward. For as the deed without the will does not constitute a sin; so a righteous actis not in the deed unless the will go with it. That therefore is honourable continence, not which mutilation of body of necessity enforces, but which the will of holy purpose embraces. For they are born such, just as others are born having six or four fingers. For if God according as He formed our bodies in the beginning, had continued the same order unchangeably, the working ...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
But see herein a contradiction. For He indeed says this is a great thing; but they, that it is easier. For it was meet that both these things should be done, and that it should be at once acknowledged a great thing by Him, that it might render them more forward, and by the things said by themselves it should be shown to be easier, that on this ground too they might the rather choose virginity and continence. For since to speak of virginity seemed to be grievous, by the constraint of this law He drove them to this desire. Then to show the possibility of it, He says, There are some eunuchs, who were so born from their mother's womb, 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, Matthew 19:12 by these words secretly leading them to choose the thing, and establishing the possibility of this virtue, and all but saying, Consider if you were in such case by nature, or had endured this selfsame t...

Theophylact of Ochrid

AD 1107
There are few, He says, who can achieve this virginity. For there are some who are eunuchs from their mother’s womb, that is, by their physical temperament are never aroused towards sexual intercourse, so they are chaste without thereby deriving any profit. And there are those who have been made eunuchs by men. Those who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake are not those who have castrated themselves (for that is an accursed deed), but those who exercise self-control. You may also understand it this way. He is a eunuch by nature who, on account of his physical temperament, is not easily aroused to carnal pleasures. He who is made a eunuch by men is he who is guided by human teaching to cut off the burning of carnal desires. He who makes himself a eunuch is he who is instructed by no one else but by himself, and who, self-taught, inclines towards chastity. So this one is best who is guided not by another but by himself to the kingdom of heaven. Christ wants us o...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation - 2 Peter 1:20

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