The Meaning of Matthew 19:24 Explained

Matthew 19:24

KJV: And again I say unto you, 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.

YLT: and again I say to you, it is easier for a camel through the eye of a needle to go, than for a rich man to enter into the reign of God.'

Darby: and again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to enter a needle's eye than a rich man into the kingdom of God.

ASV: And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

What does Matthew 19:24 Mean?

Context Summary

Matthew 19:23-30 - Riches In The Kingdom
Money is not an unmixed good. It brings in its train many temptations. It is easier to bear poverty than wealth-easier to be a saint when life is hard than when prosperity lavishes her gifts.
When the Pope was showing St. Francis of Assisi the treasures of the Vatican, he remarked: "We can hardly say with the Apostle, "˜Silver and gold have we none.'" Francis replied aptly and incisively: "Yes, holy father, and I suppose we can hardly say either, "˜Rise up and walk.'" Often it is in the poverty of earthly circumstances that the soul becomes possessed of an authority which wealth cannot buy.
What compensations there will be hereafter in the times of the restitution of all things! See Acts 3:21. Then the unsatisfied yearnings for husband, wife, or child; the love which craved for love; the lonely, the homeless, the pilgrim, will neither hunger nor thirst, because the Lamb will lead him to the fountains of waters of life. [source]

Chapter Summary: Matthew 19

1  Jesus heals the sick;
3  answers the Pharisees concerning divorce;
10  shows when marriage is necessary;
13  receives the little children;
16  instructs the young man how to attain eternal life;
20  and how to be perfect;
23  tells his disciples how hard it is for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God;
27  and promises reward to those who forsake all to follow him

Greek Commentary for Matthew 19:24

It is easier for a camel to go through a needle‘s eye [ευκοπωτερον εστιν καμηλον δια τρηματος ραπιδος εισελτειν]
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, καμιλον — kamilon or ραπις — rhaphis 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” (Matthew 19:26). 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 ραπις — rhaphis but, Luke (Luke 18:25) employs βελονη — belonē the medical term for the surgical needle not elsewhere in the N.T. [source]
Camel - through a needle's eye [κάμηλον διά τρύπηματος ῥαφίδος]
See on Mark 10:25; and Luke 18:25. Compare the Jewish proverb, that a man did not even in his dreams see an elephant pass through the eye of a needle. The reason why the camel was substituted for the elephant was because the proverb was from the Babylonian Talmud, and in Babylon the elephant was common, while in Palestine it was unknown. The Koran has the same figure: “The impious shall find the gates of heaven shut; nor shall he enter there till a camel shall pass through the eye of a needle.” Bo-chart, in his history of the animals of scripture, cites a Talmudic passage: “A needle's eye is not too narrow for two friends, nor is the world wide enough for two enemies.” The allusion is not to be explained by reference to a narrow gate called a needle's eye. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Matthew 19:24

Matthew 23:24 Swallow the camel [την δε καμηλον καταπινοντες]
Gulping or drinking down the camel. An oriental hyperbole like that in Matthew 19:24. See also Matthew 5:29, Matthew 5:30; Matthew 17:20; Matthew 21:21. Both insects and camels were ceremonially unclean (Leviticus 11:4, Leviticus 11:20, Leviticus 11:23, Leviticus 11:42). “He that kills a flea on the Sabbath is as guilty as if he killed a camel” (Jer. Shabb. 107). [source]
Mark 10:25 Needle [ῥαφίδος]
A word stigmatized by the grammarians as unclassical. One of them (Phrynichus) says, “As for ῥαφίς , nobody would know what it is.” Matthew also uses it. See on Matthew 19:24. Luke uses βελόνης , the surgical needle. See on Luke 18:25. [source]
Mark 10:25 Needle‘s eye [τρυμαλιας ραπιδος]
See note on Matthew 19:24 for discussion. Luke uses the surgical needle, belonēs Matthew has the word rhaphis like Mark from βελονης — rhaptō to sew, and it appears in the papyri. Both Matthew and Luke employ ραπις — trēmatos for eye, a perforation or hole from ραπτω — titraō to bore. Mark‘s word τρηματος — trumalias is from τιτραω — truō to wear away, to perforate. In the lxx and Plutarch. [source]
Luke 18:25 Camel []
See on Matthew 19:24. [source]
Luke 18:25 Through a needle‘s eye [δια τρηματος βελονης]
Both words are old. Τρημα — Trēma means a perforation or hole or eye and in the N.T. only here and Matthew 19:24. ελονη — Belonē means originally the point of a spear and then a surgeon‘s needle. Here only in the N.T. Mark 10:25; Matthew 19:24 have ραπιδος — rhaphidos for needle. This is probably a current proverb for the impossible. The Talmud twice speaks of an elephant passing through the eye of a needle as being impossible. [source]

What do the individual words in Matthew 19:24 mean?

Again now I say to you easier for [it] is a camel through [the] eye of a needle to go than a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God
πάλιν δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν εὐκοπώτερόν ἐστιν κάμηλον διὰ τρυπήματος ῥαφίδος εἰσελθεῖν πλούσιον [εἰσελθεῖν] εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ

πάλιν  Again 
Parse: Adverb
Root: πάλιν  
Sense: anew, again.
δὲ  now 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: δέ  
Sense: but, moreover, and, etc.
λέγω  I  say 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Active, 1st Person Singular
Root: λέγω 
Sense: to say, to speak.
ὑμῖν  to  you 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Dative 2nd Person Plural
Root: σύ  
Sense: you.
εὐκοπώτερόν  easier  for 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Neuter Singular, Comparative
Root: εὔκοπος  
Sense: with easy labour.
ἐστιν  [it]  is 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: εἰμί  
Sense: to be, to exist, to happen, to be present.
κάμηλον  a  camel 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Feminine Singular
Root: κάμηλος 
Sense: camel.
διὰ  through  [the] 
Parse: Preposition
Root: διά  
Sense: through.
τρυπήματος  eye 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Neuter Singular
Root: τρῆμα 
Sense: a hole, (eye of the needle).
ῥαφίδος  of  a  needle 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: βελόνη 
Sense: a needle.
εἰσελθεῖν  to  go 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Infinitive Active
Root: εἰσέρχομαι  
Sense: to go out or come in: to enter.
  than 
Parse: Conjunction
Root:  
Sense: either, or, than.
πλούσιον  a  rich  man 
Parse: Adjective, Accusative Masculine Singular
Root: πλούσιος  
Sense: wealthy, abounding in material resources.
[εἰσελθεῖν]  to  enter 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Infinitive Active
Root: εἰσέρχομαι  
Sense: to go out or come in: to enter.
εἰς  into 
Parse: Preposition
Root: εἰς  
Sense: into, unto, to, towards, for, among.
βασιλείαν  kingdom 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Feminine Singular
Root: βασιλεία  
Sense: royal power, kingship, dominion, rule.
Θεοῦ  God 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: θεός  
Sense: a god or goddess, a general name of deities or divinities.