I came across an interesting website today on Biblical Hebrew on, of all places, Talkbass! I think it mainly grabbed my attention because it talks about the camel and the eye of the needle, which I’ve looked at recently a couple of times with my cell group.
Apparently, the interpretation I’d heard, that it refered to a narrow gate in the wall of Jerusalem (or ancient city walls in general), which couldn’t be passed by a heavily-laden camel, is inaccurate although widely promulgated and with a history going back to the 9th century or before!
Still, even if it doesn’t have the mandate of Biblical authority, it’s an illustration that stands in it’s own right. It also demonstrates the danger of straining out gnats and swallowing camels when doing Bible studies – getting hung up on minor details and missing the obvious point of the story, which is that even those “blessed” with wealth won’t be able to buy their way into the kingdom of heaven.
Must have been a lot of camels hanging about in 1st Century Palestine – they seem to come up rather a lot!