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What does it all mean?
A question we may be confronted on a daily basis is, how we interpret, understand, and want to understand specific messages, verbal and non-verbal cues. Popular songs proclaim "You don't understand me" and "Du verstehst mi ned", but if we fail to correctly read certain signals, it is OK though: As misunderstandings happen, we may remember that scholars have been occupied for centuries with the appropriate interpretation of well-known biblical quotes. A sermon about camels, ropes, and needles brought back some memories of alternative exegis options.
"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 Heaven."
Earthly share. The above biblical quote has lead to quite different interpretations. In its literal meaning, it describes something that can never be done. "No one can serve both God and Mammon", is a related quote that comes to mind. Possibly, it attempted to express that the rich already received their share of happiness in earthly life, and that in a not too far future, the poor would be happier. It could be also read in a magical context, outlining that nothing is impossible for our maker, which is also true for sure.
Burdensome entry. For years, it has been common teaching in Sunday School and among tour guides in the Middle East that there had been a small gate at the entrance of the city wall of Jerusalem, where a camel had to slide through on its knees. This explanation seemed to support the comforting thought that the Bible verse referred to a very painstaking, but not impossible achievement. Just like the camel had to unload and bend down, before entering the city, people have to do the same in order to become ready for eternal life.
Translation error. Word confusion is another possible explanation. Scholars argue that the Aramaic language used the same word "gamla" for multiple meaning, including camel, large rope, or beam. Others speak of a scribal error in the original Greek text, based on a confusion of the similar words "kamilos", meaning nautical rope, and "kamelos", the camel. Figuratively speaking, it is much harder to pull a nautical rope through the eye of a needle than a thread.
Like a tschu-tschu-train tucking along the trails...