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Historic Jesus
The Eye of the Needle

Three of the Gospels record JesusŐ teaching that "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" (Matt. 19.24; Mark 10.25; Luke 18.25). The expression, "the eye of a needle," was often used in contemporary rabbinic literature to express something extremely difficult and most unusual. The rabbis sometimes spoke of an elephant passing through the eye of a needle to make their point.

Some biblical scholars have suggested that "the eye of a needle" referred to a pedestrian gate in a city wall. There is no firm historical evidence to substantiate this view. In either case, Jesus does not say in this illustration that it is impossible for a rich person to enter the kingdom, only that it is very difficult.