Initial thoughts on the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8

The Ethiopian eunuch is biding his time.  Well, his time . . . I guess I am not sure.  Our time remains marked by a language that demands his masculinity, his balls, in any event.  It is not his time, as time now possesses <strike>him</strike> the eunuch.  Perhaps it is better to say the eunuch waits.  But waiting is a terrible term.  It gives the illusion of passivity and detachment.  What does the eunuch do?  The eunuch reads,

Like a sheep he was led to slaughter,
and like a lamb silent before its shearer,
so he does not open his mouth.

In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who can describe his generation?
For his life is taken away from the earth.

The eunuch reads the words of his own silence.  There is silence but there are alsosilenced words.  These words remain internal or are ignored as foreign or corrupt.  So the eunuch pronounces his silence.

How does one become a eunuch and what does it mean?  I have read just a little.  The eunuch in many traditions is close to power, either human or divine.  The eunuch can be a priest.  The eunuch can be a royal official.  The eunuch is close to power but does not draw close to this power.  Rather the eunuch is positioned close to power.  The eunuch is allowed next to power because power has been stripped from the eunuch.  The eunuch is a place holder.

As the eunuch recites the eunuch’s silenced words for his life is taken away from the earth he remembers his encounter with a teacher of the law on his visit to Jerusalem.  The scribe tells him of the corruption in the Greek text that he is reading.  The prophecy is of one who is cut off from the land of living.  This, this must be a castrated one.  What else could such an expression mean?  The eunuch feels something welling up within him but as yet there is no release, no outlet for his urge and desire.

The eunuch’s tradition positions him next to power by stripping him of life.  What sort of power could this be?  It is the power of death.  But what of this foreign religion?  This religion that in its founding traditions denies a eunuch from even gathering in worship.  He again recalls the scribe who looked on him with pity reciting the blunt prohibition from Deuteronomy,

No one whose testicles are crushed or whose penis is cut off shall be admitted to the assembly of the LORD.

The God of Israel does not gather passive servants (eunuchs) to minister in the Temple.  The God Israel does not even allow them to gather in worship. But what of this castrated one who was silenced and humiliated as I was?  Does the prophet speak of himself or someone else?

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