Acts 8:36, Baptizing the Eunuch

Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?”

//One day, not too long after Jesus ascended into heaven, Philip is instructed by the Spirit to journey into the desert, where he meets an influential eunuch from Ethiopia. A eunuch, in case you’ve forgotten, is someone who has been castrated.

The eunuch asks Philip what hinders him from being baptized? The answer is obvious to us, the readers, but apparently not to Philip. This quaint rendering of the law in the King James version explains:

He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD. –Deuteronomy 23:1

Baptism, then, at least in the Jewish sense of a ritual cleansing, was inappropriate. But how would Philip know about the man’s “privy member?” So Philip baptized him, and God apparently approved, for immediately afterward ”the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.”

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