Many visitors to this site seek an understanding of what Jesus meant when He said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:24). This statement is radical and should be taken seriously.
In the past, people have interpreted the phrase as referring to a tiny gate that was fixed in a city wall and opened after dark. This was a theory that was popular in the nineteenth century and is still taught by some Sunday-school teachers today.
Others, however, believe the expression is actually an example of hyperbole – a figure of speech that exaggerates for emphasis. This is a common technique in the Bible, and Jesus used it at other times to make an important point.
One of the most popular interpretations is that it refers to a small gate in a Jerusalem city wall that was only open for pedestrians. This would be easy for a person to pass through, but it was impossible for a camel containing luggage. This theory argues that the camel needed to be unloaded, stoop down, and squeeze its way through the opening.
This theory is a bit hard to defend, because it involves a lot of guesswork and has no historical evidence to support it. But there are also a few other reasons why it is unlikely that this is the true interpretation of Jesus' words.