Male and Female temple prostitutes

by ssn587 12 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • ssn587

    The following verses make me wonder just how prevalent prostituion at the "temple" was in ancient times.

    The verse in Deut. 23: 17 about becoming temple prostitutes didn't they Israelites have a tabernacle until Solomon built the temple during his reign?

    Deuteronomy 23:17 None of the daughters of Israel may become temple prostitutes neither may anyone of the sons of Israel become a temple prostitute.

    1 Kings 14:23, 24 And they too kept building for themselves high places and sacred pillars and sacred poles upon every high hill and under every luxuriant tree. (24) And even the male temple prostitutes proved to be in the land they acted according to all the detestable things of the nations whom Jehovah had driven out from before the sons of Israel.

    1 Kings 15:12 According he had the male temple prostitutes pass out of the land and removed all the dungy idols that his forefathers had made.

    1 Kings 22:46 And the rest of the male temple prostitutes that had been left oven in the days of Asa his father he cleared out from the land.

    Lev. 19:29 Do not profane your daughters by making her a prostitute in order that the land may not commit prostitution and the land actually be filled with loose morals.

    anyone else find this strange???

  • leavingwt

    Keep in mind, this was before high-speed Internet.

  • ziddina

    Hmm. I haven't researched this extensively - perhaps check with [spelling??] Leeliana about what I'm about to say, but...

    In many of the ancient civilizations [especially those preceeding the existence of the Israelites] extensive worship of 'fertility' goddesses took place. The Babylonians had, among others, the Goddess Innanna [who also was in the 'grave' or 'underworld' for 3 days and 3 nights - about a thousand years before 'Jesus' came along - and then resurrected herself...], the Norsemen had the Goddess Freya, the Gaelic Celts had Sheila-Na-Gig, whose act of displaying her private parts was thought to drive off evil spirits... Ishtar was commonly worshipped in the Mesopotamian area, including the area eventually occupied by the Israelites.

    The Egyptians had Hathor, the cow-headed Goddess of earthly pleasures [among others...], the Greeks had Aphrodite who was renamed Venus by the Romans, as well as Astarte, whose name was transliterated into Hebrew as Ashtoreth - in fact, just check out this link to Wikipedia [though not the most reliable source, it's a good starting point...]:

    The worship of 'fertility' goddesses [and that of goddesses whose aspects included dominion over fertility....] was extremely common in ancient times, especially as human existence relied on the fertility of the fields (crops) and forests, so to speak (prey animals like deer, rabbits, fish), in addition to the fertility of domestic animals (cattle, sheep, goats, and so on...). Since it was the female animals who gave birth to subsequent young to multiply the herds, it was common that female deities were appealed to, for increase of the herds.

    In fact, fertility goddesses are still worshipped today, but not in a form that most modern people would recognize. The extreme prevalence of porn is a late-period manifestation of the worship of the female fertility deities; though most porn addicts wouldn't recognize it as such. The 'crowning' of the "world's sexiest women", the "Victoria's Secret" model issues, the "Swimsuit" issue of "Sports Illustrated"; all have their basis in the ancient worship of fertility goddesses.

    Not only was it prevalent in ancient times, it's still going on today... Hope this helped answer your question???



  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason

    You need to keep in mind that for these ancients, the purpose of telling history was to effect change in their own community. As such, the moral was important, even if the story was not accurate. I suppose you could say that "history" was more of a morality play, in which lessons were drawn, and license was taken with facts.

    Deuteronomy and Kings have an affinity, inasmuch as they were the product of people living at the time of the Babylonian Exile, or soon after. Today, they are given the name, Deuteronomists.

    Given that, is it possible that they were reflecting on the pre-Exilic practice of temple prostitution, which they would include with practices that resulted in the destruction of Judah?


  • EverAStudent

    I am sorry to say that the practice was wide-spread pre-Israel, in Israel before the kings, in the Northern Kingdom before their destruction, and even in the Southern Kingdom at times. This is evident from such passages of Scripture as God rebuking the nation of Israel for serving Baal via lewd acts under every tree, Solomon building temples for the fertility cults of his wives, etc. The sons of one of the Jewish prophets actually set up fertility prostitution in the Tabernacle.

    In NT times the cult of Artemus in Ephesus was widely believed to be a fertility cult. In Rome many of the temples were fertility cults. Yes, it was quite rampant. Fertility cults were tightly embedded in the cultures of the day.

    Enter Christianity: pagan fertility cults began to become frowned upon and faded away. Christians see this as a positive historical event, unbelievers see this as Christians poluting the cultures of sovereign nations.

  • Perry

    There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.


    hXdq qdeshah, ked-ay-shaw'; feminine of 06945; a female devotee (i.e. prostitute):--harlot, whore.


    Xdq qadesh, kaw-dashe'; from06942; a (quasi) sacred person, i.e. (technically) a (male) devotee (by prostitution) to licentious idolatry:-- sodomite, unclean.

    anyone else find this strange???

    Not really, just moral clarification for a new nation.

  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason


    I understood your question to be related to the use of the term "temple" when the writer logically should have been using the term "sanctuary" during the earlier periods. That is the matter I was endeavouring to address in my previous response.

    If my understanding of your Post is correct, then I suggest you research the manner in which the ancients regarded and recorded history. They were not so concerned with being literally correct as they were with drawing lessons from history in their effort to influence their own contemporary community. As such, the "historians" were somewhat loose with the facts, since that was secondary to the points they were making.

    If you need suggested sources to start off your study, let me know.


  • ssn587

    Doug Mason yes i was wanting to know why the scripture referred to a temple vice a tabernacle or sanctuary, and yes i would like some info as to where i could do some research on how historians done their history and how they reported it. Any and help would be very much appreciated.

  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason


    You could start by Googling for the words

    biblical historiography.

    When I did that I came across a book that looks interesting, at

    You should be able to find more sites of interest with that search.

    I will gather a few quotes and references for you and post them for you.


  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason

    The Chronicler is not a historian in the strict western sense. To him Israel’s history was pregnant with spiritual and moral lessons, which he brought to birth through a kind of historical midwifery. He is not concerned so much with the bare facts of Israel’s history as with their meaning. ( Old Testament Survey: The Message, Form, and Background of the Old Testament , Second Edition, , p. 543, Lasor, Hubbard and Bush, Eerdmans 1996) It was more important to the biblical writers to be relevant than to be true. ... For all of them, their greatest concern was not getting the past “correct.” Rather, it was to collect, revise, and compose traditions in order to produce texts about the past that would be meaningful to their communities. ( How to Read the Jewish Bible , chapter “ Revisionist History: Reading Chronicles ”, p. 136, Marc Zvi Brettler, Oxford University Press, 2005, 2007) The recollection of historical traditions in this period was different than it is now. There was little or no interest in history for its own sake; that is, for what it taught about the real past. History mattered because of what it taught about the present, including the legitimacy of the main priestly clan. Moreover, ancient historians may not have realized that they were manipulating “facts.” ... Just as the Chronicler adds material when it suits his purposes, he also leaves material out. Sometimes material is left out simply because it is no longer relevant. ...Comparison of Chronicles and its sources reveals hundreds of cases where the Chronicler changed his sources in various ways —not only minor updating of language and spelling, but also significant ideological changes. ( Brettler, pp.131-133) As complicated as translating a foreign language can be, translating a foreign culture is infinitely more difficult. ... It is far too easy to let our own ideas creep in and subtly (or at times not so subtly) bend or twist the material to fit our own context. ... The very act of trying to translate the culture requires taking it out of its context and fitting it into ours. ... Rather than translating the culture, then, we need to try to enter the culture. ( The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate , pp. 10-11, John H. Walton; publishers, IVP Academic) It must be acknowledged that Biblical narrators were more than historians. They interpretively recounted the past with the unswerving purpose of bringing it to bear on the present and the future. In the portrayal of past events, they used their materials to achieve this purpose effectively. ( The NIV Study Bible , book of Jonah, “Introduction: Interpretation”) The biblical writers may not have understood their task simply as relating what happened in the past. ... A ncient history writing was not journalism; it was closer to storytelling than to the objective reporting of past events. ... T he primary objective of ancient history writing was to “render an account” of the past that explained the present.

    Ancient historians had axes to grind —theological or political points to make. Second, a civilization rendering an account of its past also entailed an expression of the corporate identity of the nation—what it was and what principles it stood for. Hence, the historian’s primary concern was not detailing exactly what happened in the past as much as it was interpreting the meaning of the past for the present, showing how the “causes” of the past brought about the “effects” of the present. ... The Bible’s historical literature is aetiological in the sense that it seeks to “render an account” of the past —to provide an explanation (aitia) for circumstances or conditions in the historian’s day. Whether the events that the Bible relates as past causes or explanations actually took place as described was not the ancient historian’s primary concern. ... To attempt to read the account of Israel’s history in the Bible from a modern perspective as strictly a record of actual events is to misconstrue its genre and force it to do something that it was not intended to do. ...

    In the Bible, history was written for an ideological purpose. History writing was theology. (Dictionary of the Old Testament: Historical Books, Arnold and Williamson, pp 418 – 421, IVP)

    [ Comparison of the Chronicler’s presentation of Cyrus’ Decree with the text as preserved on the famous Cyrus cylinder provides a clear example of the Chronicler’s preparedness to manage history and to manufacture a religious intent.]

  • EndofMysteries

    Did you ever think it may relate in a spiritual sense? Why is Babylon the Great called the harlot? How many religions or the priests/etc, WHORE themselves, their blessings, and services, for MONEY!

  • jookbeard


    you are right there aren't many but the WTS has made itself the biggest WHORE, with the G/B being the biggest culprits

  • Perry
    I understood your question to be related to the use of the term "temple" when the writer logically should have been using the term "sanctuary" during the earlier periods.

    Or the writer could have simply been talking about the prohibition on prostitution (or whoring around) and homosexuality (sodomite) as the 47 scholars of the KJV agreed. The term "temple" does not occur in the original text, but is a modern addition. So, suggesting that the term "sanctuary" would be better and then going on from there to use this as a basis for suggesting the writers were not concerned with accuracy seems to be a series of left turns off the straightest path.

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