PROSTITUTION From the Book Divine Sex





In this country prostitutes are outcasts. They are considered the

dregs of society. They receive no sympathy or mercy and no

attempt is made to understand who they are and why they pursue

such a “wretched” (we think) lifestyle. In our society no one

hesitates to condemn those who make commerce of their sexuality

and we think it outrageous that anyone would think to question

our collective attitude. But surely those who follow Christ must

remember that He accepted a precious gift from a prostitute, and

when his host reacted negatively to this Jesus rebuked him for it,

(Lk. 7:36-50). He did not recoil from her touch and He did not

rebuke, chastise or correct her. With profound sympathy He

ministered acceptance to her thus setting for us the example we

must strive to imitate.

God loved the world, with its worst, with such intensity that He

sent Jesus to die for us all. Do we not owe it to each other to grant

sufficient grace to those we consider the “worst” among us, to be

certain that we do not marginalize an entire segment of society

without first examining all the Biblical evidence pertaining to their

lifestyle? Can we at least entertain the possibility that we might not

know exactly what the Bible teaches about prostitution and

prostitutes? Those who believe that they are infallibly correct on

this topic should not waste time reading further. For the rest of us

the following study may be eye-opening. As always we begin by

looking at the exact meaning of the words we will be considering.


Heb. zana.

“to commit adultery; fig. to commit idolatry, unfaithful,

whore(dom) (Israel being God’s spouse). (Strong’s #2181, 2, 3, 4)

“sacred person, devotee by prostitution to licentious idolatry;

sodomite, unclean, consecrated thing, holiness, sanctuary.”

(Strong’s #6945, 6, 7, 8)

“harlotry, idolatry, fornication, whoredom.” (Strong’s #8457)


Gk. porneia, fornication; porne, (fem.) a fornicator; pornos, (masc.) a


“to be utterly unchaste, given over to fornication.” (Strong’s #1608)

“adultery, incest; fig. idolatry; fornication.”

“lit. to indulge unlawful lust (of either sex), or fig. practice idolatry;

commit fornication.” “a strumpet; fig. an idolater.” “debauchee

(libertine), fornicator, whoremonger.” (Strong’s #4202, 03, 04, 05)

Scripture references:

Judah’s wife is dead and on one of his travels he mistakes his

daughter in law, Tamar for a “harlot” and buys sex with her. Her

price is a kid from Judah’s flock, (Gen. 38:12-18). Judah thus sexes a

“prostitute” who is actually his daughter in law. Tamar is found

pregnant & Judah commands death, (vs. 24), however because she

possesses the evidence to prove that the child is his, she is set free.

Why is it OK for Judah to have sex with a prostitute but wrong for

her to be a prostitute? It is because she was already “promised” or

“betrothed” to her brother in law even though she had not yet been

actually given to him as wife. So it was not the prostitution that

brought Judah’s wrath. It was the fact that Tamar was technically

“married.” Being with child by someone other than her “betrothed”

makes her technically an adulteress. This is the reason for the death


Judah’s possessions in her hand saves her life, (vs. 25, 26).

Nothing in the text suggests that either God or man saw anything unusual in Judah’s propositioning a prostitute.


If she had not been betrothed there would have been no condemnation of her because,

as we shall see prostitution is not condemned by God except when

it involves a married woman, thus adultery. We must emphasize the

main point here: Judah was a righteous man, one of the 12 sons of

Jacob, the primary progenitor of Messiah. If his action with a

prostitute had been truly reprehensible, do we think God would

have said and done nothing in the way of correction? Consorting

with a prostitute was simply accepted. Judah experienced nothing

more negative that the embarrassment of having failed to keep his

promise to give her to his son.

Once again we refer to the “law of first mention.” Here for the

first time in Scripture we encounter the act of prostitution. But not

one word is said to indicate that God found it problematic. And He

did nothing to correct the situation even though it involved one of


His faithful servants. Surely this reveals much more about God’s

attitude toward this practice than we ever thought might be true.


The Israelites are commanded to not make your daughters

“harlots” lest the land become “lewd.” (Lev. 19:29).


The prohibition here is against fathers selling their daughters

in prostitution, like the nations around them. There is a

difference  between a  woman freely choosing prostitution, versus a

father making her a prostitute.

The principle of self-possession prohibits even parents from

stripping their children of inherent rights to their physical beings,

including their sexuality. This is one of the reasons for prohibiting



Do not play the harlot after Molech; do not play the harlot with

mediums and spiritists, (Lev. 20:2-6).


Again, a specific context is given for this prohibition. Prostitution as

part of pagan idol worship was common in the Canaanite culture

surrounding Israel.


This law is not against prostitution per se, but of its use in worship

to false gods. If we remove the specific reason for the prohibition,

and we also remove the prohibition.


A priest must not marry a harlot or divorcee, (Lev. 21:7, 14).

 The implication is that The Israelite leaders knew such women existed

in their midst yet there is no condemnation of them, nor any

command of legal action to be taken against them. In Israel,

prostitution was legal. Their civil law, given by God Himself,

allowed this practice by virtue of not legislating against it. Get this: no

Biblical law prohibits prostitution as such. All prohibitions relate to

abuses of the act such as a father forcing it upon his daughter, or its

use in pagan worship. These prohibitions under special

circumstances do not prohibit prostitution outright any more than

laws against heterosexual rape prohibit heterosexual sex.


If a priest’s daughter prostitutes she is to be burned with fire,

(Lev. 21:9). It is only the connection of her being a priest’s daughter

that brings this punishment. God’s concern was to eliminate sexual

practice from all worship so that Israel would not be like the

nations around them who used cult prostitutes in their religious

services. This law related to religious harlotry, which is sex used in

worship of pagan gods. The danger was in possibly contaminating

Israel’s worship & Levitical ritual by potential idolatrous practices


Book Divine Sex FREE Online Part 3 of 4

Pages 194 to 260

of their daughters, or by eventual inclusion of prostitution in their

ceremonies. If the priest’s daughters could prostitute, the practice

would inevitably be joined to their religious practice. Therefore, by

this law, God eliminated that danger.


The priest must marry only a virgin, (Lev. 21:13, 14).


 If the foregoing law prohibits all prostitution then this law necessarily

prohibits anyone marrying a non-virgin. No one takes this position.

But let us be consistent in our treatment of these laws.


Israel commits “harlotry” with Canaanite women. This is

connected with idolatry, (Num. 25:1-3).


So again, this condemnation is not against harlotry as such,

but against religious  harlotry.


A daughter is condemned for “playing the harlot in her father’s

house,” (Deut. 22:13-21). It is not clear whether this daughter had

actually received money for sex. The point is rather that she had

deprived her father and prospective husband of their rights in her.

The father had rights to expect his daughters to be pure vessels by

which Israelite men could obtain pure offspring. Anything that

compromised this also compromised her marriage worthiness. And

any Israelite man depended on the sexual exclusivity of his wife to

ensure that her offspring was unquestionably his. Any sexual

activity by the woman compromised this “guarantee of pure

lineage.” Thus all sex activity, including prostitution, by a daughter

still unmarried and living at home was unacceptable. What was

wrong with prostitution in Israel was not trading sex for money but

that such sexual practice removed sexual intercourse from the

framework of property and family hierarchy which normally

contained it and ensured that it was used for the benefit of the



 Prostitution was wrong not because the sex act was immoral,

but because it stood outside the normal patriarchal system in which

the male head of a household owned one or more women as sexual

partners. Therefore prostitution threatened the interests of the

family by threatening to divide inheritance beyond legitimate

offspring. The man might think he had gained full value from the

sexual favors of the prostitute, but the family would see it as a

totally selfish act from which the family gained nothing. Once we

remove the factor of family hierarchy as relates to inheritance based

on genealogy, the basis of objecting to prostitution is also removed,


except for its use as part of cultic, pagan worship, or its practice by

a married woman or its being forced upon a daughter by her parents.


There must be no ritual (cultic, religious) harlotry among either

the sons or the daughters of Israel, (Deut. 23:17).


This prohibition, as the others, is linked to and thus limited to the sex act used in

religious ritual.

Bring not the wages of a harlot or male cult prostitute into

 the house of the Lord, (Deut. 23:18).


 This text recognizes the practice of prostitution by both sexes.

But because the sex act is ceremonially,

ritually “unclean” (as for example, ejaculation by a man either with

or without intercourse, Lev. 15:16-18) the money gained from

prostitution cannot be sanctified by bringing it as tithe.


Significantly, there is no criminal prosecution to be brought against

the prostitute. She or he simply cannot give tithes of their wages

because they are ceremonially “unclean” by virtue of connection

with emission of bodily fluids. Israel’s law did not prescribe that

the wages be taken away from either the man or woman. In the

midst of such prohibitions, why did God not simply make an

outright prohibition against prostitution under any circumstances?

Why do we have only a divine regulation of this practice to ensure


[1 It does not violate the personal rights of a daughter;

[2 It does not compromise pure tribal lineage;

[3 It does not assume the character of adultery.

[4 It is not used in connection with religious worship;

These specific regulations, without a generic law against the

practice as such, make it obvious that the generic practice of

prostitution was not offensive to God, any more than other forms

of sexual activity offended Him. His concern with prostitution is

the same as in all other sexual matters. No sex act is acceptable if it

violates the good of another person (regulations 1, 2, 3 above), or if

it dishonors God (regulation 4 above). But if it violates neither

person or God, any sex act is acceptable.

God prophesies that Israel will play the harlot with Canaanite

gods, (Deut. 31:16). This harlotry involves God’s bride, giving

herself to other gods, thus adultery.


Spies go into the house of Rahab the “harlot,” (Josh. 2:1-24).

 No word of rebuke is offered about her harlotry.

According to Strong’s

concordance, (#7901), the word “lodge” which is translated “lay” in

every other place it appears, is often used in the sense of “sexual

connection”. Why did they go into a brothel? Could they find no

more appropriate place to hide? Did they seek sex? If so why no

correction, especially as they are on the brink of intense warfare. If

such “sin” would compromise their holiness before the Lord, why

is there no word of correction, and no repentance demanded? If

these men did engage in sex with Rahab or others who may have

been in her house, it was not inconsistent with the moral tone of the

time, nor is there any indication that it was inconsistent with God’s

moral standards.


It is clear that prostitution apparently was accepted in Israel, just

as it was when Judah lay with Tamar, except as relates to the

specific situation we have listed. All Israel knew Rahab was a harlot

and that the spies had gone into her house, (Josh. 6:17). She is

“saved,” is accepted into Israel, but we never read a word of her

“repenting” from prostitution. It is quite possible that Rahab

continued to ply her trade within Israel.



All Israel “plays the harlot” with Gideon’s breastplate, (Jdg. 8:27).


They could not have sex with his metal shield. They had ritual sex

with each other, treating the shield as an idol. They are condemned

because they are God’s Bride, married to Jehovah, thus committing



 At Gideon’s death, Israel again plays the harlot with the Baals, (Jdg. 8:33).


Gilead had sex with a “harlot” and she bore Jephthah. Gilead

was already married and had sons by his wife, (Jdg. 11:1, 2).


 No word of correction or condemnation is spoken here. So what do

you think; that Gilead slipped one by God? Was Gilead really an

adulterer and somehow that fact just got lost in the shuffle? And

since someone knew about this event, and wrote it down, why was

no punishment brought against both Gilead and the prostitute?

The answer is obvious. No one in Israel looked askance at

prostitution and it was not enough of concern to God for Him to

say anything about it.


Samson has sex with a harlot in Gaza. Still God, without a word

of correction, fills him with miraculous power to carry off the city


gates, (Jdg. 16:1). This occasion again implies that prostitution was

common and unquestioned at this period. It is interesting that the

Lord did not depart from him while he was having sex with a

harlot, but while he was getting a haircut!


Two harlots dispute over the death on one of their sons, each

claiming to be the mother of the remaining son. Solomon resolves

the issue but brings no censure of the women for harlotry, (1 Kg.

3:16-28). Here is the wisest of all wise men; a God-chosen, Godanointed,

God favored ruler with supreme power and authority in

the land, whose responsibility before God is to rule Israel in

righteousness, to rule according to all that God’s law dictates. God

promises to bless Solomon if he walks in all God’s laws, (1 Kg.

9:4ff), threatening to curse him and his sons if they turn from God’s

laws. Now this supreme law-enforcement officer in Israel deals with

known prostitutes and speaks not a syllable to them about their



Prostitution is legal in God’s nation of Israel, else this

situation is inexplicable. Why does Solomon not at least reproach

these women for the dangers, uncleanness, etc of their profession, if

that is truly the case with prostitution? Rather than reproach them,

Solomon uses his divinely anointed gift of wisdom in their behalf.

Then they evidently go their way, return to their profession, and all

without a single word suggesting that they should no longer

pursue this trade.


If prostitution was the evil we imagine it to be today, it would

have been so then. If it is wise to eliminate prostitution in the name

of moral reform, then why is it that no such moral reform was

initiated by the wisest man in all history, or by any other of God’s

anointed leaders? Solomon’s unparalleled wisdom would have found

the perfect solution to such a “moral blight,” if indeed God and

Israelite society thought it was such.


Prostitution was so common in Solomon’s day that he could

look out the window of his palace and see prostitutes plying their

trade “in the streets…on every corner,” (Prov. 7:6-12).


His warning to the “young man” to avoid her, in the context, refers to the married

harlot, who says “the man is not at home…” (vs. 19). It is not

prostitution that must be avoided, but that by a married woman,

which is adultery.


Jerusalem becomes a “harlot” and is condemned. Jerusalem is

“wed” to God so her harlotry is the sin of adultery. She is behaving


as if she is unmarried and free to have relations with whomever she

will, at her own price, (Isa. 1:21). This is the meaning of Isa. 3:16,

“Zion’s women are flirting with their eyes.”

In the day of destruction, 7 women will beg to be wed to one

man, (Isa. 4:1). There is no suggested condemnation here. Why

obvious sin in the former verses, with condemnation, but none here, if

God deplores prostitution as much as he does adultery?

Tyre is likened to a prostitute whose hire will be reserved for

the Lord! (Isa. 23:15-18). Why would – how could – the Lord reserve

for Himself the hire of a prostitute? Is it not unclean?

God condemned Israel for her adulteries with other nations, and

their false gods. Israel loved sex with men who had large penises

(Strong’s #1320) and was so depraved that she paid them to have sex

with her! (Ezek. 16:26-33).


Two sisters, Oholah and Oholibah are

used to illustrate the degraded degree of Israel’s unfaithfulness to

God who was Israel’s true husband and lover, (Ezek. 23). They

longed for the days when the Egyptians handled their nipples and

breasts, (vs.21, Moffatt translation). She longed for the Egyptians

who had large penises like those of donkeys, (vs.20, “flesh” is a

euphemism for penis, Strong’s # 1320).

Many people have trouble with such language. Squeamish

translators refuse to translate words literally, imagining them to be

“vulgar,” and in the process accusing the Holy Spirit of vulgarity!

Honestly, why can we not see that God and the Holy Spirit are not

embarrassed about sex, nor hesitant to talk about it in the clearest

terms. It is not indelicate for God to refer to a penis. He created it

and knows what is proper or improper regarding it. The Holy

Spirit not only led Ezekiel to write about penises as large as those

of donkeys, but also wrote about how much semen they ejaculated,

(vs. 20). Those who read or listened to Ezekiel’s message were not

offended by his bold imagery. Their offense would only have been

in their being categorized as unfaithful, whorish wives, whose

destiny was God’s punishment.

God’s curse upon unfaithful Israel, is that “your wife will become

a prostitute in the city,” (Amos 7:17). Note the consistent word about

the sinfulness of prostitution by a married woman, yet no such

word about such conduct by unmarried women. Was it allowable


for unmarried women, by their own decision, to sell their sexual

favors at their own price? Evidently so.

Samaria is cursed because she “gathered her gifts from the wages of

a prostitute….” (Micah 1:7). This is the same as accusing her of

adultery because Samaria had spiritually fornicated with the ten

tribes of Israel who were part of God’s wife.

Nineveh is cursed because of “wanton lust of a harlot…who

enslaves nations by prostitution and witchcraft,” (Nahum 3:4ff). So God

will “expose her nakedness,” (3:8). In all such cases, “exposing

nakedness” is to force sexual exposure upon one. This has nothing

to do with any supposed inherent shamefulness of physical


“Shall I take the members of Christ and join them to a harlot? Never!

He who unites with a harlot is one flesh with her,” (1 Cor. 6:15, 16). This

at first sight seems to be outright condemnation of prostitution

under any circumstances. But considering the local situation of the

church in Corinth, there is a better explanation that fits with the

Biblical tolerance of prostitution we find everywhere else.

The city of Corinth was a Gentile city, completely devoted to

sexual religious ceremony, with its inevitable religious

prostitution. Pagan worship in Corinth was so universally practiced

among its populace that the verb, to “Corinthianize” was coined to signify the

act of prostitution. (Adam Clark, Commentary on Corinthians).


Since all the saints in the Corinthian church had come out of this

practice and all of them had engaged in it before their conversion, it

was necessary that they be instructed to do so no longer. But the

prohibition in its cultural and Scriptural context shows this to be a

reference to cultic prostitution. They must remember that they are

now members of Christ, and their bodies are now “temples of the

Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 6:15, 19). To join Christ’s “body” to an idol,

perverts God’s temple: it is unthinkable. By consorting with cultic

prostitutes, they would not merely have sex with them. Their act

made them part of pagan worship, and thus would defile their

“holy temple.” Because they belonged to Christ as Her espoused Bride,

to join with cultic prostitutes was to commit spiritual adultery

against Christ in exactly the same way Israel did against Jehovah in

the OT. Paul is referring to the same “adulterous” act of religious

prostitution as was common in the OT. He is not writing about the


sex act itself. If the sex act alone was involved it would be no more

defiling for the Corinthians than for any of the multitudes

throughout history which Scripture refers to, but without such a



Rahab the harlot is memorialized as a woman of great faith,

(Heb. 11:31). But there is no word of her “repenting” of her

prostitution. Indeed she is still identified as “the harlot.”


144,000 righteous saints were those who “were not defiled with

women, for they are virgins,” (Rev. 14:1-4). This is not a reference to

prostitution, but simply to the sex act.


“Babylon is fallen…she made all nations drink of her fornication,”

(Rev. 14:8).


Judgment is made against the great harlot…with whom kings of

earth committed fornication and earth’s inhabitants were made

drunk with the wine of her “fornication,” (Rev. 17:1-2). Her cup

was “filled with the filthiness of her fornication,” (vs. 4).

All nations drink the wine of “Babylon’s” fornication. Earth’s

kings commit fornication with her; and will mourn when she is

destroyed, (Rev. 18:3, 9).

God judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her

fornication, (Rev. 19:2). The “abominable…sexually immoral…have

their part in the lake of fire…” (Rev. 21:8).

All these references relate to unfaithfulness to God and

turning to the world for resource, safety, values, etc. God alone is

the True Source of all these things, and by rebelling against Him

and going back to the world one comes under condemnation as

consorting with an adulterous prostitute.


Comments from other authors:


“Harlot: a female prostitute; in the general sense, one who

engages in extra-marital sexual relations for commercial purposes.

Harlotry was condemned by the Israelites (Dt. 22:21; Prov. 23:27;

Amos 2:7). Its practitioners were held in low esteem (Gen. 34:31;

Mt. 21:31-32; Amos 7:17), regarded as religiously unclean (Lev. 21:

7, 9; 19:29).


Of far greater concern to the Israelite was the practice of

cultic prostitution common among the non Israelite religious

(Num. 25:1)

particularly that of the Canaanite goddess Astarte. Both men (Dt.

23:18 Heb. keleb – “dog” or sodomite) and women dedicated their

life to the deity, performing sexual acts with the worshippers so as

to encourage the deified forces of nature to imitate them and thus

guarantee continued productivity and prosperity. Cultic

prostitution was specifically prohibited in the Hebrew faith, and

the wages earned by the practice rejected as temple offering (Dt.

23:17, 18). Nevertheless many gave in to the non-Israelite influence,

participating in the foreign rites and even introducing prostitution

into the Israelite cult.”

– Eerdman’s Bible Dictionary, pg. 462 –

A harlot is a woman who uses her sexual capacity for gain

or for pagan religious purposes. In contrast to the adulteress,

she is promiscuous and usually shows no regard for who her mate might

be. As early as Gen. 38 we read of it as an established custom. In the

ancient world a harlot who worked for gain usually belonged to

one of two classes of people. She might be a slave whose earnings

as a harlot went to her masters. Baby girls were often deserted by

their parents to die; these babies were frequently picked up and

raised for the purpose of prostitution. On other occasions free

women entered the profession. Prostitution was considered a

profession, and licenses were often required from the state. Most of

these women doubled as banquet musicians. If a prostitute was

free, she often became very rich. They were available for hire at

greatly varying prices. Prov. 6:26 says a prostitute would make

herself available for a loaf of bread, while the price Judah offered

Tamar was a kid, (Gen. 38:17). A harlot’s earnings were not

acceptable as offerings to God, (Dt. 23:18). OT indicates this practice

was carried on by men and well as women (esp. in cultic worship).

Matt. 21:31f shows that Jesus appealed to this class of people

with His message. In this passage the harlot is pictured as a part of

the lowest class of society, despised along with the tax collector.

In 1 Cor. 6:15-20, Paul shows that when the Christian goes to a

harlot he actually becomes one flesh with such a person. He says

that one in whom the Holy Spirit dwells should not be joined to a


prostitute. Such immorality is a sin against one’s own body, which

is the temple of God.”

– ISBE, VOL. 2, pg. 616, 617 –


In spite of statements above, that Israel condemned harlotry,

there is no OT Scripture that says so. Because harlots were used in

cultic worship, that form of it was definitely prohibited. And

harlotry by a married woman was forbidden because such is


The only thing in all Scripture that appears to condemn simple prostitution, is 1 Cor. 6:15-20.

Because the context specifies

the “fornicator, idolater, adulterer, effeminate, and homosexual”,

vs. 9, as the “immorality” from which we must flee (vs. 18), we

need to think of the relationship which Scripture makes between

harlotry and these specific sins.

********************************************    reply


Compare what he said on page 199


1Cor 6 and 7 was NOT about “simple prostitutesbut was about pagan fertility god worshiper prostitutes seducing Christians to join in the pagan fertility god  pagan sex orgy in pagan worship which is define as “fornication”.( fornication = sexual immorality = poenia) Compare 1 Cor 10:8 to Nu 25:1-9,  Bible itself define the word correctly, not the Dictionary.


The major problem and major context in Corinth was that they had over 2000 Baal’s pagan fertility god prostitutes cultic Temple worshipers seducing men and women all over Corinth to get them to join in with the pagan fertility god sex orgy pagan  worship. Compare 1 Cor 10:8 to Nu 25:1-9


Remember we are missing the letter that was written to Paul from the Corinth Church describing the details of these 2000 pagan fertility god worshipers prostitutes seducing all the Christian men and then the pagan fertility god worshiping prostitutes that got pregnant gave that baby as a human baby sacrificed to the pagan fertility god. So here is the 2 become one flesh in a baby. So they get from the pagan fertility god to have good farm crops and made lot more money.


1 Corinthians 6:15-20



15 Don't you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ?


Should a man take his body, which belongs to Christ, and join it to a (pagan fertility pagan god worshiping ) prostitute? Never!


16 And don't you know that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? For the Scriptures say, "The two are united into one." (2 become one baby sacrifice to the pagan fertility pagan god.)


17 But the person who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.


18 Run away from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality (= fornication = poenia =join in the pagan fertility god sex orgy worship) is a sin against your own body.


19 Or don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself,


20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.



Compare  this to 1 Cor 10:8

1 Corinthians 10:8


8 And we must not engage in sexual immorality (= Fornication = poenia = fertility pagan god sex orgy worship) as some of them did, causing 23,000 of them to die in one day.


1 Corinthians 10:3-13



3 And all of them ate the same miraculous food, 4 and all of them drank the same miraculous water. For they all drank from the miraculous rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ. 5 Yet after all this, God was not pleased with most of them, and he destroyed them in the wilderness.


6 These events happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did


7 or worship idols as some of them did. For the Scriptures say, "The people celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged themselves in pagan revelry."


8 And we must not engage in (fornication = ) sexual immorality as some of them did, causing 23,000 of them to die in one day.


9 Nor should we put Christ to the test, as some of them did and then died from snakebites. 10 And don't grumble as some of them did, for that is why God sent his angel of death to destroy them. 11 All these events happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us, who live at the time when this age is drawing to a close. 12 If you think you are standing strong, be careful, for you, too, may fall into the same sin. 13 But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can't stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.



Numbers 25:1-9



1 While the Israelites were camped at Acacia, some of the men defiled themselves by sleeping with the local Moabite women.


2 These women invited them to attend sacrifices to their gods, and soon the Israelites were feasting with them and worshiping the gods of Moab.


3 Before long Israel was joining in the worship of Baal of Peor, causing the LORD's anger to blaze against his people.


 4 The LORD issued the following command to Moses: "Seize all the ringleaders and execute them before the LORD in broad daylight, so his fierce anger will turn away from the people of Israel."


5 So Moses ordered Israel's judges to execute everyone who had joined in worshiping Baal of Peor.


6 Just then one of the Israelite men brought a Midianite woman into the camp, right before the eyes of Moses and all the people, as they were weeping at the entrance of the Tabernacle.


7 When Phinehas son of Eleazar and grandson of Aaron the priest saw this, he jumped up and left the assembly. Then he took a spear


8 and rushed after the man into his tent. Phinehas thrust the spear all the way through the man's body and into the woman's stomach. So the plague against the Israelites was stopped,


9 but not before 24,000 people had died.



The examples we read in Scripture

show harlotry is condemned when it involves adultery or is

connected with idolatry. Otherwise there is no condemnation. It

appears to be accepted as a woman’s (or man’s) right to choose

such a profession, even though it is not highly desirable for reasons

of its easy connections with pagan sexual worship and other forms

of sexual sin.

What is totally absent from Scripture, is condemnation of a

woman who, whether as an obedient slave or as a free woman,

chooses prostitution as her occupation, and becomes a professional

“courtesan.” OT condemns prostitution only under circumstances

in which the woman was attached to a family unit, under the

authority of her father, or where prostitution was used in pagan

worship. The man who visits a prostitute is never condemned. This

fact alone must be allowed to have its full weight as to the question

of the “inherent immorality” of prostitution. If the act itself is

immoral, it is just as immoral for the man as for the woman. That

God makes a distinction here, is proof that there is something other

than the act itself that makes prostitution sinful.

Two underlying principles seem to control much of what is

defined as legitimate or illegitimate, when specific practices are not

specifically forbidden.

One of the underlying principles is the right of a person to their

own body and its functions; which carries with it the right to be

compensated appropriately for the use of their body.

One who hires out his/her muscles for a day’s wage must be

paid those wages.


One who hires out his/her mental ability for a day’s wage must

be paid those wages.

One who hires out his/her sexual organs must be paid for such


A woman may set her wages for sexual favors,

and if she is unmarried, and away from her

father’s authority, there is nothing in Scripture

that condemns her.

Those who “rob” people of their “wages” are condemned in all cases.

Therefore “rape” is punishable, because it steals what belongs

exclusively to another.

God’s law forbids a parent from prostituting their child.

Condemnation fell upon the parent, rather than the prostitute

herself, or even the person who might buy her sexual favors.

This law protects the personal right of the woman to control her

personal sexuality. Even parents cannot violate their children’s

rights to control of their sexuality.

This same girl, however, may exercise her personal volition

to freely choose the occupation of a prostitute. Because of its

connection with idol worship, prostitution was discouraged.

But it was not, in itself, condemned or punished. God’s law

says nothing about the free choice of a woman or a man who

seeks such a profession. Prostitution in the Bible, is

considered a sin/purity issue only insofar as it is an aspect of

pagan worship, or adultery.

Another underlying principle is that in all things, including sex,

excess is forbidden. As gluttony is excessive eating, and sin, so

excessive sex is condemned as “concupicence,” “licentious,” etc.

One aspect of polygamy and concubinage is the necessity of

being responsible for the well being of those with whom one has

sex. It appears that one can have as many wives, concubines, slaves,

as one has ability to provide for. This does not allow for

indiscriminate sexual conduct with everything that moves. Such

practice becomes excessive, lascivious, and rejects personal

responsibility toward those with whom sex is had. Still in this area,

just as in eating, drinking, etc. the responsibility is put upon the

individual to determine when the line is crossed into excess.

One benefit gained from this study is the realization that we

need to show greater compassion in dealing with prostitutes today.

When relating to them in any capacity, there is no validity in


shaming them for their lifestyle. We have no excuse for treating

them like moral trash. We can exercise greater wisdom, and much

more compassion in how we regard their practice of prostitution,

and how we treat them as persons.


Another thing that needs to be considered, is our social attitude

toward prostitution as something that should be made criminal.

This was never done by God, even in Israel, for whom he gave so

many laws that defined her holy and favored status in the world. If

God did not make prostitution a crime in His holy nation, we

should rethink our approach to this matter. A practice may be

offensive to many people for many reasons, but to make it a

criminal activity is not thereby justified.

A prostitute who honors God’s principles of judgment, mercy

and faith, may enter the kingdom of God before one who is

meticulous about purity while neglecting these other issues. (Matt.

21:31,32; 23:23). Did prostitutes quit this work when they came to

Jesus? To automatically assume that they did, begs the question of

whether they had the right under God’s law, of personal choice and

control over personal sexuality. It also rests on the assumption that

the sex act itself is unclean, and that prostitution is considered to be

a sin regardless of its form. We believe we have demonstrated

abundantly from Scripture, that these assumptions are wrong.

Prostitution is not inherently unclean, not sinful, not illegal in God’s

sight. The sex act involved in prostitution is no different from the

sex act enjoyed by a married couple. The act itself is innocent. The

act itself is clean. So the sex act, when performed by a prostitute

does not in itself become unclean on the basis of its being

commercialized. It becomes unclean only by association with

something else which God specifically forbids. If one avoids adultery,

cultic sex, and prostituting one’s children, prostitution

appears to be no more a moral issue than is coitus between

married people.




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