23:17 There must never be a sacred prostitute 1 among the young women 2 of Israel nor a sacred male prostitute 3 among the young men 4 of Israel. 23:18 You must never bring the pay of a female prostitute 5 or the wage of a male prostitute 6 into the temple of the Lord your God in fulfillment of any vow, for both of these are abhorrent to the Lord your God.
1 tn The Hebrew term translated “sacred prostitute” here (קְדֵשָׁה [qÿdeshah], from קַדֵשׁ [qadesh, “holy”]; cf. NIV “shrine prostitute”; NASB “cult prostitute”; NRSV, TEV, NLT “temple prostitute”) refers to the pagan fertility cults that employed female and male prostitutes in various rituals designed to evoke agricultural and even human fecundity (cf. Gen 38:21-22; 1 Kgs 14:24; 15:12; 22:47; 2 Kgs 23:7; Hos 4:14). The Hebrew term for a regular, noncultic (i.e., “secular”) female prostitute is זוֹנָה (zonah).
2 tn Heb “daughters.”
3 tn The male cultic prostitute was called קָדֵשׁ (qadesh; see note on the phrase “sacred prostitute” earlier in this verse). The colloquial Hebrew term for a “secular” male prostitute (i.e., a sodomite) is the disparaging epithet כֶּלֶב (kelev, “dog”) which occurs in the following verse (cf. KJV, ASV, NAB, NASB).
4 tn Heb “sons.”