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Deuteronomy 23:17-18

Context
Purity in Cultic Personnel

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.”

5 tn Here the Hebrew term זוֹנָה (zonah) refers to a noncultic (i.e., “secular”) female prostitute; see note on the phrase “sacred prostitute” in v. 17.

6 tn Heb “of a dog.” This is the common Hebrew term for a noncultic (i.e., “secular”) male prostitute. See note on the phrase “sacred male prostitute” in v. 17.



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