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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Deuteronomy 23:17

 

 

"None of the daughters of Israel shall be a cult prostitute, nor shall any of the sons of Israel be a cult prostitute.

Adam Clarke Commentary

There shall be no whore - See on Genesis 38:15-21; (note).


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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 23:17". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/deuteronomy-23.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Compare the marginal reference. Prostitution was a common part of religious observances among idolatrous nations, especially in the worship of Ashtoreth or Astarte. Compare Micah 1:7; Baruch 6:43.


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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 23:17". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/deuteronomy-23.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel,.... The word for "whore" is "kedeshah", which properly signifies an "holy" one; and here, by an antiphrasis, an unholy, an impure person, one that is defiled by man; See Gill on Genesis 38:18. Jarchi interprets the word, one that makes herself common, that is sanctified, or set apart; that is, one that separates herself for such service, and prostitutes herself to everyone that passes by: but some understand this not of common harlots in the streets, but of sacred whores, or such as were consecrated to Heathen deities, as such there were to Venus. StraboF24Geograph. l. 8. p. 261. tells us that the temple of Venus at Corinth was so rich, that more than a thousand of those sacred harlots were kept, whom men and women had devoted to that goddess; and so a multitude of the same sort were at Comana, which he calls little CorinthF25lb. l. 12. p. 385. ; now these of all harlots being the most abominable are forbidden to be among the daughters of Israel:

nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel: by the same rule that "kedeshah" is rendered "a whore" in the preceding clause, "kadesh" should be rendered "an whoremonger" here, as in the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions; though Aben Ezra interprets it passively, one that is lain with, and Jarchi one that is prepared to lie with a male, that prostitutes his body in this unnatural way; and it looks as if there were such sort of persons sacred to idols, since we read of the houses of the sodomites, which were by, or rather in the house of the Lord, 2 Kings 23:7.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 23:17". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/deuteronomy-23.html. 1999.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

Is not the same said with respect to spiritual Israel now? Revelation 22:15; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.


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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 23:17". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/deuteronomy-23.html. 1828.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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

No whore — No common prostitute, such as were tolerated and encouraged by the Gentiles, and used even in their religious worship. Not that such practices were allowed to the strangers among them, as is evident from many scriptures and reasons, but that it was in a peculiar manner, and upon special reasons, forbidden to them, as being much more odious in them than in strangers.


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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 23:17". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/deuteronomy-23.html. 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

This passage is akin to the foregoing; for in the first clause He forbids that girls should be prostituted. Some think that a whore is called in Hebrew קדשה, kedeshah, because she is exposed to, and prepared for sin; (66) but her pollution, the opposite of sanctity, seems rather to be expressed by antiphrasis. At any rate, a precept of chastity is given, that it should not be lawful for unmarried girls to have connection with men. In the second clause there is some ambiguity, “There shall be no קדש, kadesh, of the sons of Israel;” for in other passages it is clearly used for a catamite, or male harlot, but there is no reason why it should not be rendered a fornicator. In this sense the word seems to be used in the Book of Job: “The hypocrites shall die in youth, (or in the flower of their age,) and their life is among the קדשים, kedeshim, ” which is equivalent to their being infamous and shameful in life. ( Job 36:14.) But if it be preferred to apply it to sodomy, all impurity is condemned by synecdoche


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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 23:17". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/deuteronomy-23.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Deuteronomy 23:17 There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.

Ver. 17. There shall be no whore.] And what a stinking shame is that, that stews and brothel houses are licensed by the Pope, who reaps no small profit by them? The Papists themselves write with detestation, that at Rome a Jewish maid might not be admitted into the stews of whoredom, unless she would be first baptized; Ut Iudae filiae scortari non liceat, Dei filiae liceat: Imo Israelis filia meretricari non aliter arte possit quam facta per baptismum sanctum Christi sorer et filia. (a)

Nor a Sodomite of the sons of Israel.] {See Trapp on "Genesis 19:5"} Pythagoras’s precept, πων κυαμων απεχεσθαι, was intended against this kind of horrid and unnatural uncleanness, κυαμοι, signifying somewhat else besides beans. But what a beast was Pope Sixtus Quintus, qui lupanar utriusque Veneris Romoe condidit, as Agrippa reporteth?


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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 23:17". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/deuteronomy-23.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

No common prostitute, such, as were tolerated and encouraged by the Gentiles, and used even in their religious worship.

Of the daughters of Israel; not that such practices were allowed to the strangers among them, as is evident from many scriptures and reasons, but that it was in a peculiar manner, and upon special reasons, forbidden to them, as being much more odious in them than in strangers; though the words may be rendered among the daughters, and so in the following clause, among the sons, for the Hebrew mem is sometimes used in that sense, as Numbers 22:22 Psalms 31:12, and so it notes that none of that sort should be permitted among them, whether Jews or strangers.

A sodomite; who defileth or suffereth himself to be defiled with mankind. See Genesis 19:5 Leviticus 18:12 1 Kings 14:24 22:46 Romans 1:27.


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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Deuteronomy 23:17". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/deuteronomy-23.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

17. Whore… sodomite — The prostitution of woman was a part of the religious services of the heathen, as in the worship of Astarte. Among them men also frequently gave themselves up to unnatural lust.


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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 23:17". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/deuteronomy-23.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

Both Male And Female Prostitution Forbidden In Israel (Deuteronomy 23:17).

In contrast with the welcome given to the escaped slave are the unwelcome Israelite male and female prostitutes.

Deuteronomy 23:17

There shall be no cult prostitute (holy one) of the daughters of Israel, neither shall there be a cult sodomite (holy one) of the sons of Israel.’

Prostitution was to be totally forbidden in Israel among their own people. Neither male nor female native cult prostitutes were to be allowed, nor indeed any prostitutes. There must be no aping the ways of foreign nations. The Canaanites had a multiplicity of cult prostitutes, (they are mentioned in Ugaritic texts of temple personnel) as did other nations. The danger of copycat prostitution may well be in mind


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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 23:17". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/deuteronomy-23.html. 2013.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Deuteronomy 23:17. There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel — No common prostitute, such as were tolerated and encouraged by the Gentiles, and used even in their religious worship. Not that such practices were allowed to the strangers among them, as is evident from many passages of Scripture and reason; but that it was in a peculiar manner, and upon special reasons, forbidden to them, as being much more odious in them than in strangers. It is remarkable that the original words, which we render whore and sodomite, import a man or woman consecrated to some deity, who served their gods by prostitution.


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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 23:17". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/deuteronomy-23.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Israel. Some hence very erroneously infer, that before this prohibition the thing was not criminal. (Selden, Jur. v. 4.) Notwithstanding the law, such lewd practices continued to be very common. The original expresses that both the women and men were consecrated, "kadash," in all probability to some idol, whom they intended to honour by abominable prostitutions, a thing very common in all the East, as we learn both from profane and sacred authors. (Aten. xiii. 5.) (4 Kings xxiii. 7.) The men were called the effeminate, 3 Kings xiv. 24. (Calmet) --- Some copies of the Septuagint have a double translation of this verse, and add, "None of the daughters of Israel shall bear the mysteries, nor shall any of the sons of Israel be initiated (in these mysteries of idols) to make every vow." Telesphoros denotes a strumpet for hire, ver. 18; or, according to Vossius, one who is initiated or performs the pagan mysteries, as fornication and idolatry, commonly go together in the sacred writers. Hesychius seems to understand, that it refers to "the house where a person has been delivered of a child." But Tertullian (pudic. ix.) explains it thus, "No one....shall pay tribute;" as telos means tribute, (Haydock) and the Jews are supposed to have refused to pay any to the Romans on the authority of this verse. See Casaub. in Baruch ii. 19. (Grotius) (Calmet) --- But it seems far more probable, that it is a farther elucidation of the text, and prohibits that scandalous impiety by which may were not ashamed publicly, like dogs, to commit the most obscene actions, and to present the hire of their bodies to the idols, Micheas i. 7. (Clement of Alexandria, Exhort.; Villalpand in Ezechiel xliii.) We could hardly give credit to those who have attested such things, did not God here find it necessary to caution his people not to fall into such blindness and delusion. That the poor ignorant idolater should think by these means to appease those gods who, while here on earth, had been infamous for the like excesses, needs not so much to excite our surprise. But that the Gnostics, Manichees, and other heretics, almost of all ages since the light of the gospel shone forth, should have thought that they could honour the true God by abusing the flesh, is truly astonishing. Yet they gave into this delusion, by first persuading themselves that the flesh was the creature of an evil principle, fighting against the author of the spirit and of all good, with whom they intended to take part. The way of a fool is right in his own eyes. Yea, there is a way that seemeth to a man right, and the ends thereof lead to death, Proverbs xii. 15., and xvi. 25. These wretches grounded their opinion on the authority of their gods, or of the Scripture. Will this excuse be admitted by the Sovereign Judge? But these delusions are perhaps now at an end. --- A principle, however, is still maintained of a far more pernicious tendency, inasmuch as it strikes at the root of every law, divine and human. This horrible doctrine was inculcated by J. Wesley for above thirty years, as we have already observed, chap. xvi. 22. "O natural man," says he, (Serm. on Orig. Sin,) "thou canst do [no] good. Thy natural actions are sin; thy civil actions are sin; thy religious actions are sin. As many thoughts, words, and actions, so many sins; for nothing but sin comes from thee. Thy duties are sins. Can an evil tree bring forth good fruit?" Thus Scripture teaches him that to work for one's family, to pay taxes, to pray, read the Scriptures, or even to believe, will be a sin! "Knowest thou not that thou canst do nothing but sin, till thou art reconciled to God." (Sermon on the Righteousness of Faith.) Hence arose the Still-Methodists, Jour. iv. p. 92.. Even after this celebrated reformer had begun, when almost 70 years of age, to discover "the subtle poison which," he says, (Jour. viii. p. 90,) "has infected, more or less, almost all, from the highest to the lowest among us," it is astonishing that he still acknowledges those who were infected with it, as "the real children of God by faith." Many of these, he says, (serm. on the law) lay it down as an unquestionable truth, that when we are come to Christ, we have done with the law; and that in this sense, Christ is the end of the law to every one that believeth. We need, therefore, no longer wonder that the pagans should think they honoured their idols by prostitution, (which on other occasions they condemned as "a great disgrace," oneidos mega, as Musonias calls it,) since in this enlightened age, a man of no mean abilities, and far advanced in years, a man who requires that all the preachers in his connexion shall conform to his Sermons and Notes on the New Testament, or be superceded, (Jour. xx. p. 34,) could decide that those who maintain this principle, and make it a branch of their religion to bread the law of God on purpose, are the "real children of God by faith;" people, "whom God has taken out of the world." As well might he say that a man may live on subtle poison, and please God, by following a doctrine than which "nothing can be more false," as he styles this very principle of Antinomianism, to which he and his preachers had "leaned" for such a length of time. "If, says a great admirer of his, Mr. Fletcher, (1 Check, 4th letter,) the three first propositions of the minutes are scriptural, Mr. Wesley may well begin the remaining part, by desiring the preachers in his connexion to emerge along with him from under the noisy billows of prejudice, and to struggle quite out of the muddy streams of Antinomian delusions which have so long gone over our heads, and carried so many souls down the channels of vice into the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone." This is then to be the abode of those whom "God has taken out of the world, and who are real children of God by faith!" This is the heaven, of which they may boast in dying that they are infallibly sure of! At least, the man whom they have so eagerly followed as their judge, has passed this woeful sentence upon them, as if he had a mind to laugh at their credulity. If he join us also in the same condemnation, and say, "I have the same assurance that Jesus is the Christ, and that no Romanist can expect to be saved, according to the terms of his covenant;" (Jour. iii. p. 94) we are not solicitous about his good opinion; we have not chosen him for our judge, nor have his writings given us reason to think that he knew the nature of our covenant. If he did, so much the more dreadful must have been his reckoning with that unerring Judge, before whom he has appeared 20 years ago. It is the glory and happiness of the Catholic Church, that no one attempts to assail her, but he presently betrays the spirit by which he is inspired, the spirit of calumny, and of the perverse application of Scripture. It was thus that our divine head was treated by the father of lies, who alleged Scripture to encourage suicide, or presumption, Matthew iv. 6. So in the various points of faith which Mr. Wesley attacks, he shamefully misrepresents our doctrine, that he may have something to oppose. We have seen how unjustly he accuses us of idolatry, chap. xvi. 22. But in order, perhaps, to comfort us with the reflection, that we have many partners in guilt, he represents the Protestants as equally criminal. "They set up their idols in their churches; you set up yours in your heart....Oh how little is the difference before God! How small pre-eminence has the money worshipper at London over the image worshipper at Rome; or the idolizer of a living sinner over him that prays to a dead saint." (Word to a Protestant.) How much soever the Protestants may be entangled in this species of idolatry, they do not at least pretend to authorize it by the principles of religion, as some of the Methodists have done. Witness the man with whom J. Wesley conversed at Birmingham. "Do you believe that you have nothing to do with the law of God? He answered, I have not, I am not under the law....Have you also a right to all the women in the world? Yes, if they consent. And is this not a sin? Yes, to him who thinks it is a sin; but not to those whose hearts are free. The same thing that wretch, Roger Ball, affirmed in Dublin. Surely these are the first-born children of Satan." (Journal vi. p. 133.) Witness Mr. Fletcher, a celebrated clergyman in the Methodist connexion, who has informed us that Antinomian principles and practices had spread like wild fire among the Methodists. "Nor need I go far, says he, for a proof of this sad assertion. In one of his (Wesley's) societies, not many miles from my parish, a married man, who professed being in a state of justification and sanctification, growing wise above what is written, despised his brethren as legalists, and his preachers as persons not clear in the gospel. He instilled his principles into a serious young woman; and what was the consequence? Why they talked about finished salvation in Christ, and the absurdity of perfection in the flesh, till a perfect child was conceived and born; and, to save appearances, the mother swore it to be a travelling man that cannot be heard of. Thus, to avoid legality, they plunged into hypocrisy, fornication, adultery, perjury, and the depth of ranterism, &c." (Check i. Let. 2.) But enough of such absurdity. We may now easily believe to what lengths the dissolute examples and maxims of the heathenish mythology would lead their unhappy votaries, when we behold the purest lessons of the gospel so strangely perverted. (Haydock) --- Whoremonger. It is very probable that the Scripture here means such as were guilty of unnatural impurities, "consecrated," as it were, to some idol of lust, as these crimes were common under several faithless kings of Israel and of Juda, 3 Kings xv. 12., and xxii. 47. Simple prostitutes are styled zona. (Calmet) --- God will not allow these to be publicly tolerated, though they contrived but too often in private to ensnare the hearts of God's people, 3 Kings iii. 16. (Tirinus) --- Onkelos translates, "No Israelite shall give his daughter in marriage to a slave, nor take one for his son's wife," as the contract would be null, according to the Rabbins, for want of liberty. (Calmet) --- He may, perhaps, have given this singular turn to this verse, because the preceding one speaks of fugitive slaves.


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 23:17". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/deuteronomy-23.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

whore = sodomitess. Hebrew means one consecrated as such in connection with heathen worship. Hence her name kedeshah, a separated one. Compare 1 Kings 14:24; 1 Kings 15:12; 1 Kings 22:46. Job 36:14 ("unclean" = temple women). Hosea 4:14. The Laws of Khammurabi refer to these (181, 187, 192).

sodomite. First occurrence. See above note.


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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 23:17". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/deuteronomy-23.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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


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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 23:17". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/deuteronomy-23.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(17) Whore and sodomite seem both intended to be taken in the sense in which they belonged to the temples of Baal and Ashtaroth, of persons dedicated to impurity.


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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 23:17". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/deuteronomy-23.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.
There shall be, etc
The prohibition in the text, like many others, has no direct application to practices that were common among the Israelites at that time; but was intended to guard them against the enormities which were practised among the surrounding nations.
22:21,29; Leviticus 19:29; Proverbs 2:16
whore
or, sodomitess.
Romans 1:26
sodomite
Genesis 19:4,5; Judges 19:22; 1 Kings 14:24; 15:12; 22:46; 2 Kings 23:7; Romans 1:27,28; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:10

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 23:17". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/deuteronomy-23.html.

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