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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Deuteronomy 23:18

 

 

"You shall not bring the hire of a harlot or the wages of a dog into the house of the LORD your God for any votive offering, for both of these are an abomination to the LORD your God.

Adam Clarke Commentary

The hire of a whore, or the price of a dog - Many public prostitutes dedicated to their gods a part of their impure earnings; and some of these prostitutes were publicly kept in the temple of Venus Melytta, whose gains were applied to the support of her abominable worship.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 23:18". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/deuteronomy-23.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Another Gentile practice, connected with the one alluded to in the preceding verse, is here forbidden. The word “dog” is figurative (compare Revelation 22:15), and equivalent to the “sodomite” of the verse preceding.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 23:18". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/deuteronomy-23.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Thou shall not bring the hire of a whore,.... Which was given to her as a reward for the use of her body:

or the price of a dog; not of the firstborn of a dog, the price for the redemption of it, as some; nor for the loan of a hunting dog, or a shepherd's dog for breed, as JosephusF26Antiqu. l. 4. c. 8. sect. 9. interprets this law. Abarbinel understands it figuratively of a sodomite, comparable to a dog, for his uncleanness and impudence; see Revelation 22:15; and the price of such an one the gain he got by the prostitution of his body to unnatural lusts; and so as the hire of a whore answers to one in Deuteronomy 23:17, the price of a dog to a sodomite here; and in this he is followed by some, nor is it a sense to be despised; though the JewsF1In R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 28. 2. understand it literally of a dog, and of the exchange of another creature with that; so Onkelos renders it,"the exchange of a dog:'now neither of these might a man bring

into the house of the Lord thy God for any vow; that is, when a man vowed to offer any sacrifice to the Lord, it was not to be anything that was given to a whore as her hire; as, for instance, as Jarchi, if he gave her for her hire a lamb, it was not fit to be offered; which agrees with the JewishF2Misn. Temurah, c. 6. sect. 2, 4. canons,"what is the hire of a whore? if one says to a whore, take this lamb for thy hire, though an hundred, they are all forbidden; and so if one says to his neighbour, lo, this lamb is thine, that thine handmaid may lie with my a servant, Rabbi says it is not the hire of a whore, but the wise men say it is.--If he gives her money, lo, this is free; wines, oils, and fine flour, and the like, that are offered on the altar, are forbidden; (but the commentators sayF3Maimon. & Bartenora in ib. , wheat, olives, and grapes, out of which fine flour, oil, and wine are made, are free;) if he gives her consecrated things, lo, these are free, birds, they are forbidden.'Now this law seems to be made in opposition to the customs and practices of the Phoenicians and Canaanites, whose land the Israelites were going to inhabit; whose women, as we are toldF4Athanasius contra Gentes, p. 21. , used to prostitute themselves in the temples of their idols, and dedicate there the hire of their bodies to their gods, thinking thereby to appease their deities and obtain good things for themselves; and the like did the. Babylonians and Assyrians; See Gill on Micah 1:7; so it is askedF5,"what is the price of a dog? if a man says to his neighbour, take this lamb for that dog; so if two partners divide, one takes ten (lambs), and the other nine and a dog; what is in lieu of the dog is forbidden, but those that are taken with him are free:'a whore and a dog are fitly put together, because both are libidinous, impure, and impudent; perhaps the vileness and baseness of the creature is chiefly regarded in this law, to keep up the credit and veneration of sacrifices as sacred things; and it may be in reference to the worship of this creature, as by the Egyptians, who are said to worship a dog, their god AnubisF6"Oppida tota canem venerantur", Juvenal. Satyr. 15. l. 8. "latrator Anubis", Virgil Aeneid. l. 8. prope finem. , the image of which had a dog's head on it; or to its being offered in sacrifice to idols, as it was by others; the Colophonians sacrificed the whelps of dogs to their goddess Enodius, as others did to Enyalius or MarsF7Pausanias in Laconic. sive, l. 3. p. 188. :

for even both these are an abomination to the Lord thy God; both the hire of the whore and the price of the dog, when brought as a sacrifice to him; the one being a breach of the moral law, and the other tending to bring into contempt the sacrifices of the ceremonial law, if not a favouring idolatry, than which nothing is more abominable to God, who cannot endure anything evil, base, and impure.


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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 23:18". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/deuteronomy-23.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Thou shalt not bring the i hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these [are] abomination unto the LORD thy God.

(i) Forbidding that any income gained from evil things should be applied to the service of God, (Micah 2:7).

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 23:18". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/deuteronomy-23.html. 1599-1645.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD. Proverbs 15:8. And the LORD declares, that he hates robbery for burnt-offering. Isaiah 61:8.


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Bibliography
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 23:18". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/deuteronomy-23.html. 1828.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God.

The hire of a whore — This is opposed to the practice of the Gentiles, who allowed both such persons and the oblations they made out of their infamous gains; and some of them kept lewd women, who prostituted themselves in the temples, to the honour of their false Gods, and offered part of their profit to them.

Or the price of a dog — It seems to mean, of a whoremonger or sodomite. Such are called dogs, Revelation 22:15. And it is not improbable they are called so here. From these God would not accept of any offering.


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Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 23:18". "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

18.Thou shalt not bring the hire. This command has an affinity to the foregoing, for God, rejecting whatever is acquired by illicit and filthy traffic, teaches us that the utmost chastity is to be observed in sacred things; nor does He only refuse the hire of a whore, but also the price of a dog, lest the sanctity of the altar should be polluted by any impure oblation. Still the dog seems to be rejected in comparison with other animals out of contempt; for it was just as wrong to kill a pig as a dog, yet might the price of a pig be offered. The dog, therefore, is rejected not only as an unclean animal, but also as vile and contemptible. In sum, God would impress upon them the reverence due to His temple and altar.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 23:18". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/deuteronomy-23.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Deuteronomy 23:18 Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these [are] abomination unto the LORD thy God.

Ver. 18. Nor the price of a dog.] Plutarch tells us that it was not permitted to a dog to enter into the chief tower or temple at Athens, for his heat in venery and ill savour. (a) The Hebrews understand this text literally, according to Isaiah 66:3. Others metaphorically, as Revelation 22:15, either of impudent cynics, such as Antisthenes, that shame not to commit uncleanness in the sight of others; these are worse than Absalom. [2 Samuel 16:22] Or else of Sodomites, buggerers, Meritorii, as they call them, men that have put off all manhood, and are become dogs, worse than dogs. "Am I a dog’s head?" said Abner to Ishbosheth [2 Samuel 3:8] - that is, shamelessly lecherous.


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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 23:18". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/deuteronomy-23.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

This is opposed to the practice of the Gentiles, who allowed both such persons and their oblations they made out of their wicked and infamous gains; and some of them kept lewd women, who prostituted themselves in the temples, and to the honour of their false gods, and offered part of their profit to them. See Micah 1:7; /APC Baruch 6:43; Herodotus in the end of his first book, and Strabo in his eighth book. The price of a dog; either,

1. Properly; the dog being a vile and contemptible creature in those eastern parts, 1 Samuel 17:43 24:14 2 Samuel 3:8 Ecclesiastes 9:4, and unclean by God’s designation, which yet should have been redeemed by virtue of that law. Numbers 18:15, had it not been for this prohibition. And this may be here prohibited, either,

1. That by this one instance, put for all others of the like kind, they might be taught not to offer to God what cost them nothing, or was worth nothing. Or,

2. To bring contempt upon the creature, which divers of the Gentiles offered up to their gods, and the Egyptians worshipped as gods. Or,

3. That by comparing whores and dogs together, and equalling the prices of them, he might expose whores to the highest disgrace and infamy. Or,

II. Metaphorically, as that word is oft used in Scripture, as 1 Samuel 24:14 Psalms 22:16,20 Isa 56:10,11 Mt 7:6 Philippians 3:2; and particularly it is used for unclean or filthy persons, 2 Peter 2:22 Revelation 22:15; as Horace also calls whores bitches; which name doth most properly agree to them in respect of that impudence, and filthiness, and insatiableness, for which both of them are branded. And this sense may seem most proper in this place, because it agrees with all the other expressions; and as the hire of a whore answers to the whore, Deuteronomy 23:17, so the price of a dog may seem to answer to the sodomite, Deuteronomy 23:17, and so all concerned the same thing, whereas the price of a dog, properly so called, may seem to be quite incongruous, and foreign to the place. It is true which is objected, that lawgivers use to deliver their laws in proper, and not in metaphorical terms, to prevent mistake and ambiguity; but there seems to be no great danger of mistake here, where the metaphor is so clearly explained and determined by so many words joined with it. For any vow; and much less in other sacrifices, which being of a higher nature, and prescribed by God, must needs require more exactness than those which depended much upon a man’s will and choice, as vows and free-will offerings did. Both these, i.e. the whore and the dog, and therefore the price of either of them cannot be acceptable. And this may seem to favour the latter opinion, that the dog is here taken metaphorically rather than properly, because there is no mention in the law (save in this place which is in question) of any abominableness of a dog unto God, more than of an ass, or any other unclean creature; but how abominable sodomites are to God is sufficiently evident from other scriptures, and from undeniable reasons.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Deuteronomy 23:18". 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

18. Thou shalt not bring the hire — The wages of prostitution were not, as among the heathen, to be devoted to religious purposes. The word rendered dog in our version is equivalent to the sodomite of the preceding verse.


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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 23:18". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/deuteronomy-23.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

Their Unclean Money Not To Be Accepted in the House of God (Deuteronomy 23:18).

The comparison here was of not allowing anything unclean in the place where Yahweh dwelt (Deuteronomy 23:10-13).

Deuteronomy 23:18

You shall not bring the hire of a prostitute, or the wages of a dog, into the house of Yahweh your God for any vow, for even both these are an abomination to Yahweh your God.’

Any attempt to bring money into the Sanctuary which was earned by prostitution (a word which more indicates general prostitution), in respect of a vow, was to be absolutely rejected. The ‘dog’ may well signify a male prostitute (such a use is known in external literature). Both male and female prostitutes were an abomination to Yahweh. This would presumably in context refer to foreign prostitutes as Israelite prostitutes have just been forbidden, although it may simply be underlining the actual ban. To introduce their hire would be to condone their profession, while they were actually an abomination to Yahweh.

However, the reference to a dog may have a real dog in mind, possibly a sheep dog or one used for security purposes rather than the semi-wild dogs that hung around outside the camp acting as scavengers. It would then indicate that to introduce a dog’s earnings was all one with introducing a dog (which was a ritually unclean animal) itself. This too was an abomination.


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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 23:18". "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 23:18. The hire of a whore — It was a custom among the idolatrous nations for prostitutes to dedicate to the honour of their false gods some part of what they had earned by prostitution. In opposition to which abominable practice this law is thought to have been instituted. Or the price of a dog — It is not easy to give any satisfactory account why these two, the price of a whore, and of a dog, are associated in the same law. Thus much seems clear, (from Numbers 18:15,) that the price of a dog is not here rejected because the dog is an unclean creature. Some have thought it is because the dog was worshipped by the Egyptians; that God, to draw his people from or guard them against idolatry, casts this contempt upon that creature in refusing the price it should be sold for. But the most natural sense of the passage seems to be, to take the word dog here in a figurative sense, for the sodomite, or whoremonger, before mentioned, such persons being not improperly styled dogs, on account of their shameless incontinency and brutal manners. Accordingly, men of canine, beastly natures, are called dogs, Matthew 15:26; 2 Peter 2:22;

Revelation 22:15.


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Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 23:18". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/deuteronomy-23.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Dog. Many explain this in a figurative sense, as we have done in the last verse, to denote the public impudence by which some thought to honour their gods. (Haydock) --- Such impiety the Lord abhors, though practiced by all the surrounding nations, as ancient records unanimously attest. How incredible soever it might otherwise appear, that a false notion of religion, joined to a natural depravity, could prompt people to such excesses, we cannot call in question the veracity of so many historians. See Herodotus i, and ii.; Just.[Justinian?], xviii. 6.; Eusebius, præp. iv. 6.; St. Augustine, City of God iv. 10; and the sacred writers, Baruch vi. 42., and Proverbs xix. 13. The Rabbins explain dog literally, and observe that a prostitute, or one who has had any commerce with a man with whom it was not lawful for her to marry, could not offer what she had thus gained to the Lord, nor what had been received in exchange for a dog. Josephus ([Antiquities?] iv. 8,) understands it of such hunting or shepherds' dogs as had been lent for hire to propagate the breed. Maimonides thinks that what the strumpet had received in kind, could not be presented, but with the price of it she might buy suitable victims. But Josephus and Philo admit of no such exceptions. They reject all sorts of presents made by strumpets, in detestation of their crimes; and it was probably from the same motive that the Jews concluded it was unlawful to put the price of blood into the treasury of the temple, Matthew xxvii. 6. In the Christian Church, the offerings of public sinners were not received, even to be distributed among the poor. These would not even take an alms from the hands of St. Afra, while she remained a courtesan of Augsbourg. Even the pagan emperor, Severus, refused to admit into the sacred treasury the tribute arising from such unworthy means. (Lamprid.) --- Some believe that Moses forbids the price of a dog to be presented, as the Egyptians had a sovereign respect for dogs; and many nations offered them in sacrifice, particularly for expiation. All the Greeks purified themselves, by making a dog be carried round them. (Bochart, p. 1, B. ii. 56.) Isaias (lxvi. 3,) seems to insinuate that dogs were sometimes immolated. St. Augustine, (q. 38,) and others, believe that dogs are not to be redeemed, as the first-born of other things are, probably because they were too mean, and the price to insignificant to purchase another victim. But we may adhere to the explication which was first proposed. (Calmet) --- Both. The dog was an unclean animal, and strumpets defiled their own bodies, and draw down the indignation of that God, who is a pure Spirit, and loves chaste souls. Without are dogs and sorcerers, and unchaste, and murderers, and servers of idols. (Apocalypse xxii. 15.) (Haydock)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 23:18". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/deuteronomy-23.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

whore = a prostitute. Hebrew. zonah, different from Deuteronomy 23:17.

dog. Hebrew. keleb; but here, probably = priest (of the above orgies), same as Arabic kaleb.


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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 23:18". "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

Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God.

A dog , [ keleb (Hebrew #3611) = qaadeesh (Hebrew #6945)] (Deuteronomy 23:17) - a term of infamy applied to a male prostitute. The prohibition in this verse was necessary, for such classes of priests and temple servants multiplied in Israel in the times when the Phoenician idolatry prevailed (Numbers 25:1-18; 1 Kings 14:24; 1 Kings 15:12; 1 Kings 22:46).


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 23:18". "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

(18) The hire of a whore.—Even a lamb or a kid might not be sacrificed for them, if obtained as the wages of sin (Genesis 38:17).

The price of a dog.—The ass might be redeemed with a lamb, and the lamb could be sacrificed. The dog could not be treated thus. Yet “the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs.” But there is a “dog that turns to his own vcmit again,” and of these it is written that “without are dogs and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie” (Revelation 22:15).


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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 23:18". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/deuteronomy-23.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God.
hire
Ezekiel 16:33
dog
Psalms 22:16; Proverbs 26:11; Isaiah 56:10,11; Matthew 7:6; Philippians 3:2; 2 Peter 2:22; Revelation 22:15
any vow
21; 12:6; Leviticus 7:16; Psalms 5:4-6; Isaiah 61:8; Habakkuk 1:13; Malachi 1:14

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 23:18". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/deuteronomy-23.html.

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