A prostitute, one who accepted money for the performance of sex. Several important characters in Israelite history were connected to harlots. The Jericho harlot Rahab sheltered Joshua’s spies (Josh 2
), Jephthah was the son of a harlot (Judg 11:1
), and Tamar pretended to be a harlot to induce Judah to have sex with her (Gen 38:14-18
). None of these women were stigmatized, but prostitutes in general were considered an underclass. Priests could not marry harlots (Lev 21:7
), Israelites should not make their daughters harlots (Lev 19:29
), and a priest’s daughter who became a harlot should be burned (Lev 21:9
). Like the death of children in battle, the turning of wives into harlots was considered a tragedy of destruction (Amos 7:17
). The OT uses a different term to refer to temple prostitutes, who are therefore distinct from the mercenary harlot (Judg 8:33
; Ezek 16
). But the phrases “act like a harlot” and “treat as a harlot” are not always literal and, when employed metaphorically, tend to designate wanton rather than mercenary behavior (Hos 1:2
). In the NT, Rome is described as a great harlot (Rev 17:1
; Rev 17:15
Spies Sent to Jericho
1Then Joshua son of Nun sent two men secretly from Shittim as spies, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” So they went, and en ... View more
1Now Jephthah the Gileadite, the son of a prostitute, was a mighty warrior. Gilead was the father of Jephthah.
14she put off her widow's garments, put on a veil, wrapped herself up, and sat down at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah. She saw that Shela ... View more
7They shall not marry a prostitute or a woman who has been defiled; neither shall they marry a woman divorced from her husband. For they are holy to their God,
29Do not profane your daughter by making her a prostitute, that the land not become prostituted and full of depravity.
9When the daughter of a priest profanes herself through prostitution, she profanes her father; she shall be burned to death.
17Therefore thus says the Lord:
‘Your wife shall become a prostitute in the city,
and your sons and your daughters shall fall by the sword,
and your land shall ... View more
33As soon as Gideon died, the Israelites relapsed and prostituted themselves with the Baals, making Baal-berith their god.
God's Faithless Bride
1The word of the Lord came to me:2Mortal, make known to Jerusalem her abominations,3and say, Thus says the Lord GOD to Jerusalem: Your ori ... View more
The Family of Hosea
2When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take for yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, f ... View more
The Great Whore and the Beast
1Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great whore ... View more
15And he said to me, “The waters that you saw, where the whore is seated, are peoples and multitudes and nations and languages.