There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)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.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.Micah 1:7; Baruch 6:43.
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 Psalm 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. 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. Strabo (x) 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 Corinth (y); 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.There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verses 17, 18. - Amongst idolatrous nations prostitution was in certain cases regarded as an act of religious service (cf. Herod, 1:199), and both males and females prostituted themselves especially in the worship of Astarte. All such abominations were to be unknown in Israel (cf. Micah 1:7). Whore; kedeshah (קְדֵשָׁה), a female who prostituted herself in the worship of an idol. The price of a dog; not money obtained from the sale of a dog, but the gains of the kadesh, or male prostitute, here called a dog, as the type of all uncleanness (cf. Revelation 22:15). Numbers 5:2) but when they were encamped, this law was to apply to even lighter defilements.
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