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Common Prostitution Is Not A Biblical Conflict
By Dave in Phoenix

There is no biblical basis for the anti-sexual traditions taught by tradition bound Christian Churches.  We have a huge section "The Bible, Christianity & Sexual Issues" at which goes into great depth on all the issues.

The only prostitutes condemned in the Bible are those who were priests and priestesses to other gods.  Israel’s neighbors practiced a fertility religion in which prostitution was part of the worship. This led naturally to describing worship of other gods as prostitution (Ex. 34:15-16; Judg. 8:27, 33; Hos. 4:13). This concept is central for Hosea’s preaching based on his experience with his unfaithful wife Gomer. Ezekiel also used this concept (Ezek. 16; 23) and extended it to include political treaties with foreign enemies (Ezek. 16:26, 28; 23:5).

Leviticus  18 is specifically designed to distinguish the Jews from the pagans who worshipped the multiple gods of fertility cults. It also is included with other Mosaic laws such as required killing kids who curse their parents, the death penalty for picking up sticks or doing other work on the Sabbath, and under the law, slave-beating was a protected legal right!

Leviticus 19 starts out  specially about Idolatry being forbidden
Leviticus 19: 26-28 forbids eating meat, cutting your beard and have tattoos. Than verse 29 not making daughter a harlot - again referring to idolatry of worshiping the gods of Molech via sex.

We also know Jesus and King David were decendants of a prostitute Rahab

1. Judah, the son of Jacob, who inherited the firstborn kingship rights for the whole nation of Israel, fathered Perez and Zerah through whom Jesus came in an act of prostitution with Tamar, his daughter in law. 

2. Jesus and King David were both descendants of Rahab. So in Hebrew terms Jesus' direct mum was a virgin, the virgin Mary, but his greater mum Rahab or Tamar was a whore. Therefore the statement: Jesus' mother was a ho is technically true. Since to the Hebrew a grandmother is a mother and a grandfather is a father. So there were two prostitutes in Jesus' ancestral line, Tamar and Rahab. Both are spceifically mentioned in his genealogy in Matthew1. So the holy spirit is not ashamed of either of them. In fact the household of Rahab was the only group to be saved in Jericho is Joshua .

Prostitution served a purpose in Hebrew society just as it serves a purpose today in Western Society and all over the world. It is a partial antidote to sexual frustration.

Regarding prostitution:
"Common" Prostitution Is Not A Biblical Conflict
Just like with other sexually repressive teachings of traditional Christianity much of what you think you know about biblical issues is based on traditional teachings that have no biblical basis.  Just as tradition has twisted the original texts to try and argue that singles sexuality is wrong, or that swinging is adultery, they have also hijacked the real meaning of biblical prostitution and how it applies today.

Cultic Prostitution
Biblically cultic prostitution is clearly wrong. Cultic prostitution uses sex as idolatrous worship of the pagan goddess, such as the fertility Gods which the TEMPLE prostitutes had "johns" worshipping by having sex in the Corinthian temples which was what Paul so strongly preached against. 

Yes these prostitutes were worshiping the pagan goddesses in the Jewish Temples! Clearly we can understand why this was so upsetting! It as a clear violation of the First Commandment which requires no other gods before the one true God. In New Testament times, Venus and Aphrodite were the main gods of the Corinthian pagans. The temple of Venus was one of the most magnificent buildings in the city and the temple employed over 1000 prostitutes, which were paid for with public funds. Their purpose was to serve men in worship of the fertility gods so their feeds and cattle would be fertile. In Old Testament times, the Canaanites worshipped Baal was the Canaanite god of fertility and Astarte, love goddess of the Phoenicians. It was wrong for the children of Israel to go "a-whoring after other gods" which were these cultic prostitutes.

From "Halley's Bible Handbook" 1 Cor. 6: 9-20; "Venus was the principal Deity of Corinth. Her temple was one of the most magnificent buildings in the city. In it a thousand Priestesses, Public Prostitutes, were kept, at public expense, there always ready for Immoral Indulgence, as worship to their Goddess."  The Christians continued to go to the temple for sexual indulgences with the priestesses of Venus. This was all Paul was talking about and he says nothing about loving sexual pleasure-sharing with non-goddesses'!

Greek travel-writer, Strabo (ca. 64 Bc-AD 21), regarding ancient Corinth writes: "And the temple of Aphrodite [in Corinth] was so rich that it owned more than a thousand temple-slaves, courtesans (hetairai ), whom both women and men had dedicated to the goddess. And therefore it was also on account of these women that the city was crowded with people and grew rich" (8.6.20; LCL trans.).

The Jews were also involved in such practices. There are about a dozen passages in the Old Testament that revolve around "Qadeshes", a word for female and male cult practitioners. The Bible calls them "lemans" and "catamites". In the Fifth Book of Moses, male prostitutes are prohibited from donating their "dogs' money" to the House of Yahweh.

In Babylon, the historian Herodotus wrote (who is believed to have lived between circa 490 to 425 B.C.), was the widespread practice of prostitution in the Temple of Ishtar. Once in their lifetimes, all women in the country were required to sit in the temple and "expose themselves to a stranger" in return for money.

Deuteronomy 23:16-18 
The term "whore" or prostitute clearly mean cultic not common prostitution which is often mentioned with no negative inference.

The subject of these verses is made clear in the Amplified Version: “There shall be no cult prostitute among the daughters of Israel, neither shall there be a cult prostitute  among the sons of Israel. 

The meaning is also made plain by the Moffatt Translation: “No woman of Israel shall be a temple-prostitute, and no man of Israel shall be a temple-prostitute.

Non Goddess Prostitutes in the Bible
Since men could have as many wives and concubines (for breeding or just sexual enjoyment)  as they could afford it may have been only the poorer men who would need prostitutes for sexual variety.  They couldn't afford the "upkeep" of wives or concubines so they went to prostitutes for sexual pleasure and release.

Prostitution in Hebrew society was morally censored at times for legitimate reasons such as the knowing who would own the resulting children, with no effective birth control, but it was not illegal or a sin.  Only Israelite priests were prohibited from marrying a prostitute. Listed as wrongs for which God will judge is trading "a boy for a harlot" (Joel 3:3).  But being a prostitute (harlot or zonah in Hebrew) herself, if single, is guilty of no biblical crime unless she is a priest's daughter, in which case says Lev 21:9 she "profaneth her father" and "shall be burnt with fire." 

Prostitution was common in biblical times. In Proverbs  men are warned against squandering their money foolishly on prostitutes.  But it was a money issue not morality.  There was no law against prostitution for non-Hebrew women.  

Today prostitution flourishes in Israel. Prostitution is not, and has never been, a crime under Israeli law. Some of the world's most popular brothels are in Tel Aviv.  For Hebrew women it was very important to have a husband to have children with to maintain the Hebrew people.  It was never considered adultery for a man, married or single, to have sex with a prostitute, as long as she was single (not owned by another man).  It was only wrong if it was for the purpose of pagan goddess worship.

Judah saw nothing wrong in hiring a prostitute for the night. 

Rahab "the harlot" was praised in Hebrews 11:31 and Jos 6:17 as an example of faith.  Rahab was praised because she helped Israelite spies whom she hid and helped escape but the mention of her as "the harlot" wasn't a negative reference.

In Hosea 1:3, God commanded Hosea to marry a prostitute named Gomez. In Hosea 4:15, God said he would not punish the daughters of Israel when they turned to prostitution.   (Someone Commented: These passages are allegories to Gods relationships with Israel, which at the time wasn't exactly good. The Hosea 4:15 reference I believe is saying that though Israel in general is acting as a harlot, Judah (one tribe of Israel) is not. EG, all of the tribes except Judah are acting as harlots. I think some of this could possibly support the notion that there was clearly a double standard - one for men, and another for women. And it certainly seems to be stating that it's not OK for women to cheat.) And men could always cheat as long as the "other women" was not married (owned by husband).

Other prostitutes mentioned in the Old Testament were the harlot of Gaza, whom Samson visited, and two squabbling prostitutes who asked Solomon to settle a dispute. It is simply reported the fact that they were prostitutes, no big deal, nothing is ever said in condemnation of their profession.

In fact the Hebrew judge Solomon may have done more whoring than judging (Judg 16:1-4), and Jacobs son Judah, mistaking his own veiled daughter-in-law for a harlot, hired her as a prostitute (Gen 38: 13-18).  The leader Gilead fathered Jephthah by a prostitute which resulted in Jephthah's half-brothers, when dividing up the inheritance, left Jephthah out (Judg 11: 1-2).

Proverbs obviously views the foreign prostitute unsympathetically (oppressor, not victim) who with superior wealth and astuteness manages to seduce simple Israelite boys and husbands. In this trajectory we may also read Paul's treatment in 1 Cor. 6:9-20, where Christian men (especially husbands, whose wives may have taken vows of sexual abstinence to pray, 7:5) are warned against uniting with prostitutes. As perhaps in Proverbs, the prostitutes apparently are viewed as manifesting the demonic forces of pagan religion (cf. 10:18-22). Christians are exhorted to "flee" both the prostitutes and their idolatrous religion (6:18; 10:14). How Jesus would have managed to become a "friend" of prostitutes by continually "fleeing" from them, traditional sex-negative Augustinian commentators never tell us. 

Since wealthy men didn't need prostitutes (they had plenty of wives and concubines) prostitution was certainly not a high Noble calling.  But there clearly was nothing immoral or wrong from a biblical prospective with non-goddess prostitution.  Today many men have little opportunity for sexual fulfillment so prostitutes are the only viable option.   Sexual frustration results in men that become aggressive and are far more likely to sexually harass, abuse or rape women than men who are sexually happy and fulfilled.  

Legal Prostitution in the Bible reflects the cultures double standard that while a wife must be faithful, a Hebrew man can have sex with an unmarried prostitute, or any other single woman, and not be committing adultery.  But if the woman is a wife -owned by her husband under the patriarchal system of the Hebrews - then both she and her sexual partners are adulterers, a crime for which the penalty is death (Lev 20:10; Deut. 22:22).

In New Testament times, there also was nothing said about prostitution being wrong and in fact Jesus makes the point that harlots who believed John the Baptist will enter the kingdom of God before the chief priests and elders who rejected John's message (Matt. 21:31-32).

Today prostitution is not pagan idolatry nor the concubines of biblical times - women as breeders and for sexual pleasure.  And nowhere in the Bible is a word said about that being wrong!!  Today many women enjoy providing intimacy and sexual pleasure to men based on their choice without being owned as concubines for men and of course always using safe sex to avoid "breeding" and so its a very healthy interaction both physically and emotionally.

Prostitution in Israel Today  A June 15, 2000 review sent to me:
The best action in Israel is in Tel Aviv. There are tons of "health clubs" which provide full sex for a price going from 120 to 250 shekels for half an hour (full service) (4.2 Shekels= 1 USD). The best two I have been to are located close to each other, and are in the area of Hamasger street. These are a little more expensive, but the quality is amazing. The first one is called Promise bar (on Hamasger street) and the other one is in Shozino street (3 minutes walking from the first one) and is called Shozino bar. In these places, there is an entry fee of 50 shekels, including a drink. Then you can sit at the bar, and choose the girl you want. The price is 200 shekels for half an hour, and it includes full service, bbbj without and sometime even more. The girls are all russian or from ukraine. ALL of them I found friendly, and most of them like what they are doing. You can also stay for a longer time, the price increases and is 400 shekels for one full hour (this would include more than 1 act, of course)

As I said, there are plenty of "health clubs" but these two are the best I found (after a lot of research!!!). Enjoy it.

Adultery Is Not what you've been told it is
The issues of adultery are quite clear.  For 2000 years since Moses gave the no adultery commandment, adultery was understood to only apply to married women, and never to a married man.  A married man could have as many wives and concubines (single women as breeders) as he wished and this was never considered wrong.  Only when the puritanically minded starting taking over Christianity and twisting the original texts did the sexually repressive teachings begin. The lie is that Christian sexuality is allowable only in marriage and only with one partner.  Besides being very much against the nature of human kind it just has no biblical basis.  More and more theologians are exposing the lies that preach repressive sexuality.  More and more Christians are finding more Christlike love in loving more than just their husband or partner.   And many are fleeing Christianity for other eastern religions that so wonderfully integrate sexuality with spirituality.   Biblical Christianity could do the same, except for the lies of Church traditions that have tried to control people by repressing their natural wholesome sexual desires.

Other Resources:
Countryman, L. William (1988). Dirt, Greed, and Sex Sexual Ethics in the New Testament and their Implications for Today. Philadelphia: Fortress. 

Ortlund Jr., Raymond C. (1996). Whoredom: God's Unfaithful Wife in Biblical Theology. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. 

Toorn, Karel Van Der (1989). "Female Prostitution in Payment of Vows in Ancient Israel." JBL 108/2:193-205. 
Sexwork even allowed in very strict religions such as Islam in Iran.
Islam of course believes in the same God as Jews and Christians and has similar roots which is why it has relevancy.

BUT...In Islam you marry by reciting certain words.  Marriage can be for a few minutes, hours or it can be permanent - your choice!  I have heard of sexworkers with an Islam client who recites the fast marriage vows with the time limit, so he feels no guilt since he is married to the sexworker for the time they are having sex.  I

In Iran this makes the "arrangement" perfectly legal and is acceptable by the society since you are married! And of course you can be married to many women at the same time. Muhammad is said to have had between 9 and 14 wives, the exact number is not clear.

TEMPORARY MARRIAGE IN ISLAM - It is called "sigheh" and may be arranged for one minute up to 99 years in an official registry.  Periods of temp marriage may be renewed or cancelled when time is up.  Mohammed, it is said, recommended it to his soldiers and friends.  The practice in contemporary Iran is, however, a religious loophole to allow dating and premarital sex without harsh repressive measures. 

 It is also controversial and condemned by many people, since brides must be virgins.  President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is said to have urged the practice in 1990.  And it is apparently a common practice of clerics in the Islamic Republic.  The open discussion of temp marriage is causing all kinds of social upheaval there.  Source: NY Times 10/4/2000

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