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Prostitutes and Prophets

The nitty-gritty of it all

                         PROSTITUTES AND PROPHETS


     "Would you make love to me if I paid you a million dollars?"
a man asked a woman he knew.

     "For that amount - why yes, of course!" she replied.

     "Would you do it for fifty dollars?"

     Indignant, she answered: "What do you think I am?"

     "I've already established what you are," he said, "I'm just
dickering on the price!"

     Though the law of Moses said: "Do not prostitute thy
daughter, to cause her to be a whore" (Leviticus 19:29),
prostitution was apparently tolerated among the Israelites. The
accompanying drawing from an old Bible shows Judah, from whom the
famous tribe derives its name, propositioning a woman for sex and
agreeing on a price (Genesis 38:16,17). There is nothing in the
text that would suggest this was unusual behavior.

     When Joshua sent two spies to Jericho, they "came into an
harlot's house, named Rahab, and lodged [margin: lay] there"
(Joshua 2:1). The margin "lay" is no doubt correct, for the
Hebrew word used here is not translated "lodge" in any other
reference. The word in question can mean to merely lie down for
rest, but it is also used in the sense of "sexual connection"
(Strong's Concordance, 7901).

     Are we suggesting, then, these men may have been sexually
involved with Rahab? We don't know for certain, but if they were
only seeking a place to "lay" for sleep, why in a harlot's house?
If they the engage in sexual relations, it would not have been
totally inconsistent with the general moral tone of the time.

     Because Rahab hid the two men, lied about their whereabouts,
and helped them escape, she was spared when the city was
overthrown. As the Israelite armies approached the best little
whore house in Jericho, Rahab identified it by hanging up a piece
of scarlet cloth. In the course of time, a red light came to be
an identifying mark for a house of prostitution. The colors
scarlet and red have long been associated with sexual sins, even
at the time of Isaiah who wrote: "...though your sins be as
scarlet, they shell be as white as snow; though they be red like
crimson, they shall be as wool" (Isaiah 1:18).

     When the Israelites took Jericho, seeing the scarlet cloth,
"Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father's household,
and all she had" (Joshua 6:25). This dramatic event, as pictured
by famous artist Gustave Done (1832-1883), is included here.
Rahab continued living among the Israelites, but we are not
specifically told whether or not she continued the oldest
profession. According to legend, she had become a prostitute at
age 10, was one of the four most beautiful women in history, had
sexual intercourse with various kings and leaders from whom she
heard about the exploits of the Hebrews. Finally she married
Joshua and became the mother of noted priests and people. Another
belief, based on Matthew 1:5, is that she married Salmon, which
would have made her a great grandmother of David.

     The word translated "Rahab" is "rachab," meaning "broad"
(Strong's Concordance 7342, 7343). It is so translated in
Jeremiah 51:58 and Ezekiel 42:11. Of course it is only
coincidental that the word "broad" is, today, a derogatory
expression for a woman!
     We read that Samson saw a harlot at Gaza "and went in unto
her" (Judges 16:1). The Biblical text does not condemn Samson for
this, but seems to imply that prostitution was quite common and
unquestioned at this period. Interestingly, it was not while
having sex with a harlot that the Lord departed from him-this
happened later when he got a haircut! A fifteenth century woodcut
by the famous artist Albrecht Durer shows Delilah cutting off
Samson's hair. But the careful Bible reader will notice it was a
MAN who cut off Samson's hair, NOT Delilah! (Judges 16:19,20).

     At the time of Solomon, two harlots who shared the same
house, gave birth to sons within three days of each other, When
one of the women awoke to "give suck" to her baby, it was dead.
As she carefully observed the infant, she realized it was not her
baby. The babies had been switched!
     We are reminded of a Chinese couple and a Caucasian couple
whose babies were born in the same hospital. By mistake a nurse
had gotten the babies mixed up. The problem was not too
difficult, however, for upon comparison they realized that "two
Wongs don't make a white!"

     But in the case of the two harlots, how could they prove who
the living baby belonged to? "Then came there two women, that
were harlots unto the king, and stood before him" (1 Kings 3:16).
When each insisted she was the mother of the living baby, Solomon
ordered the baby to be cut in two-half given to each. The
resulting response, of course, revealed which woman was the true
mother.

     Though this incident is given to show how much wisdom
Solomon had, it also reveals something about the prevailing
attitude regarding prostitution. It appears that the oldest
profession was more or less taken for granted-a necessary evil.
Certainly these women were not arrested or put in jail. Indeed, a
special gift of wisdom in Solomon functioned in their behalf.

     One might suppose that wise king Solomon would have been
able to rid the holy city of prostitution - if this had been his
aim. But no such moral reform was a part of his administration.
It would appear from the book of Proverbs, he could actually look
out the palace window and see prostitutes carrying on their trade
on the street! "For at the window of my house I looked through my
casement, and beheld ... a young man void of understanding,
passing through the street near her corner ... and behold, there
met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtle of
heart" (Proverbs 7:6-10). Such activities were carried on "in the
streets" and "at every corner" (verse 12).

     For much of its history, Jerusalem was a "holy city" in name
only. The prophets described its moral condition in these words:

     In the midst of thee they commit lewdness. In thee have they
     discovered their fathers' nakedness [incest]: in thee have
     they humbled her that was set apart for pollution [forcing
     sex on menstruating women]. And one hath committed
     abomination with his neighbor's wife; and another hath
     lewdly defiled his daughter-in-law; and another in thee bath
     humbled his sister, his father's daughter .... They
     committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in
     the harlot's houses. They were as fed horses in the morning:
     every one neighed after his neighbor's wife .... I have seen
     thine adulteries, and thy neighings, the lewdness of thy
     whoredom.... Woe unto thee, O Jerusalem! (Ezekiel 22:2-11;
     Jeremiah 5:7, 8; 13:27).

     According to the Encyclopedia Judaica, after capturing
Jerusalem in 70 A.D., in order to desecrate the temple, "Titus
entered the Holy of Holies...and spreading out a Scroll of the
Law on the top of the altar, had intercourse with two harlots he
had brought in."
     We know Solomon was familiar with the seductive words used
by harlots in Jerusalem, for he quoted some of them in Proverbs
7:18: "Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let
us solace ourselves with loves." The actual wording is watered
down in our English translation. Clarke puts it in Latin.,
stating that "the original itself is too gross to be literally
translated.!" She had paid her vows, her husband was away, her
bed was perfumed. In seductive tones she promised a good time -
love making in all forms - not just for the few hurried moments
of a sexual quickie, but "until the morning."

     In another proverb dealing with prostitution, we read: "For
by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread:
and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life" (Proverbs
6:26). Some versions, including the Septuagint and Vulgate, word
it like this: "For the price of a whore is about one loaf." In
order to survive, so many women were forced into prostitution,
they hired out for a bare sustenance. The Goodspeed translation
points out a contrast between the two clauses of this verse: "For
the price of a harlot is but a piece of bread, but the adulteress
hunts for the precious life." A man would only have to pay a
piece of bread for a harlot, but a sexual affair with a married
woman might cost his life.!
     
     A strange verse about harlots is linked with the death of
Ahab.
     Having been mortally wounded in battle, his blood flowed
into his chariot, "and one washed the chariot in the pool of
Samaria; and the dogs licked up his blood; and they washed his
ARMOR" (1 Kings 22:38). 
     Though not generally known, the word that is used here
translated "armor," is the word that is elsewhere translated
"harlots"! (Strong's Concordance, 2158). In view of this, it
seems evident that Goodspeed has come closer to the original in
his translation: "And when they washed off the chariot by the
pool of Samaria, the dogs licked up his blood, and the HARLOTS
washed in it." The Septuagint says, "And the swine and dogs
licked his blood, and the WHORES bathed themselves in his blood."
It has been suggested that to bathe in a king's blood may have
been considered a tonic or beauty treatment.

     Some rabbis have understood this passage to mean there were
images of prostitutes in Ahab's chariot. Clarke has written:
"They suppose that Jezebel had made him two images of
prostitutes, which he had with him in the chariot. It is not
worth inquiring into the use for which they say these images were
made."
     The Encyclopedia Judaica, however, does not hesitate to
explain the use of the images: they were to excite him sexually.

     This brings to mind an experience I once had when car
trouble forced me to hitchhike into town. As I climbed up into
the cab of a huge truck that stopped, I noticed the cross-country
truck driver had Playboy magazine opened. I asked if he read it
or just looked at the pictures - it was obvious he was looking at
the magazine while he drove. Well, Ahab didn't have Playboy
magazine in his chariot, but according to rabbinical tradition,
he did have images of two naked prostitutes.

     When Isaiah sought to illustrate how Israel would conquer
the city of Tyre, taking from it all the riches it had taken from
others, he likened it to a rich prostitute. "And it shall come to
pass after the end of seventy years, that the Lord will visit
Tyre, and she shall turn to her HIRE, and shall commit
fornication with all the kingdoms of the world ... and her
merchandise and her HIRE shall be holiness to the Lord" (Isaiah
23:17,18).

     If the reader will pardon a crude example, it will
illustrate the idea the prophet had in mind. A man once told me
he had gone to a prostitute in the Philippines during World War
II. While engaged in sexual relations with her, he figured she
probably kept her money under a little mat by the bed. Later,
when she went into the adjoining room to wash, he grabbed all her
money and fled from the shack. So would be the fate of Tyre at
the hands of the Israelites.

     In those days harlots walked the streets and sang seductive
songs, a fact alluded to by Isaiah: "Take an harp, go about the
city, thou harlot that hast been forgotten; make sweet melody,
sing many songs, that thou mayest be remembered" (Isaiah 23:16).
By likening Tyre to a singing harlot, Isaiah emphasized that she
was old, for young harlots also danced as they sang to show how
lively they were.

     Such was the type of girl that danced at Herod's birthday
party-and no doubt extremely talented in exotic dancing, as
evidenced by the fact that Herod promised her anything "unto the
half of his kingdom" (Mark 6:21-23). Whether she jumped out of a
huge birthday cake--dressed only in her birthday suit - we are
not told, but we can be certain her performance was X-rated
entertainment.
     
     Another famous political figure, Tiberius, who was Caesar at
the time of Jesus' ministry (Luke 3:1), was known for his
indulgence in many forms of sensual entertainment. His favorite
pleasure involved using CHILDREN in a perverted way. According
he caused little children, of the tenderest age to be taught to
play between his legs, while he was swimming in his bath, calling
them his little fishes, to touch him lightly with tongue and
teeth, and like babies of some little strength and growth, though
not yet weaned, to suck his privates as they would their mother's
breast. His age and his inclination predisposed him for this sort
of pleasure before all others."

     According to the writers of antiquity, it was not uncommon
for children to be sold and traded, and used for the basest
purposes.
     The prophet Joel wrote: "They ... have given a boy for a
harlot and sold a girl for wine" (Joel 3:3). Amos mentioned a man
and his father will go in unto the same MAID" (Amos } - "maid"
being the word used to describe a female child from (Strong's
Concordance, 5291).

     Prostitution prevailed at the time of Jesus and prostitutes
were even mentioned in some of his messages. He told of a wayward
young man who went into a far country and spent his inheritance
on "harlots" (Luke 15:30). On another occasion, Jesus shocked the
religious leaders of his time by saying: "The harlots go into the
kingdom of God before you"! (Matthew 21:31). The point was that
sinful people will sooner repent than self-righteous people who
feel no need of repentance.
     The very thought that Jesus Christ would have sex with a
prostitute is repulsive to any Christian. Using this as the basis
for his argument, Paul likened Christians to the various parts of
the body of Christ - feet, ears, eyes, and even the "uncomely
parts" (1 Corinthians 12:12-27) - so that for Christians to visit
prostitutes would be parallel to Jesus Christ himself doing this!
"Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I
then take the members of Christ and make them the members of a
harlot? God forbid" (1 Corinthians 6:15,16).

     The Old Testament prophets commonly likened Israel's
unfaithfulness to that of a woman who cheats on her husband. In
making this point, they did not hesitate to give vivid details
about the sexual acts committed, about the woman's breasts being
handled and bruised in wild orgies, and even talked about the
size of male sex organs. Even though the language has been
softened by our translators, it is still so crude that THE PULPIT
COMMENTARY, referring to a passage in Ezekiel, says, "We shudder
as we read it." Clarke, suggesting the prophet used such wording
to shock  the people into a true realization of their condition,
goes on to say: "Let this be the prophet's apology for the
apparent indelicacy of his metaphors; and mine, for not entering
into any particular discussion concerning them"!

     The prophet Ezekiel compared Jerusalem to a baby that was
forsaken at birth and left to die. But the Lord-or more correct
Yahweh, the actual name used for deity thousands of times in the
Old Testament - adopts her, raises her, and she blossoms into a
beautiful and shapely young girl. In spite of the considerable
age difference, he takes her for a wife. But she does not remain
true to him and ultimately becomes a prostitute of the lowest
type!

     In the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither
     wast thou washed in water to supple [cleanse] thee; thou
     wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all. None eye pitied
     thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon
     thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field to the
     loathing of my person, in the day that thou wast born
     (Ezekiel 16:4,5).

     When Yahweh passed by, he saw the bloody baby, and saved her
life. "And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine
own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live"
(Ezekiel 16:6). I have known people who believe that reciting
this verse will stop nosebleeds. But blood from the nose is not
the subject here!

     Twelve or thirteen years pass - the girl reaches womanhood
and the prophet finds it important to mention that her pubic hair
has grown and her breasts have developed: "thou art come to
excellent ornaments: they breasts are fashioned, and thine hair
is grown" (Ezekiel 16:17). As THE PULPIT COMMENTARY says, breast
development and pubic hair growth "point to the most obvious
signs of female puberty." Puberty is a hair-raising experience!
Today we might just say the girl reached puberty or womanhood -
without going into details about her breasts and  pubic hair. But
the Eastern style of writing was very descriptive!

     Apparently she became quite shapely, for the word translated
"fashioned" in the phrase "thy breasts are fashioned" means "to
be erect" and is translated by such words as "certain"
(Deuteronomy 17:4) and "firm" (Joshua 3:17). Later in the story,
Ezekiel tells of ornaments such as bracelets, necklaces, and
earrings. But the shape of her breasts was, as the margin has it,
her ornament of ornament: "Thou art come to your ornament of
ornaments: thy breasts are fashioned."

     Her breasts developed. Her pubic hair appeared. She began
menstruating. According to the customs of the time, she was old
enough to be married and make love. "Now when I passed by thee,
and looked upon thee, behold thy time was the time of love." The
word translated "love" here means sexual love (from the Hebrew
meaning "to boil") and is used in erotic passages of the Song of
Solomon, in Ezekiel 23:17, and Proverbs 7:18.

     "I spread my skirt over thee" - a primitive way of
describing marriage - "I sware unto thee, and entered into a
covenant with thee...thou becamest mine. Then washed I thee with
water; yea, I thoroughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I
anointed thee with oil" (Ezekiel 16:8,9). Since a menstruating
woman was considered unclean, all menstrual blood to be washed
away before intercourse was considered proper.

     When David watched Bathsheba take a bath, the bath was that
ritual cleansing that followed her menstrual period. David "from
the roof saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very
beautiful to look upon .... And David sent messengers, and took
her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was
purified from her uncleanness" (2 Samuel 11:2,4). This wording
seems to imply that David did not regard sexual intercourse too
seriously - as long as the woman had completed her menstrual
cycle and taken a bath!

     Ezekiel's vivid and sensual description continues: I
thoroughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee
with oil." Anointing with oil is a very common expression in the
Bible. But here the word translated :anointed" is not the usual
word. It has the meaning of "smeared" (Strong's Concordance,
5480). The word "oil" is the normal word used for any oily
substance, defined by Strong as grease, especially liquid
(Strong's Concordance, 8081). If the oil was smeared in the same
area from which the blood had been washed away, it is clear this
lubricant was to prepare the virgin girl for her first
intercourse. These are some of the things we were not told in
Sunday School - and were afraid to ask!

     The girl was now married - to Yahweh - who gave her
beautiful garments and jewelry. Her beauty became known among the
nations (Ezekiel 16:14). Had she lived in our day, she could have
been a beauty contest winner. But the young bride was unable to
properly handle her fame and beauty. She cheated on her husband -
not only with a passing affair or two - but actually became a
prostitute! "Thou didst trust in thine own beauty, and playest
the harlot because of thy renown, and pourest out thy
fornications on every one that passed by; HIS IT WAS" (verse 15).

     "His it was." THE PULPIT COMMENTARY says these are the words
of "extremist scorn." She became so wild that she wanted sex with
anyone and everyone - a point that Ezekiel continues to stress as
the story unfolds.

     Thou hast also built unto thee an eminent place [margin:
     brothel house], and hast made thee an high place in every
     street. Thou hast built thy high place at every head of the
     way, and hast made thy beauty to be abhorred, and hast
     opened thy feet to every one that passed by, and multiplied
     thy whoredoms (Ezekiel 16:24,25).

     The language is very strong. So great was her lust, she is
described as doing business in "every street." She did not
refrain from any type of sexual act, all were apparently indulged
in, for she even "multiplied her whoredoms" as she engaged in sex
with "everyone that passed by."

     Then, as if all this sexual activity was not enough, the
prophet tells us she used artificial penises for sexual
stimulation. She made "images of men [margin: of a male], and did
commit whoredom with them" (Ezekiel 16:17). The word translated
"men" here does not carry the meaning of statutes of men, but
that which makes a man expressly male (strong's Concordance,
2145). Numerous writers have pointed out that artificial penises
are meant here. Even the Kinsey report mentions this.

     Though it was before the days of modern shipping methods and
"adult" shops, the artificial penis was well known in the ancient
world. The city of Miletus, which was included in one of Paul's
missionary trips (Acts 20:15), was known for the manufacture and
exportation of this product. According to classical writings of
this period, Milesian women made "imitations in leather, eight
inches long and thick in proportion."

The word "dildo," a common term for an artificial penis, is of
uncertain origin, says the book A PLEASURE IN WORDS, but may be a
corruption of "dill" - the pickle. Called "anise" in the
scriptures (Matthew 23:23), dill is used for making dill pickles.
Others lick the word "dildo" with the Italian "tiletto" - meaning
"delight."

     Yahweh's unfaithful wife is pictured as having sex with
Egyptian men - men who were commonly imagined to have large
penises. "Thou hast also committed fornication with the Egyptians
thy neighbors, GREAT OF FLESH; and hast increased thy whoredoms"
(Ezekiel 16:26). Though the translators have used the word
:flesh" here, there is no doubt that the male sex organ is
intended (Strong's Concordance, 1320).

     Even the debased "Philistines" were embarrassed at the
actions of Yahweh's wife: "The daughters of the Philistines are
ashamed of thy lewd way" (Ezekiel 16:27). Considering the very
negative feelings the Israelites had for the Philistines, this
comparison is loaded with feeling. Ezekiel continues:

     Thou has played the whore also with the Assyrians, because
     thou wast unsatiable; yea, thou hast played the harlot with
     them, and yet couldest not be satisfied, Thou hast moreover
     multiplied thy fornication in the land of Canaan unto
     Chaldea; and yet thou wast not satisfied therewith .... Thou
     doest all these things, the work of an imperious whorish
     woman (Ezekiel 16:28-30).

     Having become a whore in "every street" in town, she is
pictured as going to other towns and cities, and even other
countries to have sex with foreigners. She stimulated herself
with dildos. She sought out Egyptians with big penises. She
multiplied her acts of whoredom. She had sex with anyone who
passed by. Still she was not satisfied--a nymphomaniac!

     Ezekiel points out that all whores sell sex to men, but this
woman is so debased SHE PAYS THEM! "They give gifts to all
whores: but thou givest thy gifts to all thy lovers, and hirest
THEM, that the may come unto thee on every side for thy whoredom"
(Ezekiel 16:33).Needless to say, with this much action, she was a
busy body! She wanted to be chased, not chaste!

     In another message by Ezekiel, he likens Yahweh to a man who
marries two sisters, "the daughters of one mother," and both end
up being untrue to him! (Ezekiel 23:2). The older sister, Aholah,
personified Samaria (the capital of Israel) and Aholibah, the
younger sister, personified Jerusalem (the capital of Judah).

     And Aholah played the harlot when she was mine; and she
     doted on her lovers, on the Assyrians her neighbors ... she
     committed whoredoms with them, with all them that were the
     chosen men of Assyria .... Neither left she her whoredoms
     brought from Egypt: for in her youth they lay with her, and
     they bruised the breasts of her virginity, and poured their
     whoredom upon her (Ezekiel 23:5-8).

     The word "doted" that appears repeatedly in this chapter
means to breathe after, i.e., to love sensually (Strong's
Concordance, 5689) - an allusion to the heavy, excited breathing
and sensual lust of this unfaithful wife. The prophetic writer
makes no effort to speak in a refined way, but uses the crudest
terms in describing her activities.

     And when her sister Aholibah saw this, she was more corrupt
     in her inordinate love than she, and in her whoredoms more
     than her sister in her whoredoms. She doted upon the
     Assyrians .... Then I saw that she was defiled, that they
     took both one way, and that she increased her whoredoms: for
     when she saw men portrayed upon the wall ... she doted upon
     them ... and the Babylonians came to her into the bed of
     love, and they defiled her with their whoredom, and she was
     polluted with them (Ezekiel 23:11-17).

     Though Aholibah did not have PLAYBOY magazine to look at,
erotic pictures of men were available "men portrayed upon the
wall ... she doted upon them." She indulged in all kinds of
sexual acts as she "increased her whoredoms" and "inordinate
love." She was also into group sex, for Babylonian men (plural)
came to the bed of love and she was polluted with THEM. Whether
the two sisters and their lovers ever got together for four-play,
we are not told.

     "Then I said unto her that was old in adulteries, Will they
now commit whoredoms with her, and she with them?" (Ezekiel
23:43). She remembered those days of youth, the "lewdness," and
the Egyptians "bruising her teats ... the paps of her youth"
(verse 21). Moffatt translates this verse: "Yes, you sought to
repeat the lustful days of your youth, when the Egyptians handled
your nipples and pressed your young breasts." She was older now,
the past-tense reference to her well-developed breasts may imply
they had sagged with Cowper'ss droop.

     She recalled those sexual sessions with Egyptian lovers
"whose FLESH is as the flesh of asses, and whose issue is like
the issue of horses" (Ezekiel 23:20). The word translated "flesh"
here, used euphemistically, refers to the penis (Strong;s
Concordance, 1320). Seeking to emphasize the size of these
Egyptian penises, the prophet compares them to the sex organs of
asses.

     Penis size has been commonly compared to those of animals.
Among the Hindus, the smallest size was a "shushah" (hare man),
next was a "mrigah" (buck man), then "vrishubba" (bull man) and e
largest a "ushvah" (stallion man)---obviously an overstatement
since a stallion in passion measures 30 inches long!

Egyptian euphemisms for the male organ include: Edewweel (The
Long), Es-Smeek (The Thick), and Gedheeb-el-Kebeer (The Great
Rod). Not that men "well endowed" are better lovers, but a
certain fantasy prevails.

     Modern studies, such as those performed by Masters and
Johnson, have presented some adult averages for penis size. In
one such study, the range of those examined was from two and a
half inches to five and a half inches long in the flaccid state.
The average measurement at the height of sexual excitement was
six inches.    

     Some feel Ezekiel could have made his point without going
into details about penis size. But not only did he state that
Aholibah had found lovers with big penises - "as the 'flesh' of
asses" - he also talked about how much semen they ejaculated.
"...whose issue is like that issue of horses" (Ezekiel 23:20).
The word translated issue here means: "a gushing of fluid
(semen)" (Strong's Concordance, 2213). Oligospermia, scantiness
of semen, was not the case - these men ejaculated like horses!
They were young and lusty, for more semen is emitted by young men
than older men, as a comparison table in the Kinsey report shows.


     Apparently those who listened to Ezekiel's messages were not
offended by his sexually explicit metaphors. Surprisingly, he was
"unto them as a very lovely song of one that hash a pleasant
voice, and can play well on an instrument"! (Ezekiel 33:32).

     In language very similar to Ezekiel's, Jeremiah described
Judah's unfaithfulness in these words (Jeremiah 3:1-3):

     Thou hast played the harlot with many lovers .... Lift up
     thine eyes unto the high places, and see where thou hast not
     been lien with. In the ways hast thou sat for them, as the
     Arabian in the wilderness; and thou hast polluted the land
     with thy whoredoms and with thy wickedness ...thou hast a
     whore's forehead.

     The idea here, as pointed out by The Anchor Bible, is that
Judah was so anxious for "lovers," she was like a band of Arabs
waiting to waylay a caravan.

     Prophets such as Ezekiel and Jeremiah illustrated their
message with TALK about whores. Hosea went a step further: he
MARRIED a whore to illustrate his message! The book that bears
his name opens with these words: "The beginning of the word of
the Lord by Hosea. And the Lord said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee
a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms ... so he went and
took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim" (Hosea 1:2,3).

     "Daughter of Diblaim" could mean Diblaim was her father or
she was from a town by this name. But since Diblaim means two
cakes of pressed figs (Strong's Concordance, 1691), it has been
suggested (and not without some plausibility) that this was but
another way of saying she was a two fig cake whore. One writer
compares her to a prostitute being obtained for a couple packs of
cigarettes during World War II?

     A few years ago a man told me about a husband and wife team
that made extra money on weekends. They would take their pickup
and camper to labor camps. Men would have intercourse with the
woman in the camper, while the husband collected the money from
the men who formed a line, each waiting his turn. Being a
prostitute in such labor camps would be especially low and
debased. And this, as Hosea preached, was the level to which
Israel had fallen. "Israel ... bast gone a whoring from God, thou
hast loved a reward upon every cornfloor" (Hosea 9:1). She had
become such a low class harlot, as Clarke points out, she would
go to the common thrashing places, have intercourse with the
lowest class of men, and accept payment even of grain.

     Like unfaithful Israel, Hosea's wife had again and again
practiced whoredom--"a woman of whoredoms." Her children were
"children of whoredoms" - the identity of their real fathers
being unknown. During her marriage to Hosea, he fathered three
children by her, but she fell back into her old ways. In one
scene, Hosea sends the children to plead with her. "Plead with
your mother, plead," he instructed them. "Let her put away her
whoredoms out of her sight and her adulteries from between her
breasts."      Finally he threatened to divorce her and, as was
the custom in those days, to publicly "strip her naked, and set
her as in the day she was born"! (Hosea 2:2,3).

                            ...................

To be continued - May 2007


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