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Harlot

Harlot [S]

  • Heb. zonah ( Genesis 34:31 ; 38:15 ). In verses 21,22the Hebrew word used in kedeshah , i.e., a woman consecrated or devoted to prostitution in connection with the abominable worship of Asherah or Astarte, the Syrian Venus. This word is also used in Deuteronomy 23:17 ; Hosea 4:14 . Thus Tamar sat by the wayside as a consecrated kedeshah.

    It has been attempted to show that Rahab, usually called a "harlot" ( Joshua 2:1 ; 6:17 ; Hebrews 11:31 ; James 2:25 ), was only an innkeeper. This interpretation, however, cannot be maintained.

    Jephthah's mother is called a "strange woman" ( Judges 11:2 ). This, however, merely denotes that she was of foreign extraction.

    In the time of Solomon harlots appeared openly in the streets, and he solemnly warns against association with them ( Proverbs 7:12 ; 9:14 . See also Jeremiah 3:2 ; Ezekiel 16:24 Ezekiel 16:25 Ezekiel 16:31 ). The Revised Version, following the LXX., has "and the harlots washed," etc., instead of the rendering of the Authorized Version, "now they washed," of 1 Kings 22:38 .

    To commit fornication is metaphorically used for to practice idolatry ( Jeremiah 3:1 ; Ezekiel 16:15 ; Hos. throughout); hence Jerusalem is spoken of as a harlot ( Isaiah 1:21 ).

  • Heb. nokriyah, the "strange woman" ( 1 Kings 11:1 ; Proverbs 5:20 ; 7:5 ; 23:27 ). Those so designated were Canaanites and other Gentiles ( Joshua 23:13 ). To the same class belonged the "foolish", i.e., the sinful, "woman."

    In the New Testament the Greek pornai, plural, "harlots," occurs in Matthew 21:31 Matthew 21:32 , where they are classed with publicans; Luke 15:30 ; 1 Corinthians 6:15 1 Corinthians 6:16 ; Hebrews 11:31 ; James 2:25 . It is used symbolically in Revelation 17:1 Revelation 17:5 Revelation 17:15 Revelation 17:16 ; 19:2 .

    These dictionary topics are from
    M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition,
    published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.

    [S] indicates this entry was also found in Smith's Bible Dictionary

    Bibliography Information

    Easton, Matthew George. "Entry for Harlot". "Easton's Bible Dictionary". .