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Brothel houses and
shrine prostitution

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Ashtoreth was a fertility goddess of ancient Canaan and consort of the infamous Molech, Leviticus 18:21

Raycol's comment prompts this follow-up post noting why it is hermeneutically sound to believe that the brothel house activity Ezekiel points out in Ezekiel 16:24, 31 and 39 describes shrine prostitution.

My reasons for pointing out the link Ezekiel makes between brothel house activity and shrine prostitution (sexual worship of false gods) are as follows.

1. In Ezekiel 16:2, God's prophet uses the word abominations, towebah, to begin his description of Israel's worship of false gods, the same word, towebah, which is used to describe the prohibited activity in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13.

2. Much of chapter 16 analogizes Israel's behavior with the behavior of harlots while also noting that Israel has forsaken worship of the true God, Ezekiel 16:15, 17, 28, 32, 35, to worship false gods.

4. Ezekiel links Israel's harlot behavior with what God had forbidden in Leviticus 18:3, namely, doing after the religious practices of Egypt, Ezekiel 16:26, and doing after the religious practices of Canaan, Ezekiel 16:29.

5. Ezekiel points out the adultery of ancient Israel in forsaking God for false gods, Ezekiel 16:32. Jeremiah mentions this theme and declares that God divorced Israel for her adultery.

"And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce..." - Jeremiah 3:8

6. Ezekiel 16:21 points out that Israel sacrificed her children, "thou has slain thy children" to "pass through the fire," direct references to Leviticus 18:21, which places the Leviticus 18:22 prohibition in cultural, historical and religious context, as referring to pagan religious worship of the Canaanite fertility goddess Ashtoreth (who was Molech's fertility goddess consort).

7. Ezekiel links Israel's idolatrous activity to the sins of Sodom, describing what really happened in Sodom, again using the word abomination, towebah, Ezekiel 16:49-50, which links at least one facet of Sodom's sin to idolatry and the prohibited same sex activity later described in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13.


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