Ho, ho, ho.

Merry Christmas

The Subject Illustrates The Issue

While the subject of this post is prostitution, the issue is obedience.  Whether or not some woman is paying her rent by selling sexual access to her body is irrelevant to the life of any given Christian, they were commanded not to judge.  The question of whether God’s people are willing to accept what God said and live in obedience to His Word is quite relevant.

Whether anyone is willing to accept God’s Word when it disagrees with their churchian tradition indicates whether they are even a Christian.

In a previous post, I made a Biblical defense of prostitutes.  The fact is, it wasn’t difficult, it was just a straight look at what the Bible says about prostitutes.  Actually, what the Bible does not say is the more important issue, but it’s all good.  Because prostitution isn’t a sin.  Christian men are forbidden to have sex with prostitutes by the Apostle Paul in 1st Corinthians 6:16, but that applies only to Christian men and says nothing about prostitutes.  For Christian men, prostitutes are forbidden fruit.

Forbidden Fruit

Was the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil a sinful fruit?  Was it bad?  No, regardless of how luscious and appealing that fruit was, it was not sinful.  Adam and Eve, however, were forbidden to eat the fruit.  Being forbidden fruit did not make the fruit sinful.   In the same way, just because Christian men are forbidden to use prostitutes does not make prostitution sinful.  It just means they’re forbidden fruit.  I suspect that at least part of the problem is the fruit looks good, smells good, feels good… and it does more than just hang there- it wiggles.  Which makes it all the more frustrating that it’s forbidden.

At this point we’re arguing over minutia and the only reason I’m arguing the minutia at all is to ensure the anklebiters don’t have a leg to stand on.  See, what happens is once the anklebiters figure out that God chose not to say prostitution was wrong, their feverish little minds toil away trying to figure out if there’s some other way they can claim it’s wrong, even though God chose not to do that.

Does God Really Know What Is Best?

There was a debate almost two years ago and a true churchian who blogs as Simply Timothy (along with the anklebiter and born follower known as SirHamster) took umbrage with me.  I not only defended polygyny but I made the point that whatever might happen when the husband and his wives spent time in bed was fine with God.  The argument took place on Vox’s blog and was one of the longest running threads ever.  Their problem was they discovered (much to their chagrin) that God chose not to forbid female-female sexual contact.  This caused massive butthurt and in the end, they chose to reject God’s Word in favor of their teachings and traditions.  Simple Tim proved he is a churchian with this statement:

I believe what I have been taught, that all homosex is sin.

Attacking Toad’s position cannot be made by showing a prohibition against woman-woman sex as no verse does so.

The question then becomes, how do I make a Biblical case that it is sin absent such a verse?

God must have made a mistake!  Obviously, God got it wrong and Simple Tim has to save the day!  Because Tradition!  Simple Tim cannot accept the fact that God designed marriage to include multiple wives and the husband is in charge.  So, if that husband wants his own bedroom symphony, he’s the man with the baton and God doesn’t have a problem with whatever might happen as long as the women were not blood relations.  And we know that if God did have a problem with something that might happen in the marital bed, He wasn’t shy about saying so.  Apparently God doesn’t have a problem with female-female sexual contact as long as it’s not incest.

The thread was eventually put into moderation and finally closed at 971 comments.  The anklebiters didn’t realize they were proving the three laws of the SJW in that thread, SJW’s Always Lie, SJW’s Always Double Down and SJW’s Always Project.   The farce continued here with another 386 comments.  Simple Tim then stated he would continue his opposition to God here.  The sheer chutzpah of these people is amazing.  Not satisfied with what God chose, they think they know better than God.  They want to be God.

The take-away is if there had been something in the Bible that forbid female-female sexual activity or polygyny, he would have screamed it from the rooftops because God CHOSE to forbid such activity.  Churchians love it when God agrees with their traditions.  That God chose NOT to forbid such activity, well, that is a major problem for them.  Simple Tim believes he knows better than God.  There just had to be a way to claim this is a sin, even though Romans 4:15 and 5:13 makes it clear that it is not.  Simple Tim is a churchian SJW.

We see the same thing happening with the subject of prostitution.

Churchians tend to ignore their Bible (unless they agree with what it says), but occasionally someone comes by and takes the time to search the Scriptures to see if what I’m saying is correct.  Rather than assuming that what they were taught as a child is automatically correct.  Our erudite commenter Pode has done so and he raised some objections that I will attempt to deal with now.

“The case for prostitution hinges on a woman being able to consent to sex as a separate and distinct activity from consent to marry. I still see some arguments against that assertion.”

Actually, the historical fact that prostitution has always existed and never been automatically considered adultery is the proof that God’s people have historically understood that in the case of a non-virgin (used goods), sex alone did not create a marriage.  The rich widow could not be raped into marriage the way a virgin could, she had to agree to marriage before the sex made her married.  That means her agreement to have sex is not her agreement to marry.

In other words, the non-virgin’s agreement to have sex does not create an agreement to marry any more than taking a used car for a test drive is the agreement to buy the car.  Take that brand new car off the lot and you’ve bought it.  Once it leaves the lot it’s no longer a new car, it’s now a used car and people who want a new car don’t want to settle for a used car.  Everyone knows that.  The previously owned used car?  You’re expected to take it for a test drive.  Everyone understands that.   What’s a few more miles on the odometer if it’s a used car?

The cognitive dissonance is the result, not of God choosing to allow prostitution, but the fact that as one studies and that becomes clear…  the realization also becomes clear that we have been lied to all our lives.

The State of the Argument

This is an ongoing discussion/argument that has already passed though several iterations.  I provide the following (rough) roadmap of where we’ve been.

  • Prostitution is not forbidden, therefore it is not a sin.
  • No way!  Once we ignore Rahab, the Bible has nothing good to say about prostitutes!  Prostitution is BAD.
  • Romans 4:15 and 5:13 says there has to be a prohibition against prostitution in order for prostitution to be a sin.  The Law does not forbid prostitution, so it’s not a sin.
  • You evil LIAR!  Deuteronomy 23:17 forbids prostitution!
  • Sorry, Deuteronomy 23:17 specifically says “cult prostitutes” and cult prostitution was part of idolatry- typically fertility worship.  Baal was a god of fertility and banging a temple whore was part of Baal worship.  A woman selling sex is not a sin.
  • You vile twister of truth!  Prostitution is adultery and adultery is forbidden as sin!
  • Wrong, a woman can only commit adultery if she is some man’s wife, which means she’s married.  The unmarried prostitute cannot commit adultery.
  • Apostate heretic!  Sex means she’s married!  She married the first one and all the rest are adultery.
  • Sex alone only makes a woman married if she’s a virgin.
  • Perverted idolater!  Choosing to have sex makes the non-virgin married too!
  • Wrong.  Sex alone will make the virgin married because she does not have agency, which is why the virgin can be raped into marriage.  The non-virgin woman has agency and is free to choose who she marries (1st Corinthians 7:39), which means she cannot be raped into marriage.  Therefore, sex alone cannot make her married because she must consent to the marriage.
  • You vile, wicked reptile!  Her father did not have the authority to make her a prostitute, which means she does not have that authority, therefore prostitution is a forbidden occupation, it’s wrong and a sin.  You are not a Toad, you are a snake! <– You Are Here

It should be noted that the issue of prostitution comes after a long series of posts that demonstrate that the virgin is married when she has sex, even though she doesn’t know about it, and the issue is somewhat complicated because of that.  The thing is, the issue of consent depends on the woman’s status and it is the responsibility of the man to deal with that.

Commenter Pode’s argument from the last post on adultery is essentially that because a father was forbidden to profane his daughter by making her a prostitute, the woman does not later have the authority to become a prostitute.  Then comes a novel argument, followed by more of the “prostitution is bad” arguments.

The First Objection

Primary is the specific prohibition against a father making his daughter a prostitute (Leviticus 19:29). The father as his daughter’s agent is not allowed to give consent to sex without consent to marry (concubines are to be treated in the same manner as wives). If the woman’s agent does not have a power, she would not gain that power when she becomes her own agent.

No.  Simply put, while an individual may willfully choose to do something that is injurious or risky, a guardian may not force his ward to do something that is injurious or risky because the guardian is held to a higher standard than the individual acting in their own capacity.  In other words, every woman has (in her own capacity) the right to take her inheritance, walk into a casino and put the money on black.  However, if that woman is a ward, her guardian does not have the right to force her to put her inheritance on black.

What the father has the authority to do, acting in his capacity as her guardian, she will have the authority to do in her own capacity.  The fact that her guardian is limited in what he can force her to do in his capacity as her guardian does not necessarily limit the ward’s behavior when she acts in her own capacity.

The father is commanded not to profane his daughter by “making” his daughter a prostitute.  How would a father “make” his daughter a prostitute?

We know that when an eligible virgin gives her virginity to a man, she is married to that man (Genesis 2:24) and is no longer under her father’s authority (Numbers 30:6-8) because she is now under her husband’s authority.  Once she has been married, if her husband dies or divorces her, she does not return to being under the authority of her father, she is in authority over herself (Numbers 30:9).

A woman can legitimately be a prostitute only if she is not a virgin and not married.  The only way she could meet that criteria and still be under her father’s authority is if she lost her virginity with a man who was not eligible to marry her while she was in her fathers house in her youth.  In all likelihood it would be as a result of her being seduced and subsequently her father forbid her agreement to marry and refused to give her.

In the normal course of events, we are talking about an extremely small percentage of the female population.  Given the situation, it is reasonable to assume the father is commanded not to make his daughter a prostitute as a protection for the daughter and to prevent fathers from creating or allowing this situation in order to profit from it.  The text states a reason for forbidding this: “so that the land may not fall to harlotry and the land become full of lewdness.”

The question becomes, what is being forbidden?  The father is forbidden to profane his daughter by forcing her to become a prostitute.  The fact that the father is forbidden to force his daughter to do a particular thing that is not otherwise forbidden is evidence that the particular thing is lawful.  Which makes this a specific restriction on the fathers authority, not a prohibition on prostitution.

The lewness the land would be overrun with is fathers forcing their daughters to be prostitutes so that the land was overrun with them.  Why the prohibition?  Because what is shocking and horrifying to one generation becomes accepted by the following generation and commonplace by the third generation.  Prostitutes have always been around, but fathers pimping out their daughters, forcing them to be prostitutes, that’s lewdness.

Then too, there is the relationship of the father and daughter to consider.

In Genesis 3:16 God issued his first judgment on mankind, saying “he shall rule over you.”  I have written about this before and effectively God declared women to be incompetent and appointed their husband as their guardian.  While it might be argued that prior to Christ the husband-wife relationship was primarily a master-servant relationship, it cannot be argued that the father-daughter relationship is anything but a guardian-ward relationship.

From that perspective, it becomes easy to see the command of Leviticus 19:29 as being a specific restriction on the father in his role as his daughter’s guardian which is there to protect the daughters and the society, rather than a blanket prohibition on prostitution.  Does prostitution alone cause the land to be overcome with lewdness?

The Second Objection

Second area of concern is the authority relationships involved. If the act of coitus is a man’s vow of marriage, then he has made a vow and the Lord shall require it of him. If the woman can refuse consent to marry but consent to sex, she is placed in a position of authority to negate her lover’s vow. She is also put in a position of authority to instruct the Lord not to require it of him after all.

Umm… No.  The act of coitus is the man’s consent, agreement and commitment to marriage.  It is automatic if he engages in the act but he has a choice in whether to engage in that activity.  The woman who is not a virgin and not married does have a choice and absent her agreement sex is meaningless.   We already addressed this issue and the relevant portion is this:

1. Agency. Numbers 30:3-5 is specific as to the authority of the father over his daughter and Exodus 22:17 clarifies that even if a daughter’s agreement to marry resulted in the act of marriage, the father (in the day he heard of it) had the authority to forbid her agreement, thus nullifying the resulting marriage. He refused the agreement to marry for her and thus the sex did not create a marriage. Numbers 30:9 is very specific in detailing that the widow and divorced woman have agency, in that there is no-one with the authority to review their agreements. Whatever agreement or vow they make is binding on them. It follows that they cannot be bound by an agreement they did not make. Likewise, the Apostle Paul (in 1st Corinthians 7:39) is clear that the woman who is no longer bound is free to choose whom she might marry, only in the Lord.

If the father has the authority to refuse marriage to the extent that the act of coitus did not make her married and the widow or divorced woman has the same authority over themselves, how can they be married unless they agree to be married? It stands to reason that if the father had the authority to refuse agreement and thereafter sex did not make the virgin married, then the refusal to agree by the non-virgin was sufficient to prevent marriage.

A non-virgin may be eligible to marry, which means that she may marry.  However, his vow to marry her is meaningless unless she agrees to marry him because that man is not in authority over that woman and he cannot make a vow that binds her unless she agrees to it.  The woman has no authority over the man (and never will), so the idea that her failure or refusal to agree to his vow somehow grants her authority over him is ridiculous.

The Third Objection

Thirdly there are the specific prohibitions against a priest marrying a prostitute, prostitutes giving tithe from their earnings, illegitimate kids being cut off until the tenth generation, etc, that indicate that the profession is frowned upon in ways that farming simply isn’t.

The specific prohibition against marrying a prostitute you speak of was directed to the Sons of Aaron, the men of the Aaronic priesthood.  We are speaking of Leviticus 21 and it starts (Verse 7) with the specific prohibition to all the sons of Aaron, he may not take any woman profaned by harlotry or who is a divorced woman. Does this mean that divorced women are considered prostitutes?  Or is this a prohibition on marrying the two classes of women in which there is a possibility that the woman is actually married, in which case the union would be an adulterous one.

Now jump down to Verse 10, where the instruction gets even more specific to the priest who is highest among his brothers, who has been anointed and consecrated.  That is followed by specific instruction for the high priest, which brings us to Verse 13, which says

“He shall take a wife in her virginity.  A widow or a divorced woman or a woman who has been profaned by harlotry, these he may not take; but rather he is to marry a virgin of his own people; that he may not profane his offspring among his people; for I am the lord who sanctifies him.” Leviticus 21:13-15.

Notice that all non-virgin women are lumped in here together and forbidden to the high priest as a wife.  The reason is that a non-virgin might cause his children to be profane.  His wife must be a virgin of his own people.  This restriction really has nothing to do with prostitutes, it’s about marrying a virgin.

The part about prostitutes being forbidden to make votive offerings in the Temple has nothing to do with forbidding prostitution and seems to be a direct reference to the preceding verse, which forbid cult prostitution both male and female.  The prohibition on illegitimate children entering into the assembly of the Lord down to the 10th Generation actually begs the question of what “‘illegitimate” means.  Does that refer to children born outside of marriage, or to children born of the prohibited unions between the Israelites and the tribes they were forbidden to mix with?  Any child born to an illegitimate marriage would automatically be illegitimate.  Virgins are married when they have sex and sex is how babies get started, so where did prostitution come up in this?

These are common objections that don’t bear up under the weight of scrutiny and the only real test is whether the Law forbid prostitution.  It does not.

If two prostitutes shared a house and dagger and took turns acting as each other’s security against abusive clients, it becomes pretty difficult to convict even a known prostitute of adultery and stone her.

Why do you assume the prostitutes are committing adultery?  The entire point is there is no record of prostitutes being stoned for adultery and in a village setting it is impossible for the community to not know what she is doing, when she does it and who she is with.

Since a woman’s testimony is only worth half that of a man, in this likely scenario it would take 3 men or 5 women to convict since the client and the two whores count as 2 men total. So it’s very likely that, then as now, there would exist a sizeable number of known whores who could not be convicted.

I have absolutely no idea where in the Bible you got the idea that a woman’s testimony is worth only half that of a man, because that’s Islamic Sharia law.

Thus the existence of the specific prohibitions would not necessarily imply that there was a righteous form of prostitution to regulate.

Pode, you’ve gone off the rails here.  The existence of specific prohibitions within prostitution prove that prostitution, generally, is not immoral.  Think of farming.  Mixing your seed, plowing with an ox and ass yoked together, binding the mouth of the ox that treads the grain, etc., are specifically prohibited.  Giving the land a Sabbath rest every seven years, leaving the corners of the field for gleaners, etc., these are commanded.  Which means that other than those specific regulations, farming is permitted and a moral, licit activity.  Want to tend a vineyard?  Go ahead!  Olive trees?  Why not?  It’s allowed.

If prostitution is per se adultery, the prohibition in Corinthians can be read not as creating a new primary offense, but explaining the nature of a new secondary offense. It’s bad enough you committing adultery, but because Christ now dwells in you, you’re involving Him in it too, so now it’s an even worse sin.

No, you’re grasping at straws here.  There is nothing to demonstrate that prostitution is per se adultery.  Cult prostitutes were forbidden in Israel and idolatry was forbidden in any and all forms.  Which is why there was such a fuss over eating meat sacrificed to idols- many construed that to be partaking in idolatry.  Paul was forbidding something to Christians (and Christians only) that had been previously allowed.

Fine Grinding

What we’ve been through in these posts is a bit of sifting of Scripture.  First, we have nothing that says prostitution, per se, is a sin.  So, the question becomes, how can we make prostitution a sin if the Bible doesn’t specifically say it’s a sin? I suppose the first olive out of the jar is adultery.  Adultery requires a married woman.  What about the woman who isn’t married?  Well, let’s take away her choice and force her to be married if she has sex.

The usual refuge of poltroons is to claim there is a “Biblical Principle” at work and even though the Bible does not support what they want to say, there is a “Biblical Principle” that rules.  What is really happening is people want to create a set of rules for their own purposes and claim God is supportive of that.  Worse, they believe God is required to follow their rules.

This all results when people do not agree with what God’s Word says (or doesn’t say).  God chose to forbid men from having sex with men.  God chose not to forbid women from engaging in sexual whatever with women.  God chose to completely ignore the subject of masturbation.  God chose not to forbid prostitution.  God chose not to forbid any man from having sex with a woman he was eligible to marry.  And this is very disturbing to most Christians.  Because they don’t actually like the way God set things up.

Oh… and the legal issue

I am constantly amazed at the number of “escorts” and others who violate the law by engaging in activity that meets the definition of prostitution, which is a crime.  The reason I am amazed is because it’s completely unnecessary of the goal is to be paid for offering sexual gratification.  If a man wants to pay a woman to engage in sexual activity with him, he can pay a woman for sexual access to her body (which is a crime) or he can pay an actress to engage in sexual activity with him while recording said activity on video for entertainment purposes.  That is not a crime.

The only real difference between a prostitute and a porn actress is a video camera and the willingness of both parties to star in a porn production.  Given that the presence of a camera tends to cause women to become more enthusiastic in their sexual performance (they don’t call it “porn star” sex for nothing), it seems reasonable to assert that legally participating in a recorded porn production with a paid actress is a superior method of obtaining sexual gratification in return for payment.

It seems likewise reasonable to assert that a woman who wished to engage in sexual activity in return for payment should choose to legally do so as a porn actress rather than as a prostitute.  There are numerous advantages, such as being able to legally advertise such services and the freedom from prosecution.  Some might consider the possibility that the video might make its way onto the internet to be a problem, but that would be video that was lost in the sea of porn and the name associated with it would be the woman’s “stage name” instead of her real name.  That possibility should be balanced against the risk of being arrested for prostitution, which will create a permanent criminal record under her real name.

Again, there is no reasonable moral argument that a woman selling her body is automatically committing sin because prostitution is classified as a crime.  Any woman who desires to receive payment in return for performing sexual acts can easily comply with the law by doing so as a porn actress, which is completely legal.  Plenty of men take on the job of producing, directing and acting in their own productions and we have examples like Mel Gibson and Clint Eastwood.  They hire actresses to play their assigned roles.  All of this is perfectly legal.    And if an actress wants to offer “one stop shopping” to make his production a reality, all he needs is money.  Which he will pay to her.  Which was the entire point to begin with.

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30 Responses to Ho, ho, ho.

  1. Mycroft Jones says:

    Toad, you didn’t address the story of Dinah. Her brothers felt that treating their sister “like a whore” was sufficiently bad to justify killing every male in the city. And there was no implication of “cult” prostitution in the story; the Hebrew text is talking about straight up harlotry.

    • Mycroft, since you insist…

      Dinah was grabbed by Shechem and forcibly relieved of her virginity. Hopefully we can agree on that, because the text is pretty clear on that. He took her virginity, they were married. She was his wife, she was not in sin, there is no indication she was having sex with anyone else.

      Why, specifically, do you believe that Dinah was engaged in prostitution? Please tell us all how Dinah was a “harlot” because she was raped into marriage. Please point to the specific text that indicates there was a payment of some kind that induced Dinah to provide sexual access to her body. What about the other men? Is there any indication she was getting paid to have sex with any other men, other than her husband?

      When you get done, please explain why you place so much importance on the description her murderous brothers used, the men who murdered her husband and all the other men in the city. As you point out, her brother said that Shechem treated her like a harlot. Meaning, he grabbed her and forced her to have sex with him and later tried to smooth things over with her family. Her brothers didn’t say she was a harlot.

      You have mentioned Dinah time and time again. It’s a historical account. She was raped into marriage and her husband was murdered by her brothers. Why is this so special to you?

      • Mycroft Jones says:

        By your interpretation of the Dinah story, marrying a virgin is the same as treating her like a harlot. You still haven’t established that sexing a virgin marries you to her. Marriage is between a man and a woman’s owner. Code-plead it out. Sexing a virgin incurs the COST of marriage, but the benefits of marriage can only be bestowed by the woman’s owner.

  2. SnapperTrx says:

    It seems easier to understand when you wrap your mind around the fact that God is perfect and His inclusions and exclusions from the Bible are not done haphazardly but with perfect design. Most people can’t wrap their minds around the “you broke it, you own it” concept of taken virginity = marriage, even if that virginity is taken by force. It sounds morally wrong to the human mind, it if we believe God is perfect then we understand that it is this way for a purpose and a design. If you think of it in the sense of authorities ir becomes MUCH easier. Who’s authority is a virgin under? Her fathers, until she loses her virginity, then she is under the authority of the man who took it. If that man dies, she falls under her own authority and can do as she pleases and make the how’s she pleases. She is no longer married – sex does not equal adultery because she has no husband! And since a man cannot commit adultery with an unmarried woman who is not a virgin, and there is no prohibition for non Christians, it is not sin to have sex with such a woman if you are not in the body of Christ. What do I care? I AM in the body so I won’t be using the services of an “actress”, but I still get the concept.

  3. Andreas says:

    I don’t think Paul came up with any new prohibition against prostitution. He was writing to Corinthians after all, which was a pagan city so the issue at hand was cult/temple prostitution.

    Idolatry/faith is always the primary issue. It’s unwise to strip away that context, even when it comes to the issue of homosexuality. If I recall correctly, there’s been a few notable cases of anti-gay crusaders who turn out to be gay themselves eventually. I mean, you end up with an inversion in things when you strip away the primary context.

    • I don’t think Paul came up with any new prohibition against prostitution… the issue at hand was cult/temple prostitution.

      If there was no new prohibition, you are trying to make the case that the prohibition only applied to sex with temple prostitutes. This reinforces the point that there is no prohibition on any man paying a woman to have sex with him… assuming she’s not married or that it’s part of idolatry. Thus, you are claiming that Christian men are free to have sex with ordinary prostitutes who offer sex in exchange for money and do not violate the law concerning adultery or idolatry.

      I disagree with your analysis because that is not what Scripture teaches us. First, in all the Law and prophets, there is no prohibition on ordinary prostitution and it is not a sin. It is not immoral. It is a licit activity and men were not prohibited from engaging the services of a prostitute. Witness Samson, one of the hero’s of the faith who used prostitutes and did not violate his Nazarite vows to remain clean and holy to the Lord.

      If you look at all uses of the Greek word “porne” in the New Testament, you will find that half the uses are found in the book of Revelation and are references to an idolatrous system, the “great whore” who sits on many waters. The other half of the references are to actual women. Two of the references describe the righteous prostitute Rahab. Two of the references were made by the Lord to the prostitutes and tax collectors who would enter the Kingdom of Heaven before the elders of the Temple. We know that the adulterers and idolators don’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven. One of the references to came in the parable of the prodigal son, referring to the women the son had paid to have sex with him. The other was in 1st Corinthians 6:16.

      So, we have prostitutes defined as women who have sex for money in the parable of the prodigal son, we have the example of the righteous prostitute Rahab, mentioned twice, and we twice have the Lord saying that prostitutes would enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. The Lord was known for his association with both prostitutes and tax collectors and his closest female associate was the former prostitute Mary Magdalene. I see no evidence that ordinary prostitution (not adulterous, not idolatrous) was anything more than an honorable, if unsavory way for a woman to make a living.

      Thus, we have a new prohibition in 1st Corinthians 6:16 which specifically applies only to Christian men, forbidding them to join the members of Christ with a prostitute. Doing so was an abuse of their authority to initiate marriage (sexual intercourse with a woman is the act by which a man initiates marriage) because the men were engaged in the act of marriage with women who were eligible to marry but by agreement were refusing to marry the men.

      As to your comments on homosexuality, it appears you are conflating the forbidden (male homosexuality) with the activities of women, which were not forbidden.

      • Samuel Culpepper says:

        How would one go about determining if a prostitute is righteous, other than taking the word of a whore? Seems dangerous to put your complete trust in a woman, hence God created woman with a maidenhead so that she could not defraud her husband and draw him into adultery unknowingly. Your thoughts?

        • “How would one go about determining…”

          That is the question, isn’t it? As you’ve pointed out, women come with a tamper-proof seal. Everything after that is subject to discussion.

          Let’s say old Eli marries a young woman late in life. He has no doubt that she’s a virgin. She was a very poor girl with no family, her virginity was basically all she had. She was average looking at best and she didn’t have much in the way of prospects.

          Eli wasn’t a great catch because he had very little, but he offered security. Eli didn’t have any family to take care of her after he died and she was left with nothing. She had two children to care for and nobody was interested in taking her on as a wife. She had to provide for her children and the one thing everyone could agree on was that she was not married. She was a widow.

          Have you ever wondered where the old saying “there’s only one way to comfort a widow” came from? Everyone knows she was a virgin, then married and is now a widow. She is free to provide what comfort she can to men in return for payment on their part. They aren’t interested in marrying her but she offers variety from the wife and is enthusiastic enough to be a good lay. She knows how to please her clientele.

          By virtue of the community knowledge of her history, she’s safe. She is not an adulteress. For some men that’s important, for other men it’s enough that she’s available.

  4. Pode says:

    I was trying to muster all the arguments I could imagine that you’d not already addressed, and you’ve done a fine job of answering them. I continue to come around to your way of thinking, but am being cautious in doing so because of the change it represents and the consequences of getting this sort of stuff wrong.

    Please ignore the erroneous import of Islamic doctrine, I was operating under the (fairly accurate) general assumption that Mohammad never had an original thought in his life. The point was:
    – IF consent to sex is consent to marriage,
    – THEN prostitution is per se adultery.
    – Why then do the specific regulations re prostitution exist, since adultery is a death penalty offense?
    – IF there exists a legal loophole such that a known prostitute might not be able to be convicted of adultery, THEN the regulations make sense even if prostitution is per se adultery.

    Even if my overly detailed and Islamic example of such a loophole had been valid, I realize now that chain of reasoning still breaks at the last step. The prohibitions are about prostitutes, not adulterers. If the chain of reasoning had been correct, the prohibitions would need to address all living adulterers, not just the ones who did it for money. What God doesn’t say matters. Thus prostitution must not be per se adultery, which necessarily means consent to sex cannot equal consent to marriage.

    Which brings us to the only remaining objection to prostitution I can muster. There must be some element of the Law on sexual behavior missing from the discussion, since AFAIK there is also no specific prohibition against sex with otherwise eligible prepubescents. The conscience of every civilized society and several others has revolted against such. I have difficulty imagining such a universal moral stance existing without a source in God’s law. IF such prohibition exists, then it MAY also have bearing on the issue of prostitution, depending on the text and scope of this unidentified prohibition.

    As an aside, I was ENORMOUSLY disappointed in the conclusion of that epic thread. After ALL THAT buildup, as I read it, your opponents feigned to suddenly realize you think the Old Testament is relevant to Christians and refused to have any further discussions with such an obvious heretic. W. T. Actual. F. It’s what inspired me to post here the first time. Someone needs to debate this with you and make sure that every step in your logic chain is solid, this is too important. I don’t think I’m qualified or terribly effective at it, but I’m here to try to keep you honest.

    So, off to try to find a Biblical ban on child rape. Probably tops the list of things that are more difficult than one thinks they should be.

    • ‘I was trying to muster all the arguments I could imagine that you’d not already addressed, and you’ve done a fine job of answering them.”

      Thank you. I tried.

      Someone needs to debate this with you and make sure that every step in your logic chain is solid, this is too important.

      Rest assured, I appreciate the effort you’re making. It took me a while to realize that there are quite a few men who could argue this with me, but they won’t because they know I’m right. It’s taken me a while to get the hang of a few things.

      Right now I’m back to looking at the word “zanah” because it has to be nailed down hard. So, I’m going verse by verse of every single usage of the word nailing down what the word actually means in context with that usage.

      “there is also no specific prohibition against sex with otherwise eligible prepubescents.”

      Which places the issue squarely before us: Can we accept God’s design? It would be easy to create a “Biblical Principle(TM)” from Ezekiel 16:7-8, that sex (marriage) is not to occur until the virgin is tall in stature, her breasts are formed and her hair had grown (obvious reference to pubic hair).

      However, God chose not to forbid such activity and since He chose not to do so it must have been for His reasons. The question is whether we can make up our own rules and claim God is obliged to follow them.

      Is this a case in which a girl is simply not eligible to marry until she reaches the time for love (back to Ezekiel 16), but it is not forbidden for reasons we were not given? Think of an invading army and what would happen to a girl if someone didn’t decide to take possession of her. Which is not to take the position of being an apologist for what we, today, know as pedophilia… I’m simply saying that God did not explain why He chose not to forbid it. Logically this implies that there is at least one instance it could happen in which God is OK with it and chose not to forbid it for that reason.

      • Pode says:

        “Think of an invading army and what would happen to a girl if someone didn’t decide to take possession of her.”

        Taking her as a slave as spoils of war doesn’t necessarily HAVE to involve taking her to bed as a war bride before she’s of age.

        I guess I am trying to find a “Biblical Principle TM”. I’m just not quite ready to accept that just because there’s no text saying “Thou shalt not have sex with prepubescents” that none of the other regulations on sexual behavior prohibit it by necessary inference. So I’m in the same boat as Simple Tim:

        ” Attacking Toad’s position cannot be made by showing a prohibition against prepubescent sex as no verse does so.

        The question then becomes, how do I make a Biblical case that it is sin absent such a verse?”

    • Samuel Culpepper says:

      Only after a scholarly analysis of “what is marriage?” did it become clear to me why “fornication” wasn’t addressed by the Ten Commandments yet “adultery” was! Fornication as we modern christians use and understand that word, does not exist. Understanding the former illuminates the instant.

  5. Reverend Pain says:

    If marriage is a long dull ceremony in a church with the state getting involved then where was the church and the state when Adam and Eve got married. All the covenants in the Bible involve blood being shed. When a girl loses her virginity blood is shed. It isn’t complicated when you think about it without just parroting what the mainstream church says.

    On a completely unrelated note. Do you think the west is doomed to perish? I’m in England and we have unending immigration and sooner or later the immigrants are going to want to be in charge. And by immigrants I mean Muslims who are still angry over Richard the Lionheart smacking them about centuries ago. My concern is because have been emasculated there won’t be any kind of resistance and we’ll just die out with only some grumbling involved.

  6. Pode says:

    Back with a new tack on arguing for prostitution as per se adultery. I don’t think folks have advanced it before because it requires accepting that sex creates a marriage, and most defenders of the traditional teaching are too afraid of facing the adultery epidemic that implies.

    -Matt. 19:6 says that God does the joining of two into one flesh. In other places IIRC this is referred to as a great mystery, i.e. something belonging to the divine realm revealed only to believers, as per the other mystery religions popular at the time.
    -1 Cor. 6:16 says that whoever lies with a prostitute becomes one flesh with her, in a tone that implies this should be obvious “Do you not know?”
    -Matt. 19:6 says what God joins together no man should separate, referring to divorce from one’s wife.
    -Gen 2:24 says that a man who cleaves his wife becomes one flesh with her.

    So God does the making of one flesh, sex with a prostitute triggers this just like sex with a wife, and one flesh is used (exclusively?) to describe marital unions. It can thus be argued that, regardless of intentions or status, sex with a prostitute makes her your wife. Who then proceeds to commit adultery with the next guy, who is committing adultery with her also.

    This harmonizes well with Christ’s teaching in Matt 19:12 that a man’s choices are to marry or to cut his balls off. If sex with a prostitute makes her your wife, surely sex with any woman makes her your wife, and you must marry in order to use your balls. The widow/divorcee can choose who to marry by choosing who to have sex with, the virgin’s father makes that choice for her and has a special one time only power to negate her sin of disobedience or the sin of another man in raping her.

    The prostitutes get into the kingdom sooner because they already know they’re lost and need to repent, not because they’re righteous.

    This still runs into trouble with the other arguments we’ve had in defense of legitimate prostitution, like the legal prohibitions referring specifically to prostitutes instead of all living adulterers, the idea that the women of a community would tolerate a prostitute in their midst when it’d be easy to arrange enough witnesses to have her stoned for adultery, etc. But I thought it was worth bringing up in my role as loyal opposition here.

  7. Renee Harris says:

    I’ve been thinking about that a lot. And it’s just a A theory and I have no biblical evidence to support it
    When you remove the emotional from entire thing I think it kind of makes sense
    On the whole prepubescent thing: one could argue that because the girl is given her virginity at birth then the moment she born you can have her. I’m to thinking based on the logic of when things begin.
    I’m Trying do something very difficult for a woman: to think logically without emotion.
    I remember a part of dangerous liaisons where Metres ( Glen close) ex lover how did fiancé plate in the school of his choosing. Maybe that’s how God made for marriages to work in industrialized society: a man married His wife the day after she is born and then send it off to finishing whole school to gain that skills he desires in wife? Or should she well up in her husband’s household learn from the older wives
    The Lord is perfect and all of his ways are perfect even if we don’t like them

  8. Renee Harris says:

    Or should she raise up in her husband household

  9. Pothos says:

    Firstly, by way of introduction using your very descriptive terminology, I am a recovering churchian. I have been educated at some of the most highly-regarded, theologically-conservative Bible colleges and seminaries, and hold a handful of degrees. I have served in vocational ministry for the better part of my adult life, but beginning about 10 years ago I began to grow increasingly concerned about some of the “orthodox” and accepted views of “churchians” that was in direct conflict with what I knew Scripture actually said. It is to my shame that I did not realize this paradox sooner, and I quickly discovered that there were very few (near 0) of my peers and fellow theologians with whom to discuss these matters.

    I made the decision to step away from vocational ministry, accept a much more mundane (and far less lucrative) form of employment, and devote myself to study, prayer, and if God would so choose, to lead a group of believers in a way that was consistent with biblical revelation and not bound by the chains forged by well-intentioned but misguided men throughout the history of the church.

    I say all that in order to help flesh out my question for you.

    My wife and I realized a number of years ago that what we had been taught about sex and human sexuality (and in turn taught to others) was not the “whole counsel of God” but instead actually created a type of bondage from which Christ has set us free.

    That said, I came across your blog recently and find myself in complete agreement with much of what you have written, which I must say is incredibly refreshing. If we are to be true students of the Word and perform strong but proper interpretation and exegesis from the texts and therefrom develop our beliefs, one must reach the conclusions that I have come to, and that you expound admirable within this blog.

    Now my question:

    You introduced me to a topic I had not considered – namely, the differentiation of “zanah” and “qadesh.”

    I found myself in immediate disagreement (falling back into my comfortable “churchian” heritage and habits) but quickly discovered that yet again you raised an interesting point and presented insurmountable evidence that is easily proven by any Bible student with access to even elementary language tools.

    You’ve also done an excellent job in your presentation of Paul’s prohibition in 1 Corinthians 6 – which brings me to the point of this comment and the source of my question:

    Do you find any evidence that non-coitus sexual contact is anywhere prohibited, whether in the NT between prostitutes and/or marriage-eligible women and Christian men, or anywhere in the OT?

    Thank you for the time you’ve spent in writing on these topics. I appreciate the way you approach a divisive subject and stand unapologetically upon the Word of God.

    • Hi Porthos

      Welcome. You might find this post and the file linked at the bottom to be helpful. As my understanding grows and as I discover new passages that are related to this, I add them. This has definitely been a learning experience.

      I can relate to your experience in dealing with the dichotomy between what is taught and what Scripture actually says. Seminaries teach doctrine, not the Bible; in the same way that law schools teach procedure, not the law. To get to the point I am at now, I had to throw away all the things I thought I knew. Similar to looking at a case long decided for which new evidence has come to light that warrants a complete review from the ground up.

      As to your question:

      Scripture does not mention sexual acts other than sexual intercourse and the words used in Leviticus 18:20 refer to plowing and planting seed. Other than intercourse when the woman is menstruating or during the proscribed period following childbirth, God does not forbid sexual acts- He forbids sexual relationships. When we look at the word “zanah” and how often it’s used in the context of idolatry as well as adultery, for me… idolatry is just as much spiritual adultery as adultery is physical idolatry. Which is why the same word so often describes both acts. In both cases it’s giving to another that which properly belongs only to the husband or God.

      That said, while the specific definition of adultery is sexual intercourse, when we consider other sexual acts by the WIFE that don’t achieve the level of intercourse, it raises the issue of giving to someone else that which rightly only belongs to her husband. I believe no form of sexual contact is permissible between a wife and any man other than her husband.

      There is no prohibition anywhere in Scripture that forbids a man from having sex with a woman he is eligible to marry, regardless of his marital status, EXCEPT for the prohibition at 1st Cor. 6:16. I have my own opinion as to why… but it makes a lot of sense if we look at sex with whores as being forbidden because the men were abusing their authority to marry by having sex with the one group of eligible non-virgins who were guaranteed NOT to agree to marry them.

      What is a prostitute? A woman who sells access to her body in discrete increments. The men are commanded not to join themselves to a prostitute, but implied in that is they’re paying for the privilege. I find no support anywhere in Scripture for the idea that a woman who gives it away for free is a prostitute.

      As to virgins, as long as she’s eligible to marry, she’s fair game. Break it and you’ve bought it, she’s your wife. Given that the man is authorized to have sex with her, he’s authorized to do anything else of a sexual nature (except for intercourse while she’s menstruating). The man’s marital status is not an issue because a man is authorized to have more than one wife.

      Women who are not virgins but not married. I’ve written extensively about this because at this point, virtually all the adult women are married and don’t know it. Is the man she gave her virginity to still alive? She’s married (unless he wasn’t a Christian and he divorced her for her adultery; or if her father forbid her agreement to marry in the day he heard of it). If he’s dead she’s a widow (unless, following the death of her husband she agreed to be married).

      It’s reached the point that a Christian man’s first task is to deal with getting a so-called “single” woman un-married if he legitimately wants to have anything to do with her. Meaning, either she was married when she was in her youth living in her father’s house and her father can forbid it; or, her non-Christian husband can give her a certificate of divorce for her adultery. If that’s not possible I advise young men to move along, she’s a married woman and that’s that.

      If the woman is legitimately not married and not a virgin then she’s eligible for marriage but sex alone will not make her married. She must agree to marry in order to be married with the act of sex. Since there is no sin in bedding her, how could anything short of coitus be a sin?

      Having said all that, in Galatians 5:19 the words akatharsia (Strong’s 167) and aselgeia (Strong’s 766) that are generally translated as impurity ( the impurity of lustful, luxurious, profligate living) and debauchery (outrageous conduct shocking to public decency, wanton lewdness) are thought by some to forbid the behavior you are talking about.

      With an understanding of how marriage begins and the fact a man is authorized more than one wife and subsequently there is no prohibition on a man having sex with any woman he is eligible to marry, such an argument is ridiculous. Gnat, meet camel. Yet, how many people understand this? Very few.

      Buried in Thayers Lexicon under the heading of aselgeia, (specifically in reference to Galatians 5:19) we see “wanton (acts or) manners, as filthy words, indecent bodily movements, unchaste handling of males and females, etc.” I can see how that would create the idea that by definition the Apostle Paul was issuing a prohibition specifically to the Church that went above and beyond the Law (which was allowed) and forbid sexual acts that didn’t rise to the level of coitus. The problem, again, is if the “unchaste handling” of the woman was preliminary to the act of marriage, we have the Apostle Paul forbidding foreplay. Could you imagine:

      “No, you can’t start with a blowjob or let him play with your tits, but whatever happens after he puts his penis in your vagina is perfectly OK.”

      Thayers Lexicon, I must note, does not accept that sex with a virgin is to marry her. They are vehemently opposed to the concept that there is nothing prohibiting a man from having sex with any eligible woman. They are positively certain that having more than one wife is no longer permitted. The fact their positions do not agree with Scripture is meaningless to them because individually they would be destroyed if they spoke the truth.

  10. Pothos says:

    Thank you for your response.

    I agree with your conclusions that non-coitus sexual contact and activity would fall under the prescription of Galatians 5:19. Particularly aselgeia, which could include all sorts of behaviors, but since it is used so infrequently in Scripture it is difficult to derive a complete understanding. Based on secular use by Plato and others, it would seem that it might have at its heart some form of publicly-unacceptable sexual activity that included violence (hello 50 Shades of Grey).

    Akathasia, on the other hand, seems to indicate an uncleanness that is the result of unlawful activity. When God gave Peter his vision of the sheet descending from heaven in Acts 10:9-17, Peter used two words to describe what he was seeing – koinos (common) and akatharsia (unclean). As you will remember, Peter informed the Lord that he had never eaten anything that was “common or unclean.” The traditional “churchian” (I like that word – very descriptive) view is that God has now overturned the Hebraic dietary laws. A quick study, however, reveals that not to be the case. God’s reply to Peter is “What God has made clean, do not call common (koinos).” God did not correct Peter and say “What God has made clean do not call unclean (akatharsia).”

    This has nothing to do with the dietary laws but is rather pointing out the addition to the Law that was rather in vogue at the time and promulgated by the Pharisees – specifically traditions that added to the burden of the Jewish people but that found no basis in the Law itself. This barrier could keep Peter from ministering to the Gentiles, but God used this vision to break down that barrier be destroying the traditions of the Pharisees and declaring the “common” to be “clean,” not undoing His own laws.

    Using this as a basis, Galatians 5:19 would seem to teach that the works of the flesh – “adultery (moicheia), fornication (porneia), uncleaness (akatharsia), and lasciviousness (aselgeia), are mostly (with the exception of aselgeia) defined by the Law. God isn’t adding to the Law, he is reiterating it through Paul to the Galatians, since many (most?) of these early Christians were Gentiles and had no historical understanding of the Law.

    I’m still sifting through your understanding of 1 Corinthians 6:16. You are correct in pointing out that this is directed squarely at Christian men who were abusing a privilege afforded men within the Jewish community. What I am still working through is whether the use of porne in 1 Corinthians 6:16 refines the meaning of porne. Its cultural use tends toward unlawful sexual contact or sexual activity within the context of ritual or cultic practice. Still working through that one.

    • I think there is a worldview issue present here that has a great deal of impact on the meaning of this and I think Paul was being proscriptive in Galatians 5:19 rather than descriptive. Which focuses the attention on what he was proscribing.

      If we consider this within the context of “circumcise the heart” then the akatharsia and aselgeia becomes more of a heart issue of appropriateness. We also have the (unmentioned) issue of public space vs private space. Most would agree, there are plenty of things a husband and wife could do in public (with all their clothes on) that would be rather outrageous and lewd conduct on their part. But what activities between a husband and wife be outrageous and shocking conduct if performed in private? This points to a violation of God’s standards on one hand and issues of decorum on the other.

      If we compare the lists given in 1st Cor. 6 (the individuals) with the list in Galatians 5 (the acts) we see something interesting in terms of sexual morality.

      In 1st Cor 6:9, Paul lists the individuals:

      • the moichoi, (the heterosexual adulterer)
      • the eidōlolatrai (an idolator, given the sexual aspects of idolatry- temple prostitutes)
      • the pornoi (a man who prostitutes his body to another’s lust for hire, a male prostitute)
      • the malakoi (effeminate, of a catamite, a male who submits his body to unnatural lewdness)
      • the arsenokoitai (a male engaging in same-gender sexual activity; a sodomite, pederast)

      1st Cor. 6. In Galatians 5:19 Paul lists the acts of:

      • porneia (of illicit sexual intercourse in general. Illicit being unlawful, contrary to God’s Law)
      • akatharsia (uncleanness, impurity, includes intercourse while the woman is menstruating)
      • aselgeia (outrageous conduct, shocking to public decency)

      We live in a society today which is in some ways remarkably similar to the culture and society of the people Paul was writing to and today we can see behavior patterns that most of Christendom was never able to see. For example, in my analysis of 1st Corinthians 6:12-16, I made the point that the community understood that under the Law, the men were not doing anything wrong by using a prostitute for sex as long as she wasn’t married or engaged in idolatrous practices. For Moses was preached in every synagogue and the people did have some teaching in these areas. Legitimate prostitutes were not doing anything wrong or sinful and that is beyond dispute.

      With the worldview that a virgin is married with the act of sex, Paul’s words in that context have a different meaning, in that non-adulterous heterosexual activity was not an issue. Male homosexuality and adultery was. In the 1st Cor 6 passage we have Paul carefully covering all bases. First were the adulterers, married women who had sex with a man other than their husband and those men who had sex with another man’s wife. The male prostitute (No mention of whether he is prostituting himself with men or married women), the male effeminate homosexual (bottoms, the “flaming” homosexual men) as well as the masculine homosexual men (tops, who might well be married to a woman and see boys and young men as just another variety of sexual pleasure).

      Note: It should be noted in passing that none of this applies in the slightest to women with women, contrary to the modern churchian views on sexual morality.)

      With this perspective we could see that while some heterosexual activity might be viewed as lewd and wanton if it happened in a public space where it was inappropriate, all unlawful sexual activity would be lewd and wanton no matter where it took place. While the porneia includes adultery, it also applies to the idolatrous sexual practices of the eidōlolatrai. Thus, aselgeia and akatharsia is strongly suggestive of various forms of behavior and conduct displayed by the pornoi, malakoi and the arsenokoitai. One only has to live in an area with a large number of such people to understand this. Or go to a “gay pride” festival.

      I’m still sifting through your understanding of 1 Corinthians 6:16. You are correct in pointing out that this is directed squarely at Christian men who were abusing a privilege afforded men within the Jewish community. What I am still working through is whether the use of porne in 1 Corinthians 6:16 refines the meaning of porne. Its cultural use tends toward unlawful sexual contact or sexual activity within the context of ritual or cultic practice. Still working through that one.

      The “privilege” was the fact that God did not forbid it, therefore it was lawful activity.

      As to porne, I stuck with the use of the word in Scripture. Metaphorically, it was used in Revelation to describe the whore who sits on many waters. In the rest of the NT, when speaking of a person, the usage contains not even a hint of idolatry.

      • Jesus used the word twice to describe the prostitutes who would enter the Kingdom of Heaven before the elders of the Temple.
      • In the parable of the prodigal son, it describes the women he spent his money on.
      • Rahab the prostitute was mentioned twice, once in Hebrews and once in James. Both times she was identified as righteous. Would she have been called righteous were she an adulteress?
      • The only other mentions are in 1st Corinthians 6:15-16.

      Note: The Law does not forbid a woman from selling her body, so implied in the statement of Jesus that the prostitutes would enter the Kingdom of Heaven before the elders of the temple is these women are NOT engaged in acts the Apostle Paul describes in Galatians 5 that would prevent them from entering the Kingdom of God. Neither are prostitutes listed in 1st Corinthians 6 as people who will not enter the Kingdom of God. It was their belief that would get them there and they were not otherwise engaged in immorality that would keep them out.

      1. Prostitution was lawful as long as it did not involve adultery or idolatry.
      2. By definition, men pay prostitutes to have sex with them.
      3. Prostitutes were eligible to marry but sex with them was guaranteed not to result in marriage.
      4. The men were using their authority to marry to have sex that wouldn’t result in marriage.
      5. This was an abuse of their authority and avoidance of the first commandment, Paul forbid it.

      If Paul’s focus was on idolatry, then he did NOT forbid common, ordinary money-for-sex prostitution because such sexual contact was not unlawful. Idolatry and cultic practices were already forbidden and the sex did not change that, so if Paul was focused on temple whores then there is no prohibition on garden-variety prostitution.

      The text is simple and to the point. Becoming one body with the prostitute is sexual intercourse and Paul makes it clear the use of “kollao” in that context is the context of Genesis 2:24 and thereby defines “dabaq” as sexual intercourse.

      • The virgin is married with the act of sexual intercourse.
      • A man was not restricted to a single wife, which is supported by the totality of Scripture.
      • There is no prohibition that forbids a man from having sex with any eligible woman.

      All of which has the effect of turning modern Christian views of sexual morality on its head.

  11. Pingback: Advice To A Young Man, Part II | Toad's Hall

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