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Bible verses about Harlotry
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Judges 16:4-5   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Apart from Israel, the biblical record relates the story of one woman, Delilah, who exemplifies the harlot, helping us to zero in on what drives most prostitutes. Only two verses, Judges 16:4-5, are needed to isolate her reason for living as she did:

Now afterward it happened that [Samson] loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, "Entice him, and find out where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to afflict him; and every one of us will give you eleven hundred pieces of silver."

What motivates Delilah's harlotry, and what does it teach us from God's perspective? Harlotry has its base in lust, deceit, and treachery, entered into, executed, or performed for what the perpetrator believes is an immediate gain. Not every case of harlotry follows Delilah's exact pattern, but the motivations center on sinning for personal gain, an element that never seems to change.

Delilah illustrates a greedy, smooth-talking temptress. Biblically, she becomes a metaphorical image for the Israelites, who reject God's provision for her as Husband to seek personal, "more satisfying" gain by other means. The driving forces are unbelief and distrust combined with self-indulgence primarily expressed through greed.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Beast and Babylon (Part Nine): Babylon the Great


 

2 Kings 17:14-16   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

This was Israel's great sin, typified as prostitution: debasing themselves and God through the adoption and practice of the way of the heathen, and rejecting the way, providence, and sovereignty of God for something far inferior, corrupting, and shameful.

In the midst of His law, God warns Israel—and thus us as the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16)—that to do things as the heathens do them constitutes harlotry. His terminology is in His instructions to Israel in Leviticus 20:2-8 is extremely clear.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Beast and Babylon (Part Nine): Babylon the Great


 

Proverbs 6:20-21   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

This begins a long section of instruction regarding adultery and harlotry. The first warning is to protect one's heart—not one's body—from her because the body follows the heart's lusts. Since Babylon, the Great Whore, is our spiritual temptation, this is a veiled admonition to steer clear of Babylon. Verse 26 reveals her predatory nature; she preys upon the precious lives of her victims like a cat preys on birds. Satan, the father of Babylon and its ways, "walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (I Peter 5:8).

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Beast and Babylon (Part Nine): Babylon the Great


 

Proverbs 7:10-21   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Proverbs 7:10-21 details some of a harlot's characteristics. A careful study would find that she is described as deviously sly and cunning in that she feigns love, knowing how to pull a man's strings. Her "love" is strictly business—it is nothing but window dressing. Part of her eye-appealing attraction is her purposeful seduction and immodest dress, arousing lust. She is described as "loud," which might be better rendered as turbulent, flighty, confused, inconstant, and unstable. She lacks dignity and gravity, and she is stubborn, defiant, brazen, deliberately obstinate, and headstrong. Further, she is aggressive, impudent, contemptuous, presumptuous, and disrespectful.

Apart from Israel, the biblical record relates the story of one woman, Delilah, who exemplifies the harlot, helping us to zero in on what drives most prostitutes. Only two verses, Judges 16:4-5, are needed to isolate her reason for living as she did:

Now afterward it happened that [Samson] loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, "Entice him, and find out where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to afflict him; and every one of us will give you eleven hundred pieces of silver."

What motivates Delilah's harlotry, and what does it teach us from God's perspective? Harlotry has its base in lust, deceit, and treachery, entered into, executed, or performed for what the perpetrator believes is an immediate gain. Not every case of harlotry follows Delilah's exact pattern, but the motivations center on sinning for personal gain, an element that never seems to change.

Delilah illustrates a greedy, smooth-talking temptress. Biblically, she becomes a metaphorical image for the Israelites, who reject God's provision for her as Husband to seek personal, "more satisfying" gain by other means. The driving forces are unbelief and distrust combined with self-indulgence primarily expressed through greed.

The term "greed" may sound harsh, considering the circumstances some women get themselves into before choosing to prostitute themselves. However, we have to learn that nobody has to sin—but something motivates us to do so. Greed is "expressing excessive desire, especially for food, drink, or wealth." We give ourselves and others an almost endless stream of justifications for sinning, but the bottom line is that we are simply unwilling to pay the price to discipline ourselves to do what is right. In our impatience, we convince ourselves that righteousness will not get us anything.

Recall the Great Harlot's boast in Revelation 18:7: "I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow." This is the statement of one who would compromise rather than suffer the loss of what she felt is her due. Greed is a synonym for lust or covetousness. However, it is especially applicable here because of Israel's well-known desire for wealth and comfort.

Notice how clearly Hosea expresses this:

For their mother has played the harlot; she who conceived them has behaved shamefully. . . . She will chase her lovers, but not overtake them; yes, she will seek them, but not find them. Then she will say, "I will go and return to my first husband, for then it was better for me than now." For she did not know that I gave her grain, new wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold—which they prepared for Baal. (Hosea 2:5, 7-8)

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Beast and Babylon (Part Nine): Babylon the Great


 

Isaiah 1:21-26   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Isaiah 1:21-26 is especially interesting because it describes the harlotry principle working within the social justice system. Judges were selling themselves out through accepting bribes or for personal advantage in some other area of life, and counselors—lawyers—were giving bad advice to tip the scales of "justice" favorably for their careers. Under such corruption, justice in Israel was difficult to find, so difficult that "the prudent keep silent at that time, for it is an evil time" (Amos 5:13).

God makes the contrast between harlotry and faithfulness clear. "Harlotry" is the Bible's code word for faithlessness to God regardless of the area of life in which the faithlessness occurs or of which gender is sinning.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Beast and Babylon (Part Nine): Babylon the Great


 

Isaiah 23:15-18   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Tyre was the New York City of its day, and here God is prophesying of its defeat. Though it would survive, it would be brought into line with God's purpose for Israel. He depicts the commercial merchandising system of this heathen city as harlotry. Tragically, Israel adopted these heathens' attitudes and ways of doing business. Israel has a proclivity for taking an idea or concept from others, refining it, and making it work better than it did for its originators—yet in so doing she rejects God's economic systems.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Beast and Babylon (Part Nine): Babylon the Great


 

Hosea 2:2   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Israel is so faithless to her duties, she openly invites adulteries and aggressively chases after her lovers. Her aggressiveness does not merely perpetuate a condition but creates a climate that increases its effects. Paul reveals this principle in Galatians 6:7: "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap." It is a law of nature that unless something intervenes to interrupt the growing cycle, more is reaped than is sowed.

The Bible uses a saying to describe this latter principle, "Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind" (see Hosea 8:7). It is like saying, "Fan a breeze and produce a hurricane!" Sowing faithlessness is no different: Unless real repentance interrupts it, it will produce more faithlessness until the spirit of harlotry, an attitude that causes many serious ramifications, permeates the entire nation.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Seventh Commandment (1997)


 

Hosea 2:2-7   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Israel is seen as faithless wife and irresponsible mother—so faithless that she chases after her lovers! A spirit of harlotry, an attitude of faithlessness, was created in the whole nation, causing many detrimental ramifications and results. In other words, the deceit and its resulting infidelity are not confined to the God/Israel covenant marriage but affects personal relationships within families and the community. It even has a negative effect on the keeping of contracts in business and upholding promises of quality workmanship.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Seventh Commandment


 

Hosea 4:1-2   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The Hebrew word zanah, translated as "harlotry," is not the word used to indicate a single act of adultery. Instead, it means "sexually wanton," meaning something done repeatedly as a way of life. Ultimately, it is understood spiritually to signify idolatry. Hosea 4:11-12 defines it in this manner: "Harlotry, wine, and new wine enslave the heart. My people ask counsel from the wooden idols, and their staff informs them. For the spirit of harlotry has caused them to stray, and they have played the harlot against their God."

By linking zanah, harlotry, with wine and new wine, God is showing that this spiritual harlotry has addictive power. "Enslave the heart" illustrates that this faithless spirit bends the heart to obey its desires, and in the process, it destroys discretion and understanding. Recall that Psalm 119 repeatedly states that meditating on God's Word and obeying His commandments give understanding, indicating a major way in which we come to know God. However, if a person practices faithlessness, loss of understanding results. No constructive wisdom ever results from breaking any of God's commands.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Seventh Commandment


 

Hosea 4:11-13   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Everyone understands the addictive and destructive power of alcohol in wine and new wine. It can affect a person's mind (heart) insofar as he will lose the right perspective of situations he encounters and, with it, his discretion. Alcohol has the power to enslave the heart. It also has a subtle quality to draw a person into dependence on it while promoting the destruction of his will.

Amazingly, God lists harlotry (faithlessness) alongside wine and new wine, teaching us that it can affect us the same way! This fact is not nearly so well known. Faithlessness is every bit as enslaving and destructive as drug addition, and it has ensnared far more people in its entangling web than have ever been addicted to a drug.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Seventh Commandment (1997)


 

Nahum 3:1-4   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

God directs this prophecy against Nineveh, not Israel, but it gives us insight into the way God perceives matters and their uses. He considers as harlotry their military power and its use against others. In addition, God repeats His earlier statement that dealing in the occult, sorcery, is harlotry.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Beast and Babylon (Part Nine): Babylon the Great


 

Find more Bible verses about Harlotry:
Harlotry {Nave's}
 




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