[b-hebrew] "Sodomite" in 2 Kings 23.7 & Homosexuality

Bearpecs at aol.com Bearpecs at aol.com
Wed Jul 14 00:04:56 EDT 2004

In a message dated 7/13/2004 3:09:55 PM Eastern Daylight Time,  
david.kimbrough at charter.net writes:

While  the kadesh performed homosexual acts as a cultic activity, 

I do not think it is at all certain that the qadesh performed homosexual  
acts.  Why do we assume the qedesha performed heterosexual acts but not the  
qadesh?  Indeed, in the verse cited, we are told that these men were  located in 
the spot that women did weaving.  Isn't it likely that women  went to this 
sanctuary site to perform a devotional activity dedicated to a  goddess and were 
there entertained by available men?
Further, I am not convinced that qedesha in reference to Tamar truly meant  
"temple prostitute" at all.  Why not assume that the root has  its basic 
meaning (HALOT p. 1072) of "set apart"; and as a  prostitute she is set apart from 
normative family life.
I also think it is likely that a qadesha associated with a sanctuary may  not 
have been a "temple prostitute" in the sense of a woman who commited sexual  
acts for cultic, ritual reasons.  I am not aware of any evidence that  ancient 
Israel practiced ritual sex for cultic purposes -- or even acknowledged  for 
example any sympathetic magic of human sex encouraging agricultural  
fertility.  (And if you say that all the evidence has been expurgated from  the Bible, 
then why would the mention of qedeshot not also be expurgated?)   Rather, I 
would suggest that a qedesha may have been a woman (presumably a  slave) 
dedicated to the sanctuary, just as other items were dedicated to the  sanctuary.  
Her income would then have belonged to the sanctuary.   Thus, she may have been 
a prostitute, and a "holy" prostitute in the sense that  her cost went to the 
upkeep of the holy sanctuary, but not a "temple prostitute"  in the classic 
meaning of the term.  (A qadesh -- whether performing  homosexual or 
heterosexual acts -- would similarly have been a sanctuary  prostitute but did not engage 
in sex for cultic purposes.)  This  would be just as deplorable in the eyes 
of the Bible as temple prostitution, but  I suggest is more consistent with 
what we know of the theological  environment.

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list