Deuteronomy 23:17

There shall be no harlot of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.
All Commentaries on Deuteronomy 23:17 Go To Deuteronomy 23

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
Israel. Some hence very erroneously infer, that before this prohibition the thing was not criminal. (Selden, Jur. v. 4.) Notwithstanding the law, such lewd practices continued to be very common. The original expresses that both the women and the men were consecrated, "kadash "in all probability to some idol, whom they intended to honour by abominable prostitutions, a thing very common in all the East, as we learn both from profane and sacred authors. (Aten. xiii. 5.) (4 Kings xxiii. 7.) The men were called the effeminate, 3 Kings xiv. 24. (Calmet) Some copies of the Septuagint have a double translation of this verse, and add, "None of the daughters of Israel shall bear the mysteries, nor shall any of the sons of Israel be initiated (in these mysteries of idols) to make every vow. "Telesphoros denotes a strumpet for hire, ver. 18; or, according to Vossius, one who is initiated or performs the pagan mysteries, as fornication and idolatry, commonly go together in the sacred writers. Hesychius seems to understand, that it refers to "the house where a person has been delivered of a child. "But Tertullian (pudic. ix.) explains it thus, "No one. Shall pay tribute "as telos means tribute, (Haydock) and the Jews are supposed to have refused to pay any to the Romans on the authority of this verse. See Casaub. in Baruch ii. 19. (Grotius) (Calmet) But it seems far more probable, that it is a farther elucidation of the text, and prohibits that scandalous impiety by which may were not ashamed publicly, like dogs, to commit the most obscene actions, and to present the hire of their bodies to the idols, Micheas i. 7. (Clement of Alexandria, Exhort.; Villalpand in Ezechiel xliii.) We could hardly give credit to those who have attested such things, did not God here find it necessary to caution his people not to fall into such blindness and delusion. That the poor ignorant idolater should think by these means to appease those gods who, while here on earth, had been infamous for the like excesses, needs not so much to excite our surprise. But that the Gnostics, Manichees, and other heretics, almost of all ages since the light of the gospel shone forth, should have thought that they could honour the true God by abusing the flesh, is truly astonishing. Yet they gave into this delusion, by first persuading themselves that the flesh was the creature of an evil principle, fighting against the author of the spirit and of all good, with whom they intended to take part. The way of a fool is right in his own eyes. Yea, there is a way that see meth to a man right, and the ends thereof lead to death, Proverbs xii. 15., and xvi. 25. These wretches grounded their opinion on the authority of their gods, or of the Scripture. Will this excuse be admitted by the Sovereign Judge? But these delusions are perhaps now at an end. A principle, however, is still maintained of a far more pernicious tendency, inasmuch as it strikes at the root of every law, divine and human. This horrible doctrine was inculcated by J. Wesley for above thirty years, as we have already observed, chap. xvi. 22. "O natural man "says he, (Serm. on Orig. Sin,) "thou canst do good. Thy natural actions are sin; thy civil actions are sin; thy religious actions are sin. As many thoughts, words, and actions, so many sins; for nothing but sin comes from thee. Thy duties are sins. Can an evil tree bring forth good fruit? "Thus Scripture teaches him that to work for one's family, to pay taxes, to pray, read the Scriptures, or even to believe, will be a sin! "Knowest thou not that thou canst do nothing but sin, till thou art reconciled to God? "(Sermon on the Righteousness of Faith.) Hence arose the Still-Methodists, Jour. iv. p. 92. Even after this celebrated reformer had begun, when almost 70 years of age, to discover "the subtle poison, which he says, (Jour. viii. p. 90,) has infected, more or less, almost all, from the highest to the lowest among us "it is astonishing that he still acknowledges those who were infected with it, as the "real children of God by faith. "Many of these, he says, (serm. on the law) lay it down as an unquestionable truth, that when we are come to Christ, we have done with the law; and that in this sense, Christ is the end of the law to every one that believeth. We need, therefore, no longer wonder that the pagans should think they honoured their idols by prostitution, (which on other occasions they condemned as "a great disgrace "oneidos mega, as Musonias calls it,) since in this enlightened age, a man of no mean abilities, and far advanced in years, a man who requires that all the preachers in his connexion shall conform to his Sermons and Notes on the New Testament, or be superceded, (Jour. xx. p. 34,) could decide that those who maintain this principle, and make it a branch of their religion to break the law of God on purpose, are the "real children of God by faith "people, "whom God has taken out of the world. "As well might he say that a man may live on subtle poison, and please God, by following a doctrine than which "nothing can be more false "as he styles this very principle of Antinomianism, to which he and his preachers had "leaned "for such a length of time. "If, says a great admirer of his, Mr. Fletcher, (1 Check, 4th letter,) the three first propositions of the minutes are scriptural, Mr. Wesley may well begin the remaining part, by desiring the preachers in his connexion to emerge along with him from under the noisy billows of prejudice, and to struggle quite out of the muddy streams of Antinomian delusions, which have so long gone over our heads, and carried so many souls down the channels of vice into the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone. "This is then to be the abode of those whom "God has taken out of the world, and who are real children of God by faith! "This is the heaven, of which they may boast in dying that they are infallibly sure of! At least, the man whom they have so eagerly followed as their judge, has passed this woful sentence upon them, as if he had a mind to laugh at their credulity. If he join us also in the same condemnation, and say, "I have the same assurance that Jesus is the Christ, and that no Romanist can expect to be saved, according to the terms of his covenant "(Jour. iii. p. 94.) we are not solicitous about his good opinion; we have not chosen him for our judge, nor have his writings given us reason to think that he knew the nature of our covenant. If he did, so much the more dreadful must have been his reckoning with that unerring Judge, before whom he has appeared 20 years ago. It is the glory and happiness of the Catholic Church, that no one attempts to assail her, but he presently betrays the spirit by which he is inspired, the spirit of calumny, and of the perverse application of Scripture. It was thus that our divine head was treated by the father of lies, who alleged Scripture to encourage suicide, or presumption, Matthew iv. 6. So in the various points of faith which Mr. Wesley attacks, he shamefully misrepresents our doctrine, that he may have something to oppose. We have seen how unjustly he accuses us of idolatry, chap. xvi. 22. But in order, perhaps, to comfort us with the reflection, that we have many partners in guilt, he represents the Protestants as equally criminal. "They set up their idols in their churches; you set up yours in your heart.O how little is the difference before God! How small pre-eminence has the money worshipper at London over the image worshipper at Rome; or the idolizer of a living sinner over him that prays to a dead saint. "(Word to a Protestant.) How much soever the Protestants may be entangled in this species of idolatry, they do not at least pretend to authorize it by the principles of religion, as some of the Methodists have done. Witness the man with whom J. Wesley conversed at Birmingham. "Do you believe that you have nothing to do with the law of God? He answered, I have not, I am not under the law. Have you also a right to all the women in the world? Yes, if they consent. And is not this a sin? Yes, to him who thinks it is a sin; but not to those whose hearts are free. The same thing that wretch, Roger Ball, affirmed in Dublin. Surely these are the first-born children of Satan. "(Journal vi. p. 133.) Witness Mr. Fletcher, a celebrated clergyman in the Methodist connexion, who has informed us that Antinomian principles and practices had spread like wild fire among the Methodists. "Nor need I go far, says he, for a proof of this sad assertion. In one of his (Wesley's) societies, not many miles from my parish, a married man, who professed being in a state of justification and sanctification, growing wise above what is written, despised his brethren as legalists, and his preachers as persons not clear in the gospel. He instilled his principles into a serious young woman; and what was the consequence? Why, they talked about finished salvation in Christ, and the absurdity of perfection in the flesh, till a perfect child was conceived and born; and, to save appearances, the mother swore it to a travelling man that cannot be heard of. Thus, to avoid legality, they plunged into hypocrisy, fornication, adultery, perjury, and the depth of ranterism "(Check i. Let. 2.) But enough of such absurdity. We may now easily believe to what length the dissolute examples and maxims of the heathenish mythology, would lead their unhappy votaries, when we behold the purest lessons of the gospel so strangely perverted. (Haydock) Whoremonger. It is very probable, that the Scripture here means such as were guilty of unnatural impurities, "consecrated "as it were, to some idol of lust, as these crimes were common under several faithless kings of Israel and of Juda, 3 Kings xv. 12., and xxii. 47. Simple prostitutes are styled zona. (Calmet) God will not allow these to be publicly tolerated, though they contrived but too often in private to ensnare the hearts of God's people, 3 Kings iii. 16. (Tirinus) Onkelos translates, "No Israelite shall give his daughter in marriage to a slave, nor take one for his son's wife "as the contract would be null, according to the Rabbins, for want of liberty. (Calmet) He may, perhaps, have given this singular turn to this verse, because the preceding one speaks of fugitive slaves.
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Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation - 2 Peter 1:20

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