ESV - 21 And he asked the men of the place, "Where is the cult prostitute who was at Enaim at the roadside?" And they said, "No cult prostitute has been here.
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By my understanding, among the religious rituals carried out by the pagan people of Canaan was sexual relations (both heterosexual and homosexual) between those who practiced the religion and individuals (both male and female) who were dedicated to perform such sexual acts in the service of the religion's god, which typically took place at a shrine honoring that god. These individuals were called shrine prostitutes, cult prostitutes, or temple prostitutes. Such actions were specifically condemned and outlawed by God for the nation of Israel in the Law given to Moses (Deuteronomy 23:17-18), which also prohibited the offering to God of funds received through those actions.
Firstly, we should see if the translation of the Hebrew word is at all sufficient. The word is “qadsha” which is derived from the word “qodesh,” which means “holy.” I feel that "shrine prostitute" doesn't wholly explains the meaning. The word, to me, wants to let me know that the lady is both in one, the prostitute and the shrine. In the case of Judah and his daughter-in-law, she wasn't at a shrine, seeing that idolatry is thought of as prostitution by God, and that fellowship with Him should be very, very intimate. We have to enter our closet to meet him there. The pinnacle of oneness of a man and a woman depicts the ones of the godhead. So prostitution imitates that, not for the pleasure of God, but for self pleasure. God’s law is to always please the other. Satan’s rule is, “Please me,” by breaking God’s law, or “Be your own god.”
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