HARLOT (har'16t), (Heb. zo-naw' ; 7q1.7, ked-ay-shaw', whore, strange woman, etc.; n7);;, nok-ree-yaw'; za-raw', etc.).
The first of these English words, to which various etymologies have been assigned, signifies a prostitute for lust or gain. The mercenary mo tive is more evident in the second.
The first Hebrew word (zo-naw') occurs fre quently and is often rendered in our version by the first of these English words, as in Gen. xxxiv :31, etc., and sometimes, without apparent reason for the change, by the second, as in Prov. xxiii :27, and elsewhere. The first English word is also applied to different Hebrew words, whereby important dis tinctions are lost. Thus in Gen. xxxviii :15, the word is zonozci, 'harlot,' which, however, becomes changed to keel-ay-shaw% 'harlot,' in vers. 21, 22, which means, literally, a consecrated woman, a fe male (perhaps priestess) devoted to prostitution in honor of some heathen idol. The distinction shows that Judah supposed Tamar to be a heathen: the facts, therefore, do not prove that prostitution was then practiced between Hebrews. The following elucidation is offered of the most important instances in which the several words oc CUr : (1) The Veil. First parlour. From the fore going account of Judah it would appear that the 'veil' was at that time peculiar to harlots. Judah thought Tamar to be such, 'because she had cov ered her face.' Mr. Buckingham remarks, in ref erence to this passage, that 'the Turcoman women go unveiled to this day' (Travels in Mesopotamia, i:77). It is contended by Jahn and others that in ancient times all females wore the veil (Bibl. Archaol.fi. 127). Possibly some peculiarity in the size of the veil, or the mode of wearing it, may have been (Prov. vii :ro) the distinctive dress of the harlot at that period (see New Translation, by the Rev. A. De Sola, etc. pp. rt6, 248-0. The priests and the high-priest were forbidden to take a wife that was (had been, Matt. xxi :3i) a harlot. Josephus extends the law to all the Hebrews, and seems to ground it on the prohibition against obla tions arising from prostitution (Deut. xxiii:r8) (Antiq. iv :8, 23).
(2) Rahab. The celebrated case of Rahab has been much debated. She is, indeed, called by the word usually signifying harlot (Josh. ii:t ; vi:17; Sept. rOpvn; Vulg. meretrix ; and in Heb. xi:3r; James ii:25); but the word may also mean an inn keeper. (See RAHAB.) (3) A Foreigner. The next instance intro duces the epithet of `3trange woman.' It is the case of Jephthah's mother (Judg. xi :2), who is also called a harlot or6prn; meretrix); but the epithet 'strange woman' merely denotes foreign extraction. The representation given by Solomon is no doubt founded upon facts, and therefore shows that in his time prostitutes plied their trade in the 'streets' (PrOV. Vli :12; iX :14, eIC.; Jer. iii :2; Ezek. xvi :24, 25, 31).
(4) Consecrated Prostitute. Kedayshow, oc curs Gen. xxxviii :15, 21, 22; Deut. xxiii;17; Hos. iv:14. It has been already observed that the proper meaning of the word is consecrated prosti tute. The prohibition in Dent. xxiii 'there shall be no rinp, "whore," of the daughters of Israel,' is intended to exclude such devotees from the worship of Jehovah (see other allusions, Job. xxxvi :t4 ; r Kings xiv :24; xv :12). The
strange woman is further alluded to (I Kings xi :1; Prov. V :20; Vi :24 ; Vii :5 ; xxiii :27; Sept. aXXoTpla; Vulg. aliena, extranea). It seems prob able that some of the Hebrews in later times in terpreted the prohibition against fornication (Dent. xxii:t4) as limited to females of their own nation, and that the 'strange women' in ques tion were Canaanites and other Gentiles (Josh. xxiii:t3).
(5) New Testament. In the New Testament r6prq, harlOt, OCCurS in Matt. xxi :31, 32; Luke xv :30 ; COr. Vi :15. 16; Heh. xi:31; James ii :25. In none of these passages does it necessarily imply prostitution for gain. The likeliest is Luke xv : 3o. J. F. D.
(6) Old English Use. In the old English use of the term harlot meant originally a vagabond. R. C. Trench says it was used of both sexes alike, and for the most part a term of slight and con tempt. (See MARRIAGE; PROSTITUTION, SACRED.) FiguratiVe. (1) It is used symbolically for a city in Rev. xvii 5, ts, 16; xix :2, where the term and all the attendant imagery are derived from the Old Testament. It may be observed in regard to Tyre, which (Is. xxiii :i5, 17) is repre sented as 'committing fornication with all the kingdoms of the world upon the face of the earth,' that these words, as indeed seems likely from those which follow, may relate to the various arts which she had employed to induce merchants to trade with her' (Patrick, in loc.). So the Sept. under stood it, she will be art emporium for all thc king doms on the face of the earth. Schleusner ob serves that the same words in Rev. xviii :3 may also relate to commercial dealings. (2) Since the Hebrews regarded Jehovah as the husband of his people, by virtue of the covenant he had made with them (Jer. :1) ; therefore, to commit forni cation is a very common metaphor in the Scrip tures to denote defections on their part from that covenant, and especially by the practice of idolatry. (See FORNICATION.) Hence the degeneracy of Jerusalem is illustrated by the symbol of a harlot (Is. i:21), and even that of heathen cities, as of Nineveh (Nah. :4). Under this figure the prophet Ezekiel delivers the tremendous invectives contained in ch. xvi, xxiii. (3) In the prophecy of Hosea the illustration is carried to a startiing extent. The prophet seems commanded by the Lord to take 'a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms' (ch. i :2), and to 'love an adult eress' (ch. iii:r). It has, indeed, been much dis puted whether these transactions were real, or passed in vision only; but the idea itself, and the diversified applications of it throughout the prophecy, render it one of the most effective por tions of Scripture. (See HosEA.) (4) Tyre sang as a lzarlot when, by fair speeches, the Tyrians enticed the nations to renew their trade with them (Is. xxiii :15). (5) Antichristian Babylon is called the great whore, and mother of harlots, and abominations, because of its noted apostacy and idolatry, and decoying others into it: and such apostacy is called fornicatton, whoredom, or adultery (Rev. xvii and xix :2).