A scholarly response on what the Hebrew and Aramaic Bible says concerning LGBTI people.
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16. “There shall be no whore (qede-shah – female prostitute) of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite (qa-desh – male prostitute) of the sons of Israel, Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God.” (Deuteronomy 23:17-18 KJV). A Qa-desh “male prostitute” comes from the Hebrew word qa-dash, which means: “to set apart, make holy.” The word qa-dosh, which means “holy, set apart,” is also from qa-dash. Qa-desh “male prostitute” is generic in meaning and could refer to either a heterosexual or gay male prostitute.
The Aramaic translation translated the Hebrew noun “male prostitute” also generically but as a verb. The Aramaic text says: “…and neither shall there be a manwho prostitutes of the sons of Israel.” Dr. Lamsa however retained and polished up the KJV translation at these verses in his translation when the Aramaic says something different. The Aramaic text tells us that the sons of Israel are not to commit prostitution.
Additionally, the KJV translators chose to use the word “sodomite” for their interpretation of the Hebrew word qa-desh “male prostitute.” The word sodomite doesn’t mean a prostitute in English; so their translation is deceptive or misleading at the very least.
The word dog (ce-lev) in this context refers to a male prostitute. The word dog is also used as a word of contempt and abasement in many places in the Bible (See 1 Sa. 17:43, 24:14; 2 Sa. 9:8; etc). Since paganism and its male prostitutes were abhorred, the word dog became to mean a “male prostitute.” Some religionists have tried to find some connection with the word “dog” and homosexuality. However, the NAS Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon defines “dog” as: dog (literal); contempt or abasement (fig.); of pagan sacrifice or male cult prostitute (fig.). James Strong defines the word dog to mean: (by euphemism) a male prostitute. Notice that both those witnesses don’t say that the word dog means a “[homosexual] male prostitute.” The word homosexual is not to be included with the words “male prostitute” for their definition of ce-lev (or male prostitute). And lastly, the New Jerusalem Bible has a footnote for this verse. That Bible translation states that the word dog is “a contemptuous term for [a] male prostitute.”
Religious prostitution was probably based on the person's sexual orientation [i.e. hetero, bi or gay] (See Ex. 34:16, etc.). The word za-nu, meaning "they prostituted," is translated as "whoring" (KJV) at Exodus 34:16. Some prostitutes may have gone against their sexual orientation (or identity) and had sex with others as part of a religious service, ritual or fee. In conclusion, there is no reason to believe that a “dog” meant exclusively a “homosexual male prostitute.”
When the word sodomite is used as a translation from the Hebrew text, it needs to be understood as a male prostitute and a pagan minister. Interestingly, the word Sodom originally didn't carry any meaning dealing with homosexuality or anal sex. The word Sodom comes from the Hebrew word Sed-om, which means: "to scorch." It's the infinitive pronunciation of the word sa-dam "it scorched (burnt)." James Strong lists it as meaning: to scorch; burnt (i.e. volcanic or bituminous) district [Strong’s Exh. Conc. of the Bible]. Our understanding of sodomy (sodomia) as anal sex is a Latin and English definition which comes from the story of Sodom.
The New Strong's Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible James Strong LL. D, S.T.D.
6945. [6x] , kaw-dashe’; from 6942; a (quasi) sacred person, i.e. (tech.) a (male)
devotee (by prostitution) to licentious idolatry:- sodomite [5x], unclean [1x].
Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible by Jeff A. Benner
Qede-sha – A female prostitute set aside for a special purpose.
Qa-desh – A male prostitute set aside for a special purpose.
Qa-dash – To set someone or something apart for a special purpose.
Note: A qede-sha (f.) and qa-desh (m.) literally mean "a holy one" or "a person set apart for a special purpose;" and hence "a prostitute." Both words in their proper gender appear in the Samaritan Targum as qad-di-shah (f. - "a holy female, prostitute) and qad-dish (m. - "a holy man, prostitute"). This is old Aramaic.