Does Ezekiel 16:25 mean being barefoot is immodest?

Ezekiel 16:25 (KJV)

25 Thou hast built thy high place at every head of the way, and hast made thy beauty to be abhorred, and hast opened thy feet to every one that passed by, and multiplied thy whoredoms.

  • 2
    Have a look at some other translations and tell us what you see. Hint: this verse isn't talking about being barefoot.
    – curiousdannii
    Sep 12, 2017 at 23:35
  • 2
    The original Hebrew word for "feet" used here is sometimes used as a euphemism for "genitals." An equivalent English expression would be, "You spread your legs." Sep 13, 2017 at 4:54
  • Spreading your feet to everyone that passes by is considered immodest. Then if you multiply it by whoredoms, well... but the building of the high places suggests this is actually talking about unfaithfulness to God.
    – Ruminator
    Sep 15, 2017 at 3:21

3 Answers 3


As the Douay-Rheims (Challoner) puts it:

At every head of the way thou hast set up a sign of thy prostitution: and hast made thy beauty to be abominable: and hast prostituted thyself to every one that passed by, and hast multiplied thy fornications.

St. Jerome actual preserved the idiom/euphemism (because he was comissioned to make an official 'the Bible' and not a dynamic translation as such) in the Latin Vulgate (the Douay-Rheims thought it necessary to explain the euphemistic prase because it would only obscure, not bring to light, what is being conveyed):

Ad omne caput viæ ædificásti signum prostitutiónis tuæ, et abominábilem fecísti decórem tuum : et divisísti pedes tuos omni transeúnti, et multiplicásti fornicatiónes tuas.

The bolded portion meaning "hast spread apart thy feet to all that pass by." This is a direct, more literal translation of the Hebrew, but it is a euphemism for prostituting oneself. But even the euphemism is perhaps not as blunt to the reader who understands the idiom or euphemism of the Hebrew/the Hebraism. I would translated it something like "you offered yourself to everyone that passed by". It conveys slightly less aggressively the euphemism, in an English equivalent.

To be blunt, and pardon the language, God is saying the people have become spiritual sluts, whoring for false gods and religions.

Another passage is relevant in clearing up the fact that this is a euphemism, namely, a few chapters later in Ezekiel...it gets more explicit:

Ezekiel 23:17-20

And when the sons of Babylon were come to her to the bed of love, they defiled her with their fornications, and she was polluted by them, and her soul was glutted with them. And she discovered her fornications, and discovered her disgrace: and my soul was alienated from her, as my soul was alienated from her sister. For she multiplied her fornications, remembering the days of her youth, in which she played the harlot in the land of Egypt. And she was mad with lust after lying with them whose flesh is as the flesh of donkeys: and whose issue as the issue of horses.


Starting from the beginning of Ezek. 16, verses 1 & 2 show that the prophet was told to speak to the people of Jerusalem, the main or capital city of Judah, and inform her of her "abominations".

Ezek. 16:3-14 rehearses how God rescued them, clothed them, loved them, entered into a covenant with them, and made them His.

Then, in vs. 15 we are told:

" But thou didst trust in thine own beauty, and playedst the harlot because of thy renown, and pouredst out thy fornications on every one that passed by; his it was." (KJV)

Playing the harlot meant that they had turned from God to worship idols; they had committed adultery against His covenant, His husbandry of them. The following verses told how they took the beautiful adornments He had bestowed upon them and gave them to their man-made idols which they set up in their "high places"... hills and mountain tops. (High places is used for their places of their pagan temples.)

Vs. 20-21 then tell how the Hebrews even sacrificed their own children upon the burning arms of their idol.

And, in vs. 25 then the expression "hast opened thy feet" is the same as if we say today "spreading their legs". God was telling them they had become harlots and committed adultery with their idols and with other nations.

Ezek. 16:32,

" But as a wife that committeth adultery, which taketh strangers instead of her husband!" (KJV)

Ezekiel continues on through the rest of the chapter to compare Jerusalem to her sister Samaria (vs. 46) which was the main or capital city of the northern 10 tribes of Israel. He tells them that the Lord was going to raise up all of her lovers to come against her and destroy her (vs. 37-42).

The entire chapter lays out the prophesy of the destruction of Jerusalem and the reasons for it. The immediate sense was the destruction at the hands of the Chaldeans (Babylon) that happened about 606-586 BC, and the ultimate fulfillment was their final destruction in A.D. 70.


No. It has nothing to do with bare feet. Opening the feet means spreading the feet. This can be easily understood, since feet are connected to the legs, and since a woman spreading her legs for a male is a sexual invitation in most cultures.

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