Deuteronomy 23:18 KJV

18 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.

What exactly does this phrase refer to,should this be read in a literal or non literal sense?

  • Relevant : For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. Revelation 22:15.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jun 17, 2020 at 10:46
  • This question has already been answered in detail elsewhere hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/7527/…
    – bach
    Commented Jun 17, 2020 at 14:50

2 Answers 2


Before answering this question let me share what Barnes says on Deut 23:18,

Another Gentile practice, connected with the one alluded to in the preceding verse, is here forbidden. The word "dog" is figurative (compare Revelation 22:15), and equivalent to the "sodomite" of the verse preceding.

With this understanding, some versions more helpfully translate this verse as follows:

  • NIV: You must not bring the earnings of a female prostitute or of a male prostitute into the house of the LORD your God to pay any vow, because the LORD your God detests them both.
  • BSB: You must not bring the wages of a prostitute, whether female or male, into the house of the LORD your God to fulfill any vow, because both are detestable to the LORD your God.
  • CSB: Do not bring a female prostitute's wages or a male prostitute's earnings into the house of the LORD your God to fulfill any vow, because both are detestable to the LORD your God.

Thus, the verse says that money earned from prostitution, whether from a female or male prostitute, is prohibited from the temple as payment for a vow. That is, if one could not afford to pay the promised amount for a vow, it is effectively illegal to earn the money by prostitution.


Calvin's Commentary

18.Thou shalt not bring the hire. This command has an affinity to the foregoing, for God, rejecting whatever is acquired by illicit and filthy traffic, teaches us that the utmost chastity is to be observed in sacred things; nor does He only refuse the hire of a whore, but also the price of a dog, lest the sanctity of the altar should be polluted by any impure oblation. Still the dog seems to be rejected in comparison with other animals out of contempt; for it was just as wrong to kill a pig as a dog, yet might the price of a pig be offered. The dog, therefore, is rejected not only as an unclean animal, but also as vile and contemptible. In sum, God would impress upon them the reverence due to His temple and altar.

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    Commented Jul 2, 2022 at 22:07

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