my tent is in her, the name of an imaginary harlot, applied
symbolically to Jerusalem, because she had abandoned the worship
of the true God and given herself up to the idolatries of
foreign nations. (Ezek. 23:4, 11, 22, 36, 44).
(1.) Heb. zonah (Gen. 34:31; 38:15). In verses 21, 22 the Hebrew
word used in "kedeshah", i.e., a woman consecrated or devoted to
prostitution in connection with the abominable worship of
Asherah or Astarte, the Syrian Venus. This word is also used in
Deut. 23:17; Hos. 4:14. Thus Tamar sat by the wayside as a
It has been attempted to show that Rahab, usually called a
"harlot" (Josh. 2:1; 6:17; Heb. 11:31; James 2:25), was only an
innkeeper. This interpretation, however, cannot be maintained.
Jephthah's mother is called a "strange woman" (Judg. 11:2).
This, however, merely denotes that she was of foreign
In the time of Solomon harlots appeared openly in the streets,
and he solemnly warns against association with them (Prov. 7:12;
9:14. See also Jer. 3:2; Ezek. 16:24, 25, 31). The Revised
Version, following the LXX., has "and the harlots washed," etc.,
instead of the rendering of the Authorized Version, "now they
washed," of 1 Kings 22:38.
To commit fornication is metaphorically used for to practice
idolatry (Jer. 3:1; Ezek. 16:15; Hos. throughout); hence
Jerusalem is spoken of as a harlot (Isa. 1:21).
(2.) Heb. nokriyah, the "strange woman" (1 Kings 11:1; Prov.
5:20; 7:5; 23:27). Those so designated were Canaanites and other
Gentiles (Josh. 23:13). To the same class belonged the
"foolish", i.e., the sinful, "woman."
In the New Testament the Greek pornai, plural, "harlots,"
occurs in Matt. 21:31,32, where they are classed with publicans;
Luke 15:30; 1 Cor. 6:15,16; Heb. 11:31; James 2:25. It is used
symbolically in Rev. 17:1, 5, 15, 16; 19:2.
insolence; pride, a poetical name applied to Egypt in Ps. 87:4;
89:10; Isa. 51:9, as "the proud one."
Rahab, (Heb. Rahab; i.e., "broad," "large"). When the Hebrews
were encamped at Shittim, in the "Arabah" or Jordan valley
opposite Jericho, ready to cross the river, Joshua, as a final
preparation, sent out two spies to "spy the land." After five
days they returned, having swum across the river, which at this
season, the month Abib, overflowed its banks from the melting of
the snow on Lebanon. The spies reported how it had fared with
them (Josh. 2:1-7). They had been exposed to danger in Jericho,
and had been saved by the fidelity of Rahab the harlot, to whose
house they had gone for protection. When the city of Jericho
fell (6:17-25), Rahab and her whole family were preserved
according to the promise of the spies, and were incorporated
among the Jewish people. She afterwards became the wife of
Salmon, a prince of the tribe of Judah (Ruth 4:21; 1 Chr. 2:11;
Matt. 1:5). "Rahab's being asked to bring out the spies to the
soldiers (Josh. 2:3) sent for them, is in strict keeping with
Eastern manners, which would not permit any man to enter a
woman's house without her permission. The fact of her covering
the spies with bundles of flax which lay on her house-roof (2:6)
is an 'undesigned coincidence' which strictly corroborates the
narrative. It was the time of the barley harvest, and flax and
barley are ripe at the same time in the Jordan valley, so that
the bundles of flax stalks might have been expected to be drying
just then" (Geikie's Hours, etc., ii., 390).
Luke, Gospel according to
was written by Luke. He does not claim to have been an
eye-witness of our Lord's ministry, but to have gone to the best
sources of information within his reach, and to have written an
orderly narrative of the facts (Luke 1:1-4). The authors of the
first three Gospels, the synoptics, wrote independently of each
other. Each wrote his independent narrative under the guidance
of the Holy Spirit.
Each writer has some things, both in matter and style,
peculiar to himself, yet all the three have much in common.
Luke's Gospel has been called "the Gospel of the nations, full
of mercy and hope, assured to the world by the love of a
suffering Saviour;" "the Gospel of the saintly life;" "the
Gospel for the Greeks; the Gospel of the future; the Gospel of
progressive Christianity, of the universality and gratuitousness
of the gospel; the historic Gospel; the Gospel of Jesus as the
good Physician and the Saviour of mankind;" the "Gospel of the
Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man;" "the Gospel of
womanhood;" "the Gospel of the outcast, of the Samaritan, the
publican, the harlot, and the prodigal;" "the Gospel of
tolerance." The main characteristic of this Gospel, as Farrar
(Cambridge Bible, Luke, Introd.) remarks, is fitly expressed in
the motto, "Who went about doing good, and healing all that were
oppressed of the devil" (Acts 10:38; compare Luke 4:18). Luke
wrote for the "Hellenic world." This Gospel is indeed "rich and
"Out of a total of 1151 verses, Luke has 389 in common with
Matthew and Mark, 176 in common with Matthew alone, 41 in common
with Mark alone, leaving 544 peculiar to himself. In many
instances all three use identical language." (See MATTHEW
T0002442; MARK T0002419; GOSPELS T0001532.)
There are seventeen of our Lord's parables peculiar to this
Gospel. (See List of Parables in Appendix.) Luke also records
seven of our Lord's miracles which are omitted by Matthew and
Mark. (See List of Miracles in Appendix.) The synoptical Gospels
are related to each other after the following scheme. If the
contents of each Gospel be represented by 100, then when
compared this result is obtained:
Mark has 7 peculiarities, 93 coincidences.
Matthew 42 peculiarities, 58 coincidences.
Luke 59 peculiarities, 41 coincidences.
That is, thirteen-fourteenths of Mark, four-sevenths of Matthew,
and two-fifths of Luke are taken up in describing the same
things in very similar language.
Luke's style is more finished and classical than that of
Matthew and Mark. There is less in it of the Hebrew idiom. He
uses a few Latin words (Luke 12:6; 7:41; 8:30; 11:33; 19:20),
but no Syriac or Hebrew words except sikera, an exciting drink
of the nature of wine, but not made of grapes (from Heb. shakar,
"he is intoxicated", Lev. 10:9), probably palm wine.
This Gospel contains twenty-eight distinct references to the
The date of its composition is uncertain. It must have been
written before the Acts, the date of the composition of which is
generally fixed at about 63 or 64 A.D. This Gospel was written,
therefore, probably about 60 or 63, when Luke may have been at
Caesarea in attendance on Paul, who was then a prisoner. Others
have conjectured that it was written at Rome during Paul's
imprisonment there. But on this point no positive certainty can
It is commonly supposed that Luke wrote under the direction,
if not at the dictation of Paul. Many words and phrases are
common to both; e.g., compare:
Luke 4:22; with Col. 4:6.
Luke 4:32; with 1 Cor. 2:4.
Luke 6:36; with 2 Cor. 1:3.
Luke 6:39; with Rom. 2:19.
Luke 9:56; with 2 Cor. 10:8.
Luke 10:8; with 1 Cor. 10:27.
Luke 11:41; with Titus 1:15.
Luke 18:1; with 2 Thess. 1:11.
Luke 21:36; with Eph. 6:18.
Luke 22:19, 20; with 1 Cor. 11:23-29.
Luke 24:46; with Acts 17:3.
Luke 24:34; with 1 Cor. 15:5.