Fertility Rites Forbidden

In ancient times, Canaanite pagan priests ritually raped teenage girls just before their marriage. They hoped that the gods would be pleased and bless the new marriages with many children.

What irony! This so-called fertility rite surely infected many new brides with chlamydia. Instead of a fertile womb, they had pelvic scarring. Instead of a large family, they were left barren. One infected priest could rob hundreds of new brides of their chance to bear children. Cultures throughout the ancient Mediterranean practiced similar sex rites. It was so widespread that no other ancient Mideastern culture besides the Hebrews seems to have outlawed temple prostitution.

Would the ancient Hebrews add one of these barbaric rituals to the Bible? Would a new bride go to the temple for ritual rape to ensure her future fertility? Would Hebrew temple worship be like others throughout the region, where men paid prostitute priests and priestesses to aid worship?

No. Not one of these rituals is found in the biblical worship guidelines. In fact, the ancient Hebrew Bible did not simply ignore these disease spreading rituals. It specifically forbade them (Deut. 23:17). How amazing! Again, the Bible didn't borrow a disease-spreading practice from the surrounding culture. Again, the Bible made a radical break. Again, those who obeyed the biblical rules experienced that great promise, "none of these diseases...."

The preceding was excerpted from None of These Diseases by S.I. McMillen, M.D. & David E. Stern, M.D. Millennium Three Edition.