Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sex, Drugs & Rock n Roll

So I thought it would be fun to put together all the terms in the bible that refer to sexuality, drugs and drinking, with a little bit of rock n roll thrown in. This is by no means an exhaustive list. It is just information that I have gathered from Wikipedia and Greek/Hebrew lexicons.

I love history and learning the origins of particular things. I also think it is interesting to see that the devil has really not come up with any new ideas on how to bind people over the last 5000 years. Not that sex, certain drugs and rock n roll are evil in all circumstances. But this list is to show the seedy side of things. There is nothing that is happening in 2010 in the way of sin that was not happening back in the day. So if anything that should give us hope that God was able to change people back then and He is able to change people today!

I will give a couple of bible references {for sake of space} for each term{King James Version}, though usually there are several references. Some things I will discuss don't have actual biblical reference, but were things known to exist in the ancient world at the time of certain biblical events. I will continue to add things as I find them. So check back for new terms.

Profane Woman-chalal-one who has been laid bare, mortally wounded spirit, defiled {Lev.21:14}

Price of a dog-keleb-"tithe" given at the pagan temple for sexual services. {Deu. 23:18}

Prostitute or Fornicator-zanah-one who fornicates, not necessarily for money {Ex. 34:15, Ps 106:9}

Pagan Temple Priestess/Prostitute{female}-kedashah-from a root word meaning concecrated. A female temple priestess of Asherah/Astarte/Innana/Ishtar and others.Would sometimes engage in ritual sex or ritual marriage ceremonies {Hos. 4:14}

Pagan Temple Eunuch/Prostitute{male}-kadash-from a root word meaning concecrated. A male temple prostitute and/or eunuch of Asherah/Astarte/Innana/Ishtar and others {Deu. 23:17}

Paramour-pilyegesh-concubine or slave to provide sexual favors.{Ez 23:20}

Eunuch-cariyc-one who has been castrated or suffered genital mutilation therefore can not reproduce. Some were slaves that were forced to be castrated---others choose to be castrated to serve at the cultic temples as priests and/or prostitutes. A huge difference between the two! {Deu 23:1, Is 56:3-5}


Concupiscence/Lust-epithymia-uncontrolled passion, covetous, violent desire, selfish gratification {Mar 4:19, Col 3:5, Gal 5:24}

Fornication-porneia-sex of any kind outside marriage {Rom 1:29, 1 Cor 5:1, 1 Thess 4:5}

Lasciviousness/Wantonness-aselgeia-no limits, shameless, to stir up feelings that cannot be righteously satisfied {2 Cor 12:21, 1 Peter 4:3, Jude 4}

Unbridled Fornication-ekporneuo-gluttonous lust/fornication {Jude 1:7}

Sensual-psychikos-seeking to feed the old man{flesh} rather than the new creature{spirit} in Christ {Jam 3:15, Jude 19}

Chambering-koite-living like you are married to someone you are not married to {Rom 13:13}

Prostitute{female}-porne-temple prostitute, prostitute or fornicator {1 Cor 6:15}

Whoremonger{male}-pornos-temple prostitute, pimp, or fornicator {Eph 5:5, Rev 21:8}

Dog-kyon-new testament equivalent of keleb{see above}. Male temple prostitute. {Matt 7:6} As noted in a quote from Herodotus a woman would enter the temple of Aphrodite and sit down. She had to wait until one of the male temple prostitutes cast a coin into her lap. This was the invitation for the required sexual act of worship which she was not allowed to refuse. Once finished she was free to leave. The sex and the money were an offering to the goddess. {also see dog in the drug section}

Eunuch-eunouchos-literally bed keeper. A slave who had been castrated or a man unable to reproduce. In the the new testament text there is reference to three types of eunuchs 1} one born a eunuch{impotent or born with malformation causing infertility} or one who has never had a desire to be married, therefore is not sexual active 2} one made a eunuch by another man{slave} 3} those that have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven{figuratively in reference to celibacy} {Matt 19:12}

In the Greco-Roman world there were also temple prostitutes and temple eunuchs who had literally castrated themselves for cultic reasons{see Cybele celebration in the Rock n Roll section}. That is NOT who is being referred to in the passage in Matthew.

In Acts 8:26-40 The Ethiopian eunuch was a high ranking eunuch/slave in the court of the queen of Ethiopia. Notice the verse he is reading when Philip comes to witness. "He was lead as a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth." {Is 53:7-8}. The eunuch asks Philip if the writer of this passage was speaking of himself. Why? I believe because the eunuch identified with the passage as what had happened to him the day he was forced to become a eunuch! He longed to be married and have children. But he had been forced to become a "dry tree" that could not bear fruit. {Is 56:3} The Ethiopian became a Christian that very day.

"Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine...In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper. Your eyes will see strange sights and your mind will imagine confusing things. You will be like one sleeping on the high seas, lying on top of the rigging. 'They hit me,' you will say, 'but I'm not hurt! They beat me, but I don't feel it! When will I wake up so I can find another drink?" Proverbs 23:29-35

I have included wizard, magicians etc as well as gods/goddesses in this category since this is where most illicit drug use took place.


Wizard-yiddeoni-one with the spirit of divination or the spirit of the python {Lev 20:27, 1Sa 28:3}

Enchantment-nachash-to hiss, to whisper. This was term used to practice a divination {2 Kin. 21:6}

Necromancer-darash mueth-one who summons dead spirits{ie demons} {Deu. 18:11}

Soothsayer-qacam-one who practices divination, talks to the dead{ie demons}{Jos. 13:22}

Witch/Witchcraft-kashaph-to use magical songs, to mutter {Mal 3:5}

Astrologer-ashshaph-magician/astrologer {Dan 1:20}

Magician-chartom-one who possess occult knowledge, cultic scribe {Ex 7:11}

Queen of Heaven-most all of the fertility goddesses of the old testament referred to themselves by this title {Jer 44:17}

Morning Star-this was also a title given to several fertility goddesses {Is 14:12}

Ishtar/Inanna/Ashtoreth-various fertility/sex goddesses in old testament times. Worship in the temple was sex with male or female temple prostitutes. {1 Kings 11:33}

Asherah/Asheroth/Astarte-other goddesses of fertility/sex. Same worship with temple prostitutes. {Jud 10:6, 1 Sam 7:4}

New Wine-tirosh-{Gen.27:28}

Wine-yayin-{Ps. 104:15}

Mixed Wine-mecek or macak-wine could be mixed with water, or with spices, or herbs{drugs} {Ps.102:9, Ps. 75:8}

Strong Drink-shekar-both beer and/or wine mixed with herbs{drugs}{Lev. 10:9, Jud. 16:4}

Mandrake-duday-"love apple" a plant from the nightshade family thought to be an aphrodisiac. Also used in Greco-Roman times as an hallucinogenic. {Gen. 30:14, Sgs 7:13}

Lotus-tse'el-Egyptian blue water lily. Sacred to the Egyptians most likely due to it's psychotropic properties. {Job 40:21,22} Also mentioned in Homer's Odyssey...the lotus-eaters or lotophagi would be found in the marshes half asleep and apathic due to it's opium like effects.

Caper Berry-'abiyownah-said to stimulate appetite and desire. {Ecc 12:5}

Wormwood-la'anah-bitter herb that can be poisonous. {Prov 5:4} Curious that the Latin name is artemisia absinthium. Like the goddess Artemis in the NT. In ancient Greece it was used for contraception. Today the strong drink Absinthe is made from this plant. {see below}

Black Cumin-kammon-used as a spice. Also used as a mild painkiller in the ancient world. {Is 28:25}

Wild Vine/Wild Gourds-colocynth-also called Bitter Apple or Sodoms Vine. Believed to be the plant in {Deu 32:32, 2 Kings 4:39}. Used in the ancient world as a purgative or laxative. There is also evidence that in Egypt it was used to induce natural abortion.

Gall/Hemlock-ro'sh-general term for poison . Poison of a snake{Job 20:16}. Poison of Hemlock {Hos 10:4}. Hemlock in ancient world was known to be mixed with opium as a way to put people quickly and painlessly to death. This may be what is meant by "water of gall" in {Jer 8:14, Jer 9:15, Amos 6:12}

Opium-not specifically in the bible{see above}. But the first known cultivation was in Mesopotamia approx. 3400BC. Both the Egyptians and the Babylonians cultivated opium. By 1100BC the island of Cyprus was a main cultivator and trader of the drug.

Cannabis/Hashish-not specifically mentioned in the bible but was prolific in the ancient world.


Sorcerer-pharmakeus-one who makes magical potions with herbs{drugs} {Rev 21:8}

Witchcraft-pharmakeia-one who administers drugs or poisons {Gal 5:20}

Divination-python-Greek mythology Pythian serpent or dragon that was said to have guarded the oracle at Delphi and been slain by Apollo{twin brother of Artemis}. Pythia was the main priestess/oracle at the temple of Apollo at Delphi. {Acts 16:16}

Soothsaying-manteuomai-to deliver an oracle. {Acts 16:16}

Magician-mageia-practice magical arts {Acts 8:9}

Dogs -kyon-may be a reference to the Greco-Roman goddess Hecate who was associated with magic and witches. She was almost always represented as dog-shaped or with a dog. The dog was Hecate's regular sacrificial animal. She was known for her "magic" potions. Dogs were also used to did up mandrake roots.  So that could be another connection.  One myth says that she tried to take over the role of Artemis but Artemis caused her to commit suicide.  Artemis gave her the name Hecate and used her as an avenging spirit on others. There was an area within the temple of Atremis that was sacred to her.  {Rev 22:15}

Artemis/Diana-artemis-Greco-Roman fertility/virginity goddess with main temple in Ephesus {Acts 19}. She was also goddesss of the hunt and protector of young women.

Aphrodite/Venus-not specifically in the new testament. But they are one of the Greco-Roman equivalent of the Ishtar/Asherah etc. fertility cults of the OT. Aphrodite's main temple was in Corinth.  She was the patron of prostitutes.

Demeter-a Greek earth goddess of sorts who also presided over marriage. Had a temple in Corinth and Pergamum{Rev 2:12}. Also known as the poppy goddess{see below}

Hera-Greek goddess of women and marriage. Also known as the great goddess. One of her main temples was in Corinth.

Eros/Cupid-Greco/Roman god of sex and lust. Patron of same sex love. Main temple in Corinth.

Dionysus/Bacchus/Liber-Greco/Roman god of wine, ritual madness, intoxication and ecstasy. Basically the party god. Main temple of Dionysus was in Pergamum {Rev. 2:12}. In Acts a man named after Dionysus becomes a follower of Paul {Acts 17:24}

Spikenard-nardos-Used as an fragrant herb used as ointment to anoint the head of Jesus by the woman at Simons house{Mark 14:3}; also used by Mary to annoint the feet of Jesus {John 12:3}.  Nard is from the same family as Valerian.  Both were used in ancient times as a means to clam nerves, anxiety and headache.

Wormwood-apsinthion-bitter herb with Latin name artemisa absinthium. {Rev 8:11} Named after the fertility goddess Atemis. Was used in the Greco-Roman world as a contraceptive or for stomach troubles. Today the highly alcoholic drink Absinthe is made from this herb. It is still used in many cultic rituals.

Mugwort-artemisia vulgaris-same family as wormwood. Not in the bible but used in the Greco-Roman world as a sleep aid, to induce lucid dreaming and to induce natural abortion. Both wormwood and mugwort are still used wiccian rituals today.

Henbane-herba apollonaris-member of the nightshade family, not specifically in the NT. Said to be used to yield oracles by the priestesses of Apollo at Dephi. Known for its hallucinogenic properties.

Rue-peganon-used by the Roman world to spice honey wine. Also was used in the Greco-Roman world as a sedative or to induce natural abortion. {Luke 11:42}

Gall-chole-bile or bitter. Could be same as OT meaning, that is, the hemlock/opium mixture. Mixed with oxos {see below} and given to Jesus on the cross, though he did not drink it. {Matt 27:34, Acts 8:23}
It is also related to the Greek name Chloe meaning green herb or bloom {1 Cor 1:11}. Very interesting to note is that the Greek goddess Demeter or Mother goddess was sometimes referred to as Demeter Chloe. Demeter was known in Ancient Greece for taking over for the ancient Minoan poppy goddess who wore the poppy seed capsules as a crown of nourishment and narcosis. It was written of Demeter "For the Greeks Demeter was still a poppy goddess, Bearing sheaves and poppies in both hands." {Idyll vii.157}

Opium-again not in the new testament. But the island of Cyprus is, which was a big cultivator and trader of opium for all of the Mediterranean. {Acts 11:20, Acts 13:4}. It was smoked or mixed into cultic "potions". Poppies also often adorned the statues of Aphrodite and Cybele {see below}

Nepenthe-"drug of forgetfulness". Mentioned in Greek mythology. In Homer's Odyssey it was given to Helen by the Egyptian queen. Scholars believe it was an opium/wormwood elixir.

Silphium-not specifically in the bible. But it was the main trade of the Mediterranean city of Cyrene. As in Simon of Cyrene {Matt 27:32, Acts 6:9}. Silphium was used in the ancient world as herbal contraceptive and also as way to induce natural abortion. It was believed by the ancient Greeks to be a gift from the god Apollo.

New wine-gleukos-sweet wine {Acts 2:13}

Wine-oinos-{Eph 5:18}

Sour Wine/Vinegar-oxos-cheap drink popular with the Roman Army, offered to Jesus on the cross, but he did not drink {Mark 15:36}

Drunk from Wine-paroinos- {Titus 1:7}

Strong Drink-sikera-beer or a fermented date/honey drink {Luke 1:15}

Mead-alcoholic drink made from honey and water via fermentation; also called honey wine. The island of Malta was known for it's honey bees and production of this drink. Not specifically mentioned, but Paul shipwrecked on this island.{Acts 28:1-10}

Mixed Drink-kykeon-not specifically in the new testament. It was a concoction of alcohol and herbs or drugs. Used medicinally or for cultic uses, namely the Greek Eleusian Mystery cult.
"Ancient{Greek} wine, like the wine of most early peoples, did not contain alcohol as its sole inebrient but was ordinarily a veriable infusion of herbal toxins in a vinous liquid. Unguents, spices, and herbs, all with recognized psychotropic properties, could be added to the wine." Dr. Carl A P Ruck

The real rock stars of the ancient world were the pagan gods and goddesses. They were worshipped and idolized in the same spirit that we worship rock stars, celebrities and models today.

"Woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks, who stay up all night till they are inflamed with wine. They have harps and lyres at their banquets, tambourines and flutes and wine, but they have no regard for the the deeds of the Lord..." Is 5:11-12

"As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up." Dan 3:5
"He took what they had handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf...Afterward they sat down to eating and drinking and got up to indulge in revelry...When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf {Apis, the Egyptian fertility god}and dancing...Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control." Ex 32:4,6,19,25


Revelling/Rioting/Orgies(NIV)-komos-party for the gods/goddesses {Rom 13:13, Gal 5:21}

Banqueting-potos-party or carousing for gods/goddesses {1 Pet 4:3}

Railer/Reviler-loidoros-from a root word meaning "mischief", a participant of above parties{1 Cor 5:11, 1 Cor 6:10}

These terms most likely refer to a popular Greco-Roman celebration of the time to Bacchus/Dionysius the god of wine, intoxication and ecstasy. He was known as the liberator, freeing one from his/her normal self. A quote of what a celebration looked like after the procession of phallic symbols through the city.
"a nocturnal and riotous procession of drunken frolicsome fellows who after supper parade through the streets with torches and music in honor of Bacchus, they sing and play before houses of their friends...then feasts and drinking parties that are protracted till late at night and indulge in revelry." {Blue Letter Bible}

Another popular celebration of the time was to the Greco-Roman goddess Cybele or Magna Mater meaning Great Mother. Cybele was very popular in the city of Ephesus, Colossae and the region of Galatia. They incorporated many of their beliefs into worship of Artemis as well.

"The most famous rite of Magna Mater introduced by the Romans was the taurobolium, the initiation ceremony in which a candidate took their place in a pit beneath a wooden floor. A bull {symbolizing Apis} was sacrificed on the wooden floor so that the blood would run through gaps in the slats and drench the initiate in a symbolic shower of blood. This act was thought to cleanse an initiate of sin as well as signify a 'rebirth'...Later, Cybele's most ecstatic followers were males who ritually castrated themselves, after which they were given women's clothing and assumed female identities, who were referred to by one third-century commentator, Callimachus, in the feminine as Gallai, but to whom other contemporary commentators in ancient Greece and Rome referred to as Gallos or Galli." {from Wikipedia}

The gallos or galli were concidered different than slave eunuchs due to their feminine dress and taking the feminine role in sexual activity in the temple.

A quote from the Greek witer Lucian about the same festival "...the flutes played, the drums beat, and the eunuch priests slash themselves with knives...for man after man veins throbing with the music...flung his garments from him, leap forth with a shot, and seizing one of the swords which stood ready for the purpose, castrated himself on the spot..." {History Laid Bare Richard Zacks}

Pan the half man, half goat Greek god of music was an attendent of Cybele. He was known for his music that was capable of arousing inspiration, sexual desire or panic, depending on his intentions. He was also famous for his sexual powers. It is believed that one of his temples was in Caesarea Philippi where Peter confesses that Jesus is the living God. {Matt 16:13}


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