Harlots are referred to in the OT without any note of condemnation (Gen. 38; Josh. 2), but ‘harlotry’ became synonymous in the prophets for apostasy (Hos. 4: 12–13).

In NT times, harlots were outcasts from respectable society (Matt. 21: 31 f.) but were treated gently by Jesus (Luke 7: 37–50; John 8: 1–11). The well-known and accommodating Rahab (Josh. 2: 1–22) appears in one of the genealogies of Jesus (Matt. 1: 5).