In the Book of Ezekiel, Oholah and Oholibah appear as the allegorical brides of God who represent Samaria and Jerusalem.
They became prostitutes in Egypt, engaging in prostitution from their youth.
The Hittites practiced sacred prostitution as part of a cult of deities, including the worship of a mated pair of deities, a bull god and a lion goddess, while in later days it was the mother-goddess who became prominent, representing fertility, and (in Phoenicia) the goddess who presided over human birth.
In the Greek-influenced and colonized world, "sacred prostitution" was known in Cyprus (Greek-settled since 1100 BC), Sicily (Hellenized since 750 BC), in the Kingdom of Pontus (8th century BC) and in Cappadocia (c. Eusebius also claimed that the Phoenician cities of Aphaca and Heliopolis (Baalbek) continued to practise temple prostitution until the emperor Constantine put an end to the rite in the 4th century AD.
The research of Daniel Arnaud, Vinciane Pirenne-Delforge, Julia Assante, Stephanie Budin and others has cast the whole tradition of scholarship that defined the concept of sacred prostitution into doubt.
Budin regards the concept of sacred prostitution as a myth—arguing that the practices described in the sources simply never existed.
Frazer and Henriques distinguished two major forms of sacred sexual rites: temporary rite of unwed girls (with variants such as dowry-sexual rite, or as public defloration of a bride), and lifelong sexual rite.
This raises questions as to whether the phenomenon of temple sexual rites can be generalized to the whole of the ancient world, as earlier scholars typically did.
You shall not bring the hire of a prostitute (zonah) or the wages of a dog (kelev) into the house of the Lord your God to pay a vow, for both of these are an abomination to the Lord your God.
Male priests who engaged in same-sex sacred prostitution were called kadesh or qadesh (literally: male holy one); the word evolved semantically in ancient Hebrew to take on a similar meaning to sodomite.
But most sit down in the sacred plot of Aphrodite, with crowns of cord on their heads; there is a great multitude of women coming and going; passages marked by line run every way through the crowd, by which the men pass and make their choice.