According to one article in The Door (aka The Wittenberg Door, a Christian magazine that satirizes Christian stupidity), Ezekiel 23:20 is the dirtiest verse in the Bible.

The verse before it (Ezekiel 23:19) isn't much better.

Here they are:

(19)Yet she increased her whorings, remembering the days of her youth, when she played the whore in the land of Egypt (20)and lusted after her paramours there, whose members were like those of donkeys, and whose emission was like that of stallions.

Cool, eh?

It is part of a larger allegory and makes the point that the nations of Israel and Judah had fallen away from God.

I discovered this verse in seminary while working on translating another passage. The word phallus caught my eye. "Huh," I thought. "I don't remember that being in the Bible."

And thus this node.

I think about this passage every time I hear about parents attempting to censor the books in libraries. In fact, I'm told that this passage is so dirty that it was kept out of the King James Version (or at least strongly modified). Amusingly, these same parents will probably happily read the Bible to their children.

I'm guessing, however, that they don't read Ezekiel 23:20 very often. Personally, I've always wished I could preach a sermon on it. That's probably part of the reason I'm not a minister.

The NIV (New International Version) seems to do a pretty accurate version of this passage though. So it is nice to know that despite that translation's reputation, the translators did get this one right.

It wasn't very different in King Jame's Version (KJV), they just said it a bit more subtly...
(19)Yet she multiplied her whoredoms, in calling to remembrance the days of her youth, wherein she had played the harlot in the land of Egypt.

(20)For she doted upon their paramours, whose flesh is as the flesh of asses, and whose issue is like the issue of horses.

Actually, the Revised Standard Version is the only one I can find on the Bible Browser ( that doesn't use the word flesh instead of member.
Matthew 15:11

"Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man."

Fellatio is ok, but it is wrong to spit out afterwards.

I found out about this curious passage in the early 80s (horny teenage years), while reading a Penthouse, IIRC . It was in the Dear Penthouse letters section and went something like this:

Dear Penthouse, my wife is a devout catholic but refuses to give me oral sex. Do you know of a biblical justification that would reassure her?
Mat 15:11 was the answer.

In Ken's Guide to the Bible, a book that picks out all the most atrocious and disturbing biblical episodes for the Biblically illiterate, Ezekiel23:19-20 is used to conveniently demonstrate the differences between the different translations of the bible. The KJV is openly smutty, but so arcane in its language that many people have no idea what it's saying. Newer versions are progressively clearer, but also more bowdlerized.

Here are some translations (courtesy of the bible gateway):

Young's Literal Translation

19 And she multiplieth her whoredoms, To remember the days of her youth, When she went a-whoring in the land of Egypt.
20 And she doteth on their paramours, Whose flesh is the flesh of asses, And the issue of horses -- their issue.
King James Version
19 Yet she multiplied her whoredoms, in calling to remembrance the days of her youth, wherein she had played the harlot in the land of Egypt.
20 For she doted upon their paramours, whose flesh is as the flesh of asses, and whose issue is like the issue of horses.
New American Standard Bible
Yet she multiplied her harlotries, remembering the days of her youth, when she played the harlot in the land of Egypt. 20 "She lusted after their paramours, whose flesh is like the flesh of donkeys and whose issue is like the issue of horses.
New International Version
Yet she became more and more promiscuous as she recalled the days of her youth, when she was a prostitute in Egypt. There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.
Amplified Bible
19Yet she multiplied her harlotries, remembering the days of her youth in which she had played the harlot in the land of Egypt.
20For she doted upon her paramours there, whose lust was sensuous and vulgar like that of asses or stallions.
New Living Translation
But that didn't bother her. She turned to even greater prostitution, remembering her youth when she was a prostitute in Egypt. She lusted after lovers whose attentions were gross and bestial.
Personal note: I'll take a sensuous and vulgar lover over a gross and bestial one any day.

/me goes a-whoring


I've never trusted translations much, so when I saw the various versions of the "dirtiest verse in the Bible" by the different biblical translators, I decided to check out Ezekiel 23:19-20 myself. Here's my crack:

19: And she added to her prostitution/promiscuity so she to recall the days of her adolescence, when she prostituted/slept around in the land of Egypt.

20: And she lusted after their libertines, of whom like the meat/flesh/penises of donkeys are their meat/flesh/penises, and the emission of horses their emissions.

You see, any translation of the Bible makes a lot of assumptions based on context etc. And ancient Hebrew just didn't have that many words, compared to modern English. So often, a word can have any number of similar meanings.

Notes on the above translation:

prostitution/promiscuity - The word, biblically, "Zon'oot", for prostitution is also used for general sluttiness. So it's ambiguous, but I think the sense here is promiscuity rather than money for sex.

adolescence - a biblical term for a time when someone is no longer a child but not yet an adult, twelve or older for a girl. But I suppose there's no need to get too technical, and youth would do too.

libertines -- seems to be the same word as used for concubine. I think the idea is of people who live for sex, similar to the modern use of the word libertine, or perhaps nymphomaniac.

meat/flesh/penises - the word is Bassar, meaning flesh (as in "all flesh is grass", Isaiah 40). It also means meat in modern Hebrew. From meat/flesh it isn't that hard to get the idea. I don't think (but I might be wrong) that there is another biblical word for penis. So the old translations aren't wrong as such, just misleading.

emissions - pretty much the same story. The word has the sense of issuing, emitting. And we can get the hint.

And the moral of the story? Sometimes both -- or all -- translations can be right.

The above is an interesting discussion of the most perverse verse in the bible, but it completely misses the mark for the dirtiest.

Clearly, the dirtiest verse in The Bible is Genesis, chapter one, Verse nine:

"And God said, 'Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.' And it was so." 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that this was good. "

This was before God created any sort of vegetation what so ever, so for the remainder of that day all the land in the world was nothing but dirt. And possibly mud on the coast. Lots of mud .

The Vulgate translation of Ezechiel XXIII:19 and 20 is as follows:

19.  Multiplicavit enim fornicationes suas, recordans dies adolescentiae suae, quibus fornicata est in terre Aegypti.

20.  Et insanivit libidine super concubitum eorum, quorum carnes sunt ut carnes asinorum: et sicut fluxus equorum fluxux eorum.

Literally this translates something as follows:  She multiplied her fornications (rather "acts of fornication", perhaps?), remembering the days of her adolescence, when she committed fornication in the land of Egypt.  And she hungered for her lovers, the flesh of whom was like the flesh of donkeys, and the ejaculation of whom was like the ejaculation of steeds.

Cicero uses the word caro (= flesh, from which carnes) in a derogatory fashion to refer contemptuously to a man, so literally "that lump of meat" or "flesh".  From that it requires a small leap to get to the male member, and the implication obviously from the particular verse is that the lovers were hung like donkeys . . . Pliny uses the same word for the pulpy parts of fruit - hence again perhaps the connexion with seed? 

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