The Forehead of a Whore

You have the forehead of a whore;
you refuse to be ashamed.

–Jeremiah 3:3

If you have read this blog for any length of time, you know that I don’t employ shock value as a device to get readers. I normally would not use a word like whore simply to attract attention.

It happens that in the course of my Bible reading schedule (Bible Reading in 2014), I am currently praying and reading through the book of Jeremiah. After only a few days, God has been teaching me afresh how he views the sin of those who call themselves his people. It is not a pretty picture.

When I arrived at chapter 3 of Jeremiah, my sensibilities were shocked as I read God’s indictment against those who were supposed to be in a covenantal relationship with him. It is worth noting that this covenantal relationship between God and his people is pictured in the New Testament as the church as it is in the Old Testament with Israel and Judah.

As I chewed on this passage, I kept coming back to the Bible’s use of the word whore to describe God’s bride as she violates the terms of that marital covenant. Then this morning I clicked on one of my favorite new podcasts by R.C. Sproul Jr. The title of today’s podcast was Consorting With Whores. In his podcast, Sproul makes the following statement,

We are profoundly wicked people…What we are by nature is whores. We turn tricks before the all-seeing eye of the husband who suffered hell for us.

His comments echo with the words of Jeremiah in the third chapter. Let’s dig a little deeper into the text. In only a few verses, Jeremiah makes these statements:

  • You have played the whore with many lovers (Jeremiah 3:1).
  • You have polluted the land with your vile whoredom (Jeremiah 3:2).
  • You have the forehead of a whore (Jeremiah 3:3).
  • Have you seen what she did, that faithless one, Israel, how she went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and there played the whore (Jeremiah 3:6)?
  • Judah did not fear, but she too went and played the whore (Jeremiah 3:8).
  • She took her whoredom lightly (Jeremiah 3:9).

Those are only the statements in which a form of the word is specifically used. Throughout the chapter, many other statements about their giving themselves to other gods are made. Again, it is not a pretty picture.

So what is meant by the phrase of my title, the forehead of a whore? In simple terms, it means that a whore has lost the ability to blush. Instead of experiencing shame at our unfaithfulness to God, we proudly trumpet our infidelity.

In Jeremiah 2:26, we are told that a thief is shamed when he is caught. That is the normal response. When light shines on sinful deeds done in darkness, it is natural for the guilty to experience shame. That sense of shame effects even the physical appearance of the guilty. The blood rushes to their face so that onlookers notice the redness.

That is why guilty people often try to hide their faces when confronted with their evil. They have difficulty looking at their accuser directly in the eyes.

But when the conscience becomes seared and indifferent, the blood refuses to rush to the face. The guilty hold their heads high and mug for the cameras. They can even look directly into the eyes of the offended without a hint of remorse. We call that telling a bald-faced lie. The face is bald because no reddening of the forehead or cheeks occur. It’s the same feelingless expression one demonstrates when discussing the weather.

When we refuse to be ashamed or embarrassed by our guilty ways, we have the forehead of a whore. But remember, God sees beyond our facial expressions and looks into our hearts. He knows our treachery…even if we hide it from ourselves and everybody else.