38:21 prostitute. Out of deference to Judah, his friend here used a more respectable term meaning “shrine prostitute” (a different Hebrew word is translated “prostitue” in v. 15). Cultic prostitution was integral to the Canaanite fertility religions, and was later a persistent snare to Israel (Deut. 23:17; 1 Kin. 14:24 text note; 2 Kin. 23:7 text note).