SACRILEGE (săk'rĭ-lĕj). The expression commit sacrilege, used once (Rom.2.22 kjv, mlb), translates hierosyleō in the NT; hierosylos, a related term, may generally mean one who commits irreverent acts against a holy place.
SACRILEGE (ἱαροσυλημα; the robbing of temples, violating the sacred).
The word occurs twice in the NT. The Ephesian shrine-makers, fearing a loss in income, warned against the desecration of the temple of Diana (Acts 19:27), and Paul charged the Jews with inconsistency and asked rhetorically: “You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?” (Rom 2:22). It occurs also in 2 Maccabees 4:39 where there is described the looting of the temple treasures by the renegade priest Lysimachus.
In Rom. law the term connoted the removal of a sacred object from a sacred place, and carried severe penalties. Cicero wrote: “Let him be treated as a parricide who steals or carries off ought sacred or what is entrusted to a sacred person” (De Legibus, ii, 9). In Ger. law the meaning was extended to cover the removal of a sacred object from any assigned place. In the
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
sak’-ri-lej: For "commit sacrilege" in Ro 2:22 (the and the English margin), the Revised Version (British and American) has "rob temples," which more exactly expresses the meaning of the verb (hierosuleo; compare Ac 19:37, "robbers of temples" (which see)). The noun occurs in 2 Macc 4:39 (the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American)) for the corresponding form hierosulema.