I would like to thank my dear friend, Jacob Metz, for helping me put together this article. This root-word is almost always used in the sense of setting something for a specific purpose, usually for the Divine. However, it does not mean “sacred” or “holy”, in the sense that there is intrinsic holiness, or divinity associated with the object/person. It is by virtue of its designation that it becomes “qadosh”
Here, the verse refers to prostitutes, using the same root (QDŠ) as things which are usually deemed “sacred”. Obviously, the prostitute is not sacred, but one is labeled as a prostitute, if he/she is designated to engage in such activities:
לֹא תִהְיֶה קְדֵשָׁה מִבְּנוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל וְלֹא יִהְיֶה קָדֵשׁ מִבְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל
“There shall no prostitute from the daughters of Israel, and there shall be no gigolo from the sons of Israel” (Deu. 23:18).
Upon the siege of Jerusalem, Jerimiah addresses the Babylonians, and instructs them to set themselves aside for war:
קַדְּשׁוּ עָלֶיהָ מִלְחָמָה קוּמוּ וְנַעֲלֶה בַצָּהֳרָיִם אוֹי לָנוּ כִּי פָנָה הַיּוֹם כִּי יִנָּטוּ צִלְלֵי עָרֶב
“Prepare for battle against her! Arise, and we will raise [an attack] at noon! Whoa to us, for the daylight is fading, for the shadows of evening grow long” (Jer. 6:4).
Later, when Babylon is defeated by the Persians, the same phrase is used against Babylon:
קַדְּשׁוּ עָלֶיהָ גוֹיִם אֶת מַלְכֵי מָדַי אֶת פַּחוֹתֶיהָ וְאֶת כָּל סְגָנֶיהָ וְאֵת כָּל אֶרֶץ מֶמְשַׁלְתּוֹ
Prepare the nations for battle against her; the kings of the Medes, their governors and all their officials, and all the land under its hegemony” (Ibid 51:28).
The seventh day is reserved as a blessed day, by virtue of God’s halting from creation on that day:
וַיְבָרֶךְ אֱלֹהִים אֶת יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי וַיְקַדֵּשׁ אֹתוֹ כִּי בוֹ שָׁבַת מִכָּל מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים לַעֲשׂוֹת
“And God blessed the seventh day and consecrated it, because He halted from all his activity, that God created to make” (Gen. 2:3).
Prior to the theophany at Sinai, God instructs Moses to prepare the people for prophecy:
וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל מֹשֶׁה לֵךְ אֶל הָעָם וְקִדַּשְׁתָּם הַיּוֹם וּמָחָר וְכִבְּסוּ שִׂמְלֹתָם
And The Lord said to Moses: go to the people, and prepare them today and tomorrow, and wash their clothing” (Ex. 19:10).
God’s sanctuary (miqdash) is not intrinsically sacred, but rather, a place reserved for his dwelling:
וְעָשׂוּ לִי מִקְדָּשׁ וְשָׁכַנְתִּי בְּתוֹכָם
And make for me a dwelling-place, and I shall dwell among them” (Ibid 25:8).
וַיָּשֶׂם אֶת הַמִּצְנֶפֶת עַל רֹאשׁוֹ וַיָּשֶׂם עַל הַמִּצְנֶפֶת אֶל מוּל פָּנָיו אֵת צִיץ הַזָּהָב נֵזֶר הַקֹּדֶשׁ כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהֹוָה אֶת מֹשֶׁה
“And he placed the turban on his head, and he set upon the turban, by his face, the plate of gold; the headband of the Sacred, as the Lord commanded Moses” (Lev. 8:9).
אֶת בִּגְדֵי הַשְּׂרָד לְשָׁרֵת בַּקֹּדֶשׁ אֶת בִּגְדֵי הַקֹּדֶשׁ לְאַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֵן וְאֶת בִּגְדֵי בָנָיו לְכַהֵן
“The service cloths to serve in the Sacred, the clothing of the Scared for Aaron the priest, and the clothing of his sons to serve [as priests]” (ibid 39:41).
Here is an instance where crops are legally seized, or “consecrated” for destruction, by the court:
לֹא תִזְרַע כַּרְמְךָ כִּלְאָיִם פֶּן תִּקְדַּשׁ הַמְלֵאָה הַזֶּרַע אֲשֶׁר תִּזְרָע וּתְבוּאַת הַכָּרֶם
“You shall not sow your vineyard with [specific] mixed seed, lest the crop you have sown and the yield of the vineyard become forfeit” (Deu. 22:9).
Joel contrasts the people of Israel with foreigners; the former, a people reserved for the Land:
וִידַעְתֶּם כִּי אֲנִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם שֹׁכֵן בְּצִיּוֹן הַר קָדְשִׁי וְהָיְתָה יְרוּשָׁלִַם קֹדֶשׁ וְזָרִים לֹא יַעַבְרוּ בָהּ עוֹד
“And you shall know that I am The Lord your God, that dwells in Zion; my consecrated mount, and Jerusalem shall be reserved, and foreigners shall no longer pass through her” (Joel 4:17).
Here, Ezra likens consecration to ‘being given’ (specifically, to God):
וָאֹמְרָה אֲלֵהֶם אַתֶּם קֹדֶשׁ לַיהוָה וְהַכֵּלִים קֹדֶשׁ וְהַכֶּסֶף וְהַזָּהָב נְדָבָה לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֵי אֲבֹתֵיכֶם
“And I said to them: “you are consecrated to the Lord, and the vessels are also consecrated; the silver and the gold are a voluntary offering to The Lord, the God of your ancestors” (Ez. 8:28).
For the first time, Second Temple literature exposes us to the idea of “the Sacred Spirit .” In the book of Acts, Stephen is reported to be filled with the Sacred Spirit; a proper noun:
ἄνδρα πλήρη πίστεως καὶ Πνεύματος Ἁγίου
“… a man full of faith and of Sacred Spirit ” (Acts 6:5).
Perhaps that is why the text relates that even the Priests (Ibid v. 7); those who served in the Temple (also called the Sacred) began to adhere to the teachings of Stephen:
ὄχλος τῶν ἱερέων ὑπήκουον τῇ πίστει
“… a group of the priests were becoming adherent to the faith.”
In light of the above analysis, those familiar with rabbinic literature will now appreciate the following passage. Documents of the Sacred are ‘set aside’ (in the Temple) due to their national level of acceptance:
אוֹמְרִים צְדוֹקִים, קוֹבְלִין אָנוּ עֲלֵיכֶם פְּרוּשִׁים, שֶׁאַתֶּם אוֹמְרִים, כִּתְבֵי הַקֹּדֶשׁ מְטַמְּאִין אֶת הַיָּדַיִם, וְסִפְרֵי הֲמִירָם אֵינָם מְטַמְּאִין אֶת הַיָּדָיִם. אָמַר רַבָּן יוֹחָנָן בֶּן זַכַּאי, וְכִי אֵין לָנוּ עַל הַפְּרוּשִׁים אֶלָּא זוֹ בִלְבָד, הֲרֵי הֵם אוֹמְרִים, עַצְמוֹת חֲמוֹר טְהוֹרִים, וְעַצְמוֹת יוֹחָנָן כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל טְמֵאִים. אָמְרוּ לוֹ, לְפִי חִבָּתָן הִיא טֻמְאָתָן, שֶׁלֹּא יַעֲשֶׂה אָדָם עַצְמוֹת אָבִיו וְאִמּוֹ תַּרְוָדוֹת. אָמַר לָהֶם, אַף כִּתְבֵי הַקֹּדֶשׁ לְפִי חִבָּתָן הִיא טֻמְאָתָן, וְסִפְרֵי הֲמִירָם שֶׁאֵינָן חֲבִיבִין אֵינָן מְטַמְּאִין אֶת הַיָּדָיִם
(Mishna: Yadayim 4:6)
 ha-Qodesh refers to a proper noun. There are instances where it may refers to God himself, or his sanctuary. See Exo. 39:1, 41, Isa. 63:11, Ps. 51:13. The following are clear cases where Qodesh is not a location: Exo. 3:5, 16:23, 22:31, Lev. 25:12.
 God is heard via prophecy, which is enabled via a ruaḥ (‘force’, or ‘spirit’) that stems from the Qodesh portion of the Temple: a place of much familiarity to the priests (as in Lev. 1:1, Num. 11:17). It is unclear how prophets received prophecy when the Temple did not stand. For possible resolutions to this problem, see Ibn Ezra’s comments to Isa. 43:14. See also ibid 45:2.