The Agora
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"Abomination" to the LORD

What is an "abomination" to the LORD? What does the LORD "abhor"..."detest"... "despise"... or "loathe"?

All these are reasonable translations of the Hebrew words "to'ab" (the verb) or "tow'ebah" (the noun).

And we know -- don't we? -- what such things are. We've been reading the Bible for some time; and it is plain. The LORD "abhors" or "abominates" the vilest, most sickening, and most disgusting of sins: the ones we can hardly mention, or surely don't want to think about.

And that is true... but it's only part of the truth.

Here is the whole truth (at least, insofar as an exhaustive Hebrew concordance can yield it):

• Of course, the LORD abhors, or "abominates":

But the LORD also abhors, and considers "abominable":

This article is analyzing all the usages of the primary Hebrew words for "abomination".

We realize, of course, that the above seven items are included here for the sake of completeness alone. These seven items especially pertain to the keeping of the Law of Moses by the Jews in Old Testament times. We also realize that, outside of the period when that Law was in force for the LORD's people, these particular "abominations" do not apply. Most particular in this matter is the prohibition of certain kinds of foods. This prohibition -- and hence the "abomination" for violating it -- was explicitly put to the side by an angel of the LORD, who told the apostle Peter: "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean" (Acts 10:15). And also by the Lord Jesus Christ, who told his disciples: "Don't you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him 'unclean? (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods 'clean')" (Mark 7:18,19; cf Rom 14:14; 1Cor 8:8).

That is not all. The LORD ALSO detests these "abominations" as well (exactly the same Hebrew words are used in the immediate context, in each case):

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