"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
- Incestuous sexual relations of any sort (Lev
18:6-17; Eze 22:11).
- Committing adultery with
your neighbor's wife (Lev 18:20; Eze 22:11; Eze 23:37;
- Sacrificing your children in the fire to
Molech (Lev 18:21; Deu 12:31; 18:10; 2Ki 16:13; 2Ch 28:3; Jer 32:35; Eze 23:37;
- Male homosexual behavior (Lev
- Sexual relations with an animal
- The images of the false gods of the
Canaanite peoples, and even the gold and silver on the images (Deu 7:25; 32:16;
Isa 44:19; Eze 11:18,21).
- Encouraging others to
worship idols (Deu 13:13,14).
- Worshipping other
gods (Deu 17:2-6; Jer 16:18; 44:4,5; Eze 5:9,11; 6:9,11; 7:3-9; 16:36; Eze
23:37; Psa 106:38).
- Anyone who practices
divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells,
or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead (Deu
- Female prostitutes, and male
prostitutes (Deu 23:18; 1Ki 14:24; Eze
- Lewdness (Eze
- Carving an image or casting an idol
(Deu 27:15; Eze 7:20; all of Eze 8).
altars to Baal and Asherah poles (2Ki 21:3), to Ashtoreth and Chemosh and Molech
(2Ki 23:13), and to "all the starry hosts" of heaven (2Ch
- Shedding innocent blood (Pro
This article is analyzing all the usages of the primary Hebrew words for "abomination".
- Taking your wife's sister as a second or rival
wife, while your wife is living (Lev
- Having sexual relations during the
uncleanness of the woman's monthly period (Lev
- Eating any of the foods on the extended
"non-kosher" list, including rabbits, oysters, shellfish of various sorts, and
-- especially -- pigs: bacon, ham, pork, pork sausage, the whole lot! (Deu
- Sacrificing to the LORD any animal with any
defect or flaw in it (Deu 17:1).
- A woman wearing
men's clothing, or a man wearing women's clothing (Deu
- A man remarrying a woman whom he has
divorced, after she has been married and divorced by a second man (Deu
- Bringing foreigners into the sanctuary
of the LORD (Eze 44:7).
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):
- Dishonest business practices (differing weights
and measures) (Deu 25:13-16; Pro 11:1;
- A perverse man, one who is "crooked"
(deceptive, dishonest) in his ways (Pro 3:32);
- Pride, as well as those who are proud or
arrogant (Pro 6:17; 16:5).
- Lying, and those who
tell lies (Pro 6:17; 12:22).
- A heart that devises
wicked schemes (Pro 6:18).
- A false witness -- as
in a judicial setting (Pro 6:19).
- Anyone who
stirs up dissension among brothers (Pro
- Sacrifices offered by wicked, rebellious
people (Pro 15:8; 21:27; Isa 1:13 and
- All the ways (the lifestyle) of the
wicked (Pro 15:9).
- Even the thoughts of the
wicked (Pro 15:26).
- Acquitting the guilty, in a
judicial setting (Pro 17:15).
- Condemning the
innocent, in a judicial setting (Pro 17:15).
the prayers of those who ignore the Law of God (Pro
- Deceitful men (Psa
- Men who say IN THEIR HEARTS, "There is no
God!" (Psa 14:1; 53:1).
- Mingling with the nations
and adopting their customs (Psa 106:35).
who are greedy for gain (Jer 6:13,15).
leaders who practice deceit (Jer 6:13,15).
hypocrisy of committing grievous sins, and then running back to the house of the
LORD and saying, "Now we are safe!" -- in other words, cheap "grace", or
hypocritical "repentance" and "absolution" (Jer
- Those who turn away from God in their
hearts, but still claim to keep His Law (Jer
- Oppressing the poor and the needy (Eze
- Robbery (Eze
- Not honoring a pledge (Eze
- Taking excessive interest (Eze 18:13).
"Will such a man live? He will not!"
the daughter of a foreign god" (Mal 2:11).
"arrogant", and "not helping the poor and needy" (Eze