Saturday Wordstudy: What or Who Does God Hate?

A point of perpetual debate in the modern church really addresses the core of how people evangelize. Can I say, “God loves you,” to a group of people that I don’t know? Certainly, an approach like that is a staple of contemporary evangelistic techniques. You know, the John 3:16 approach. But if you believe in the doctrine of election, which the Bible so clearly teaches, and you believe that God chose some to call to himself and others to leave as reprobate, can you genuinely say, “God loves you” when someone in the listening body may just be someone who is eternally under God’s wrath?

So, before we get into a debate over this or that, let us just spend some time taking a survey of what the Scriptures actually say about God and his hatred. Does it just refer to sins? Or, does God’s hatred refer to people as well? We will let God speak for himself. Citations below are from the ESV; end notes are my own observations.

Leviticus 20:23: “And you shall not walk in the customs of the nation that I am driving out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I detested them.”

Deuteronomy 7:25: “The carved images of their gods you shall burn with fire. You shall not covet the silver or the gold that is on them or take it for yourselves, lest you be ensnared by it, for it is an abomination to the LORD your God.”[1]

Deuteronomy 12:31: “You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the LORD hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods.”

Deuteronomy 16:22: “And you shall not set up a pillar, which the LORD your God hates.”

Deuteronomy 17:1: “You shall not sacrifice to the LORD your God an ox or a sheep in which is a blemish, any defect whatever, for that is an abomination to the LORD your God.”

Deuteronomy 18:12: “for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD. And because of these abominations the LORD your God is driving them out before you.”[2]

Deuteronomy 22:5: “A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God.”

Deuteronomy 23:18: “You shall not bring the fee of a prostitute or the wages of a dog into the house of the LORD your God in payment for any vow, for both of these are an abomination to the LORD your God.”[3]

Deuteronomy 24:4: “then her former husband, who sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after she has been defiled, for that is an abomination before the LORD. And you shall not bring sin upon the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance.”

Deuteronomy 25:16: “For all who do such things, all who act dishonestly, are an abomination to the LORD your God.”[4]

Psalm 5:5-6: “The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers. You destroy those who speak lies; the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.”[5]

Psalm 11:5: “The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.”[6]

Proverbs 3:32: “or the devious person is an abomination to the LORD, but the upright are in his confidence.”[7]

Proverbs 6:16-19: “There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.”[8]

Proverbs 11:1: “A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is his delight.”

Proverbs 11:20: “Those of crooked heart are an abomination to the LORD, but those of blameless ways are his delight.”[9]

Proverbs 15:8-9: “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him. The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, but he loves him who pursues righteousness.”

Proverbs 16:5: “Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the LORD; be assured, he will not go unpunished.”[10]

Proverbs 17:15: “He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the LORD.”[11]

Isaiah 61:8: “For I the LORD love justice; I hate robbery and wrong; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.”[12]

Isaiah 66:17: “Those who sanctify and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following one in the midst, eating pig’s flesh and the abomination and mice, shall come to an end together, declares the LORD.”

Jeremiah 12:8: “My heritage has become to me like a lion in the forest; she has lifted up her voice against me; therefore I hate her.”[13]

Hosea 9:15: “Every evil of theirs is in Gilgal; there I began to hate them. Because of the wickedness of their deeds I will drive them out of my house. I will love them no more; all their princes are rebels.”[14]

Amos 5:21: “I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.”[15]

Amos 6:8: “The Lord GOD has sworn by himself, declares the LORD, the God of hosts: ‘I abhor the pride of Jacob and hate his strongholds, and I will deliver up the city and all that is in it.”[16]

Zechariah 8:16-17: “These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace; do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, declares the LORD.”

Luke 16:15: “And he said to them, ‘You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.’”

Romans 9:13: “As it is written, ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.’”[17]

Hebrews 1:9: “You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”[18]


[1] Idolatry requires those to be acting in an idolatrous way. What message does this send to so many American churches that are tolerating idolatry in worship?

[2] Note that the doer is an abomination before the Lord.

[3] There is an inference found here that God hates when pagan or immoral things are included in his worship.

[4] Note that the Bible often attributes God’s hatred to an action, her it  attributes God’s hatred to a person. Those who act dishonestly are an abomination to God. Note too, that “abomination” and “hatred” are used as synonyms in the Hebrew Bible (see Proverbs 6:16).

[5] Seeing this theme throughout these texts. God hates the evildoer and the liar as well as those who are bloodthirsty.

[6] God hates the wicked (person) and he hates the one who loves violence.

[7] Note again that this is a reference to a devious person.

[8] Note the use of hatred and abomination in parallel. This is common in Hebrew writings…to use parallel structure to emphasize a point. There are a number of anthropomorphic mentions here, but note that God hates the false witness (we have seen that above in Deuteronomy 25:16) and he hates the one who breeds discord amongst brothers — we might call that the contentious one in the church who likes to stir the pot as it were.

[9] Again, a person with a crooked heart — a schemer — is an abomination to God.

[10] The prideful and arrogant person is an abomination to God.

[11] “He who…”

[12] God makes an everlasting covenant to bring justice upon those who are robbers and who intentionally do wrong.

[13] “therefore I hate Her…” A reference to the nation of Israel which was cut off for the wild olive to be grafted on. Yet note the verses that come later speak of redemption for his people after they have been cast off for a season…this is a beautiful picture of Romans 5:6-8 being worked out.

[14] This is directed to Ephriam, a tribe of Israel that Scripturally is often used to refer to Israel (northern kingdom) as a whole. Verse 17 that follows is the devastating one…they will be cast out of the land and become wanderers. These 10 tribes were scattered by Assyria and remain scattered yet today.

[15] God hates the context where people engage in ritual not out of devotion.

[16] Note that Amos parallels hatred with abhorrence.

[17] This is the classic passage and is a citation of Malachi 1:2-3. In the case of Malachi he is comparing the descendants of Jacob (Israel) to the descendants of Esau (Edomites) — promising to build up the first and promising to destroy and pulverize the second in judgment. Paul takes this idea and says (in Romans 9) that this is an illustration of how God’s Election works. Thus the natural inference is that God loves his Elect and hates the Reprobate.

[18] This is an abbreviation of Isaiah 61:1-3 and is speaking about Christ. God is exalting him because of his hatred of wickedness.

About preacherwin

A pastor, teacher, and a theologian concerned about the confused state of the church in America and elsewhere...Writing because the Christian should think Biblically.

Posted on August 08, 2020, in Expositions, Word Studies and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: