I certainly believe that the word abomination has gotten such a bad reputation in today’s culture. It’s wielded as a sword by those who are against Christians to try to prove that somehow we are a ‘hate group’. As a Christian, it was a word I avoided. However, the truth is the word is used multiple times in the bible and it’s important that we know its true meaning. So I asked the question, “What does the word “abomination” mean in Hebrew and Greek?”
All scriptures are taken from NKJV unless otherwise marked.
What Does The Word “Abomination” Mean In Hebrew?
baash- to smell bad; to be offensive. This word is translated 10 times into “stink”.
pigguwl- to stink. For example, to be unclean ceremonially is abominable.
shiqquwts- disgusting; filthy; idolatrous or an idol. Shiqquwts is translated into “abomination” 20 times and “detestable things” 5 times. Mostly, this word is used to express God’s hatred of the entire system of idolatry.
shaqats- an idolatrous object.
sheqets- an idolatrous object.
tow’ebah- something disgusting; an abhorrence; idolatry; an idol. This Hebrew word is translated into “abomination” 113 times.
To’ebah describes someone or something as unique in the sense of being sinister, dangerous, and repulsive to another person.
“An unjust man is an abomination to the righteous,
And he who is upright in the way is an abomination to the wicked.”
– Proverbs 29:27
In reference to God, this word is used to describe things, people, acts, characteristics, and relationships that are hated by Him because they go against His nature. For example, in Deuteronomy 14:3, it’s used in relation to death and idolatry.
People with loathsome habits are disgusting and detestable to Him.
“A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the Lord your God.”
– Deuteronomy 22:5
There are times when this word is used to describe pagan objects and practices. It’s used in Deuteronomy to warn the Israelites about taking the golden idols of worship. He tells them to burn them and not take them into their house because they are accursed.
Also, this word is used in Ezekiel to describe the failures to observe divine regulation.
“Therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘Because you have multiplied disobedience more than the nations that are all around you, have not walked in My statutes nor kept My judgments, nor even done according to the judgments of the nations that are all around you’— therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘Indeed I, even I, am against you and will execute judgments in your midst in the sight of the nations. And I will do among you what I have never done, and the like of which I will never do again, because of all your abominations.”
– Ezekiel 5:7-9
To-ebah is used in reference to characteristics and acts that are destructive to societal and family harmony. These things and those who commit them are described by this word.
What Does The Word “Abomination” Mean In Greek?
bdelugma- detestable; idolatry.
This word is directly translated into “abomination”. It suggests an object of disgust. In Matthew 24:15, it’s used to describe the image set up by the antichrist.
“And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.”
– Luke 16:15
Those things which are highly esteemed among men can become an idol in the human heart.
“The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. And on her forehead a name was written:
MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT,
THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS
AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS
OF THE EARTH.”
– Revelations 17:4-5
Modern society would make it seem like the word abomination only speaks about those who are not in a heterosexual relationship. Yet, that is further from the truth. Abomination occurs in the bible over a hundred times. This word at its core speaks about idolatry, which God hates. He is a jealous God and worshipping other idols provokes Him to anger.
In Old Testament times, they had physical idols of worship like carved images and golden statues. The likelihood of worshipping other idols today is worse than it used to be. People would have their gods fight for them and obviously, Yahweh was always victorious when He was worshipped. However, anything can become an idol today.
We can make ourselves an idol through selfishness or our marriage by expecting our spouse to fill the hole only God can fill. Anything that we put above God is an idol.
The First Commandment
We’re so familiar with Jesus’ teaching in Mark 12 that we forget how blunt and forwarning the first commandment was. Jesus says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.”
But look at how Yahweh says it to Moses:
“You shall have no other gods before Me.
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
– Exodus 20:3-6
God hates anything that goes against who He is, His nature, and His word. So yes, pride, lies, and murders are an abomination to Him. Anything that defiles His people, especially the holy matrimony of marriage (which is the only thing that God compares His love with the church) is detestable. To Him, it’s filthy and disgusting. He expects His people to keep His commandments because they love Him.
That’s what the word “abomination” means in Hebrew and Greek, those things which seek and aim to destroy what God has created. Thanks for reading! Please comment below and share this content!