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.
The writer of Proverbs here uses a stylistic device to capture the attention of his readers... "the six... yay seven" structure emphasizes the writer's point: God really doesn't like these things.
The actual words used to describe God's sentiment?
Hate and abomination.
Hateful means to be utterly odious to God. Odious... unpalatable... repulsive... contemptible... repugnant... and so much so that if you like "math" terms, you could qualify it as to the "nth" degree.
Abomination referred to something disgusting (morally), an abhorrence - especially idolatry or an actual idol.
That last one, the actual Hebrew meaning of the word translated as abomination, stopped me in my tracks. I might as well flagrantly construct and then bow down to an idol every time, any time, I allow any one of the following abominations:
- Pride, described as haughty eyes... What does that mean? I see it in my teenagers sometimes, when they are sure they understand the situation more accurately than I do. Matthew Henry quotes Wardlaw in saying, "It is not merely the look which is meant, but the temper of mind which the look expresses." Henry then continues: "The lofty look is the indication of the swelling pride which fills the heart... the supreme disdain, grande... for everything and everybody." Pride takes first place because its presence underscores in some way, every instance of disobedience and even the tiniest rebellion against God's law.
- A lying tongue violates (think of the mental image of rape) God's very character because He is truth.
- Hands that shed innocent blood doesn't just mean murder or the infliction of physical harm or injury. God's Word is later clear that those who look on another with a wish for harm are guilty of this sin, at least in their hearts.
- A heart that fabricates wicked schemes and encourages others to follow a similar path. Our hearts, in their natural state, are deceitful - only God knows the depths of my depravity. Ugliness can easily spew from my heart... ugliness that I'm not even aware is there.
- A soul inclined to run towards and embrace mischief rather than fleeing temptation or standing firm to resist.
- A witness of lies... which is even more involved than simply lying (and that's abhorrent enough). It is one and the same with perjury - a very literal translation is "he who blows out lies." Not only is this lying, but the spreading far and wide of antitruth that damages and hurts others while attesting to the veracity of what is being said.
- One who enjoys the role of "provocateur," a French word that has crept into English vocabulary. It refers to a calculating person who makes a career out of controversy and discord for its own sake, destroying the unity of a group or community.
Know this... Sin, all sin or certainly most sin, essentially boils down to idolatry.