Richard Holdeman on 7 Things the Lord Hates

These six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren. (Proverbs 6:16-19, NKJ)

The literary device used by Solomon in Proverbs 6 helps us understand something vital about the church.  On the surface, the list of seven things that the Lord hates seems to be a collection of sins including pride, dishonesty, violence, scheming, plotting, slander, and divisiveness.  When interpreting wisdom literature, understanding the structure of a passage is critical to grasping its meaning.

The formula, “x… x + 1,” which is used here, is seen in some other places in both the books of Proverbs and Amos, where the formula is “three… four.”  In each case where the formula is followed by a list, the items on the list are examples of a particular principle.  The formula indicates that the list is not meant to be exhaustive.  In the case of Proverbs 6, it is clear that these are not meant to be the totality of the things that the Lord hates.  We know from Isaiah 1:14 that God hates insincere worship, from Malachi 2:16 that the Lord hates divorce, and from Deuteronomy 16:22 that God hates idolatry.  Proverbs 6 is giving us examples of the types of things that deeply offend God.

In addition, there is reason to believe that when a list is given, the author’s focus is really on the final thing in the list.  For example Proverbs 30: 18-20 says, “There are three things which are too wonderful for me, yes, four which I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the air, the way of a serpent on a rock, the way of a ship in the midst of the sea, and the way of a man with a virgin.”  Here are four things that are mysterious to some extent.  It’s not completely obvious how eagles fly so gracefully or how a creature with no legs can move across the ground so quickly or how a sailboat manages itself in the open sea.  As interesting as all those things are, it is most likely that real point being made is the mystery of human sexuality – s subject that receives a tremendous amount of attention in the book of Proverbs.

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Source: Church Leaders