Six things the Lord hates. For us as Christians, those certainly sound like things we should know. And that we shouldn’t do. Add the fact that the passage I’m talking about is written by Solomon and we now it’s going to be deep. Not just six isolated things, but six things that are very much embedded in our day-to-day lives. But even this brief description doesn’t tell us just how important these things are.
So – if there are six things the Lord hates, why do I have 7 bowling pins? Surely, God doesn’t hate bowling, does He? Bowling is never mentioned in the Bible and it isn’t inherently bad, so I doubt it. But there are two reason I chose this image.
First, the passage we’re going to look at does say, There are six things the LORD hates. But that’s immediately followed by, seven that are detestable to him. So the seven bowling pins represent those seven things in the second portion of the sentence.
But there’s more. We’ll look at it shortly. but oftentimes, seven doesn’t literally mean seven. It’s a way of expressing completeness, regardless of the actual number. So, those seven bowling pins in the image represent the other bowling pins we know are behind the visible ones.
In terms of things the God detests, the pins we don’t see represent the other things that we know God detests beyond the seven explicitly listed in the passage we’re going to examine. The things explicitly spelled out in other parts of the Bible, and the ones we can/should be able to determine related to life today.
We’d like to think we’re more civilized. And yet, we still have the same fallen nature. And in so many ways we’ve just found new ways to commit the same base sins. All sin is hated by God. All sinful acts are detestable to God. And we’d do well to learn from what Solomon lays out for us.
So our example today is going to look at these six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him, by continuing the series on Rule over the earth: U. N. Climate Change Conventions.
Six things the Lord hates
Let’s start by reading the passage as a whole. Then we’ll take it apart, one detestable things at a time to see how it fits in with climate change. What we do to God’s creation. And even more so, what we do specifically to the crowning glory of God’s creation, or fellow people.
Pr 6:16 There are six things the LORD hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
Pr 6:17 haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
Pr 6:18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
Pr 6:19 a false witness who pours out lies
and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.
We see right off that the verses we’re looking at are from a larger passage the NIV titles Warnings Against Folly. Of course, the entire passage is important. However, given the current discussion, I chose to only show the four verses above. You can view the entire passage using the links above.
As the series progresses, we’ll bring in some of those verses to go into more deeply into the seven detestable things that are the focus here.
Six things the LORD hates – seven that are detestable to him:
So, what’s the deal here? Why the difference between six and seven? Is there one thing that’s detestable to God, but that He doesn’t hate? That hardly makes any sense. How could something not rise to the level of God not hating it, but that is detestable to Him? Given that God hates all sin, that explanation just doesn’t work.
It would be great to tell you exactly why six and seven are both there. Unfortunately, various commentaries have different thoughts on what the numbers mean. So, I’m going to give you three of them, and then we’ll see what we’ve got.
ADMONITIONS AGAINST THE PRACTICE OF SEVEN HATEFUL THINGS, 16–19.
Here the teacher seeks to guard his charge against personal vices, as he had before against associational ones.16–19. Six things … yea, seven, are specified. These are favourite forms with the Hebrews, and the numbers are not always used definitely. The expression is, perhaps, equivalent to our “six or seven,”—meaning several. Burr, J. K., Hunter, W., & Hyde, A. B. (1909). Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Solomon’s Song. (D. D. Whedon, Ed.) (Vol. VI, p. 347). New York; Cincinnati: Eaton & Mains; Jennings & … Continue reading
Six or seven as an approximate number (several) seems a bit odd, especially since seven is often a number used to represent completeness.
“There Are Six [or Seven] Things the LORD Hates” 6:16–19
This poetic sequel lists many characteristics of the person just described but views them now from Yahweh’s point of view (cf. 5:21). The pronouncement The LORD hates these characteristics (6:16a) is repeated in 8:13; otherwise, the terminology The LORD hates appears only in the prophets (Hos 9:15; Amos 5:21; 6:8; Zech 8:17; Mal 1:3; 2:16). Adding that Yahweh finds them detestable (tô‘̆bôth, 6:16b, an abomination) underscores the intensity of his hatred (on this term, see 3:32, notes). The numerical sequence (There are six things the LORD hates, seven, 6:16) is a rhetorical device found elsewhere (cf. Job 5:19–22; Amos 1:3–2:16; Miller, J. W. (2004). Proverbs (p. 80). Scottdale, PA: Herald Press.
This explanation is preferable to the one above. Especially note the reference to six or seven being a rhetorical device found elsewhere.
6:16. The Lord’s hatred of the scoundrel’s activities (vv. 12–14) is described in verses 16–19. These two sections are linked by the words “stirs up dissension” (vv. 14, 19).
The six … seven pattern is also used in Job 5:19, and a similar pattern of other numbers plus one is used in Proverbs 30:15–16, 18–19, 21–31. The purpose of this kind of numerical pattern (x and x + 1) is not to give a complete list. Instead it is to stress the final (x + 1) item, as the culmination or product of its preceding items. Buzzell, S. S. (1985). Proverbs. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 917). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
I believe we’re narrowing in on a good explanation here: The purpose of this kind of numerical pattern (x and x + 1) is not to give a complete list. Instead it is to stress the final (x + 1) item, as the culmination or product of its preceding items.
To see why I think we’re getting there, let’s look at the Job passage that referenced as another example of this possible pattern.
Job 5:19 From six calamities he will rescue you;
in seven no harm will befall you.
It’s really hard to imagine that one must go through six calamities in order to have God rescue us from the seventh. Surely, it’s not the literal number that’s important. Rather, it’s most believable that the seventh represents the completeness of whatever’s happening.
In the passage above, we read Eliphaz’s comment to Job. But remember, Eliphaz was wrong. Eliphaz thought it had to do with Job’s sins. Instead it was about something Job nor any of his friends had any idea was going on. However, according to the convention, the reality of some number of things that were culminated in the seventh holds true. Further, the writing convention of the time being six, even seven, is what we read in both Job and Proverbs.
As such, I find the commentary below to be the most compelling that I have in my library.
6:16–19 This passage is a numerical proverb (30:15–31) that describes seven things that the LORD hates. The use of numerical progression—six, even seven—in these proverbs is a rhetorical device that embellishes the poetry, provides a memory aid, and builds to a climax. It gives the impression that there is more to be said about the topic. The progression involves not just the numbers but also the words that describe God’s response; the word hates progresses to abomination. The word abomination is the Bible’s strongest expression of hatred for wickedness (compare Lev. 18:22). In a list of this type, the last item is the most prominent. Thus, the reader knows that causing discord among brethren (v. 14) causes God’s greatest disapproval. Contrast the blessing of God on brothers who live together in peace (Ps. 133:1). Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (pp. 751–752). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.
So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at what Solomon wrote about the six things the Lord hates.
A general look at the six … seven things that are detestable to God.
6:16–19 These evil qualities are an abomination to YAHWEH: (1) the sin of attitude shown by “a proud look,” (2) the sin of thought suggested by “a heart that devises wicked plans,” (3) the sins of speech illustrated in “a lying tongue” and “a false witness,” (4) the sins of action found in “hands that shed innocent blood” and “feet that are swift in running to evil,” and (5) the sins of influence revealed in sowing “discord among brethren.” Criswell, W. A., Patterson, P., Clendenen, E. R., Akin, D. L., Chamberlin, M., Patterson, D. K., & Pogue, J. (Eds.). (1991). Believer’s Study Bible (electronic ed., Pr 6:16–19). Nashville: … Continue reading
We can see a progression there, going from a look that comes from pride to evil and death, culminating in sowing the discord that causes other people to get involved in expanding the evils that were out passion. As such, we should expect to see various climate change issues show up under more than one of the seven things.
6:16–19 These verses are the first of the numerical sayings in Proverbs (cf. 30:15–31). The form of these sayings suggests a kind of riddle with an answer provided, not to dispose of the question, but to invite further appropriate answers. Wisdom literature often lists things together that are perceived to have something in common. Relationships are established in surprising ways, and the process of discerning orderly relationships in the universe increases wisdom. This unit is quite distinct from the previous one (vv. 12–15), but is probably placed next to it for development of the theme. Whereas v. 15 expresses the perspective of an unspecified natural retribution, this saying implies that the Lord renders judgment (5:21–23 note). Whitlock, L. G., Sproul, R. C., Waltke, B. K., & Silva, M. (1995). The Reformation study Bible: bringing the light of the Reformation to Scripture: New King James Version (Pr 6:16). Nashville: T. … Continue reading
Notice – Wisdom literature often lists things together that are perceived to have something in common. Relationships are established in surprising ways, and the process of discerning orderly relationships in the universe increases wisdom.
We touched on this earlier – the idea that these seven things are not only related, but they have a synergistic relationship. Each builds on the ones before it. And the last one is the culmination of the first six. Not only that, but by the nature of the synergistic relationship, by the time we get to the seventh one, if not sooner, we see outcomes that are far worse than the sum of the earlier items.
We saw that in the move for an individual going from a pride based took to causing death. Just the increase for one person is a large progression from beginning to end. But then, with the seventh and final item, we have other people involved in all seven things.
Conclusion – Six things the Lord hates as seen in climate change
With all this as the background and foundation for study, we’re ready to proceed to the six things the LORD hates,
seven that are detestable to him.
Each of them will be in it’s own article. With so many things to cover, while some might be short, the overall text will be longer than I want for just one article.
|↑1||Burr, J. K., Hunter, W., & Hyde, A. B. (1909). Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Solomon’s Song. (D. D. Whedon, Ed.) (Vol. VI, p. 347). New York; Cincinnati: Eaton & Mains; Jennings & Graham.|
|↑2||Miller, J. W. (2004). Proverbs (p. 80). Scottdale, PA: Herald Press.|
|↑3||Buzzell, S. S. (1985). Proverbs. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 917). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.|
|↑4||Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (pp. 751–752). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.|
|↑5||Criswell, W. A., Patterson, P., Clendenen, E. R., Akin, D. L., Chamberlin, M., Patterson, D. K., & Pogue, J. (Eds.). (1991). Believer’s Study Bible (electronic ed., Pr 6:16–19). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.|
|↑6||Whitlock, L. G., Sproul, R. C., Waltke, B. K., & Silva, M. (1995). The Reformation study Bible: bringing the light of the Reformation to Scripture: New King James Version (Pr 6:16). Nashville: T. Nelson.|