What does Proverbs 6:16 mean?
ESV: There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him:
NIV: There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him:
NASB: There are six things that the Lord hates, Seven that are an abomination to Him:
CSB: The Lord hates six things; in fact, seven are detestable to him:
NLT: There are six things the Lord hates — no, seven things he detests:
KJV: These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
Referencing a number, followed by one more, is a common Hebrew literary pattern. It implies, sometimes, that the final item is the summary or culmination of the others. Sometimes, however, it's just a stylized way to introduce those ideas. The same pattern occurs in Job 5:19.
Although the Bible teaches us that God is loving, His love does not overlook sin. In upcoming verses (Proverbs 6:17–19), Solomon lists some of the sins God hates. These are echoed elsewhere in the Bible. Isaiah 61:8 says the Lord hates robbery and wrong. Zechariah 8:17 points out that He hates the planning of evil in the heart against one another. Revelation 2:6 declares that He hates the works of the Nicolaitans. The Greek origins of the word "Nicolaitans" can imply dictatorship or improper eating. It suggests certain individuals were acting as dictators in the church at Ephesus, and / or spreading heresy about foods.
Scripture calls the sins listed in Proverbs 6:17–19 an abomination to the Lord. The word "abomination" applies to anything that greatly offends the Lord, because it is grossly immoral. The idolatrous image that the false prophet erects in the temple in the tribulation period is called "the abomination that makes desolate" or "the abomination of desolation" (Daniel 9:27; 12:11; Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:3–4; Revelation 13:14–15).
Proverbs 6:12–19 focuses on those who create unnecessary strife. These people are described as "worthless," "crooked," and associated with a list of actions and attitudes which God hates. Just as those who are lazy are at risk of sudden financial ruin (Proverbs 6:6–11), those who are corrupt are subject to sudden judgment. This passage uses a pattern common to books like Proverbs, giving a number for a list and then adding one more (Job 5:19; Proverbs 30:21). This is mostly a poetic flair, but sometimes highlights the last item as especially important. In this case, the last point is about those who create division, which is the common theme of the previous six ideas. In contrast, Matthew 5:1–12 describes God's blessings on those who are righteous.
This chapter provides teaching on two aspects of wealth management. The first is avoiding putting one's property in debt for the sake of some other person's risky investment. The other warns against laziness, indicating that it puts a person at risk for sudden ruin. Solomon then poetically explains attitudes and actions which God finds especially repulsive. Next, Solomon returns to the subject of adultery. He reiterates the inherent risks of sexual immorality, including the catastrophic consequences which it brings. That lesson continues into the following chapter.
This chapter of Proverbs continues the wise sayings Solomon addresses to his son. In chapter 5 he addresses adultery and marriage. In this chapter he addresses financial matters, work ethics, characteristics and conduct the Lord despises, and sexual immorality. A common theme of these lessons is to avoid the natural consequences of foolish choices. The next chapter describes the adulteress's ways and the pitfalls involved in committing adultery with her.
Proverbs is best understood in context with the books of Ecclesiastes and Job. In Proverbs, “wisdom” is given in short, simple, general terms. Ecclesiastes represents wisdom based on observation and experience. This often shows how the general principles of the book of Proverbs don’t apply in absolutely every circumstance. Job represents wisdom based on the experience of suffering and injustice. All three come to the conclusion that God does indeed know best, and the most sensible course of action is to follow His will.
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