Abomination (from Latinabominare, "to deprecate as an ill omen") is an English term used to translate the Biblical Hebrew terms shiqquwts ("shiqqûts") and sheqets, which are derived from shâqats, or the terms תֹּועֵבָה, tōʻēḇā or to'e'va (noun) or ta'ev (verb). An abomination in English is that which is exceptionally loathsome, hateful, sinful, wicked, or vile.
The Biblical words usually translated as "abomination" do not always convey the same sense of moral exceptionalism as the English term does today, as it often may signify that which is forbidden or unclean according to the religion (especially sheqets). Linguistically in this case, it may be closer in meaning to the Polynesian term taboo or tapu, signifying that which is forbidden, and should not be eaten, and or not touched, and which sometimes was a capital crime. The word most often translated "abomination" to denote grave moral offenses is Tōʻēḇā. This article examines the term as it is used in English translations of the Bible, and also the actual senses of the words which are being translated into this term in English.
The term shiqquwts is translated abomination by almost all translations of the Bible. The similar words, sheqets, and shâqats, are almost exclusively used for dietary violations.
The most often used but different Hebrew term, tōʻēḇā, is also translated as abomination in the Authorized King James Version, and sometimes in the NASB. Many modern versions of the Bible (including the NIV and NET) translate it detestable; the NAB translates it loathsome. It is mainly used to denote idolatry; and in many other cases it refers to inherently evil things such as illicit sex, lying, murder, deceit, etc.; and for unclean foods.
Another word which can signify that which is abhorred is zâ‛am. There are less used Hebrew words with a similar conveyance, as well as Greek terms for such.
In Daniel's prophecies in Daniel 11:31 (cf. 12:11), it is generally interpreted as referring to the fearful calamities that were to fall on the Jews in the time of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, saying "And they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate." Jerome, and most of the Christian fathers, suppose that the reference is to Antiochus as the type of Antichrist, and that the description passes from the type to the antitype. Idolatry is presented as the chief sin in the Bible, and shiqquwts is often used to describe such.
Pharaoh was so moved by the fourth plague, that while he refused the demand of Moses, he offered a compromise, granting to the Israelites permission to hold their festival and offer their sacrifices in Egypt. This permission could not be accepted, because Moses said they would have to sacrifice "the abomination of the Egyptians" (Exodus 8:26); i.e., the cow or ox, which all the Egyptians held as sacred and so regarded as sacrilegious to kill.
Proverbs 6:16-19 lists seven things which are also abominations: "haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are swift in running to mischief, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers."
Tōʻēḇā is also used in Jewish (and Christian Old Testament) scriptures to refer to:
^Hebrew/English dictionaries. Strong's Concordance of the Bible.
^"inherently evil": things, words, deeds which of their very nature ["intrinsic property"] are always harmful, degrading, debasing, dehumanizing or lethal to the human person (but frequently deemed by some opportunists to be most useful and convenient, thinking "the end always justifies the means") and which, by extension, are always harmful and eventually lethal to the nature and stability of human culture and society--"evil". Biblical references: Leviticus 18:6-30; Leviticus 20. Deuteronomy 12:29-31; 23:17-19; 25:13-16; 27:16-25. Compare Romans 1:23; 3:8; 13:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21.