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Bible Dictionaries

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology

Hate, Hatred

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Hate derives from a strong dislike or ill will toward persons or things. As an emotional attitude, a person may oppose, detest, or despise contact with a thing or a person. Love and hatred often stand opposed. Wisdom says, there is "a time to love and a time to hate" (Ecclesiastes 3:8 ). In the biblical record, every being may express or experience hate.

The Bible says that God hates religiosity (Isaiah 1:14 ; Amos 5:21 ), hypocrisy and lies (Zechariah 8:17 ), wrongdoing (Isaiah 61:8 ); divorce (Malachi 2:16 ), violence (Malachi 2:16 ), idolatrous practices (Hosea 9:15 ), and the way the prophets are treated (Jeremiah 44:4 ). The theology underlying God's hatred rests upon two essential qualities of God: holiness and justice. As a divine being with standards, God hates anything that despises, detests, or disregards those standards. In return, people hate God (Psalm 139:21-22 ). Humanity may choose to follow in God's path in hating anything that hates the Lord or his standards (Psalm 139:22 ).

The Bible notes that people can hate discipline (Psalm 50:17 ), peace (Psalm 120:6 ), and knowledge (Proverbs 1:22 ). This sense of "hatred" carries the meaning of "loathing." A person so characterized is viewed in a negative sense, often labeled as a "fool." Some people hate anything that is good (Micah 3:2 ). They are viewed as "evil." They may hate God's people as well. The psalmist tells us, "I suffer from those who hate me" (9:13). A strong dislike surfaces for a variety of reasons, all encompassed by the term "hatred." Jesus accepted that believers would be hated, pronouncing a blessing on those so hated (Luke 6:22 ). In fact, one mark of a disciple derives from being hated (Luke 14:26 ). Of course, the world hated Jesus first (John 7:7 ). True disciples hold an attitude of love toward those who hate them (Luke 6:27 ). This hatred of God's people appears to be an inevitable fact of life (Psalm 25:19 ; 35:19 ; 41:7 ; 83:2 ; Proverbs 9:8 ). God may be involved on occasion in turning people to hate his people (Psalm 105:25 ). This idea attests how everything fits into God's plan in some way.

The response by God's people needs to mirror God's attitude toward evil. We are to hate evildoers (Psalm 26:5 ), idolaters (Psalm 31:6 ), the false way (Psalm 119:104 ), falsehood (Psalm 119:163 ), and anything that is evil (Psalm 97:10 ; Proverbs 8:13 ; Amos 5:15 ).

Normal relationships may produce hatred between people. A husband may hate his wife (Genesis 29:31,33 ). Joseph's brothers hated him (Genesis 37:4 ). Amnon's lust turned to hate after he raped his sister, Tamar (2 Samuel 13:15 ). A parent may hate a son (Proverbs 13:24 ). Neighbors, nations, and classes of people, such as the poor may be hated (Deuteronomy 19:11 ; Proverbs 19:7 ; Isaiah 66:5 ). Hatred proves to be a tangible measurement of evil in the world. Its ugliness may extend in any direction. Any aversion of humans to others expresses hatred.

G. Michael Hagan

Bibliography . G. Van Groningen, TWOT, 2:880.


Copyright Statement
Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology. Edited by Walter A. Elwell
Copyright © 1996 by Walter A. Elwell. Published by Baker Books, a division of Baker Book House Company, PO Box 6287, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49516-6287.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.
For usage information, please read the Baker Book House Copyright Statement.

Bibliography Information
Elwell, Walter A. Entry for 'Hate, Hatred'. Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/bed/h/hate-hatred.html. 1996.

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Thursday, December 12th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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