Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, April 18th, 2024
the Third Week after Easter
For 10¢ a day you can enjoy StudyLight.org ads
free while helping to build churches and support pastors in Uganda.
Click here to learn more!

Bible Dictionaries
Hating, Hatred

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Search for…
Prev Entry
Next Entry
Resource Toolbox
Additional Links

HATING, HATRED.—Although the noun does not occur in the Gospels, yet the verb (μισεῖν) is often found. The passages may be grouped as follows: (1) those which speak of the world’s hatred to Christ and His people; (2) those dealing with the Old Law, and Christ’s hatred of sin; (3) those which prescribe hate; (4) some remaining passages.

1. The world being opposed, according to St. John’s use of the term, to ‘all that is of the Father’ (1 John 2:16), it was inevitable that the holy and sinless Jesus should arouse its antipathy; and this is specially noted in the Fourth Gospel. The world hated Him because He testified that its deeds were evil (John 7:7). Its instinctive opposition to the light as manifested in Him was immediately aroused (John 3:20). Thus He said ‘the world hath hated me’ (μεμίσηκεν, John 15:18), the perfect tense expressing ‘a persistent abiding feeling, not any isolated manifestation of feeling’ (Westcott); and it was ‘without a cause’ (δωρεάν, John 15:25), cf. Psalms 35:19; Psalms 69:4; no reason could be found for such hostility except that He condemned its wickedness. This hatred carried with it hatred of the Father also (John 15:23), in which character He had revealed God to men, cf. John 15:24 ‘they have both seen and hated both me and my Father’; therefore they had no excuse for their sin, perhaps here the special sin of hatred to Him and His (Alford). Cf. in the parable of the Pounds, ‘his citizens hated him’ (Luke 19:14).

Christ’s disciples consequently may expect to experience the same hatred in proportion as they truly follow their Lord (John 15:18-20). ‘When they came before the world, it showed at once and decisively its position of antagonism to the gospel’ (ἐμίσησε, ‘hated,’ Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885 John 17:14) (Westcott), the ultimate cause being that men had no true knowledge of Him who sent Jesus (John 15:21). He foretold that they should be ‘hated of all men’ for His Name’s sake (Matthew 10:22 ||), more precisely ‘of all nations’ (Matthew 24:9); cf. for its fulfilment Acts 12:3; Acts 28:22, 1 Thessalonians 2:14-15; 1 Peter 2:12; Tacitus, Ann. xv. 44, ‘quos per flagitia invisos vulgus Christianos appellabat’; Suetonius, Nero, xvi., ‘Christiani, genus hominum superstitionis novae et maleficae.’ In so far as the world-spirit crept in among the disciples, there would be similar exhibitions of hatred among themselves (Matthew 24:10); cf. Galatians 5:15, 1 John 3:15, the deadly hatred of the Judaizers towards St. Paul, and the name ὁ ἐχθρὸς ἂνθρωπος apparently given to him in the Pseudo-Clementines. The world’s hatred, however, should be a cause of rejoicing (Luke 6:22), and not of wonder (1 John 3:13, where ‘if,’ as in John 15:18, implies no doubt of the fact). The disciples might well suspect their loyalty if they escaped the enmity of those who hated their Lord (John 7:7), while their experience of it was a proof that they had been chosen out and united to Him (John 15:19-20), as also a pledge of their future glory (Romans 8:17, 2 Timothy 2:12; 1 Peter 4:13); ‘Christianos quoque aut summo amore prosequuntur homines ant summo odio. Qui omnibus semper placent, sibi merito suspecti esse debent’ (Bengel).

Groups (2) and (3) raise an apparent difficulty: the feeling which is forbidden in the one seems commanded in the other. Westcott has a valuable note on 1 John 2:9 which suggests the solution; ‘there is a certain ambiguity in the word “hate,” for it serves as the opposite both to the love of natural affection (φιλεῖν) and to the love of moral judgment (ἀγαπᾷν). In the former case hatred, which may become a moral duty, involves the subjection of an instinct; in the latter case hatred expresses a general determination of character.’ Thus μισεῖν as opposed to ἁγαπᾶν is condemned (Matthew 5:43 f., Ephesians 5:28-29, 1 John 2:9-10; 1 John 3:14-15; 1 John 4:20), while as opposed to φιλεῖν it may become a duty (Luke 14:26, Matthew 10:37, John 12:25).

2. ‘Ye have heard that it was said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour and hate thine enemy: but I say unto you, Love your enemies’ (Matthew 5:43); ‘do good to them that hate you’ (Luke 6:27, omitted by best authorities in Mt.). The first part of the maxim is found in Leviticus 19:16; but in the latter clause Jesus ‘is not quoting precisely any OT or extra-Biblical utterance on record (cf. Sirach 18:13)’ (Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible, Extra Vol. p. 30). The question then arises—Is it a fair deduction from, and does it represent the spirit of, the OT, or is it an unwarranted extension and addition of the scribes? In favour of the latter it is urged that this hatred is not conceived of as following in Leviticus 19:18, and that passages much nearer the Christian standard are found. The utmost consideration was to be shown even to an enemy’s beast (Exodus 23:4); the fact that the owner cherished hate was no reason why help should be refused to him in his trouble (Exodus 23:5). Cf. as to rejoicing over an enemy in calamity, Job 31:29; as to returning evil for evil, Proverbs 24:29; and as to the better spirit often shown in OT, Genesis 45:1 f., 1 Samuel 24:7, 2 Kings 6:22, Psalms 7:4; Psalms 35:13. Jewish sages ordained that ‘if a man finds both a friend and an enemy in distress, he shall first assist his enemy,’ in order to subdue his evil inclination; and held that it is not permitted to ‘hate any one except only sinners who, having been duly warned and admonished, do not repent’ (Kalisch on Leviticus, quoted in Alexander, The Witness of the Psalms to Christ and Christianity, p. 274). Proverbs 24:17; Proverbs 25:21-22 are sometimes quoted as approaching the Christian spirit, but the reason given in each case militates considerably against their force (‘lest the Lord see it and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him,’ ‘and the Lord shall reward thee’). Hence some suppose that ‘hate thine enemy’ was an illegitimate inference (‘pessima glossa,’ Bengel) drawn by Rabbis from the precepts laid down concerning the Amalekites and other nations under the curse (Exodus 23:23 f., Deuteronomy 7:1 f., Deuteronomy 23:3, Deuteronomy 25:17 f.); by giving to ‘neighbour’ the sense of ‘friend,’ and taking ‘enemy’ as meaning a ‘private enemy,’ they were easily turned into a justification of private hatred. On the other hand, it is held by many that this clause was really implied in Leviticus 19:18 and truly expressed the spirit of OT. The election of Israel, taken with the rules concerning the above nations, would foster an aversion to foreigners which was ever increasing in intensity; cf. Psalms 83, Jonah 3:10 to Jonah 4:11, Est. In time the Jews came to have such a profound contempt and disregard for all others as caused them to be charged with being enemies of the human race (’apud ipsos fides obstinata, misericordia in promptu, sed adversus omnes alios hostile odium,’ Tac. Hist. v. 5, 2; ‘non monstrare vias eadem nisi sacra colenti,’ Juv. Sat. xiv. 103). Therefore Bp. Gore holds (Sermon on Mount, p. 97) that we must accept Mozley’s conclusions, which are as follows,—The whole precept, as it stands, undoubtedly represents, and is a summary of, the sense of the Law; nor is there any occasion to refer ‘it hath been said’ to the Law in the case of ‘Love thy neighbour,’ and to the tradition of the scribes in the case of ‘Hate thine enemy’: all the other precepts which the Lord takes as instances of an inferior morality are precepts out of the Law, and there is no reason to distinguish this particular one from the rest with respect to its source. In the first place, it applied to ‘neighbour’ and ‘enemy’ in a national sense, and tended to strengthen the union of Israelites; it was the inculcation of an esprit de corps which was the very bond of, and incentive to, union in the early ages. But it also referred to a private enemy, and was conceived in the general spirit of retaliation (cf. Matthew 5:38 and such Psalms as 109).

It is evident from Matthew 5:44 that Jesus took ‘enemy’ as meaning a ‘private enemy,’ who in the new Kingdom is to be loved, and to whom good is to be done. He used ἀγαπᾷν, not φιλεῖν, on which Tittmann (see Alford) says, ‘φιλεῖν, amare, pessimum quemquc vir honestus non potest; sed poterit eum tamen ἀγαπᾷν, i.e. bene ei cupere et facere quippe homo homini, cui etiam Deus benefaciat. Amor imperari non potest, sed dilectio.’ Cf. Clem. Alex. [Note: Alexandrian.] τὸ ἀγαπᾷν τοὺς ἐχθροὺς οὐκ ἀγαπᾷν τὸ κακὸν λέγει, and Aug. ‘sic dilige inimicos ut fratres optes, sic dilige inimicos ut in societatem tuam vocentur, sic enim dilexit ille qui in cruce pendens ait, Pater ignosce illis, quia nesciunt quid faciunt.’ According to the teaching of Christ, therefore, the hatred of sin only is permissible, which is the necessary corollary of the Gospel of Love, and is according to His own example; cf. Hebrews 1:9, Revelation 2:6, where Lyra remarks (see Alford), ‘non dixit Nicolaitas, sed facta: quia personae sunt ex charitate diligendae, sed eorum vitia odio sunt habenda.’

3. Luke 14:25-26, Jesus turned and said unto the multitude, ‘If any man cometh unto me, and hateth not his own father, and mother, and wife (peculiar to Luke), and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple’; cf. Matthew 10:37 ‘He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me’; and John 12:25 ‘He that loveth his life loseth it, and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.’ We may at once dismiss such an interpretation as Renan put forward, viz. that Christ was here ‘despising the healthy limits of man’s nature,’ ‘warring against the most legitimate cravings of the heart,’ and ‘preaching a total rupture with the ties of blood.’ The whole tenor of His life and teaching is against such an idea. He forbade hatred even of an enemy (Luke 6:27); He condemned evasion of the Fifth Commandment (Mark 7:9-12), and taught the sanctity of the marriage bond (Mark 10:2-9); He showed tender thought for His mother (John 19:25 f.), and loved children (Mark 10:13 f.); His new commandment was ‘that ye love one another, as I have loved you’ (John 13:34). St. John certainly did not understand Luke 14:26 in Renan’s sense (1 John 2:9; 1 John 2:11; 1 John 3:15; 1 John 3:17; 1 John 4:16; 1 John 4:20); nor St. Paul (Ephesians 5:28, 1 Timothy 5:8, Titus 2:4, Romans 13:8), who would regard those acting in such a way as ἄστοργοι ‘without natural affection,’ a vice of the heathen (Romans 1:31).

Some have given to ‘hate’ in these passages the meaning of ‘love less,’ comparing Genesis 29:30-31, Deuteronomy 21:15; but it follows from the above that Jesus cannot have intended to condemn any degree of right affection as if it amounted to loving others more than Him. ‘The love which Christ condemneth differs not in degree, but in kind, from rightful affection. It is one which takes the place of love to Christ, not which is placed by the side of that of Christ. For, rightly viewed, the two occupy different provinces. Wherever and whenever the two affections come into comparison, they also come into collision’ (Edersheim, Life and Times, i. 650). There is a foolish affection which would do injury both to the giver and the receiver (cf. Proverbs 13:24), and then hate is not only consistent with, but absolutely necessary for, the highest kind of love. It is ‘that element in love which makes a wise and Christian friend not for time only, but for eternity.’

The words had special application to the time when they were spoken, and must have sounded strange to the multitude, which, for the most part, was following because of that very love of life which is condemned, desiring to get material benefits (cf. John 6:26). Jesus’ enemies were becoming more violent, divisions in families would take place (Matthew 10:34-36; cf. Exodus 32:26 f., Deuteronomy 33:9), and discipleship would in many cases be impossible without the renunciation of the dearest ties. The mission field affords a parallel nowadays, where the hostility of relatives is often the greatest hindrance to the confession of Christ. The statement is made in the most startling form to arrest attention; conditions must be supplied as in Matthew 5:29 f. Even where renunciation is not outwardly necessary, there must be potential alienation and the acknowledgment of Christ’s claims as paramount. The key to the true explanation lies in ‘yea and his own life also’ (cf. John 12:25), it is presupposed that friendship is a source of enjoyment for ourselves; ‘Jesus does not indicate a course of action whereby we do evil to others, but such as constitutes a painful sacrifice for ourselves’ (Wendt). At bottom our own life only, the last citadel (Job 2:4), is to be hated, and everything else only in so far as it partakes of this principle of sin and death (Godet); ‘secundum eam partem, secundum quam se ipsum odisse debet, a Christo aversam’ (Bengel). ‘He that so prizes his life that he cannot let it out of his own hand or give it up to good ends, checks its growth, and it withers and dies; whereas he who treats it as if he hated it, giving it up freely to the needs of others, shall keep it to life eternal’ (Dods, Expositor’s Greek Test.). ‘Nec tamen sufficit nostra relinquere, nisi relinquamus et nos’ (Gregory, Hom. xxxii.).

Westcott on Hebrews 7:3 quotes a striking passage from Philo which throws light on Luke 14:26; he describes the Levites as being in some sense ‘exiles who to do God’s pleasure had left parents and children and brethren and all their mortal kindred, and continues—ὀ γοῦν ἀρχηγετης τοῦ θιασου τούτου λέγων εἰσάγεται τῶ τατρὶ καὶ τῆ μητρί, Οὐχ ἑώρακα ὐμᾶς καὶ τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς οὐ γενώσκω καὶ τοῖς υἰοῖς ἁτογινώσκω ὑπὲρ τοῦ δίχα μεθολκῆς θεραπεύειν τὸ ὄν.’ For the abstraction of the sinful desire to injure from the word ‘hate,’ leaving in it nothing but an aversion of a purely moral kind, Wendt compares the use of ‘violence’ and ‘force’ in Matthew 11:12, where ‘they are used only so far as they denote energetic seizure and appropriation, but not the unlawfulness of this seizure.’

4. Other passages—Matthew 6:24 = Luke 16:13 ‘No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love (ἀγαπήσει) the other; or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Here also ‘hate’ must get its full meaning in order to bring out the opposition and the division of the man’s nature who attempts to serve both God and mammon. The change of words in the second part is remarkable (καταφρονήσει for μισήσει. and ἀνθέξεται for ἀγαπήσει), ‘non dixit odiet sed contemnet: sicut solent minas ejus postponere cupiditatibus suis, qui de bonitate ejus ad impunitatem sibi blandiuntur’ (Aug.); to which Trench adds—‘No man actually and openly professes to hate God and love the devil; and therefore in the second clause, when the Lord is putting the converse case, He changes both words, which would be no longer the most appropriate; the sinner ‘holds to’ Satan when he follows his rewards; he practically ‘despises’ God when he heeds not His promises and His threatenings; however little he may acknowledge to himself or to others that he is doing either this or the other.’

Luke 1:71, ‘salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all that hate us,’ exhibits a parallelism with no particular distinction between the clauses, cf. Psalms 18:17; Psalms 106:10.

Literature.—Bethune-Baker’s art. ‘Hatred’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible; Votaw’s art. ‘Sermon on the Mount,’ ib. Extra Vol.; Trench, Exposition of the Sermon on the Mount, also Studies in the Gospels (No. 12); Wendt, Teaching of Jesus, ii. 65–70; Mozley, Lectures on the Old Testament (Lect. viii.); Finlayson, Expositor, i. ix. [1879] 420 f.; Dykes, Manifesto of the King, p. 311 ff.; Butler, Serm. viii. ix.; Seeley, Ecce Homo, ch. 21.; Martensen, Chr. Eth. ii. 118 ff.; Gardner, Conflict of Duties, 133–148.

W. H. Dundas.

Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Hating, Hatred'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​hdn/​h/hating-hatred.html. 1906-1918.
adsFree icon
Ads FreeProfile