Proverbs 29:27

An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.
– Proverbs 29:27

This verse ends the collection of Solomon’s proverbs collected by Hezekiah’s men, which began in 25:1. A thematic contrast between the righteous and the wicked has ran through this collection and finds an appropriate conclusion in this last verse.

The word for abomination speaks of something abhorrent and detestable. It is usually applied to what God hates (Proverbs 3:32; 6:16; 11:1 et al). In this saying, the word describes the intense incompatibility between the righteous and the wicked. This saying then also contributes to the wisdom theme of the two way featured so prominently in chapters 1-9.

A brief survey of this collection of proverbs reveals Solomon’s practical wisdom in touching on family, neighbors, friends, citizens, kings, rulers, etc. This, of course, demonstrates that the way of wisdom, the way of righteousness, not separated from mundane daily concerns, but rather the way lies through them. Of course, the way of wisdom in society gives a foretaste of the glories of Christ’s kingdom where wisdom reigns over all the earth.

Proverbs 28:9

He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.
– Proverbs 28:9

The word for hearing is common in Proverbs and means to hear intelligently, or with understanding. Obedience is implied. The command to hear is given frequently in the law (Exodus 4:1-8; 5:1; 8:32-34; 15:26; 24:7; Deuteronomy 5:1; 29:3; 31:11-12, 38, 30; 32:1, 44). Refusal to listen to God’s instruction renders one’s prayer an abomination, or detestable in God’s sight. Wisdom teaches God will not listen to us if we do not listen to him (Proverbs 1:23-33).

Proverbs 24:9

The thought of foolishness is sin: and the scorner is an abomination to men.
– Proverbs 24:9

The word for thought means plan, and usually refers to bad plans. The word for foolishness means silliness, or folly. The first phrase refers to scheming, which is decidedly not according to wisdom. Such folly refuses instruction, embraces death, and goes woefully astray (Proverbs 5:21-23). Through such folly a woman destroys her own home (Proverbs 14:1), a hot headed man is exposed (Proverbs 14:17, 29), the character of a fool is known by the foolishness poured out of his mouth (Proverbs 12:23; 15:2, 14), and a man’s whole way is corrupted (Proverbs 19:3). Therefore, his love of folly and planning foolishness is sin.

The scorner, or scoffer, then, becomes an abomination to men. He becomes disgusting, or detestable, even in the eyes of men. The scorner is fixed in his evil ways because he will not receive correction (Proverbs 9:7-8; 13:1; 15:12). He is odious to men because he is a meddler and bringer of problems (Proverbs 21:24; 22:10; 29:8). Wisdom teaches us judgment is “prepared for scorners” (Proverbs 19:19), and he shall receive tooth for tooth (Proverbs 3:32-35).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 21:27

The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?
– Proverbs 21:27

The word for abomination means disgusting, or detestable. Here it refers to a form of ritual worship that God hates. The first phrase echoes Proverbs 15:8 and the issue is the odious nature of hypocritical worship. Getting the outward form right is meaningless when the heart is not right (1 Samuel 15:22-23). In the second phrase, wicked mind refers to an evil intent, or plan. We could view this as an attempt to bribe God to overlook unrighteousness, or an attempt to entice God to deliver the wicked one through payment apart from repentance and faith. However, God refuses to hear those who will not hear him (Proverbs 28:9).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 20:10

Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the LORD.
– Proverbs 20:10

The law requires equity and justice in business (Leviticus 19:35-26; Deuteronomy 25:13-16). Unequal weights and measures here refers to cheating the transaction by a false weight. This could be a way of oppressing the poor and inviting Divine retribution (Proverbs 17:5). The word for abomination means loathsome, or detestable. God hates all such cheating. The standard of measure belongs to the Lord (Proverbs 16:11) and proverbs such as this one show God’s sovereign omniscience. He ponders the hearts and judges by his standard.

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 17:26

Also to punish the just is not good, nor to strike princes for equity.
– Proverbs 17:26

The word for just means lawful, or righteous. The word for equity means upright, or straight, and it is used for what is right, or due. The word for punish means to fine and the word for strike means to beat, i.e., to flog as punishment. The proverb makes the point by juxtaposing an absurdity with a greater absurdity. Fining, or punishing, those who are doing what is right is not good in any sense. It is an abomination (Proverbs 17:15). Princes are rulers of some sort and it’s beyond absurd to envision their beating for executing their office justly. They’re being punished for not miscarrying justice through the respecting of persons (Proverbs 18:15).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 17:15

He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.
– Proverbs 17:15

Injustice is a two-way street that runs to abomination at both ends. Justifying the wicked means to declare innocent one who is guilty. Whether the crime appears victimless or not, it is an injustice. The first phrase comes under the respect of persons and is abhorrent to the righteous Judge of all the earth (Proverbs 24:23-24). The second abomination is the reverse of the first. It is to declare guilty one who is innocent. The Lord abhors and the prophet Isaiah condemned Judah for it (Isaiah 5:20-23). It is one of the ways of calling “evil good, and good evil.”

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 16:12

It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness.
– Proverbs 16:12

The level of authority and responsibility a person has magnifies the severity of their sins (Luke 12:47-48). On the one hand, even good works can become abominable when mixed with the embrace of folly (Proverbs 28:9). Kings are in a special place of responsibility and accountability before God. They must be careful not to follow the counsel of the ungodly (Proverbs 20:18; 25:5). The word for righteousness means justice and is explained as “faithfully judgeth the poor” in a similar proverb (Proverbs 29:14). Bearing authority with wisdom means upholding justice (Deuteronomy 1:17; 16:19; Proverbs 24:23; 28:21).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 16:5

Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.
– Proverbs 16:5

The first statement emphasizes God’s hatred of the proud. The word for abomination is strong, meaning disgusting and abhorrent. The offense of human pride is consistently spoken of in Proverbs and elsewhere in Scripture (Proverbs 6:16-17; 8:13; 29:23; Isaiah 2:11-12, 17; Daniel 4:37; Luke 14:11; et al). The second statement features the figure of speech, though hand join in hand. The meaning is uncertain but most likely indicates the surety of something, as in Proverbs 11:21. The point of the proverb is that God will bring all pride into judgment.

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Next Page »