The word abomination appears in 142 verses in the King James Bible. Of these, six are in the New Testament. Two speak of the abomination of desolation (in Matthew & Mark), three are in Revelation in descriptions about John’s vision, and the remaining one appears in Luke, which states in chapter 16, verse 15:
“And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.”
That brings us to the Old Testament. The rest of the verses – 136 – are found here.
Genesis and Exodus have three instances, all of which refer to abominations to the Egyptians.
Leviticus has 14. Many of these are in the Levitical law, and discuss things that the Israelites were not to do. These things were an abomination to the soul of those who participated. These include things that should not be eaten (the peace offering on the third day; any seafood without fins and scales; scavenger birds; flying things with four legs; creeping things) as well as actions (lying with mankind as with womankind; bestiality; offering children to Molech; profaning the name of God; lying with both a woman and her mother).
These are likely the most well-known of the things listed as abominations in the Bible, if only because of the ones that pertain to homosexual actions. However, as we will see, homosexual activity is far from the only abomination according to God’s Word.
Deuteronomy has 16 verses containing the word. The vast majority of these deal with the idolatry of nations that surround Israel – those they are in the process of conquering. God warns them not to bring the idolatrous activities and items into their households. One of the verses also refers to cross-dressing (Deuteronomy 22:5). Also, in the case of divorce, a man remarrying his first wife after her second husband dies is also called abomination (Deuteronomy 24:4). Improper measurements, presumably for the purpose of cheating people, also falls under this umbrella – followed by a very important verse. Deuteronomy 25:16 states:
For all that do such things, and all that do unrighteously, are an abomination unto the LORD thy God.
We see here that ALL SIN is abomination to God. This really only makes sense, if you think about it. What SIN could possibly NOT be an abomination to God?
1 Samuel has one verse, which mentions that Israel was an abomination to the Philistines.
1 & 2 Kings have 8 verses between the two. These all speak of abominations of the heathen nations – mostly idolatry.
2 Chronicles has 5 verses about abomination. These also all speak of the abominations of the heathen nations around Israel.
Ezra contains 3 instances, also all referring to heathen nations.
Psalms contains the word abomination exactly once: in chapter 88, the Psalmist is grieving about the loss of his acquaintances, stating that he was “made an abomination to them.”
Proverbs uses the word the second-most often, with 20 verses containing it. Most, if not all, of these discuss things that are an abomination to God.
- The froward (3:32, 11:20)
- Pride, lying, murder, devising evil, mischief, lying, sowing discord (6:16-19)
- A false balance (11:1)
- Lying (12:22)
- The sacrifice of the wicked (15:8, 21:27)
- The way of the wicked (15:9)
- The thoughts of the wicked (15:26)
- Pride (16:5)
- Justifying the wicked and condemning the just (17:15)
- Diverse weights & measures (20:10, 20:23)
- He who refuses to hear the law (28:9)
Three or four of the verses speak of things that are abomination to certain people – such as an unjust man being an abomination to the just, and vice versa (29:27).
Isaiah refers to idolatry and wickedness five times as abominations, in a prophetic manner.
Jeremiah‘s 10 references have to do with Israel’s failings and the coming judgment for them – as well as the promise that if they will put away the abominations, they will be restored.
The prophet Ezekiel uses the word most often – 44 times. There is much discussion of Israel’s sin and that of the surrounding heathens – especially as it relates to Israel’s absorption of the surrounding nations’ habits and sins.
Here is an interesting tidbit. Do you know what the iniquity was that Sodom committed that resulted in her destruction? According to Ezekiel 16:48-50, God speaking to Jerusalem:
As I live, saith the Lord GOD, Sodom thy sister hath not done, she nor her daughters, as thou hast done, thou and thy daughters. Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.
Throughout the book, God makes it clear that sin is abomination and will be judged.
Of the remaining prophets, Daniel, Hosea, Zechariah, and Malachi are the only ones that use the word abomination, and all of them once except Daniel, which has it 3 times. These are all references either to Israel’s current sins, or to future events.
The reason for going through these verses (which you can look up with any good concordance, if you wish to view all 142 verses yourself) is because so many people choose one sin – that they themselves find reprehensible – and say that God calls it abomination. While they are correct about that, they often fail to realize – or admit – that every sin is equally abomination, and is called abomination in the Bible.
Again, it makes no sense to try to single out one single sin as abomination, because there is no possible way that ANY sin could NOT be abomination to God.