A term applied in Scripture to objects of great detestation. Idols and their worship were so named, because they robbed God of his honor, while the rites themselves were impure and cruel, De 7:25-26; 12:31. The term was used respecting the Hebrews in Egypt, Ge 43:32; Ex 8:26, either because they ate and sacrificed animals held sacred by the Egyptians, or because they did not observe those ceremonies in eating which made a part of the religion of Egypt; and in Ge 46:34, because they were "wandering shepherds," a race of whom had grievously oppressed Egypt.
The ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION foretold by, Da 9:27 denotes, probably, the image of Jupiter, erected in the temple of Jerusalem by command of Antiochus Epiphanes. But by the Abomination of Desolation spoken of by our Lord, Mt 24:15; Mr 13:14, and foretold as about to be seen at Jerusalem during the last siege of that city by the Romans under Titus, is probably meant the Roman army, whose standards had the images of their gods and emperors upon them, and were worshipped in the precincts of the temple when that and the city were taken. Lu 21:20. See ARMOR.
This word is used,
(1.) To express the idea that the Egyptians considered themselves as defiled when they ate with strangers (Ge 43:32). The Jews subsequently followed the same practice, holding it unlawful to eat or drink with foreigners (Joh 18:28; Ac 10:28; 11:3).
(2.) Every shepherd was "an abomination" unto the Egyptians (Ge 46:34). This aversion to shepherds, such as the Hebrews, arose probably from the fact that Lower and Middle Egypt had formerly been held in oppressive subjection by a tribe of nomad shepherds (the Hyksos), who had only recently been expelled, and partly also perhaps from this other fact that the Egyptians detested the lawless habits of these wandering shepherds.
(3.) 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" (Ex 8:26); i.e., the cow or ox, which all the Egyptians held as sacred, and which they regarded it as sacrilegious to kill.
(4.) Daniel (Da 11:31), in that section of his prophecies which is generally interpreted as referring to the fearful calamities that were to fall on the Jews in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, says, "And they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate." Antiochus Epiphanes caused an altar to be erected on the altar of burnt-offering, on which sacrifices were offered to Jupiter Olympus. (Comp. 1 Macc. 1:57). This was the abomination of the desolation of Jerusalem. The same language is employed in Da 9:27 (comp. Mt 24:15), where the reference is probably to the image-crowned standards which the Romans set up at the east gate of the temple (A.D. 70), and to which they paid idolatrous honours. "Almost the entire religion of the Roman camp consisted in worshipping the ensign, swearing by the ensign, and in preferring the ensign before all other gods." These ensigns were an "abomination" to the Jews, the "abomination of desolation." Illustration: Roman Standards
An object of disgust (Le 18:22); a detestable act (Eze 22:11); a ceremonial pollution (Ge 43:32); especially an idol (1Ki 11:5-7; 2Ki 23:13); food offered to idols (Zec 9:7). The Egyptians regarded it an abomination, i.e. ceremonially polluting, to eat with the Hebrew as foreigners (Ge 43:32), because, as Herodotus says (Ge 2:25), the cow was eaten and sacrificed by foreign nations. So when Pharaoh told Israel to offer sacrifice to Jehovah in Egypt without going to the wilderness, Moses objected: "we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes" (the cow, the only animal which all the Egyptians held sacred), "and will they not stone us?" (Ex 8:26) compare the Jews' own practice in later times (Ac 10:28).
The Hebrew, not only as foreigners, accounted by the intolerant mythology of Egypt as unfit for intercourse except that of war or commerce, but also as nomad shepherds, were an "abomination" to the Egyptians (Ge 46:34). Therefore Joseph tells his brethren to inform Pharaoh, "Our trade hath been about cattle, both we and also our fathers," i.e. hereditarily; for Pharaoh would be sure then to plant them, not in the heart of the country, but in Goshen, the border land. The Egyptians themselves reared cattle, as Pharaoh's offer to make Joseph's brethren "overseers of his cattle" proves (Ge 47:6), and as their sculptures and paintings show; but they abominated the nomad shepherds, or Bedouins, because the Egyptians, as being long civilized, shrank, and to the present day shrink, from the lawless predatory habits of the wandering shepherd tribes in their vicinity.
Four Hebrew words from three different roots are rendered in English Version by 'abomination' and, occasionally, 'abominable thing.' In almost all cases (for exceptions see Ge 43:32; 46:34) the reference is to objects and practices abhorrent to Jahweh, and opposed to the moral requirements and ritual of His religion. Among the objects so described are heathen deities such as Ashtoreth (Astarte), Chemosh, Milcom, the 'abominations' of the Zidonians (Ph
The word 'abomination' is used in the O.T. in reference to any iniquity as viewed by a holy God. It also designates what was unfit to be presented in the service of God, such as an animal with any sort of blemish being brought as a sacrifice; the price of a dog being put into the treasury, etc. De 17:1; 23:18. The divine service became itself an abomination to God when it had fallen into a mere outward observance or was in association with iniquity. Isa 1:13; Pr 28:9. But idolatry was the special thing that was declared to be abomination to Jehovah. The idols themselves are thus designated:2Ki 23:13; Isa 44:19; and Ezek. 8. shows the idolatry that was carried on in secret, and the 'greater abomination,' of bringing it actually into the inner court of the Lord's house, between the porch and the altar! The word is but seldom used in the N.T. and applies then to wickedness in general.
ABOMINATION. This term was used with regard to the Hebrews, who, being shepherds, are said to have been an abomination to the Egyptians; because they sacrificed the animals held sacred by that people, as oxen, goats, sheep, &c., which the Egyptians esteemed unlawful. This word is also applied in the sacred writings to idolatry and idols, not only because the worship of idols is in itself an abominable thing, but likewise because the ceremonies of idolaters were almost always of an infamous and licentious nature. For this reason, Chrysostom affirms, that every idol, and every image of a man, was called an abomination among the Jews. The "abomination of desolation" foretold by the Prophet Da 10:21; 11:31, is supposed by some interpreters to denote the statue of Jupiter Olympius, which Antiochus Epiphanes caused to be erected in the temple of Jerusalem. The second of the passages above cited may probably refer to this circumstance, as the statue of Jupiter did, in fact, "make desolate," by banishing the true worship of God, and those who performed it, from the temple. But the former passage, considered in its whole connexion, bears more immediate reference to that which the evangelists have denominated the "abomination of desolation," Mt 24:15-16; Mr 13:14. This, without doubt, signifies the ensigns of the Roman armies under the command of Titus, during the last siege of Jerusalem. The images of their gods and emperors were delineated on these ensigns; and the ensigns themselves, especially the eagles, which were carried at the heads of the legions, were objects of worship; and, according to the usual style of Scripture, they were therefore an abomination. Those ensigns were placed upon the ruins of the temple after it was taken and demolished; and, as Josephus informs us, the Romans sacrificed to them there. The horror with which the Jews regarded them, sufficiently appears from the account which Josephus gives of Pilate's introducing them into the city, when he sent his army from Caesarea into winter quarters at Jerusalem, and of Vitellius's proposing to march through Judea, after he had received orders from Tiberius to attack Aretas, king of Petra. The people supplicated and remonstrated and induced Pilate to remove the army, and Vitellius to march his troops another way. The Jews applied the above passage of Daniel to the Romans, as we are informed by Jerome. The learned Mr. Mede concurs in the same opinion. Sir Isaac Newton, Obs. on Daniel xi, xii, observes, that in the sixteenth year of the emperor Adrian. B.C. 132, the Romans accomplished the prediction of Daniel by building a temple to Jupiter Capitolinus, where the temple of God in Jerusalem had stood. Upon this occasion the Jews, under the conduct of Barchochab, rose up in arms against the Romans, and in the war had fifty cities demolished, nine hundred and eighty-five of their best towns destroyed, and five hundred and eighty thousand men slain by the sword; and in the end of the war, B.C. 136, they were banished from Judea upon pain of death; and thenceforth the land remained desolate of its old inhabitants. Others again have applied the prediction of Daniel to the invasion and desolation of Christendom by the Mohammedans, and to their conversion of the churches into mosques. From this interpretation they infer, that the religion of Mohammed will prevail in the east one thousand two hundred and sixty years, and be succeeded by the restoration of the Jews, the destruction of Antichrist, the full conversion of the Gentiles to the church of Christ, and the commencement of the millennium.
In general, whatever is morally or ceremonially impure, or leads to sin, is designated an abomination to God. Thus lying lips are said to be an abomination to the Lord. Every thing in doctrine or practice which tended to corrupt the simplicity of the Gospel is also in Scripture called abominable; hence Babylon is represented, Re 17:4, as holding in her hand a cup "full of abominations." In this view, to "work abomination," is to introduce idolatry, or any other great corruption, into the church and worship of God, 1Ki 11:7.