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Hate, Hatred

Hate, Hatred

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" ( Eccl 3:8 ). In the biblical record, every being may express or experience hate.

The Bible says that God hates religiosity ( Isa 1:14 ; Amos 5:21 ), hypocrisy and lies ( Zec 8:17 ), wrongdoing ( Isa 61:8 ); divorce ( Mal 2:16 ), violence ( Mal 2:16 ), idolatrous practices ( Hosea 9:15 ), and the way the prophets are treated ( Jer 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 ( Prov 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 ( Mic 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 ; Prov 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 ; Prov 8:13 ; Amos 5:15 ).

Normal relationships may produce hatred between people. A husband may hate his wife ( Genesis 29:31 Genesis 29:33 ). Joseph's brothers hated him ( Gen 37:4 ). Amnon's lust turned to hate after he raped his sister, Tamar ( 2 Sam 13:15 ). A parent may hate a son ( Prov 13:24 ). Neighbors, nations, and classes of people, such as the poor may be hated ( Deut 19:11 ; Prov 19:7 ; Isa 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.

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, Grand Rapids, Michigan USA.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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Bibliography Information

Elwell, Walter A. "Entry for 'Hate, Hatred'". "Evangelical Dictionary of Theology". . 1997.