Abomination


1. פִּגּ֣וּל, used of sacrificial flesh which was more than three days old and therefore putrid (Lev 7:18; 19:7; cf. Ezek 4:14), and of a certain type of stew associated with heathen practices, possibly made of swine’s flesh or including blood (Isa 65:4).

2. שִׁקֻּ֖ץ is used in a derisory manner of the heathen deities Ashtoreth, Milcom, Chemosh and Molech (1 Kings 11:5, 7; 2 Kings 23:13) and of heathen practices generally (Isa 66:3; Jer 4:1; 7:30; 13:27; etc.).

3. שֶׁ֖קֶץ (related to 2 above) is a cultic term designating any kind of creature (or the flesh thereof) which cannot be touched or eaten without incurring ceremonial defilement (Lev 11:10ff.; Isa 66:17).


International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

(piggul, to`ebhah, sheqets (shiqquts)): Three distinct Hebrew words are rendered in the English Bible by "abomination," or "abominable thing," referring (except in Ge 43:32; 46:34) to things or practices abhorrent to Yahweh, and opposed to the ritual or moral requirements of His religion. It would be well if these words could be distinguished in translation, as they denote different degrees of abhorrence or loathsomeness.

The word most used for this idea by the Hebrews and indicating the highest degree of abomination is to`ebhah, meaning primarily that which offends the religious sense of a people. When it is said, for example, "The Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews; for that is an abomination unto the Egyptians," this is the word used; the significance being that the Hebrews were repugnant to the Egyptians as foreigners, as of an inferior caste, and especially as shepherds (Ge 46:34). The feeling of the Egyptians for the Greeks was likewise one of repugnance. Herodotus (ii.41) says the Egyptians would not kiss a Greek on the mouth, or use his dish, or taste meat cut with the knife of a Greek.

Among the objects described in the Old Testament as "abominations" in this sense are heathen gods, such as Ashtoreth (Astarte), Chemosh, Milcom, the "abominations" of the Zidonians (Phoenicians), Moabites, and Ammonites, respectively (2Ki 23:13), and everything connected with the worship of such gods. When Pharaoh, remonstrating against the departure of the children of Israel, exhorted them to offer sacrifices to their God in Egypt, Moses said: "Shall we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians (i.e. the animals worshipped by them which were taboo, to`ebhah, to the Israelites) before their eyes, and will they not stone us?" (Ex 8:26).

It is to be noted that, not only the heathen idol itself, but anything offered to or associated with the idol, all the paraphernalia of the forbidden cult, was called an "abomination," for it "is an abomination to Yahweh thy God" (De 7:25,26). The Deuteronomic writer here adds, in terms quite significant of the point of view and the spirit of the whole law: `Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thy house and thus become a thing set apart (cherem = tabooed) like unto it; thou shalt utterly detest it and utterly abhor it, for it is a thing set apart’ (tabooed). To`ebhah is even used as synonymous with "idol" or heathen deity, as in Isa 44:19; De 32:16; 2Ki 23:13; and especially Ex 8:22 ff.



The other word used to express a somewhat kindred idea of abhorrence and translated "abomination" in the King James Version is piggul; but it is used in the Hebrew Bible only of sacrificial flesh that has become stale, putrid, tainted (see Le 7:18; 19:7; Eze 4:14; Isa 65:4). Driver maintains that it occurs only as a "technical term for such state sacrificial flesh as has not been eaten within the prescribed time," and, accordingly, he would everywhere render it specifically "refuse meat." Compare lechem megho’al, "the loaths ome bread" (from ga’al, "to loathe") Mal 1:7. A chief interest in the subject for Christians grows out of the use of the term in the expression "abomination of desolation" (Mt 24:15 and Mr 13:14), which see.

See also ABHOR.

LITERATURE

Commentators at the place Rabbinical literature in point. Driver; Weiss; Gratz, Gesch. der Juden, IV, note 15.

George B. Eager