Things Which the Lord Hates


The book of Proverbs contains wisdom to guide us through life. In it we are shown the way that is right and warned about the way that is wrong. In the following passage, the wise man warned about things which the Lord hates.

There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers” (Proverbs 6:16-19).

Hate is a strong word, yet that is the word given by inspiration. Therefore, we should not gloss over the items on this list; instead, we should be sure we understand what these things are and heed this warning.

What the Lord Hates

Haughty eyes – “Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, is sin” (Proverbs 21:4). Pride (haughtiness) always leads to sin. The reason for this is because it causes one to elevate self. Paul warned against becoming “arrogant in behalf of one against the other” (1 Corinthians 4:6) and that we must not “think more highly of [ourselves] than [we] ought to think” (Romans 12:3). Not only does pride lead to sin, but it also blinds one to sin that may already be in his life. The wise man asked, “Who can say, ‘I have cleansed my heart, I am pure from my sin’?” (Proverbs 20:9). The reality is that no one can (cf. Romans 3:23); yet many, in their arrogance, do not see their own sin. This is why John warned, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).

A lying tongue – The reason why this is hated by the Lord is because it is contrary to His nature. The Hebrew writer indicated that “it is impossible for God to lie” (Hebrews 6:18; cf. Titus 1:2). Though the temptation to lie exists in order to gain some “benefit,” whatever good may come from lying is only temporary. “Truthful lips will be established forever, but a lying tongue is only for a moment” (Proverbs 12:19). This is why the wise man said, “It is better to be a poor man than a liar” (Proverbs 19:22).

Hands that shed innocent blood – It is one thing to seek vengeance when we ought to be willing to forgive. Jesus taught, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also” (Matthew 5:38-39). Paul told the saints in Rome, “Never take your own revenge” (Romans 12:19). However, this is more than that. This is about hating others without a cause. “Men of bloodshed hate the blameless” (Proverbs 29:10), even though they have done nothing against them.

A heart that devises wicked plans – “As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects man” (Proverbs 27:19). Our heart reflects our character. This is why the wise man admonished, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23). God knows our heart (Proverbs 21:2) and His word is “able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). If we devise evil in our hearts, God will know it and will hold us accountable for it.

Feet that run rapidly to evil – There are two points to be made here. First, when we run to evil, we are going in the wrong direction. This sinful behavior indicates a disregard of God’s law since “sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4). We must “not let sin reign in [our] mortal body” and present “the members of [our] body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness” (Romans 6:12-13) Second, running rapidly shows that we are being careless in our lives and are unable to exercise self-control as we should. The wise man said, “A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is arrogant and careless. A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, and a man of devices is hated” (Proverbs 14:16-17).

A false witness – This is similar to “a lying tongue” (Proverbs 6:17) in that both are dishonest. Yet there is also a difference between the two. A lying tongue is dishonest about oneself and a false witness is dishonest about others. This is about using words to destroy others. The wise man said, “With his mouth the godless man destroys his neighbor, but through knowledge the righteous will be delivered” (Proverbs 11:9). Paul explained in his letter to the Romans that “condemnation is just” for those who slander others (Romans 3:8).

One who spreads strife – The first six items on this list result in “discord” (KJV), so it is fitting for this one to be last. Those who follow after “their own ungodly lusts…are the ones who cause divisions” among God’s people (Jude 18-19). Strife is one of the “deeds of the flesh” that will cause one to “not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21). The Lord hates this because it is contrary to His will for His people. Jesus’ prayer was for His followers to “all be one” (John 17:21). Those who spread strife work against this.

What We Should Be Instead

Be humble – “It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly than to divide the spoil with the proud” (Proverbs 16:19). This humility must be exhibited before God and man (Micah 6:8; Philippians 2:3). Peter wrote, “Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time” (1 Peter 5:5-6).

Be honest – “Righteous lips are the delight of kings, and he who speaks right is loved” (Proverbs 16:13). We are to have the attitude of God in hating what is false, which will then lead us to be truthful in all things. The wise man said, “A righteous man hates falsehood” (Proverbs 13:5). The psalmist wrote, “From Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:104).

Be merciful – “A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression” (Proverbs 19:11). This is not a tolerance of sin; rather, we are to extend mercy to others as God has for us. Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matthew 5:7). In teaching about prayer, the Lord indicated the connection between God’s willingness to forgive us and our willingness to forgive others: “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions” (Matthew 6:14-15).

Be pure in heart – “The desire of the righteous is only good, but the expectation of the wicked is wrath” (Proverbs 11:23). As we have already noticed, we must “watch over [our] heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23). By filling our heart with God’s word, we can avoid sin: “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11).

Be seeking to do good – “A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is arrogant and careless” (Proverbs 14:16). Paul told Titus that we are to be careful (exercise thought) to do good: “This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men” (Titus 3:8). He told the churches of Galatia, “So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). We need to be looking for these opportunities to do good.

Be just – “Do not move the ancient boundary or go into the fields of the fatherless, for their Redeemer is strong; He will plead their case against you” (Proverbs 23:10-11). During this time period, moving the ancient boundary was a way to alter property lines, thus expanding one’s own field at the expense of another. Instead of treating unjustly those of whom we believe we can take advantage, we are to be fair and treat all the same. James wrote, “My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. […] But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors” (James 2:1, 9).

Be one who seeks peace – “Keeping away from strife is an honor for a man, but any fool will quarrel” (Proverbs 20:3). We are to be “diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). The fact that this takes diligence means it will usually not happen by accident; rather, we must work to obtain and maintain this unity. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).


Rather than doing those things which the Lord hates, let us be what He wants us to be – humble, honest, merciful, pure in heart, seeking to do good, just, and seeking peace.

Doing what the Lord hates will bring destruction. Just before listing the seven things which the Lord hates, the wise man explained that for the one who follows these things, “His calamity will come suddenly; instantly he will be broken and there will be no healing” (Proverbs 6:15). Later in the book he warned, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 16:25).

However, following what the Lord has instructed will result in His blessings. The wise man said, “He who gives attention to the word will find good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord” (Proverbs 16:20). “The wages of the righteous is life, the income of the wicked, punishment” (Proverbs 10:16).

There is a reward for following the Lord and punishment for rejecting His way. Paul explained, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Let us take counsel from the wise man and avoid those things which the Lord hates and instead pursue those things that will be pleasing to Him.

When you subscribe, you’ll also receive 3 free PDF’s: Plain Bible Teaching on the Gospel, the latest issue of Plain Bible Teaching Quarterly Review, and Road Trip.