Thursday, January 2, 2014

Lexical Crimes: Does the Word “Abomination” only refer to ritual wrongs?

I was recently shown this below clip from a documentary entitled, For the Bible Tells Me So:



There’s a lake of ink that could be spilled in reviewing the specific arguments made in this clip, but in this series I’ve narrowed my focus to the specific claim made at 1:40-2:00 by Laurence C. Keene. I’m frankly astonished the reverend is able to gaze shamelessly into a camera and make the following statement in regards to Leviticus 18:22:
"When the term abomination is used in the Hebrew Bible, it is always used to address a ritual wrong. It never is used to refer to something innately immoral.”
 Is the Hebrew word “abomination” in Leviticus 18:22 “always used to address a ritual wrong,” and is it true that it is “never used to refer to something innately immoral”? The answer is no. Dr. Keene has apparently never looked the term up in a concordance. The term translated “abomination” in Leviticus 18:22 is towebah (תּוֹעֵבָה).  By way of example, consider how this same word is used in Proverbs 6:16-19 (NASB):
There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination (תֹּועֲבַ֥ת) 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
None of the sins in this list smack of ritual associations. They are all innately immoral. The term towebah had the elasticity to circumscribe sins which are not ritually associated. To say it never does is incorrect.