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Holman Bible Dictionary

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Additional Resources
• Baker's Evangelical Dictionary
Hate, Hatred
• International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
Hate, Hatred

A strong negative reaction, a feeling toward someone considered an enemy as well as loving someone less than another.

Hatred of Other People Hatred of other people is a common response in human relations. Conflict, jealousy, and envy often result in animosity, separation, revenge, and even murder (Genesis 26:27; Genesis 27:41; Judges 11:7; 2 Samuel 13:15,2 Samuel 13:22). Some Hebrew laws explicitly deal with hatred or favoritism (Deuteronomy 19:11-13; Deuteronomy 21:15-17; Deuteronomy 22:13-21).

Hatred of other people is frequently condemned, and love toward enemies is encouraged (Leviticus 19:17; Matthew 5:43-44). Hatred characterizes the old age and the sinful life (Galatians 5:19-21; Titus 3:3; 1 John 2:9,1 John 2:11). Although Jesus cited the attitude of hating enemies (Matthew 5:43), the Old Testament does not give an explicit command like this. The Dead Sea Scrolls, however, indicate that the Essenes at Qumran cultivated hatred for enemies, but they discouraged retaliation. Jesus stressed loving our enemies and doing good to those who hate us (Luke 6:27).

Believers can experience or practice hatred in certain contexts. For example, they are to hate whatever opposes God. Not a malicious attitude, this hate reflects agreement with God's opposition to evil (Psalms 97:10; Psalms 139:19-22; Proverbs 8:13; Proverbs 13:5; Amos 5:15). Although some of the psalms may sound vindictive, they leave punishment of the wicked to God's prerogative.

Jesus' disciples would have to hate their families to follow him (Luke 14:26). Hate here refers not to emotional hostility but to the conscious establishment of priorities. Hate means to love family less than one loves Jesus (Matthew 10:37). Similarly, one should hate personal life to gain eternal life (John 12:26).

Disciples can expect to be hated, just as Jesus was hated by the world (John 15:18-24; John 17:14; 1 John 3:13). Hatred and persecution will also occur near the end of time (Matthew 24:9). Jesus encouraged His disciples to rejoice at this opposition (Luke 6:22-23).

Hatred of God People sometimes hate God (Psalms 68:1; Psalms 81:15) and His people. They are enemies of God who stubbornly rebel at His will and will be punished.

Divine Hatred Although God is love (1 John 4:8), some texts point to divine hatred. A holy, jealous God is displeased with human sin. For example. God hates pagan idolatry (Deuteronomy 12:31) as well as hypocritical Hebrew worship (Isaiah 1:14; Amos 5:21). God hates sin (Proverbs 6:16-19; Proverbs 8:13; Malachi 2:16), but He desires the sinner's repentance (Ezekiel 18:32). Some texts imply God's hate is directed primarily to sinful actions rather than to sinful persons (Hebrews 1:9; Revelation 2:6).

God's hate is not the vindictive, emotional hate often felt by human beings but is a strong moral reaction against sin. Divine hate is often closer to the sense of loving less. God hates Esau (Malachi 1:2-5; Romans 9:13) stresses divine freedom in election, not an emotional reaction. See Enemy; Love; Retaliation; Revenge; Wrath.

Warren McWilliams

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'HATE, HATRED'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".
<>. 1991.


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