Abomination: This word is used, (1.) To express the idea that the Egyptians
considered themselves as defiled when they ate with strangers
(Gen. 43:32). The Jews subsequently followed the same practice,
holding it unlawful to eat or drink with foreigners (John 18:28;
Acts 10:28; 11:3).
(2.) Every shepherd was "an abomination" unto the Egyptians
(Gen. 46:34). This aversion to shepherds, such as the Hebrews,
arose probably from the fact that Lower and Middle Egypt had
formerly been held in oppressive subjection by a tribe of nomad
shepherds (the Hyksos), who had only recently been expelled, and
partly also perhaps from this other fact that the Egyptians
detested the lawless habits of these wandering shepherds.
(3.) Pharaoh was so moved by the fourth plague, that while he
refused the demand of Moses, he offered a compromise, granting
to the Israelites permission to hold their festival and offer
their sacrifices in Egypt. This permission could not be
accepted, because Moses said they would have to sacrifice "the
abomination of the Egyptians" (Ex. 8:26); i.e., the cow or ox,
which all the Egyptians held as sacred, and which they regarded
it as sacrilegious to kill.
(4.) Daniel (11:31), in that section of his prophecies which
is generally interpreted as referring to the fearful calamities
that were to fall on the Jews in the time of Antiochus
Epiphanes, says, "And they shall place the abomination that
maketh desolate." Antiochus Epiphanes caused an altar to be
erected on the altar of burnt-offering, on which sacrifices were
offered to Jupiter Olympus. (Compare 1 Macc. 1:57). This was the
abomination of the desolation of Jerusalem. The same language is
employed in Dan. 9:27 (compare Matt. 24:15), where the reference
is probably to the image-crowned standards which the Romans set
up at the east gate of the temple (A.D. 70), and to which they
paid idolatrous honours. "Almost the entire religion of the
Roman camp consisted in worshipping the ensign, swearing by the
ensign, and in preferring the ensign before all other gods."
These ensigns were an "abomination" to the Jews, the
"abomination of desolation."
This word is also used symbolically of sin in general (Isa.
66:3); an idol (44:19); the ceremonies of the apostate Church of
Rome (Rev. 17:4); a detestable act (Ezek. 22:11).