Three Hebrew words connote abomination: 转旨讜止注值讘指讛 (toevah), 砖讈侄拽侄抓 (sheke岷, sheqe岷) or 砖讈执拽旨讜旨抓 (shikku岷, shiqqu岷), and 驻旨执讙旨讜旨诇 (piggul); toevah is the most important of this group. It appears in the Bible 116 times as a noun and 23 times as a verb and has a wide variety of applications, ranging from food prohibitions (Deut. 14:3), idolatrous practices (Deut. 12:31; 13:15), and magic (Deut. 18:12) to sex offenses (Lev. 18:22 ff.) and ethical wrongs (Deut. 25:14鈥16; Prov. 6:16鈥19). Common to all these usages is the notion of irregularity, that which offends the accepted order, ritual, or moral. It is incorrect to arrange the toevah passages according to an evolutionary scheme and thereby hope to demonstrate that the term took on ethical connotations only in post-Exilic times. For in Proverbs, where the setting is exclusively ethical and universal but never ritual or national, toevah occurs mainly in the oldest, i.e., pre-Exilic, passages of the book (18 times in ch. 10鈥29; 3 in the remaining chapter). Moreover, Ezekiel, who has no peer in ferreting out cultic sins, uses toevah as a generic term for all aberrations detestable to God, including purely ethical offenses (e.g., 18:12, 13, 24). Indeed, there is evidence that toevah originated not in the cult, and certainly not in prophecy, but in wisdom literature. This is shown not only by its clustering in the oldest levels of Proverbs but also in its earliest biblical occurrence where the expression toavat Mi岷搑ayim (Gen. 43:32; 46:34; Ex. 8:22, ascribed to the J source) refers to specific contraventions of ancient Egyptian norms. Furthermore, Egyptian has a precise equivalent to toevah, and it occurs in similar contexts, e.g., "Thus arose the abomination of the swine for Horus' sake" (for a Canaanite-Phoenician parallel, note tbt拧trt 鈥 Tabnit of Sidon (third century B.C.E.) 鈥 in Pritchard, Texts, 505). Thus the sapiential 聽 background of the term in the ancient Near East is fully attested. True, toevah predominates in Deuteronomy (16 times) and Ezekiel (43 times), but both books are known to have borrowed terms from wisdom literature (cf. Deut. 25:13 ff., and Prov. 11:1; 20:23) and transformed them to their ideological needs. The noun sheqe岷 is found in only four passages where it refers to tabooed animal flesh (e.g., Lev. 11:10鈥43). However, the verb 砖拽抓, found seven times, is strictly a synonym of 转注讘(e.g., Deut. 7:26; the noun may also have had a similar range). Shiqqu岷, on the other hand, bears a very specific meaning: in each of its 28 occurrences it refers to illicit cult objects. Piggul is an even more precise, technical term denoting sacrificial flesh not eaten in the allotted time (Lev. 7:18; 19:7); though in nonlegal passages it seems to have a wider sense (Ezek. 4:14; cf. Isa. 65:4). According to the rabbis (Sifra 7:18, etc.) the flesh of a sacrifice was considered a piggul if the sacrificer, at the time of the sacrifice, had the intention of eating the flesh at a time later than the allotted time. Under these circumstances, the sacrifice was not considered accepted by God and even if the sacrificer ate of it in the alloted time he was still liable to the punishment of karet , i.e., the flesh was considered piggul by virtue of the intention of the sacrificer. This is an extension of the biblical text according to which he would be liable for punishment only if he ate it at the inappropriate time. The rabbis based their interpretation on the biblical passage "It shall not be acceptable" (Lev. 7:18). They reasoned: How could the Lord having already accepted the sacrifice then take back His acceptance after it was later eaten at the wrong time. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Humbert, in: ZAW, 72 (1960), 217鈥37. (Jacob Milgrom)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.


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