Psalm 139:21-22 Berean Study Bible

21 Do I not hate those who hate You, O LORD,
and detest those who rise against You?
22I hate them with perfect hatred;
I count them as my enemies.


What is the meaning of perfect hatred?

Most of our English translations follow the KJV which has "perfect hatred", the NASB has "utmost hatred " and the NABRE has "fierce hatred". I am personally at a loss and do not understand what exactly "perfect hatred" means

Psalm 139:21-22 (NASB)

21 Do I not hate those who hate You, Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? 22 I hate them with the utmost hatred; They have become my enemies.

Psalm 139:21-22 (NABRE)

21 Do I not hate, Lord, those who hate you? Those who rise against you, do I not loathe? 22 With fierce hatred I hate them, enemies I count as my own.

Why did the Psalmist David loathe those wicked people?,in verse 20 he explains;" For they speak against You wickedly, And Your enemies take Your name in vain. (NASB)

Because the wicked were guilty of bloodshed and of bringing reproach on God’s name, David declared; (Read verses 21-22 above) David felt a loathing for these men because they intensely hated God and were revolting against Him. They were the psalmist’s foes because he abhorred their wickedness, godlessness, and rebellion against the Most High.

  • Many thanks for this good answer. – Dottard Nov 25 '20 at 9:35

"Perfect hatred" translates תַּכְלִ֣ית שִׂנְאָ֣ה. This can also be translated "complete hatred"

†תַּכְלִית S8503 TWOT982f GK9417 n.f. end, completeness;... Brown, F., Driver, S. R., & Briggs, C. A. (1977). Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (p. 479). Oxford: Clarendon Press.

In Semitic thought, hatred can be a mere contrast to love; even a lesser love, such as:

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:25–26, ESV)

In fact, the idea of “disliking, hating or favoring someone less” works quite differently in Biblical Hebrew. This is especially true when it is expressed in contrast of “loving someone.” The phraseology expresses the idea of intensity of feeling in comparison. In other words, “Jacob I loved… Esau I hated” (Mal. 1:2-3) is rendered quite literally in our modern terms. Translated from ancient Hebrew and interpreted into our modern way of speaking it could arguably mean something like “Esau I loved, but Jacob I favored with my great covenantal love.” The same is the case with Jesus’ statement that one must love Him and hate his parents (Luke 14:26). This is an idiomatic Hebraism that makes a comparison and does not actually instruct one to express hatred towards one’s parents. That would be absurd, given God’s explicit commandment to honor them. [Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg, Becoming Israel. p. 68, pdf p. 72.]

Thus, this means real hatred like we think of it in English.


Hate those who hate God and detest those who rise against God. That's perfect hatred. It is the hatred from God. Whatever God does is perfect.

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