These six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.
Solomon uses the formula “six things … yes, seven” “to arrest attention” (Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary; see other examples in Proverbs 30:15, 18 and Job 5:19).
Matthew Henry’s Commentary says: “God hates every sin. But there are some sins which he does in a special manner hate; and all those here mentioned are such as are injurious to our neighbour. Those things which God hates we must hate in ourselves. … Pride is the first, because it is at the bottom of much sin.”
The list seems to continue the verbal description of the “wicked man” of verse 12. Starting with the face, tongue, hands, heart and feet, the description of this example to avoid is poetically and memorably etched in our mind’s eye. Returning to the wrong use of the tongue for abominations six and seven reveals how dangerous words can be. As James said, the tongue “is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8).
Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible proposes that the list is progressive and builds to a climax. “Thus the reader knows that causing discord among brethren (see v. 14) causes God’s greatest disapproval. Contrast the blessing of God on brothers who live together in peace (Ps. 133:1).”
All of these sins break the letter or intent of God’s spiritual law outlined in the 10 Commandments. For more about God’s definition of sin, read “What Is Sin?”