There are many synonymous words to represent the outworking of man's fallen nature.  As these are not always translated by the same English word, it is necessary that we should distinguish them.  The student, by reference to the following list, will be able to do so :--

  1. chat'a, to sin; to miss the mark (as in Judg. 20:16).  Also of the feet, to stumble and fall (Prov. 19:2).  Hence, morally, a coming short, blameworthiness -- not necessarily willful.  An act of thought, word, or deed, not a condition.  Usually (but by no means always) rendered sin, and other words also so rendered.

  2. 'asham, trespass, to sin through error or ignorance.  Cp. Lev. 4:13; 5:2, 3.  Num. 5:6, 7.  Judg. 21:22.  1Chron. 21:3.  2Chron. 19:10; 28:10, 13. 'Asham is a breach of commandment, done in ignorance, but, when the guilt is proved, requiring atonement.

  3. 'aven, iniquity, specially connected with idolatry.  Used because an idol is nothing and vanity (cp. Hos. 4:15; 5:8; 10:5, 8.  Amos 5:5, marg.).  Hence, 'aven comes to mean vanity (cp. Job 15:35.  Ps. 10:7.  Prov. 22:8, &c.).  The word has many renderings, which are pointed out in the passages when it occurs.  'Aven is rather a course of bad conduct flowing from the evil desires of fallen nature, that breaches of the law as such.

  4. 'avah, perverseness, from the root to be bent, or crooked.  English wrong, i.e. wrung out of course, expresses it (cp. 1Sam. 20:30.  2Sam. 19:19.  1Kings 8:47.  Job 33:37, &c.).

  5. 'amal, trouble, labor, toil.  Sin viewed in the light of the trouble it causes; and of its burden; and its grievousness (Isa. 10:1.  Hab. 1:3).  Often rendered perverseness (Num. 23:21), also mischief (Job 15:35).

  6. 'aval, unjust, unfairness, sin in its nature as deceitful, dishonesty, that which is not equal and right, unfairness in dealings.  Rendered unjust (Ps. 43:1; 82:2.  Prov. 29:27.  Isa. 26:10), unrighteous (Lev. 19:15, 35).

  7. 'abar, to pass beyond, transgress.  Hence, transgression (Ps. 17:3.  Hos. 6:7; 8:1).

  8. ra'a', wicked, injurious.  From its root, which indicates its nature as breaking up all that is good or desirable; injurious to all others.  In Greek poneros, evil, or kakos, bad.  Hence especially of moral depravity and corruption, and lewdness.  English "good-for-nothing" (1Sam. 17:28), naughty (2Kings 2:19.  Prov. 20:14.  Jer. 24:2).

  9. pash'a, revolt, rebellion.  Sin against lawful authority.  Often rendered transgression (Ps. 51:13.  Prov. 28:21.  Isa. 43:27).  In Prov. 10:12 the action of love or mercy shown stands in strong contrast to this character of the sin.

  10. rasha', wickedness, in the sense of the restless activity of fallen nature (Job 3:17.  Isa. 53:9; 57:20, 21); where it refers to the activity of the impious and ungodly, or robbers.

  11. ma'al, treachery, unfaithfulness, breach of trust, often rendered trespass and transgression.  It is used of Achan (Josh. 7:1; 22:20).  Cp. Josh. 22:16.  2Chron. 26:18; 28:22; 33:19.  Ezra 9:2, 4.  Neh. 13:27, &c.

  12. shagag, erring from imprudence, rashness, being deceived, not willfully; and shagah, erring willfully through passion or wine, hence, to go astray.  As sin it is to be distinguished from presumptuous or high-handed sin.  Cp. Lev. 4:13.  Num. 15:22, &c., with Num. 15:30.  Ps. 119:21.

  13. zimmah, meditated, wickedness, plotted, planned, and designed; wicked, or lewd purpose, especially of sins of unchastity.

  14. chasad = shameful.  A Homonym, meaning (1) Here, and Job 37:13 (where it is rendered "mercy" in A.V. and R.V.).  But "lightning" is not "mercy" but chastisement.  (2) The other meaning is mercy, lovingkindness, or grace.  See note on Lev. 20:14.

  15. shal, fault, committed inadvertently through negligence.

Appendix List

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