You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil;
with you the wicked cannot dwell.
the arrogant cannot stand in your presence;
you hate all who do wrong.
The Lord examines the righteous,
but the wicked and those who love violence his soul hates.
Writing in Hard Sayings of the Bible, Old Testament scholar Walter Kaiser comments:
‘Our problem with any description of God’s displeasure with sin, unrighteousness or wickedness is that we define all anger as Aristotle defined it: “the desire for retaliation.” With such a definition of anger goes the concept of anger and hatred of sin as a “brief madness” or “an uneasiness or discomposure of the mind, upon receipt of an injury, with the purpose of revenge.” All such notions of hatred, anger and displeasure in the divine being are wide of the mark and fail to address the issues involved. Better is the definition of the third-century church father Lactantius: anger is “a motion of the soul rousing itself to curb sin.”’
‘…Our concept of anger and our experiences with it have all too frequently involved loss of control, impulsiveness and sometimes temporary derangement. No wonder no one wants to link those kinds of thoughts with God!
‘But God’s anger toward sin is never explosive, unreasonable or unexplainable. It is never a force that controls him or a ruling passion; rather, it always remains an instrument of his will. His anger has not, therefore, shut off his compassion (Ps 77:9).
‘Instead, God’s anger marks the end of indifference. He cannot and will not remain neutral and impassive in the presence of injustice, violence or any other sin. While God delights in doing good to his creatures (Jer 32:41) rather than expressing evil, he will unleash his anger and wrath against all sin. Yet Scripture pictures his anger as lasting only for a moment, in contrast to his love, which is much more enduring (Ps 30:5). His love remains (Jer 31:3; Hos 2:19), while his anger passes quickly (Isa 26:20; 54:7–8; 57:16–19).
‘…God’s hatred of evil is not some arbitrary force, striking where and when it wishes without any rhyme or reason. Instead, his anger against sin is measured and controlled by his love and his justice. Expressions of his outrage against the evil perpetrated on earth are actually signals that he continues to care deeply about us mortals and about our good.’
I think this is insightful and helpful, even if I think that Kaiser has rather side-stepped the issue that these scriptures do not merely say that God ‘hates sin’ (who would doubt that?) but that he ‘hates sinners’ (a much more difficult concept).