From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words [1]

A. Verb.

‛Âvâh ( עָוָה , Strong'S #5753), “to do iniquity.” This verb appears in the Bible 17 times. In Arabic this verb appears with the meaning “to bend” or “to deviate from the way.” ‛âvâh is often used as a synonym of chata , “to sin,” as in Ps. 106:6: “We have sinned [ chata’ —with our fathers, we have committed iniquity [ ‛âvâh ], we have done wickedly [ rasha’ ].”

B. Nouns.

‛Âvôn ( עָווֹן , Strong'S #5771), “iniquity; guilt; punishment.” This noun, which appears 231 times in the Old Testament, is limited to Hebrew and biblical Aramaic. The prophetic and poetic books employ ‛âvôn with frequency. The Pentateuch as a whole employs the word about 50 times. In addition to these, the historical books infrequently use ‛âvôn. —The first use of ‛âvôn comes from Cain’s lips, where the word takes the special meaning of “punishment”: “And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear” (Gen. 4:13).

The most basic meaning of ‛âvôn is “iniquity.” The word signifies an offense, intentional or not, against God’s law. This meaning is also most basic to the word chatta’t , “sin,” in the Old Testament, and for this reason the words chatta’t —and ‛âvôn are virtually synonymous; “Lo, this [the live coal] hath touched thy [Isaiah’s] lips; and thine iniquity [ ‛âvôn ] is taken away, and thy sin [ chatta’t ] purged” (Isa. 6:7).

“Iniquity” as an offense to God’s holiness is punishable. The individual is warned that the Lord punishes man’s transgression: “But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge” (Jer. 31:30). There is also a collective sense in that the one is responsible for the many: “Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me” (Exod. 20:5). No generation, however, was to think that it bore God’s judgment for the “iniquity” of another generation: “Yet say ye, Why? doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live. The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him” (Ezek. 18:19- 20).

Israel went into captivity for the sin of their fathers and for their own sins: “And the heathen shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity; because they trespassed against me, therefore hid I my face from them, and gave them into the hand of their enemies: so fell they all by the sword” (Ezek. 39:23).

Serious as “iniquity” is in the covenantal relationship between the Lord and His people, the people are reminded that He is a living God who willingly forgives “iniquity”: “Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation” (Exod. 34:7). God expects confession of sin: “I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin” (Ps. 32:5), and a trusting, believing heart which expresses the humble prayer: “Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin” (Ps. 51:2).

Isaiah 53 teaches that God put upon Jesus Christ our “iniquities” (v. 6), that He having been bruised for our “iniquities” (v. 5) might justify those who believe on Him: “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities” (Isa. 53:11).

The usage of ‛âvôn includes the whole area of sin, judgment, and “punishment” for sin. The Old Testament teaches that God’s forgiveness of “iniquity” extends to the actual sin, the guilt of sin, God’s judgment upon that sin, and God’s punishment of the sin. “Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile” (Ps. 32:2).

In the Septuagint the word has the following renderings: adikia (“wrongdoing; unrighteousness; wickedness”); hamartia (“sin; error”); and anomia (“lawlessness”). In the English versions the translation “iniquity” is fairly uniform. The RSV and NIV give at a few places the more specialized rendering “guilt” or the more general translation “sin.”

'Âven ( אָוֶן , Strong'S #205), “iniquity; misfortune.” This noun is derived from a root meaning “to be strong,” found only in the Northwest Semitic languages. The word occurs about 80 times and almost exclusively in poetic-prophetic language. The usage is particularly frequent in the poetical books. Isaiah’s use stands out among the prophets. The first occurrence is in Num. 23:21: “He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the Lord his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them.”

The meaning of “misfortune” comes to expression in the devices of the wicked against the righteous. The psalmist expected “misfortune” to come upon him: “And if he come to see me, he speaketh vanity: his heart gathereth iniquity to itself; when he goeth abroad, he telleth it” (Ps. 41:6). 'Âven in this sense is synonymous with ‘ed , “disaster” (Job 18:12). In a real sense 'âven is part of human existence, and as such the word is identical with ‘amal , “toil,” as in Ps. 90:10: “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.”

'Âven in a deeper sense characterizes the way of life of those who are without God: “For the vile person will speak villany, and his heart will work iniquity, to practice hypocrisy, and to utter error against the Lord, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail” (Isa. 32:6). The being of man is corrupted by “iniquity.” Though all of mankind is subject to 'âven (“toil”), there are those who delight in causing difficulties and “misfortunes” for others by scheming, lying, and acting deceptively. The psalmist puts internalized wickedness this way: “Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood” (Ps. 7:14; cf. Job 15:35).

Those who are involved in the ways of darkness are the “workers of iniquity,” the doers of evil or the creators of “misfortune” and disaster. Synonyms for 'âven with this sense are ra’ , “evil,” and rasha’ , “wicked,” opposed to “righteousness” and “justice.” They seek the downfall of the just (Ps. 141:9). Between Ps. 5:5 and 141:9 there are as many as 16 references to the workers of evil (cf. “The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity”—Ps. 5:5). In the context of Ps. 5, the evil spoken of is falsehood, bloodshed, and deceit (v. 6). The qualitative aspect of the word comes to the best expression in the verbs with 'âven. The wicked work, speak, beget, think, devise, gather, reap, and plow 'âven , and it is revealed (“comes forth”) by the misfortune that comes upon the righteous. Ultimately when Israel’s religious festivals (Isa. 1:13) and legislation (Isa. 10:1) were affected by their apostate way of life, they had reduced themselves to the Gentile practices and way of life. The prophetic hope lay in the period after the purification of Israel, when the messianic king would introduce a period of justice and righteousness (Isa. 32) and the evil men would be shown up for their folly and ungodliness.

The Septuagint has several translations: anomia (“lawlessness”); kopos (“work; labor; toil”); mataios (“empty; fruitless; useless; powerless”); poneria (“wickedness; maliciousness; sinfulness”); and adikia (“unrighteousness; wickedness; injustice”). The KJV has these translations: “iniquity; vanity; wickedness.”

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [2]

1: Ἀνομία (Strong'S #458 — Noun Feminine — anomia — an-om-ee'-ah )

lit., "lawlessness" (a, negative, nomos, "law"), is used in a way which indicates the meaning as being lawlessness or wickedness. Its usual rendering in the NT is "iniquity," which lit. means unrighteousness. It occurs very frequently in the Sept., especially in the Psalms, where it is found about 70 times. It is used (a) of iniquity in general,  Matthew 7:23;  13:41;  23:28;  24:12;  Romans 6:19 (twice);   2—Corinthians 6:14 , RV, "iniquity" (AV, "unrighteousness");  2—Thessalonians 2:3 , in some mss.; the AV and RV follow those which have hamartia, "(man of) sin;"  2—Thessalonians 2:7 , RV, "lawlessness" (AV, "iniquity");  Titus 2:14;  Hebrews 1:9;  1—John 3:4 (twice), RV, "(doeth) ... lawlessness" and "lawlessness" (AV, "transgresseth the law" and "trangression of the law"); (b) in the plural, of acts or manifestations of lawlessness,   Romans 4:7;  Hebrews 10:17 (some inferior mss. have it in   Hebrews 8:12 , for the word hamartia). See Lawlessness , Transgression , Unrighteousness.

 2—Thessalonians 2:3

2: Ἀδικία (Strong'S #93 — Noun Feminine — adikia — ad-ee-kee'-ah )

denotes "unrighteousness," lit., "unrightness" (a, negative, dike, "right"), a condition of not being right, whether with God, according to the standard of His holiness and righteousness, or with man, according to the standard of what man knows to be right by his conscience. In  Luke 16:8;  18:6 , the phrases lit. are, "the steward of unrighteousness" and "the judge of injustice," the subjective genitive describing their character; in  Luke 18:6 the meaning is "injustice" and so perhaps in   Romans 9:14 . The word is usually translated "unrighteousness," but is rendered "iniquity" in  Luke 13:27;  Acts 1:18;  8:23;  1—Corinthians 13:6 , AV (RV, "unrighteousness"); so in  2—Timothy 2:19;  James 3:6 .

3: Ἀδίκημα (Strong'S #92 — Noun Neuter — adikema — ad-eek'-ay-mah )

denotes "a wrong, injury, misdeed" (akin to No. 2; from adikeo, "to do wrong"), the concrete act, in contrast to the general meaning of No. 2, and translated "a matter of wrong," in  Acts 18:14; "wrong-doing,"  Acts 24:20 (AV, "evil-doing"); "iniquities,"   Revelation 18:5 . See Evil , Wrong.

4: Πονηρία (Strong'S #4189 — Noun Feminine — poneria — pon-ay-ree'-ah )

akin to poneo, "to toil" (cp. poneros, "bad, worthless;" see BAD), denotes "wickedness," and is so translated in  Matthew 22:18;  Mark 7:22 (plural);   Luke 11:39;  Romans 1:29;  1—Corinthians 5:8;  Ephesians 6:12; in  Acts 3:26 , "iniquities." See Wickedness. Cp. kakia, "evil."

5: Παρανομία (Strong'S #3892 — Noun Feminine — paranomia — par-an-om-ee'-ah )

"law-breaking" (para, "against," nomos, "law"), denotes "transgression," so rendered in  2—Peter 2:16 , for AV, "iniquity."

King James Dictionary [3]

INIQ'UITY, n. L. iniquitas in and oequitas, equity.

1. Injustice unrighteousness a deviation from rectitude as the iniquity of war the iniquity of the slave trade. 2. Want of rectitude in principle as a malicious prosecution originating in the iniquity of the author. 3. A particular deviation from rectitude a sin or crime wickedness any act of injustice.

Your iniquities have separated between you and your God.  Isaiah 59

4. Original want of holiness or depravity.

I was shapen in iniquity.  Psalms 51

Webster's Dictionary [4]

(1): ( n.) An iniquitous act or thing; a deed of injustice o/ unrighteousness; a sin; a crime.

(2): ( n.) A character or personification in the old English moralities, or moral dramas, having the name sometimes of one vice and sometimes of another. See Vice.

(3): ( n.) Absence of, or deviation from, just dealing; want of rectitude or uprightness; gross injustice; unrighteousness; wickedness; as, the iniquity of bribery; the iniquity of an unjust judge.

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology [5]

See Evil; Sin

Holman Bible Dictionary [6]


Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [7]

Iniquity . See Sin.

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [8]

See SIN.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [9]

in - ik´wi - ti ( עון , ‛āwōn  ; ἀνομία , anomı́a ): In the Old Testament of the 11 words translated "iniquity," by far the most common and important is ‛āwōn (about 215 times). Etymologically, it is customary to explain it as meaning literally "crookedness," "perverseness," i.e. evil regarded as that which is not straight or upright, moral distortion (from עוּה , ‛iwwāh , "to bend," "make crooked," "pervert"). Driver, however (following Lagarde), maintains that two roots, distinct in Arabic, have been confused in Hebrew, one = "to bend," "pervert" (as above), and the other = "to err," "go astray"; that ‛āwōn is derived from the latter, and consequently expresses the idea of error, deviation from the right path, rather than that of perversion (Driver, Notes on Sam , 135 note) Whichever etymology is adopted, in actual usage it has three meanings which almost imperceptibly pass into each other: (1) iniquity, (2) guilt of iniquity, (3) punishment of iniquity. Primarily, it denotes "not an action, but the character of an action" (Oehler), and is so distinguished from "sin" ( ḥaṭṭā'th ). Hence, we have the expression "the iniquity of my sin" (  Psalm 32:5 ). Thus the meaning glides into that of "guilt," which might often take the place of "iniquity" as the translation of ‛āwōn ( Genesis 15:16;  Exodus 34:7;  Jeremiah 2:22 , etc.). From "guilt" it again passes into the meaning of "punishment of guilt," just as Latin piaculum may denote both guilt and its punishment. The transition is all the easier in Hebrew because of the Hebrew sense of the intimate relation of sin and suffering, e.g.   Genesis 4:13 , "My punishment is greater than I can bear"; which is obviously to be preferred to King James Version margin, the Revised Version, margin "Mine iniquity is greater than can be forgiven," for Cain is not so much expressing sorrow for his sin, as complaining of the severity of his punishment; compare  2 Kings 7:9 (the Revised Version (British and American) "punishment," the Revised Version margin "iniquity");   Isaiah 5:18 (where for "iniquity" we might have "punishment of iniquity," as in   Leviticus 26:41 ,  Leviticus 26:43 , etc.);  Isaiah 40:2 ("iniquity," the Revised Version margin "punishment"). The phrase "bear iniquity" is a standing expression for bearing its consequences, i.e. its penalty; generally of the sinner bearing the results of his own iniquity (  Leviticus 17:16;  Leviticus 20:17 ,  Leviticus 20:19;  Numbers 14:34;  Ezekiel 44:10 , etc.), but sometimes of one bearing the iniquity of another vicariously, and so taking it away (e.g.  Ezekiel 4:4 f;   Ezekiel 18:19 f). Of special interest in the latter sense are the sufferings of the Servant of Yahweh, who shall "bear the iniquities" of the people (  Isaiah 53:11; compare  Isaiah 53:6 ).

Other words frequently translated "iniquity" are: 'āwen , literally, "worthlessness," "vanity," hence, "naughtiness," "mischief" (47 times in the King James Version, especially in the phrase "workers of iniquity,"   Job 4:8;  Psalm 5:5;  Psalm 6:8;  Proverbs 10:29 , etc.); ‛āwel and ‛awlāh , literally, "perverseness" ( Deuteronomy 32:4;  Job 6:29 the King James Version, etc.).

In the New Testament "iniquity" stands for anomia = properly, "the condition of one without law," "lawlessness" (so translated in   1 John 3:4 , elsewhere "iniquity," e.g.  Matthew 7:23 ), a word which frequently stood for ‛āwōn in the Septuagint; and adikı́a , literally, "unrighteousness" (e.g.  Luke 13:27 ).

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [10]

(prop. עָון , Ἀδικία ; but represented in the A. Vers. by several other words) means in Scripture not only sin, but, by metonymy, also the Punishment of sin, and the expiation of it: "Aaron will bear the iniquities of the people;" he will atone for them ( Exodus 28:38). The Lord "visits the iniquities of the fathers upon the children" ( Exodus 20:5); he sometimes causes visible effects of his wrath to fall on the children of criminal parents. "To bear iniquity" is to endure the punishment of it, to be obliged to expiate it. The priests bear the iniquity of the people; that is, they are charged with the expiation of it ( Exodus 28:38;  Leviticus 10:17). (See Sin).