In the Bible, all the superstitious ceremonies of magicians, sorcerers, enchanters, necromancers, spiritualists, exorcists, astrologers, soothsayers, interpreters of dreams, fortune-tellers, casters of nativities, etc., which are all forbidden by the law of God, whether practiced to hurt or to benefit mankind. It was also forbidden to consult magicians on pain of death, Le 19:31; 20:6. See ENCHANTMENTS and SORCERERS.
Do not return unto spiritists or seek after diviners, to be defiled by them. I AM your God.
And the person that turns after spiritists or after diviners to prostitute themselves after them, I will even set my face against that person and will cut him off from among his people.
The Jews seem early to have consulted the teraphim (q.v.) for oracular answers (Jg 18:5-6; Zec 10:2). There is a remarkable illustration of this divining by teraphim in Eze 21:19-22. We read also of the divining cup of Joseph (Ge 44:5). The magicians of Egypt are frequently referred to in the history of the Exodus. Magic was an inherent part of the ancient Egyptian religion, and entered largely into their daily life.
All magical arts were distinctly prohibited under penalty of death in the Mosaic law. The Jews were commanded not to learn the "abomination" of the people of the Promised Land (Le 19:31; De 18:9-14). The history of Saul's consulting the witch of Endor (1Sa 28:3-20) gives no warrant for attributing supernatural power to magicians. From the first the witch is here only a bystander. The practice of magic lingered among the people till after the Captivity, when they gradually abandoned it.
It is not much referred to in the New Testament. The Magi mentioned in Mt 2:1-12 were not magicians in the ordinary sense of the word. They belonged to a religious caste, the followers of Zoroaster, the astrologers of the East. Simon, a magician, was found by Philip at Samaria (Ac 8:9-24); and Paul and Barnabas encountered Elymas, a Jewish sorcerer, at Paphos (Ac 13:6-12). At Ephesus there was a great destruction of magical books (Ac 19:18-19).
Is this not the one in which my lord drinks and in which indeed he divines? Ye have done evil in so doing.
Do not return unto spiritists or seek after diviners, to be defiled by them. I AM your God.
When thou shall have come into the land which the LORD thy God gives thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those Gentiles. There shall not be found among you any one that makes his son or his daughter to pass through the fire or that uses divination or an observer of times or an enchanter or a witch read more. or a charmer or a spiritist or a diviner or a necromancer. For anyone that does these things is an abomination unto the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD thy God drove them out from before thee. Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God. For these Gentiles, whom thou shalt inherit, hearkened unto observers of times and unto diviners, but as for thee, the LORD thy God has not allowed thee to do so.
And they said unto him, Ask counsel now, therefore, of God, that we may know whether he shall prosper our journey which we do. And the priest replied unto them, Go in peace. Your journey which ye do is before the LORD.
Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him in Ramah in his own city. And Saul had removed the spiritists and the diviners out of the land. And the Philistines gathered themselves together and came and pitched camp in Shunem, and Saul gathered all Israel together, and they pitched camp in Gilboa. read more. And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. And Saul enquired of the LORD, but the LORD did not answer him by dreams nor by Urim nor by prophets. Then Saul said unto his slaves, Seek me a woman that is a spiritist that I may go to her and enquire of her. And his slaves said to him, Behold, there is a woman that is a spiritist at Endor. And Saul disguised himself and put on other clothing, and he went with two men, and they came to the woman by night; and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by spiritism and bring me him up whom I shall name unto thee. And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul has done, how he has cut off the spiritists and the diviners out of the land; why then dost thou lay a snare for my life, to cause me to die? And Saul swore to her by the LORD, saying, As the LORD lives, no iniquity shall come upon thee for this thing. Then the woman said, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel. And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice; and the woman spoke to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? For thou art Saul. And the king said unto her, Do not be afraid. What didst thou see? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods rising out of the land. And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man comes, and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground and worshipped. And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed, for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me and no longer answers me neither by prophets nor by dreams; therefore, I have called thee that thou may make known unto me what I shall do. Then Samuel said, Why then dost thou ask of me, seeing the LORD is departed from thee, and is become thy enemy? The LORD, therefore, has done as he spoke by me! For the LORD has rent the kingdom out of thy hand and given it to thy neighbour, even to David. Because thou didst not hearken unto the voice of the LORD nor execute his fierce wrath upon Amalek; therefore, the LORD has done this thing unto thee today. And the LORD will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines, and tomorrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me; the LORD shall also deliver the camp of Israel into the hand of the Philistines. Then Saul, as great as he was, fell suddenly to the earth and was sore afraid because of the words of Samuel; and there was no strength in him, for he had eaten no bread all that day nor all that night.
Also, thou son of man, show two ways from where the sword of the king of Babylon comes: both shall come forth out of the same land and draw an army; at the head of the way to the city thou shalt do this. Show the way that the sword will come to Rabbath of the Ammonites and to Judah against Jerusalem, the defenced. read more. For the king of Babylon stood at the parting of the way at the head of the two ways to use divination; he made his arrows bright; he consulted with images; he looked in the liver. The divination was to his right hand upon Jerusalem, to appoint captains, to open the mouth for the slaughter, to lift up the voice with shouting, to appoint battering rams against the gates, to cast a mount, and to build a fort.
For the idols have spoken vanity and the diviners have seen a lie and have told vain dreams; they comfort in vain; therefore they went their way like sheep; they were humbled because there was no shepherd.
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? We have seen his star in the east and are come to worship him. read more. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he asked them where the Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea, for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda, for out of thee shall come a Leader that shall shepherd my people Israel. Then Herod, calling the wise men unto him secretly, understood of them with diligence the time of the appearing of the star; and sending them to Bethlehem, he said, Go there and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, behold, the star, which they had seen in the east, went before them until it arrived and stood over where the young child was. Seeing the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And entering into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother; and falling down, they worshipped him; and opening their treasures, they offered him gifts: gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned by divine revelation in dreams that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
But there was a certain man called Simon, who before this in the same city used magic arts and amazed the people of Samaria, giving out that he himself was some great one, to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This is the great virtue of God. read more. And to him they had regard because for a long time he had amazed them with magic arts. But when they believed Philip preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also; and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were being done. Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John unto them, who, when they were come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them; they were baptized only in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then they laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Spirit. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter, for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness and pray God, if perhaps this thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness and in the prison of iniquity. Then Simon answered and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.
And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain wise man, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus, who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man, who called for Barnabas and Saul and desired to hear the word of God. read more. But Elymas the wise man (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the proconsul from the faith. Then Saul (who also is Paul), filled with the Holy Spirit, set his eyes on him and said, O full of all deception and all licentiousness, thou son of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is against thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness, and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand. Then the proconsul, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.
And many that believed came, confessing and declaring their deeds. In the same manner many who had practiced vain arts brought their books together and burned them before everyone, and they counted the price of them and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.