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Bible Dictionaries

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary

Witch And Wizard


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Our best exposition of these terms as found in the Bible is in the narrative of the witch of Endor. She was widely known as "one that had a familiar spirit" or an attendant demon, and was thereby professedly able to summon departed souls from the spirit world and converse with them. From this it appears that the essential character of witchcraft was a pretended commerce with demons and the spirits of the departed. In this respect it is identical with modern witchcraft and with spiritualism; and all the condemnation pronounced against witchcraft and with spiritualism; and all the condemnation pronounced against witchcraft in the Bible falls equally on these and every similar system of professed commerce with ghosts and demons.

To this practice the ancient witches and wizards joined the arts of fortune-telling and divining, and a professed knowledge and control of the secret powers of the elements, heavenly bodies, etc. In order to give color and concealment to their pretended commerce with spirits, they made use of drugs, fumigation's, chemical arts, incantations, and every mysterious device to awe and impose upon a superstitious people. Their unlawful arts were near akin to the others forbidden in Deuteronomy 18:10-11 : "There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer." It would appear from this catalogue that all forms of superstition were as prevalent in the East in the days of Moses as they now are. Those familiar with the Syria and Arabia of our days inform us that old and young of all sects universally believe in the potency of "the evil eye," of incantations, charms, amulets, serpent-charming, and exorcism; and that these superstitions exert a prodigious influence on oriental life. Even modern mesmerism has its counterpart among the pretended magic arts of the East, practiced, like many other existing superstitions, from time immemorial.

Such follies and knaveries are all strictly forbidden in the Bible, and many of them in the Jewish dispensation were punishable with death. They are all idolatrousignoring the only true God, and seeking help from foreign sources. They are sure to prevail in proportion as men lose a calm trust in the Almighty, and an intelligent loving obedience to his will. He that fears God needs fear nothing else; while he that, like king Saul, departs from God, finds help and comfort nowhere. See ENDOR , and SORCERER .


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of the topics are from American Tract Society Bible Dictionary published in 1859.

Bibliography Information
Rand, W. W. Entry for 'Witch And Wizard'. American Tract Society Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/ats/w/witch-and-wizard.html. 1859.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, November 23rd, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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