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Bible Dictionaries

Smith's Bible Dictionary


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Divination. Divination is a "foretelling future events, or discovering things secret by the aid of superior beings, or other than human means". It is used, in Scripture, of false systems of ascertaining the divine will. It has been universal in all ages, and all nations alike, both civilized and savage.

Numerous forms of divination are mentioned, such as

divination by rods, Hosea 4:12,

divination by arrows, Ezekiel 21:21,

divination by cups, Genesis 44:5,

consultation of teraphim, 1 Samuel 15:23; Ezekiel 21:21; Zechariah 10:2, see Teraphim.;

divination by the liver, Ezekiel 21:21,

divination by dreams, Deuteronomy 13:2-3; Judges 7:13; Jeremiah 23:32, and

consultation of oracles. Isaiah 41:21-24; Isaiah 44:7.

Moses forbade every species of divination, because, a prying into the future, clouds the mind with superstition, and because, it would have been an incentive to idolatry. But God supplied his people with substitutes for divination which would have rended it superfluous, and left them in no doubt as to his will in circumstances of danger, had they continued faithful.

It was only when they were unfaithful that the revelation was withdrawn. 1 Samuel 28:6; 2 Samuel 2:1; 2 Samuel 5:23, etc. Superstition, not unfrequently, goes hand in hand with skepticism, and hence, amid the general infidelity prevalent throughout the Roman empire at our Lord's coming, imposture was rampant.

Hence, the lucrative trade of such men as Simon Magus, Acts 8:9,

Bar-jesus, Acts 13:6,

the slave with the spirit of Python, Acts 16:16,

the vagabond Jews,

exorcists, Luke 11:19; Acts 19:13 and

others, 2 Timothy 3:13; Revelation 19:20, etc.,

as well as the notorious dealers in magical books at Ephesus. Acts 19:19.

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These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Smith, William, Dr. Entry for 'Divination'. Smith's Bible Dictionary. 1901.

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