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Bible Dictionaries

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary

Magician

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not unfrequently occurs in Scripture. Generally it signifies a diviner, a fortune teller, &c. Moses forbids recourse to such on pain of death: "The soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and even cut him off from among his people," Leviticus 19:31 ; Leviticus 20:6 . The Hebrew is אלאּ?האבת ואלאּ?הידענום , which signify literally,—

the first, those possessed with a spirit of Python, or a demon that foretels future events;—the second, knowers, they who boast of the knowledge of secret things. It was such sort of people that Saul extirpated out of the land of Israel, 1 Samuel 28:3 . Daniel also speaks of magicians and diviners in Chaldea, under Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel 1:20 , &c; ולאשפים

זלמכשפים זלכשדים לחרטמים . He names four sorts: Chartumim, Asaphim, Mecasphim, and Casdim, Daniel 2:2 . The first, Chartumim, according to Theodotion, signifies "enchanters;" according to the LXX, "sophists;" according to Jerom, hariolas, "diviners, fortune tellers, casters of nativities." The second word, Asaphim, has a great resemblance to the Greek word σοφος , "wise man;" whether the Greeks took this word from the Babylonians, or vice versa. Theodotion and Jerom have rendered it "magicians;" the LXX, "philosophers." The third word, Mecasphim, by Jerom and the Greeks, is translated malefici, "enchanters;" such as used noxious herbs and drugs, the blood of victims, and the bones of the dead, for their superstitious operations. The fourth word, Casdim, or Chaldeans, has two significations: first, the Chaldean people, over whom Nebuchadnezzar was monarch; the second, a sort of philosophers, who dwelt in a separate part of the city, who were exempt from all public offices and employments. Their studies were physic, astrology, divination, foretelling of future events by the stars, interpretation of dreams, augury, worship of the gods, &c. All these inquisitive and superstitious arts were prohibited among the Israelites, as founded on imposture or devilism, and as inconsistent with faith in God's providence, and trust in his supremacy.


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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Magician'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/wtd/m/magician.html. 1831-2.

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