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English Bible Dictionary

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 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) divination by the liver, (Ezekiel 21:21) divination by dreams, (13:2,3; Judges 7:13; Jeremiah 23:32) consultation of oracles. (Isaiah 41:21-24; 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, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. 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 It was only when they were unfaithful that the revelation was withdrawn.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; 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)

 

* See also: Magic, Wizard, Witch | Witchcrafts.

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