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Prohibited Occult Practices

When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, you must not learn the abhorrent practices of those nations. 10 There must never be found among you anyone who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire,[a] anyone who practices divination,[b] an omen reader,[c] a soothsayer,[d] a sorcerer,[e] 11 one who casts spells,[f] one who conjures up spirits,[g] a practitioner of the occult,[h] or a necromancer.[i]

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Footnotes

  1. Deuteronomy 18:10 tn Heb “who passes his son or his daughter through the fire.” The expression “pass…through the fire” is probably a euphemism for human sacrifice (cf. NAB, NIV, TEV, NLT). See also Deut 12:31.
  2. Deuteronomy 18:10 tn Heb “a diviner of divination” (קֹסֵם קְסָמִים, qosem qesamim). This was a means employed to determine the future or the outcome of events by observation of various omens and signs (cf. Num 22:7; 23:23; Josh 13:22; 1 Sam 6:2; 15:23; 28:8; etc.). See M. Horsnell, NIDOTTE 3:945-51.
  3. Deuteronomy 18:10 tn Heb “one who causes to appear” (מְעוֹנֵן, meʿonen). Such a practitioner was thought to be able to conjure up spirits or apparitions (cf. Lev 19:26; Judg 9:37; 2 Kgs 21:6; Isa 2:6; 57:3; Jer 27:9; Mic 5:11).
  4. Deuteronomy 18:10 tn Heb “a seeker of omens” (מְנַחֵשׁ, menakhesh). This is a subset of divination, one illustrated by the use of a “divining cup” in the story of Joseph (Gen 44:5).
  5. Deuteronomy 18:10 tn Heb “a doer of sorcery” (מְכַשֵּׁף, mekhashef). This has to do with magic or the casting of spells in order to manipulate the gods or the powers of nature (cf. Lev 19:26-31; 2 Kgs 17:15b-17; 21:1-7; Isa 57:3, 5; etc.). See M. Horsnell, NIDOTTE 2:735-38.
  6. Deuteronomy 18:11 tn Heb “a binder of binding” (חֹבֵר חָבֶר, khover khaver). The connotation is that of immobilizing (“binding”) someone or something by the use of magical words (cf. Ps 58:6; Isa 47:9, 12).
  7. Deuteronomy 18:11 tn Heb “asker of a [dead] spirit” (שֹׁאֵל אוֹב, shoʾel ʾov). This is a form of necromancy (cf. Lev 19:31; 20:6; 1 Sam 28:8, 9; Isa 8:19; 19:3; 29:4).
  8. Deuteronomy 18:11 tn Heb “a knowing [or “familiar”] [spirit]” (יִדְּעֹנִי, yiddeʿoniy), i.e., one who is expert in mantic arts (cf. Lev 19:31; 20:6, 27; 1 Sam 28:3, 9; 2 Kgs 21:6; Isa 8:19; 19:3).
  9. Deuteronomy 18:11 tn Heb “a seeker of the dead.” This is much the same as “one who conjures up spirits” (cf. 1 Sam 28:6-7).

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