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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 civilized and savage. Numerous forms of divination are mentioned, such as divination by rods, Hos. 4:12; divination by arrows, Ezek. 21:21; divination by cups, Gen. 44:5; consultation of teraphim, 1 Sam. 15:23; Ezek. 21:21; Zech. 10:2 [Teraphim]; divination by the liver, Ezek. 21:21; divination by dreams, Deut. 13:2, 3; Judges 7:13; Jer. 23:32; consultation of oracles. Isa. 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. But God supplied his people with substitutes for divination which would have rendered 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 It was only when they were unfaithful that the revelation was withdrawn. 1 Sam. 28:6; 2 Sam. 2:1; 5:23, etc.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 Tim. 3:13; Rev. 19:20, etc., as well as the notorious dealers in magical books at Ephesus. Acts 19:19.