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Study Resources :: Dictionaries :: Divination

Dictionaries :: Divination

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Below are articles from the following dictionary:
Easton's Bible Dictionary


of false prophets (Deu 18:10,14; Mic 3:6,7,11), of necromancers (1Sa 28:8), of the Philistine priests and diviners (1Sa 6:2), of Balaam (Jos 13:22). Three kinds of divination are mentioned in Eze 21:21, by arrows, consulting with images (the teraphim), and by examining the entrails of animals sacrificed. The practice of this art seems to have been encouraged in ancient Egypt. Diviners also abounded among the aborigines of Canaan and the Philistines (Isa 2:6; 1Sa 28). At a later period multitudes of magicians poured from Chaldea and Arabia into the land of Israel, and pursued their occupations (Isa 8:19; 2Ki 21:6; 2Ch 33:6). This superstition widely spread, and in the time of the apostles there were "vagabond Jews, exorcists" (Act 19:13), and men like Simon Magus (Act 8:9), Bar-jesus (13:6,8), and other jugglers and impostors (19:19; 2Ti 3:13). Every species and degree of this superstition was strictly forbidden by the law of Moses (Exd 22:18; Lev 19:26,31; 20:27; Deu 18:10,11).

But beyond these various forms of superstition, there are instances of divination on record in the Scriptures by which God was pleased to make known his will.

(1.) There was divination by lot, by which, when resorted to in matters of moment, and with solemnity, God intimated his will (Jos 7:13). The land of Canaan was divided by lot (Num 26:55,56); Achan's guilt was detected (Jos 7:16-19), Saul was elected king (1Sa 10:20,21), and Matthias chosen to the apostleship, by the solem lot (Act 1:26). It was thus also that the scape-goat was determined (Lev 16:8-10).

(2.) There was divination by dreams (Gen 20:6; Deu 13:1,3; Jdg 7:13,15; Mat 1:20; 2:12,13,19,22). This is illustrated in the history of Joseph (Gen 41:25-32) and of Daniel (Dan 2:27; 4:19-28).

(3.) By divine appointment there was also divination by the Urim and Thummim (Num 27:21), and by the ephod.

(4.) God was pleased sometimes to vouch-safe direct vocal communications to men (Deu 34:10; Exd 3:4; 4:3; Deu 4:14,15; 1Ki 19:12). He also communed with men from above the mercy-seat (Exd 25:22), and at the door of the tabernacle (Exd 29:42,43).

(5.) Through his prophets God revealed himself, and gave intimations of his will (2Ki 13:17; Jer 51:63,64).


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