The Bible makes repeated point out of magic and witches, normally in unsparing phrases. We all know properly the scriptural opprobrium in opposition to witches; we’re in peril of forgetting the scriptural thought of witches. All of us have an thought of what a witch is, however the thought is nearly unavoidably an amalgam. We piece it collectively of a thousand tales and pictures. The accretion of fashionable fable on the Christian thought of witches is thick. Let’s contemplate, then, fashionable notions of witches and their craft and the way these notions correspond with biblical concepts.
Witches fly on brooms and make depraved potions in boiling cauldrons, are related to spiders and black cats, are sometimes ugly and usually inclined to black clothes and pointed hats.
Sure, we’ll begin with the low-hanging fruit. Sure, you already know that none of this has the barest basis in Scripture. Merely contemplate that of all of the symbols and imagery that acquire round witches, little or no of it’s Christian.
Witches are related to magic; magic is related to spells, charms, and secret data.
These associations are biblical. The Bible kinds magic, sorcery, and divination into the identical class, and witches, magicians, and mediums into the identical species. Additional, the Bible associates spells with witchcraft (eg. Isaiah 47) and magic with charms (eg. Ezekiel 13). In the meantime, secret data is each the means of magic – keep in mind Pharoah’s magicians with their secret arts – and the purpose of magic. Divination and the session of the useless particularly pursue forbidden data.
Witches are principally feminine.
This can be a very previous and quite common thought. Think about all of the tales – centuries and centuries previous, a few of them – of feminine witches. Think about, too, that within the witch hunts of the late medieval and early trendy West, the vast majority of victims had been ladies. Within the Bible, nonetheless, witchcraft isn’t particularly related to both intercourse. Notorious practitioners of witchcraft within the Bible embrace ladies like Jezebel and the Witch of Endor and males like Balaam, King Manasseh, and Simon the Sorcerer.
Witches afflict humanity with a number of seemingly “pure” maladies.
Should you had been to review the accusations introduced throughout the Salem witch trials, you’d see a good instance of a prevalent thought about witches: that they’re the lively reason for pure disasters, from human illness to the demise of livestock. There may be little suggestion of this concept in Scripture. Most likely the closest we come is the Egyptian magicians’ counterfeiting of the primary two plagues. However these counterfeits, labored to show the ability of the magicians in opposition to the ability of Moses, have a really completely different nature than the key, malicious assaults attributed to witches.
It might even be famous that Balak employed Balaam to curse Israel. “Maybe then,” he stated, “I will defeat them and drive them in another country.” What Balak anticipated of the curse, nonetheless, can’t be stated. It might be that he anticipated some type of pure catastrophe. It might even be that he anticipated them to be made unfortunate in order that he may defeat them in battle.
It’s not that the scriptural conception of witches is wholly disconnected from all the opposite conceptions that abound by way of tales and cultures. There are numerous concepts of what a witch is. The nice commonality amongst them is energy perceived to be supernatural (itself a phrase of variable definition). The variations may be sufficient to pit them in opposition to one another in basic opposition. What we should be taught is to discern the biblical which means of witch from all the remainder.