II. What Are “Divination” and “Magic”?

Unfortunately for our study of these passages, I was unable to find any evangelical studies on divination and magic in the Old Testament, probably from the fact that the study of such phenomena is forbidden by these two passages that we are going to look at. Most commentaries will briefly touch on the words and what their roots are, but leave it at a surface look. The book I found most helpful in conducting my word studies was Magic & Divination in Ancient Palestine & Syria by Ann Jeffers. She looks hard at the background of the words that we will be studying in the later passages and suggest some interesting conclusions.

The basic definition of divination as given by Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary is, “the art or practice that seeks to foresee or foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge usu. by the interpretation of omens or by the aid of supernatural powers.”1 Emphasis in this paper will be placed upon “the art ... that seeks to ... discover hidden knowledge.”

Among other things magic is defined as, “an extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural source.”2

As instructive as these definitions are, the ones written by T.W. Davies are even more so, as they pertain directly to our problem:

Divination is the art of obtaining special information from spiritual beings.3

Magic may be briefly defined as the attempt on man’s part to have intercourse with spiritual and supernatural beings, and to influence them for his benefit.4

As we will see later on, the type of practices that Dr. Kraft and the other spiritual warlords are engaged in fall under these definitions.

  • 1. “Divination,” Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Britannica CD, Version 97, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., 1997.
  • 2. “Magic,” Ibid.
  • 3. T. Witton Davies, Magic, Divination, and Demonology Among the Hebrews and Their Neighbours (New York, NY: Ktav Publishing House, Inc., 1969), p.72.
  • 4. Ibid., p.1.