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Deuteronomy 18:9-14

Context
Provision for Prophetism

18:9 When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, you must not learn the abhorrent practices of those nations. 18:10 There must never be found among you anyone who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, 1  anyone who practices divination, 2  an omen reader, 3  a soothsayer, 4  a sorcerer, 5  18:11 one who casts spells, 6  one who conjures up spirits, 7  a practitioner of the occult, 8  or a necromancer. 9  18:12 Whoever does these things is abhorrent to the Lord and because of these detestable things 10  the Lord your God is about to drive them out 11  from before you. 18:13 You must be blameless before the Lord your God. 18:14 Those nations that you are about to dispossess listen to omen readers and diviners, but the Lord your God has not given you permission to do such things.

1 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 tn Heb “a diviner of divination” (קֹסֵם קְסָמִים, qosem qÿsamim). 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 tn Heb “one who causes to appear” (מְעוֹנֵן, mÿonen). 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 tn Heb “a seeker of omens” (מְנַחֵשׁ, mÿnakhesh). This is a subset of divination, one illustrated by the use of a “divining cup” in the story of Joseph (Gen 44:5).

5 tn Heb “a doer of sorcery” (מְכַשֵּׁף, mikhashef). 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 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 tn Heb “asker of a [dead] spirit” (שֹׁאֵל אוֹב, shoelov). 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 tn Heb “a knowing [or “familiar”] [spirit]” (יִדְּעֹנִי, yiddÿoniy), 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 tn Heb “a seeker of the dead.” This is much the same as “one who conjures up spirits” (cf. 1 Sam 28:6-7).

10 tn Heb “these abhorrent things.” The repetition is emphatic. For stylistic reasons, to avoid redundancy, the same term used earlier in the verse has been translated “detestable” here.

11 tn The translation understands the Hebrew participial form as having an imminent future sense here.



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