What is Meant by “Wizards” in the Bible?

It might strike one as odd reading (or listening) at first. But there are wizards in the King James bible – imagine that?

Leviticus 19:31 reads, Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.

And just a few verses later, in Leviticus 20:6, it says, And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.

Leviticus 20:27 then reads, A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.

Deuteronomy 18:11 also refers to wizards, as does Isaiah 19:3 and the Second Book of Chronicles 33:6.

First Samuel 28:3 tells us that Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land, as does First Samuel 28:9.

In the Second Book of Kings 21:6, And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.

And later in the Second Book of Kings, 23:24, Moreover the workers with familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem.

Isaiah 8:19 refers to wizards that peep, and that mutter.

This certainly isn’t the same meaning as we might know today – that is, the reference here is probably not about old men with long silver beards, purple robes and pointy hats covered with stars. So what is meant, exactly, by these references?

Consider that the King James bible is set in ancient times, in a chaotic land filled with tribes from all over the Middle East and Africa. Wizardry, in this context, can refer to all sorts of male witchcraft and tribal rituals, and spiritualism. Wizards as we know them today are, well, a much transformed definition than this general term found in these books and stories of the bible.

This entry was posted in Bible Studies and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.