You shall not suffer a witch to live.
Jump to: Barnes • Benson • BI • Calvin • Cambridge • Clarke • Darby • Ellicott • Expositor's • Exp Dct • Gaebelein • GSB • Gill • Gray • Haydock • Hastings • Homiletics • JFB • KD • KJT • Lange • MacLaren • MHC • MHCW • Parker • Poole • Pulpit • Sermon • SCO • TTB • WES • TSK
EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.—The word translated “witch” in this passage is the feminine singular of that rendered by “sorcerers” in Exodus 7:11, and means “a mutterer of charms.” The use of the feminine form can only be accounted for by supposing that, practically, witchcraft was at the time mainly professed by females. Whether “witches” had actual help from evil spirits, or only professed to work magical effects by their aid, the sin against God was the same. Jehovah was renounced, and a power other than His invoked and upheld. Witchcraft was as much rebellion against God as idolatry or blasphemy, and deserved the same punishment.Exodus 22:18. Witchcraft not only gives that honour to the devil which is due to God alone, but bids defiance to the divine providence, wages war with God’s government, puts his work into the devil’s hand, expecting him to do good and evil. By our law, consulting, covenanting with, invocating, or employing any evil spirit to any intent whatever, and exercising any enchantment, charm, or sorcery, whereby hurt shall be done to any person, is made felony, without benefit of clergy; also pretending to tell where goods lost or stolen may be found, is an iniquity punishable by the judge, and the second offence with death.Leviticus 20:27. The witch is here named to represent the class. This is the earliest denunciation of witchcraft in the law. In every form of witchcraft there is an appeal to a power not acting in subordination to the divine law. From all such notions and tendencies true worship is designed to deliver us. The practice of witchcraft was therefore an act of rebellion against Yahweh, and, as such, was a capital crime. The passages bearing on the subject in the Prophets, as well as those in the law, carry a lesson for all ages. Isaiah 8:19; Isaiah 19:3; Isaiah 44:25; Isaiah 47:12-13; Micah 5:12, etc.
stacks—or as it is rendered "shocks" (Jud 15:5; Job 5:26), means simply a bundle of loose sheaves.Exodus 7:11 Leviticus 20:27 Deu 18:10 1 Samuel 28:9. The word is of the feminine gender, partly because women are most prone to these devilish arts, and most frequently guilty of them; and partly to intimate that no pity should be showed to such offenders, though they were of the weaker sex. Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)18. Magic and divination were practised extensively in the ancient world, as indeed they are still among uncivilised peoples and among the uneducated even in civilised countries: we have particularly abundant information respecting the practice of them in Assyria (see briefly the writer’s Daniel, in the Camb. Bible, p. 13 ff., more fully Jastrow, Relig. of Bab. and Ass. (1898), pp. 352–406). As inconsistent with the spirit the religion of Jehovah, as fostering superstition, and as associated commonly with heathen beliefs, they are condemned repeatedly in the OT.: see Leviticus 19:31; Leviticus 20:6; Leviticus 20:27 (all H), and esp. Deuteronomy 18:10-11, locus classicus on the subject, where eight types are enumerated (see the writer’s note ad loc.); and often in the prophets. See further on the subject, with numerous illustrations of the methods of magic practised different parts of the world, O. C. Whitehouse’s articles Magic, Soothsayer, Sorcery, in DB.
a sorceress] The fem. (only here) of the word rendered sorcerer in Deuteronomy 18:10, Malachi 3:5, 2 Chronicles 33:6, Daniel 2:2†: cf. Jeremiah 27:9; and sorceries in 2 Kings 9:22, Micah 5:11, Nahum 3:4, Isaiah 47:9; Isaiah 47:12†. Micah 5:11 seems to shew that the ‘sorceries’ were something material, such as drugs, herbs, &c., used superstitiously for the purpose of producing magical effects. Sorcery was resorted to for all kinds of purposes, to heal diseases, to ward off disasters, to bring misfortune upon a neighbour, to inspire a woman with love, &c.; it was often supposed to operate by the power obtained through incantations or other spells over spirits (the Arab. jinn).
The law is one which, as the reader need hardly be reminded, has often been wofully misapplied, and led to the committal of great cruelties: witches were often burnt in the middle ages; and they were executed in England as late as 1716. The right feeling that sorcery is debasing and superstitious finds expression in a law which is no doubt not out of harmony with the severe punishments common in the East, even to modern times,—and even, we may add, in mediaeval Europe: but the law belongs to the older dispensation, and does not breathe the spirit of Christ (Luke 9:55). The rise of a historical sense, and the recognition that the revelation contained in the OT. was progressive and that the laws given to Israel are not, simply as such, binding upon Christian nations, have taught men that an injunction such as this can have no place in a Christian law-book.Verse 18. - Law against witchcraft. Witchcraft was professedly a league with powers in rebellion against God. How far it was delusion, how far imposture, how far a real conspiracy with the powers of evil, cannot now be known. Let the most rationalistic view be taken, and still there was in the practice an absolute renunciation of religion, and of the authority of Jehovah. Wizards (Leviticus 19:31) and witches were, therefore, under the Jewish theocracy, like idolaters and blasphemers, to be put to death. 1 Chronicles 5:21; 2 Chronicles 14:14, cf. Job 1:15, Job 1:17), without any one (else) seeing it, an oath was to be taken before Jehovah between both (the owner and the keeper of it), "whether he had not stretched out his hand to his neighbour's property," i.e., either killed, or mutilated, or disposed of the animal. This case differs from the previous one, not only in the fact that the animal had either become useless to the owner or was altogether lost, but also in the fact that the keeper, if his statement were true, had not been at all to blame in the matter. The only way in which this could be decided, if there was ראה אין, i.e., no other eye-witness present than the keeper himself at the time when the fact occurred, was by the keeper taking an oath before Jehovah, that is to say, before the judicial court. And if he took the oath, the master (owner) of it (the animal that had perished, or been lost or injured) was to accept (sc., the oath), and he (the accused) was not to make reparation. "But if it had been stolen מעמּו from with him (i.e., from his house or stable), he was to make it good," because he might have prevented this with proper care (cf. Genesis 31:39). On the other hand, if it had been torn in pieces (viz., by a beast of prey, while it was out at grass), he was not to make any compensation, but only to furnish a proof that he had not been wanting in proper care. עד יבאהוּ "let him bring it as a witness," viz., the animal that had been torn in pieces, or a portion of it, from which it might be seen that he had chased the wild beast to recover its prey (cf. 1 Samuel 17:34-35; Amos 3:12).
LinksExodus 22:18 Interlinear
Exodus 22:18 Parallel Texts
Exodus 22:18 NIV
Exodus 22:18 NLT
Exodus 22:18 ESV
Exodus 22:18 NASB
Exodus 22:18 KJV
Exodus 22:18 Bible Apps
Exodus 22:18 Parallel
Exodus 22:18 Biblia Paralela
Exodus 22:18 Chinese Bible
Exodus 22:18 French Bible
Exodus 22:18 German Bible