English Standard Version
As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling.
King James Bible
And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:
American Standard Version
And it came to pass, as we were going to the place of prayer, that a certain maid having a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much gain by soothsaying.
And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain girl, having a pythonical spirit, met us, who brought to her masters much gain by divining.
English Revised Version
And it came to pass, as we were going to the place of prayer, that a certain maid having a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying.
Webster's Bible Translation
And it came to pass as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination, met us, who brought her masters much gain by sooth-saying:
Weymouth New Testament
One day, as we were on our way to the place of prayer, a slave girl met us who claimed to be inspired and was accustomed to bring her owners large profits by telling fortunes.
Acts 16:16 Parallel
CommentaryVincent's Word Studies
See on Acts 12:13.
Spirit of divination (πνεῦμα Πύθωνα)
Lit., a spirit, a Python. Python, in the Greek mythology, was the serpent which guarded Delphi. According to the legend, as related in the Homeric hymn, Apollo descended from Olympus in order to select a site for his shrine and oracle. Having fixed upon a spot on the southern side of Mount Parnassus, he found it guarded by a vast and terrific serpent, which he slew with an arrow, and suffered its body to rot (πυθεῖν) in the sun. Hence the name of the serpent Python (rotting); Pytho, the name of the place, and the epithet Pythian, applied to Apollo. The name Python was subsequently used to denote a prophetic demon, and was also used of soothsayers who practised ventriloquism, or speaking from the belly. The word ἐγγαστρίμυθος, ventriloquist, occurs in the Septuagint, and is rendered having a familiar spirit (see Leviticus 19:31; Leviticus 20:6, 27; 1 Samuel 28:7, 8). The heathen inhabitants of Philippi regarded the woman as inspired by Apollo; and Luke, in recording this ease, which came under his own observation, uses the term which would naturally suggest itself to a Greek physician, a Python-spirit, presenting phenomena identical with the convulsive movements and wild cries of the Pythian priestess at Delphi.
Akin to μαίνομαι, to rave, in allusion to the temporary madness which possessed the priestess or sibyl while under the influence of the god. Compare Virgil's description of the Cumaean Sibyl:
"And as the word she spake
Within the door, all suddenly her visage and her hue
Were changed, and all her sleeked hair and gasping breath she drew,
And with the rage her wild heart swelled, and greater was she grown,
Nor mortal-voiced; for breath of god upon her heart was blown
As he drew nigher."
Aeneid, vi., 45 sq.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
divination. or, Python. which.
"Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the LORD your God.
"If a person turns to mediums and necromancers, whoring after them, I will set my face against that person and will cut him off from among his people.
"A man or a woman who is a medium or a necromancer shall surely be put to death. They shall be stoned with stones; their blood shall be upon them."
or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead,
1 Samuel 28:3
Now Samuel had died, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in Ramah, his own city. And Saul had put the mediums and the necromancers out of the land.
1 Samuel 28:7
Then Saul said to his servants, "Seek out for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her." And his servants said to him, "Behold, there is a medium at En-dor."
2 Kings 21:6
And he burned his son as an offering and used fortune-telling and omens and dealt with mediums and with necromancers. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking him to anger.
Jump to PreviousAccustomed Claimed Damsel Deal Divination Earned Fortune Fortunes Future Gain Girl Great Inspired Large Masters Met Once Owners Possessed Prayer Predicted Profit Profits Slave Slave-Girl Soothsaying Spirit Telling Way
Jump to NextAccustomed Claimed Damsel Deal Divination Earned Fortune Fortunes Future Gain Girl Great Inspired Large Masters Met Once Owners Possessed Prayer Predicted Profit Profits Slave Slave-Girl Soothsaying Spirit Telling Way
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ESV Text Edition: 2016. The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.