What is a Diviner in the Bible?
In the bible, we find references to various forms of divination and witchcraft. However, the references to these practices are generally in a negative light. Let’s consider two biblical examples: Balaam and ‘ashshaph.’ Both of these men are diviners.
In the Bible, Ashshaph is known as the diviner or magician. The name of this type of person is derived from the Hebrew word ‘ashshaph’, which means “to observe” or “to see”. The Hebrew word for diviner is ‘ashshap’, which is derived from the word ashshaph, which means “to divide.” As such, the diviners of the Bible were involved in predicting and interpreting the future.
The Bible mentions several different types of divination, including a form of magic called kecem. It was common among the ancient eastern peoples, but Moses forbade these practices. The Bible also mentions the’stocks’ of divination, which may be a reference to the consultation of a familiar spirit or arrow.
In the Bible, Ashshaph is often described as a female shaman who is believed to have powers of divination. The Bible mentions several instances of idol-bearers answering questions through divination. In addition, Lucian tells the story of the statue of Apollo in a chariot that gallops forward to indicate that an answer was given. Other Bible passages refer to diviners by different terms. In De 18:10-11, Moses describes the first type of divination as nekromanteia. This type of divination involved using dead body parts in a magical way. In addition to this, nekuomanteia involved pouring warm blood into corpses and raising ghosts.
The Bible refers to divination as a profession, where the user attempts to predict future events. Different nations practiced different modes of divination, including the ancient Egyptian magicians, the Chaldaeans in Babylon, and the Greeks. For centuries, divination was believed to be an important means of foretelling the future and secret things. However, the practice was degraded by superstition and ignorance of physical laws.
Balaam, a biblical sorcerer, made a prophecy about Israel’s victory over the Moabites. This prophecy was quite interesting because it seems to speak about the coming of the Messiah. Although God never condoned the practice of sorcery, his prophecy reveals that God can use anyone, including people who claim to be diviners.
Balaam was perceived as a great seer of the unseen by the Israelites. Nevertheless, he was beaten by the dumbest of animals despite his claims. Though he was beaten up and cursed, he did not curse Israel, claiming that he could see the future.
The story of Balaam is bewildering. This diviner was hired by Balak and paid outrageous wages. However, God enacted a plan to get Balaam’s attention. God sent an angel to speak to him through his donkey and arranged a narrow lane so he would not be able to see him. When he did not see the angel, Balaam struck him three times. After hearing the donkey’s voice, Balaam realized that the angel had almost killed him.
The story of Balaam was written in the Hebrew Bible, but this is not the only reference to the diviner in the Bible. In fact, there are several ancient inscriptions that refer to Balaam. One of them is from the eighth century B.C.E.
The Israelites were camped by the Jordan River, east of the river, when the Moabites hired Balaam to curse the Israelites. Balaam knew that “gods” of the heathens could be controlled and that God alone is the only true God. Thus, Balaam knew that the Moabites were not only deceived but also corrupted by “gods of man.”
Balaam’s words to the men were not helpful, as they were contrary to the word of God. The Moabite king wanted the diviner to remain silent. However, Balaam was rebuked by Balak, and took him to another “high place” called Pisgah. In this place, he made seven altars and offered sacrifices. The Moabite king did not accept the prophecy, and Balaam was imprisoned.
Balaam is an interesting figure in the Bible. He was a prophet and a diviner, but was also a magician. The Bible mentions Balaam forty years after the Israelites left Egypt. His name was familiar to all the nations of the region.