|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
18:9-14 Was it possible that a people so blessed with Divine institutions, should ever be in any danger of making those their teachers whom God had made their captives? They were in danger; therefore, after many like cautions, they are charged not to do after the abominations of the nations of Canaan. All reckoning of lucky or unlucky days, all charms for diseases, all amulets or spells to prevent evil, fortune-telling, &c. are here forbidden. These are so wicked as to be a chief cause of the rooting out of the Canaanites. It is amazing to think that there should be any pretenders of this kind in such a land, and day of light, as we live in. They are mere impostors who blind and cheat their followers.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Or a charmer,.... That pretends to cure diseases by charms, or a charmer of serpents; according to Jarchi, one that gathers together serpents and scorpions, and other animals, into one place; with which agree the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem,"which bind serpents and scorpions, and all kind of creeping things;''but, according to Aben Ezra, one that says certain words to gather demons together:
or a consulter with familiar spirits; or the inquirer of "Ob", or the bottle, which the Jews interpret of Python, or one that has the spirit of Python; see Acts 16:16, a ventriloquist, one that spoke or seemed to speak out of his belly, or from under his armpits; so it is said in the Misnah (h) of Ob, this is Python, one that speaks out of his arm holes; agreeably to which, Jarchi says, this is that sort of witchcraft which is called Python, and he speaks from his arm holes, and brings up the dead thither: of Baal Ob, or the master of the bottle, say some Jewish writers, one way he uses is, he takes the skull of a dead man, the flesh of which is consumed from it, and he hides it and burns incense to it, and mutters words by it, and hears from it, as if from a dead man (k): or a wizard: a knowing one, as the word signifies, such an one as we call a cunning man; See Gill on Leviticus 19:31.
or a necromancer that inquiries of the dead, or seeks instruction from them, as the Targum of Jerusalem. Aben Ezra describes him as one that goes to burying grounds, and takes the bone of a dead man, and because of his wild imagination there appears to him the likeness of forms; or as Maimonides (l), better still, he is one that fasts and sleeps in graveyards, and utters words; and, according to his imagination, sees future things in dreams.
(h) Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 7. sect. 7. (k) Maimon. & Bartenora in ib. (l) In ib.
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