Isaiah 8:19
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?

New Living Translation
Someone may say to you, "Let's ask the mediums and those who consult the spirits of the dead. With their whisperings and mutterings, they will tell us what to do." But shouldn't people ask God for guidance? Should the living seek guidance from the dead?

English Standard Version
And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living?

New American Standard Bible
When they say to you, "Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter," should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living?

King James Bible
And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
When they say to you, "Consult the spirits of the dead and the spiritists who chirp and mutter," shouldn't a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living?

International Standard Version
"So when they advise you, 'Ask the mediums your questions, and quiz the spiritists who chirp and mutter,' shouldn't a people instead be consulting their God— and not the dead— on behalf of those who are living

NET Bible
They will say to you, "Seek oracles at the pits used to conjure up underworld spirits, from the magicians who chirp and mutter incantations. Should people not seek oracles from their gods, by asking the dead about the destiny of the living?"

New Heart English Bible
When they tell you, "Consult with the spirits of the dead and familiar spirits who chirp and who mutter. Shouldn't a people consult with their gods, by consulting the dead on behalf of the living?"

GOD'S WORD® Translation
People will say to you, "Ask for help from the mediums and the fortunetellers, who whisper and mutter." Shouldn't people ask their God for help instead? Why should they ask the dead to help the living?

JPS Tanakh 1917
And when they shall say unto you: 'Seek unto the ghosts and the familiar spirits, that chirp and that mutter; should not a people seek unto their God? on behalf of the living unto the dead

New American Standard 1977
And when they say to you, “Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter,” should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living?

Jubilee Bible 2000
And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto spiritists and unto wizards that peep and that mutter; shall the people not seek unto their God? Shall we appeal for the living unto the dead?

King James 2000 Bible
And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that are mediums, and unto wizards that whisper, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? rather than the dead on behalf of the living?

American King James Version
And when they shall say to you, Seek to them that have familiar spirits, and to wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek to their God? for the living to the dead?

American Standard Version
And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits and unto the wizards, that chirp and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? on behalf of the living'should they seek unto the dead?

Douay-Rheims Bible
And when they shall say to you: Seek of pythons, and of diviners, who mutter in their enchantments: should not the people seek of their God, for the living of the dead?

Darby Bible Translation
And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto the necromancers and unto the soothsayers, who chirp and who mutter, [say,] Shall not a people seek unto their God? [Will they go] for the living unto the dead?

English Revised Version
And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits and unto the wizards, that chirp and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? on behalf of the living should they seek unto the dead?

Webster's Bible Translation
And when they shall say to you, Seek to them that have familiar spirits, and to wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek to their God? for the living to the dead?

World English Bible
When they tell you, "Consult with those who have familiar spirits and with the wizards, who chirp and who mutter:" shouldn't a people consult with their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living?

Young's Literal Translation
And when they say unto you, 'Seek unto those having familiar spirits, And unto wizards, who chatter and mutter, Doth not a people seek unto its God? -- For the living unto the dead!
Study Bible
Afflictions to Idolaters
18Behold, I and the children whom the LORD has given me are for signs and wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion. 19When they say to you, "Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter," should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living? 20To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.…
Cross References
Acts 16:16
One day as we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl with a spirit of clairvoyance, who earned a large income for her masters by fortune-telling.

Genesis 41:24
and the thin ears swallowed the seven good ears. Then I told it to the magicians, but there was no one who could explain it to me."

Leviticus 19:31
'Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 20:6
'As for the person who turns to mediums and to spiritists, to play the harlot after them, I will also set My face against that person and will cut him off from among his people.

1 Samuel 28:8
Then Saul disguised himself by putting on other clothes, and went, he and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night; and he said, "Conjure up for me, please, and bring up for me whom I shall name to you."

2 Kings 21:6
He made his son pass through the fire, practiced witchcraft and used divination, and dealt with mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD provoking Him to anger.

2 Kings 23:24
Moreover, Josiah removed the mediums and the spiritists and the teraphim and the idols and all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, that he might confirm the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the LORD.

Isaiah 19:3
"Then the spirit of the Egyptians will be demoralized within them; And I will confound their strategy, So that they will resort to idols and ghosts of the dead And to mediums and spiritists.

Isaiah 26:14
The dead will not live, the departed spirits will not rise; Therefore You have punished and destroyed them, And You have wiped out all remembrance of them.

Isaiah 29:4
Then you will be brought low; From the earth you will speak, And from the dust where you are prostrate Your words will come. Your voice will also be like that of a spirit from the ground, And your speech will whisper from the dust.
Treasury of Scripture

And when they shall say to you, Seek to them that have familiar spirits, and to wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek to their God? for the living to the dead?

seek

Isaiah 19:3 And the spirit of Egypt shall fail in the middle thereof; and I will …

Leviticus 20:6 And the soul that turns after such as have familiar spirits, and …

Deuteronomy 18:11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, …

1 Samuel 28:8 And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, …

1 Chronicles 10:13 So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the …

2 Chronicles 33:6 And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley …

that peep

Isaiah 29:4 And you shall be brought down, and shall speak out of the ground, …

should not

1 Samuel 28:16 Then said Samuel, Why then do you ask of me, seeing the LORD is departed …

2 Kings 1:3 But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, Arise, go …

2 Peter 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there …

for the living

Psalm 106:28 They joined themselves also to Baalpeor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead.

Jeremiah 10:10 But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting …

1 Thessalonians 1:9 For they themselves show of us what manner of entering in we had to you…

(19) And when they shall say unto you . . .--This then was the temptation to which the disciples of Isaiah were exposed, and to which they were all but yielding. Why should not they do as others did, and consult the soothsayers, who were in such great demand (Isaiah 2:6), as to the anxious secrets of the coming years. The words point to some of the many forms of such soothsaying (Deuteronomy 18:10). The "familiar spirit" (the English term being a happy paraphrase rather than a translation), is closely connected, as in the case of the witch of Endor (1Samuel 28:1-20), with the idea of necromancy, i.e., with the claim to have a demon or spirit of divination (Acts 16:16), on the part of the wizards (comp. Hom. Il. xxiii. 10; Virg. ?n., vi. 492) that "peep" (old English for "pipe," "chirp," "whisper") "and mutter." This peculiar intonation, thrilling each nerve with a sense of expectant awe, seems to have been characteristic of the soothsayers of Isaiah's time (Isaiah 29:4).

Should not a people seek unto their God? . . .--That, the prophet says, is the only true pathway to such knowledge as is good for man. The latter part of the question is abruptly elliptical: Are men to seek on behalf of the living to the dead? What ground, he seems to ask, have we for thinking that the spirits of the dead can be recalled to earth, or, if that were possible, that they know more than the living do? May it not even be that they know less? The prophet views the state of the departed as Hezekiah views it (Isaiah 38:18), as one, not of annihilation, but of dormant or weakened powers.

Verses 19-22. - ISAIAH RECOMMENDS LOOKING TO GOD AND THE REVEALED WORD RATHER THAN TO NECROMANCY. AFFLICTION WILL BRING ISRAEL TO GOD. Isaiah returns, in ver. 19, to the consideration of his disciples. In the terrible times impending, they will be recommended to have recourse to necromancy; he urges that they should look to God and the Law. He then further suggests that, in the coming affliction which he describes (vers. 21, 22), men will generally turn for relief to the same quarter (ver. 20). Verse 19. - Seek unto them that have familiar spirits. In times of great distress the Israelites seem always to have been tempted to consult those among them who pretended to magic and divination. So Saul in the Philistine war resorted to the witch of Endor (1 Samuel 28:7-20); Manasseh, threatened by Esar-haddon, "used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards" (2 Kings 21:6). Israel generally, oppressed by Syria and Assyria, "used divination and enchantments" (2 Kings 17:17). There was the same inclination now on the part of many Jews. The vexed question of the actual powers possessed by such persons cannot be discussed within the limits of a footnote. It has, moreover, already been treated in the present Commentary, in connection with Leviticus 19:31. Wizards that peep, and that mutter; rather, that chirp and mutter. Tricks of the ventriloquists, probably, who disguised their voices, and represented that they were the voices of ghosts (comp. Isaiah 29:4). The natural speech of some tribes has been compared to the "chirping of birds" (Herod., 4:183; Hornemann, 'Travels,' p. 119). Should not a people, etc.? Very abrupt and elliptical Isaiah means to say, "Do not attend to them; but answer, Should not a people," etc.? For the living. This may either mean "instead of the living," or "on behalf of the living seek to the dead?" or, Would not that be plainly preposterous? And when they shall say unto you,.... These are the words of Christ continued, as making his appearance in Israel; and are an address to his people among them, even to his children, disciples, and followers, advising them what they should do, when those among whom they dwelt should press them to

seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards, that peep, and that mutter; meaning the Scribes and Pharisees, the doctors among the Jews, who sat in Moses's chair, and who were very much given to sorcery, and the magic art, and used enchantments, which were performed by "muttering"; hence we read of muttering over a wound for the healing of it; and muttering over serpents and scorpions at the driving of them away (y); and of such a Rabbi muttering in the name of such an one (z); and of such and such a doctor skilled in wonders or miraculous operations: See Gill on Matthew 24:24 yea, even such as were chosen into the sanhedrim, or great council, were to be skilled in the arts of soothsayers, diviners, and wizards, and the like, that they might know how to judge them (a); now the Jews would have had the disciples of Christ to have applied to these men to direct their judgments in religious affairs, and be determined by them concerning the Messiah and other things:

should not a people seek unto their God? "to" Christ, who is the Lord God omniscient and omnipotent, who knows all things, and whose name is called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Angel of the great council; and who is able to give the best counsel and direction in matters of moment and consequence, and able to do everything for his people they stand in need of; and who being present with them, God manifest in the flesh, it would be egregious folly to apply to any other, and especially such as are here described; see John 6:68,

for the living to the dead? that is, should men seek to such who are no other than dead men, for the sake or on the account of such who are living? The disciples of Christ, the children that God had given him, were quickened and made alive by the grace of God, had principles of grace and spiritual life implanted in them, had passed from death to life, lived by faith on Christ, lived holy lives, and were heirs of eternal life; and therefore it does not become them, nor any of them, to consult persons dead in trespasses and sins, who knew no more, and were no more capable of judging of spiritual things, than dead men are. See 1 Corinthians 2:14.

(y) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 101. 1.((z) T. Hieros. Avoda Zara, fol. 40. 4. (a) Maimon. Hilchot Sanhedrin, c. 2. sect. 1.19. Seek unto—Consult in your national difficulties.

them … familiar spirits—necromancers, spirit charmers. So Saul, when he had forsaken God (1Sa 28:7, etc.), consulted the witch of En-dor in his difficulties. These follow in the wake of idolatry, which prevailed under Ahaz (2Ki 16:3, 4, 10). He copied the soothsaying as he did the idolatrous "altar" of Damascus (compare Le 20:6, which forbids it, Isa 19:3).

wizards—men claiming supernatural knowledge; from the old English, "to wit," that is, know.

peep—rather "chirp faintly," as young birds do; this sound was generally ascribed to departed spirits; by ventriloquism the soothsayers caused a low sound to proceed as from a grave, or dead person. Hence the Septuagint renders the Hebrew for "necromancers" here "ventriloquists" (compare Isa 29:4).

mutter—moan.

should not, etc.—The answer which Isaiah recommends to be given to those advising to have recourse to necromancers.

for the living, etc.—"should one, for the safety of the living, seek unto (consult) the dead?" [Gesenius]. Lowth renders it, "In place of (consulting) the living, should one consult the dead?"8:17-22 The prophet foresaw that the Lord would hide his face; but he would look for his return in favour to them again. Though not miraculous signs, the children's names were memorials from God, suited to excite attention. The unbelieving Jews were prone to seek counsel in difficulties, from diviners of different descriptions, whose foolish and sinful ceremonies are alluded to. Would we know how we may seek to our God, and come to the knowledge of his mind? To the law and to the testimony; for there you will see what is good, and what the Lord requires. We must speak of the things of God in the words which the Holy Ghost teaches, and be ruled by them. To those that seek to familiar spirits, and regard not God's law and testimony, there shall be horror and misery. Those that go away from God, go out of the way of all good; for fretfulness is a sin that is its own punishment. They shall despair, and see no way of relief, when they curse God. And their fears will represent every thing as frightful. Those that shut their eyes against the light of God's word, will justly be left to darkness. All the miseries that ever were felt or witnessed on earth, are as nothing, compared with what will overwhelm those who leave the words of Christ, to follow delusions.
Jump to Previous
Arts Behalf Bird-Like Chatter Chirp Consult Control Dead Familiar Ghosts Hollow Inquire Mediums Mutter Necromancers Secret Seek Shouldn't Soothsayers Sounds Spiritists Spirits Whisper Wise Wizards
Jump to Next
Arts Behalf Bird-Like Chatter Chirp Consult Control Dead Familiar Ghosts Hollow Inquire Mediums Mutter Necromancers Secret Seek Shouldn't Soothsayers Sounds Spiritists Spirits Whisper Wise Wizards
Links
Isaiah 8:19 NIV
Isaiah 8:19 NLT
Isaiah 8:19 ESV
Isaiah 8:19 NASB
Isaiah 8:19 KJV

Isaiah 8:19 Biblia Paralela
Isaiah 8:19 Chinese Bible
Isaiah 8:19 French Bible
Isaiah 8:19 German Bible

Alphabetical: a and behalf consult dead God inquire living mediums men mutter not of on people say should spiritists tell the their they to When whisper who Why you

OT Prophets: Isaiah 8:19 When they tell you Consult with those (Isa Isi Is) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools
Isaiah 8:18
Top of Page
Top of Page