Isaiah 8:19
Parallel Verses
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?

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?

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!

Isaiah 8:19 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

And when they shall say - When the people, instead of putting confidence in God, shall propose to apply to necromancers. In the time of Ahaz the people were, as they were often, much inclined to idolatry; 2 Kings 16:10. In their troubles and embarrassments, instead of looking to Yahweh, they imitated the example of surrounding nations, and applied for relief to those who professed to be able to hold converse with spirits. That it was common for idolatrous people to seek direction from those who professed that they had the power of divining, is well known; see Isaiah 19:3; Isaiah 29:4. It was expressly forbidden to the Jews to have recourse to those who made such professions; Leviticus 20:6; Deuteronomy 18:10-11. Yet, notwithstanding this express command, it is evident that it was no uncommon thing for the Jews to make application for such instructions; see the case of Saul, who made application to the woman of Endor, who professed to have a familiar spirit, in 1 Samuel 28:7-25. Among pagan nations, nothing was more common than for persons to profess to have contact with spirits, and to be under the influence of their inspiration. The oracle at Delphi, of this nature, was celebrated throughout Greece, and throughout the world. Kings and princes, warriors and nations, sought of the priestess who presided there, responses in undertaking any important enterprise, and were guided by her instructions; see the Travels of Anacharsis, vol. ii.376ff.

Seek unto - Apply to for direction.

That hath familiar spirits - Hebrew, אבות 'obôth. The word 'familiar,' applied to spirit, is supposed to have been used by our translators to imply that they were attended by an invisible spirit that was subject to their call, or that would inspire them when they sought his direction. The Hebrew word is used to denote a necromancer, a conjuror; particularly one who was supposed to have power to call up the dead, to learn Of them respecting future events; see 1 Samuel 28:7-19; Deuteronomy 18:11. The word is most commonly applied to women; as it was almost entirely confined to women to profess this power; Leviticus 19:31; Leviticus 20:6; 1 Samuel 28. The idea was, that they could call up the spirits of the dead who were supposed to have seen objects invisible to the living, and who could, therefore, inform them in regard to things which mortals on earth could not see. The Vulgate renders this by 'Pythons and diviners.' A Python, among the Greeks and Romans, denoted one that had the spirit of prophesying, and was particularly applied to the priestess of Apollo at Delphi. The Septuagint renders the place thus: 'And if they say to you, Seek the "ventriloquists," ἐγγαστριμύθους engastrimuthous, and those speaking from the earth, and speaking vain things, who speak from the belly,' οἵ ἐκ τῆς κοιλίας φωνοῦσιν hoi ek tēs koilias phōnousin. From this it is evident, that the art of the ventriloquist, so well known now, was known then; and it is highly probable that the secret of the art of soothsayers consisted very much in being able to throw the voice, with various modifications, into different places, so that it would seem to come from a grave, or from an image of a dead person, that was made to appear at the proper time.

And unto wizards - The word used here - ידענים yidde‛ônı̂ym - is derived from the verb ידע yâda‛ to know; and means a wise man, a soothsayer, a magician, or one possessed with a spirit of divination. The arts of the magician, or soothsayer, were often the arts of one skilled in natural magic; acquainted somewhat with the laws of chemistry; and able, therefore, to produce appearances among an ignorant people that would surprise them; see Brewster's Natural Magic, where this art is fully explained.

That peep - This word is properly used of young birds, and means to chirp, to pip; and also to make a small noise by the gentle opening of the mouth. It is then applied to the gentle whispering which the ancients ascribed to departed spirits; the small, low, shrill voice which they were supposed to use, and which, probably, those attempted to imitate who claimed the power of raising them to the earth. It was believed among all the ancient nations, that departed spirits did not speak out openly and clearly, but with an indistinct, low, gentle, suppressed voice. Thus, in Virgil:

- Pars tollere vocem

Exiguam.

AEneid, vi. 492.

- gemitus lachrymabilis imo

Auditur tumulo, et vox reddita ferter ad aures.

AEneid, iii.39.

Thus Horace:

continued...

Isaiah 8:19 Parallel Commentaries

Library
Exposition of the Doctrines of Grace
? Perseverance of the Saints--"The Final Perseverance of Believers in Christ Jesus," by William O'Neill (message 5). The Rev. C. H. SPURGEON took the chair at 3 o'clock. The proceedings were commenced by singing the 21st Hymn-- Saved from the damning power of sin, The law's tremendous curse, We'll now the sacred song begin Where God began with us. We'll sing the vast unmeasured grace Which, from the days of old, Did all his chosen sons embrace, As sheep within the fold. The basis of eternal love
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 7: 1861

The Coming of a Deliverer
Through the long centuries of "trouble and darkness" and "dimness of anguish" (Isaiah 8:22) marking the history of mankind from the day our first parents lost their Eden home, to the time the Son of God appeared as the Saviour of sinners, the hope of the fallen race was centered in the coming of a Deliverer to free men and women from the bondage of sin and the grave. The first intimation of such a hope was given to Adam and Eve in the sentence pronounced upon the serpent in Eden when the Lord declared
Ellen Gould White—The Story of Prophets and Kings

"But if we Walk in the Light, as He is in the Light, we have Fellowship one with Another, and the Blood of Jesus Christ His
1 John i. 7.--"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." Art is the imitation of nature, and true religion is a divine art, that consists in the imitation of God himself, the author of nature. Therefore it is a more high and transcendent thing, of a sublimer nature than all the arts and sciences among men. Those reach but to some resemblance of the wisdom of God, expressed in his works,
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

The Wicked Husbandmen.
"Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: and when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto
William Arnot—The Parables of Our Lord

Cross References
Acts 16:16
It happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a slave-girl having a spirit of divination met us, who was bringing her masters much profit 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.

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