Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.
This verse prohibits all inquiring of them that "have familiar spirits," and of "wizards," who pretend to make relevations through the help of supernatural powers. According to 1 Samuel 28:7-11, and Isaiah 8:19, the "familiar spirit" is a supposed spirit of a dead man, from whom one professes to be able to give communications to the living. This pretended commerce with the spirits of the dead has been common enough in heathenism always, and it is not strange to find it mentioned here, when Israel was to be in so intimate relations with heathen peoples. But it is truly must extraordinary that in Christian lands, as especially in the United States of America, and that in the full light, religious and intellectual, of the last half of the nineteenth century, such a prohibition should be fully as pertinent as in Israe! For no words could more precisely describe the pretensions of the so-called modern spiritualism, which within the last half century has led away hum]reds of thousands of deluded souls, and those, in many cases, not from the ignorant and degraded, but from circles which boast of more than average culture and intellectual enlightenment. And inasmuch as experience sadly shows that even those who profess to be disciples of Christ are in danger of being led away by our modern wizards and traffickers with familiar spirits, it is by no means unnecessary to observe that there is not the slightest reason to believe that this which was rigidly forbidden by God in the fifteenth century B.C., can now be well-pleasing to Him in the nineteenth century A.D. And those who have most carefully watched the moral developments of this latter-day delusion will most appreciate the added phrase which speaks of this as "defiling" a man.
(S. H. Kellogg, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.