It is not uncommon for Wiccans and other witches to talk about the Hebrew and Greek words that were translated into the King James Bible as "witch," "witchcraft," "sorcerer," "sorceress" and "sorcery." They like to say that English Bible translations have mistranslated those words and in the original languages of the Bible witchcraft and magick are not condemned. Using this word study I can show that they are wrong, that the Bible clearly condemns witchcraft, and when it uses the words mentioned above it means exactly what it says. It is referring to magick and those who practice it.
The word "witch" does not appear in the New Testament of the King James Version, and only appears twice in the Old Testament (Ex. 22:18 - Deut. 18:10). The Hebrew word is "kashaph" - to whisper a spell, i.e. to enchant or practice magick - sorcerer, witch.
Exodus 22:18 - Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.
Deuteronomy 18:10 - There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch.
The word "witchcraft" appears twice in the OT and once in the NT. In 1 Samuel 15:23 the Hebrew word is "qecem" and it means... a lot: also divination, divine sentence, witchraft. In 2 Chronicles 33:6 it is the same word as in Ex. and Deut. from the previous paragraph. In Galatians 5:20 the Greek word is "pharmakeia" and it means... to dispense medication or poison, sorcery, witchcraft.
1 Samuel 15:23 - For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry...
2 Chronicles 33:6 - And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.
Galatians 5:18-21 - Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
The word "witchcrafts" appears three times in the OT and not in the NT. The Hebrew word is "Kesheph" and it means... magick, sorcery, witchcraft. It appears in 2 Kings 9:22, Micah 5:12 and Nahum 3:4.
2 Kings 9:22 - And it came to pass, when Joram saw Jehu, that he said, Is it peace, Jehu? And he answered, What peace, so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?
Micah 5:12 - And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers:
Nahum 3:4 - Because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the wellfavoured harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts.
The word "sorcerer" is not used in the OT but is used in two verses in the NT. It is in Acts 13:6,8. The greek word is "mages" and it means... magician.
Acts 13:6 - And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus:
Acts 13:8 - But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.
The plural "sorcerers" appears four times in the OT (Exodus 7:11, Jeremiah 27:9, Daniel 2:2 and Malachi 3:5).
Exodus 7:11 - Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.
Jeremiah 27:9 - Therefore hearken not ye to your prophets, nor to your diviners, nor to your dreamers, nor to your enchanters, nor to your sorcerers, which speak unto you, saying, Ye shall not serve the king of Babylon:
Daniel 2:2 - Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.
Malachi 3:5 - And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.
The word "sorcery" is not found in the OT but is used once in the NT. The scripture is Acts 8:9 and the greek word is "mageno" which means... to practice magick.
Acts 8:9 - But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:
The word "sorceress" is found only one time in the OT and never in the NT. The scripture is Isaiah 57:3 and the greek word is "anan" and it means... to act covertly, i.e. practice magick - enchanter, soothsayer, sorcerer.
Isaiah 57:3 - But draw near hither, ye sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer and the whore.
So now we can see that the claims of those who say that the Hebrew and Greek words are mistranslated are simply not true. The Bible clearly condemns witchcraft. It is wrong, and all those who practice witchcraft will go to Hell if they do not renounce it, and come to believe that Christ died on the cross for their sins, and ask Him to be their Lord and Savior.
Rev. Steve Holder