The Eastern people were fond of divination, magic, and the pretended art of interpreting dreams and acquiring a knowledge of futurity. When Moses published the law, this disposition had long been common in Egypt and the neighboring countries; and to correct the Israelites inclination to consult diviners, wizards, fortune-tellers, and interpreters of dreams, it was forbidden them under very severe penalties, and the true spirit of prophecy was promised to them as infinitely superior, Exodus 22:18 Leviticus 19:26,31 20:27. Those were to be stoned who pretended to have a familiar spirit, or the spirit of divination, Deuteronomy 18:9-12; and the prophecies are full of invectives against the Israelite who consulted such, as well as against false prophets, who seduced the people, Isaiah 8:19 47:11- 14 Ezekiel 13:6-9. A fresh impulse to these superstitions was gained from intercourse with the Chaldeans, during the reign of the later kings of Judah and the captivities in Babylon, 2 Kings 21:6 2 Chronicles 33:6. See MAGIC, SORCERERS.
Divination was of several kinds: by water, fire, earth, air; by the fight of birds, and their singing; by lots, dreams, arrows, clouds, entrails of sacrifices, pretended communication with spirits, etc., Ezekiel 21:21.