Human grace and attractiveness; magic objects intended to ward off evil; and a method used to prevent poisonous snakes from biting. 1. Human charm can be deceitful (Proverbs 31:30), yet the Hebrew term used—chen—is a characteristic of God's gift of the Spirit (Zechariah 12:10). God gave Joseph the ability to be charming or gain favor with the Egyptian jailer (Genesis 39:21). God also gives such grace to the afflicted (Proverbs 3:34). Generally the term means to find favor or acceptance from another person (Genesis 6:8;
Genesis 32:8), but English translations use grace or favor rather than charm as the translation at these points. Charm is used in cases like the harlot of
Nahum 3:4. 2. Magic charms sewn as wristbands (Ezekiel 13:18 NIV) to ward off evil spirits and diseases receive prophetic condemnation. Compare
Isaiah 3:20. 3. Snake charmers exercised power in the community because they knew “magic words” or “magic acts” to prevent poisonous snakes from harming people. The psalmist compared the wicked to deaf snakes who were immune to such charmers (Psalms 58:4-5). The “enchanters” (NAS, NIV, NRSV) are listed among community leaders the prophet condemned (Isaiah 3:3). Jeremiah warned God would send snakes whom no one could charm to punish His disobedient people (Jeremiah 8:17). The writer of Ecclesiastes reminded his audience that the price of unsuccessful charmers was great (Ecclesiastes 10:11).
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'CHARM'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".