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Holman Bible Dictionary

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Seek divine guidance, most often before battle (1 Samuel 23:2,1 Samuel 23:4; 2 Samuel 5:19,2 Samuel 5:23; 2 Kings 3:11; 2 Chronicles 18:4,2 Chronicles 18:6-7), but in other situations as well. A variety of methods were employed to seek God's counsel: dreams (1 Samuel 28:6); priests with the ephod (1 Samuel 22:10; 1 Samuel 23:9-13); prophets (2 Kings 3:11); and direct consultation. In the early history of Israel, priests were consulted for divine counsel (Judges 18:14,Judges 18:17; 1 Samuel 22:10). The priests discerned God's will by the sacred lots, the Urim and Thummim (Numbers 27:21; 1 Samuel 14:36-42). Since these lots apparently were kept in a pouch in the priest's ephod (Exodus 28:30), references to inquiring of the ephod likely refer to the lots (1 Samuel 23:9-13; 1 Samuel 30:8). See Ephod; Lots; Urim and Thummim. Prophets sometimes used music as an aid to achieve an ecstatic state in which God's will could be discerned (2 Kings 3:15; 1 Samuel 10:5-6). Prophets frequently took the initiative to announce God's will when no consultation was requested. With the rise of the synagogue, direct inquiring by prayer became the primary means of ascertaining the divine will.

Not all methods of inquiring of God were looked upon with favor. The Danites consulted a Levite in charge of Micah's sanctuary (Judges 18:5-6,Judges 18:14). The method used by the Levite to ascertain the divine will is not clear. The sanctuary contained an ephod (with lots?), a cast idol, and teraphim (household gods), any of which might have been consulted. Such shrines were regarded as one example of the evil that resulted when there was no king and “every man did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6). Other methods of discerning God's will rejected by the biblical writiers include: consulting mediums, wizards, and necromancers (Deuteronomy 18:10-11; 1 Samuel 28:3,1 Samuel 28:7; Isaiah 8:19); consulting teraphim (Judges 17:5; Judges 18:13-20; Hosea 3:4; Zechariah 10:2); and consulting pagan dieties (Baal-zebub, 2 Kings 1:2-3,2 Kings 1:16; Malcham or Milcom, Zephaniah 1:5). See Prophets, Prophecy; Necromancy; Teraphim; Milcom.

Chris Church

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'INQUIRE OF GOD'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".
<>. 1991.


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