Life and works of God´s people governed by the sure Word of God

Dr. Martin Luther continues his commentary on Deuteronomy with this brief introduction in chapter 18 – translated by Richard R. Caemmerer in Luther´s Works Volume 9, pages 174ff:

He closes off his introduction with the careful and yet insightful comments on the various sages, soothsayers, guessers, cunning enchanters and other pagan abominations:

The third and last addition to all that has been said concerning the outward worship of God is the command to beware of the abominations of the Gentiles, which he lists here in order. He enumerates nine, all of which conflicted with the true and pure worship of God instituted through His Word. Even if we cannot vouch for the Hebrew with certainty throughout, we distinguish these with plausible conjectures, somewhat in this way: The first, which Moses calls קֹסְמִים, we call “seers” or “soothsayers”; it is taken in a good sense only rarely, just as the name “prophet” is sometimes taken in an evil sense. Seers, therefore, are those who prophesy the future or interpret Scriptures and the words of God, but do so according to their own understanding. The second are the מְעוֹנְנִים, who, as the Jews and almost all others agree, are observers of days. The third, מְנַחֲשִׁים, we call augurs, although they are so termed because they watch birds. Nevertheless, in Num. 23:23 this word signifies observing other things too: “There is no augury in Jacob, etc.”; and Gen. 44:5: “Is it by this that my master divines?” The fourth, מְכַשְׁפִים, we think are really sorcerers and wizards (Ex. 22:18): “You shall not permit a sorceress to live.” The fifith are חוֹבְרִים, of whom the psalm attests that they are soothsayers, when it says (58:5): “It does not hear the voice of charmers or of the cunning enchanter.” The sixth, אוֹבוֹת, is the python, the spirit spoken of in Acts 16:16, which reveals things that are secret and concealed; in the vernacular we speak of “wise men and women.” The seventh, יִדְעֹנִים, are fortunetellers, interpreters of signs, or guessers. The eighth, those who inquire of the dead, consult nocturnal spirits and ghosts, which they think are sometimes the souls of the deceased. The ninth, whom Moses puts in first place, purify their sons or daughters through fire; that is, they give of their progeny to the idol Moloch, as he says elsewhere (Lev. 18:21). All these—since they are human inventions without the Word of God—must be condemned among the people of God, whose life and works must be governed by the sure Word of God.

Martin Luther on Deuteronomy 18 (LW 9, Pg. 75)

About Wilhelm Weber

Pastor at the Old Latin School in the Lutherstadt Wittenberg
This entry was posted in Martin Luther and the Reformation, Theologie and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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