The Jews seem early to have consulted the teraphim (q.v.) for
oracular answers (Judg. 18:5, 6; Zech. 10:2). There is a
remarkable illustration of this divining by teraphim in Ezek.
21:19-22. We read also of the divining cup of Joseph (Gen.
44:5). The magicians of Egypt are frequently referred to in the
history of the Exodus. Magic was an inherent part of the ancient
Egyptian religion, and entered largely into their daily life.

All magical arts were distinctly prohibited under penalty of
death in the Mosaic law. The Jews were commanded not to learn
the "abomination" of the people of the Promised Land (Lev.
19:31; Deut. 18:9-14). The history of Saul's consulting the
witch of Endor (1 Sam. 28:3-20) gives no warrant for attributing
supernatural power to magicians. From the first the witch is
here only a bystander. The practice of magic lingered among the
people till after the Captivity, when they gradually abandoned

It is not much referred to in the New Testament. The Magi
mentioned in Matt. 2:1-12 were not magicians in the ordinary
sense of the word. They belonged to a religious caste, the
followers of Zoroaster, the astrologers of the East. Simon, a
magician, was found by Philip at Samaria (Acts 8:9-24); and Paul
and Barnabas encountered Elymas, a Jewish sorcerer, at Paphos
(13:6-12). At Ephesus there was a great destruction of magical
books (Acts 19:18, 19).