Exodus 22:18

18 “Do not allow a sorceress to live.

Exodus 22:18 in Other Translations

KJV
18 Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.
ESV
18 "You shall not permit a sorceress to live.
NLT
18 “You must not allow a sorceress to live.
MSG
18 "Don't let a sorceress live.
CSB
18 "You must not allow a sorceress to live.

Exodus 22:18 Meaning and Commentary

Exodus 22:18

Thou shall not suffer a witch to live.
] Such that had familiar spirits, and conversed with them, and by means thereof got knowledge of many things relating to persons, at least pretending they did; and who did or seemed to do many strange and surprising feats, as even to raise the spirits of departed persons, to converse with them and gain knowledge by them, though in reality they did not, and could not do such things, but used some juggling tricks to deceive the people, and in which they might be assisted by evil spirits; as appears from the case of the witch of Endor, who was surprised at the appearance of Samuel, it being out of the ordinary course of her art and practice really to bring up the spirit of a man deceased, whatever pretensions might be made to it; however, such being deceivers of the people, and leading them into unwarrantable practices, and off of a dependence on God and his providence, and from seeking to him, and asking counsel of him, they are by this law condemned to death, such an one was not to be suffered to live; not that it was lawful for anybody to kill her, or that any private person might or must do it that knew her, or took her to be a witch; but she was to be had before a court of judicature and tried there, and, if found guilty, to be put to death by the civil magistrate: so Jarchi's note is,

``but she shall die by the house of judgment;''

or the sanhedrim; for these words are spoken to Moses the chief judge, and to those that were under him, and succeeded him and them; though the Targum of Jonathan prefaces them thus:

``and my people, the children of Israel, thou shalt not''

and though only a witch is mentioned, or this is only expressed in the feminine gender, because a multitude of this sort of people were found among women, as Ben Melech observes, and so Aben Ezra; yet wizards, or men that dealt with familiar spirits, are included; and it may be reasonably concluded from hence, that if women, who generally have more mercy and compassion shown them, yet were not suffered to live when found criminal in this way, then much less men: and this law is thought by some to follow upon the other, concerning enticing and lying with a virgin not betrothed; because such sort of persons were made use of to entice and decoy maids to gratify the lusts of men.

Exodus 22:18 In-Context

16 “If a man seduces a virgin who is not pledged to be married and sleeps with her, he must pay the bride-price, and she shall be his wife.
17 If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he must still pay the bride-price for virgins.
18 “Do not allow a sorceress to live.
19 “Anyone who has sexual relations with an animal is to be put to death.
20 “Whoever sacrifices to any god other than the LORD must be destroyed.

Cross References 1

  • 1. S Exodus 7:11; Leviticus 19:26,31; Leviticus 20:27; Deuteronomy 18:11; 1 Samuel 28:3; 2 Chronicles 33:6; Isaiah 57:3