Response: First, I do appreciate any positive thoughts thrown my way. Now, I can understand your concern and respect your opinion, as I, at one time, had similar ideas. As such, I have read several versions of the Bible. Although I'm not able to quote chapter and verse at the drop of a hat, as some others are able to do, my exploration has led to information that may be of interest.
By reading various translations of the Bible, it's apparent that there has been some difficulty selecting unique English words, or short phrases to match the Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek counterparts found in old texts / translations. As such, the words chosen, while not often the best fit, can come close to the original intent. Unhappily, such conversions have led to misunderstandings and even the creation of contradictions that were not originally present. While this is to be expected, it does lead to confusion and argument.
Unhappily, time has a way of adding to, or otherwise altering definitions of words / phrases (no matter how familiar they are / were) and, in some instances, fall out of favor and eventually become forgotten. For example, certain ideas may come to mind when one reads the words contained in Deuteronomy 18:10-12 (i.e., "pass through the fire", " divination", "an observer of times", " enchanter" "witch", "charmer", "consulter with familiar spirits", "wizard", "necromancer"). While the meaning of some are readily understandable, others may take a little longer to decipher. Case in point: if one reads the phrase "an observer of times", one may deduce that historians, reporters, and those who pay attention to the news, etc., are "abominations". As such, a number of English Bible translations published have selected different words and phrases in an attempt to make certain Biblical concepts more understandable.
Unfortunately, many of the words chosen (in relation to the quote provided) have not served to bring the reader to a more exact and clear notion of the original as much as it has in broadening the definition and scope of the offense. As an aside, perhaps, the most well known contention of this nature is found within the commandments, whereby some translations state "thou shall not kill" while others state, "thou shall not murder." It's a subtle difference, entirely dependent upon the interpretation of a single word, which expands or narrows the range of what is not allowed. After all, as the saying goes, "all roses are flowers, but not all flowers are roses".
Keeping these translational problems in mind, I sought to discover original Hebrew words and meanings, since it is the oldest language of the Bible still in use and is the basis of many "modern" interpretations, yet, it must be understood that even with these, some variances can be found. While I am not an expert, my findings have been culled and cobbled from a variety of scholars, religious / spiritual teachers, language experts, and other knowledgeable sources which I've accumulated over the years.
So, below, I offer for your consideration the fruits of my efforts in relation to the quote provided. These words are accompanied by the most precise, direct understanding I could find, as well as their English translation with regards to the above. (While not exactly the same in all instances, I have found that the information at this
resembles my findings the most, to which I have taken as affirmation that I'm on the right track. However, I encourage you to do your own research.)
The phrase "pass through the fire", as used above, is an interpretation of the words "abar" meaning to pass, cross or traverse and "esh" which means fire or flames. For further clarification, if one reads other sections of the Bible, such as Deuteronomy 12:31 and Jeremiah 19:4, we'll find that child sacrifice via fire has been described and, as such, it is believed that this is what the translation refers to.
The word "divination", as used above, is an interpretation of
"qasam qesem", meaning to distribute and / or cast lots. (Note:
if the quote does, in fact, refer to the offense being a way to
gain insight on a matter, then it would appear that practice
might refer to a specific method, possibly lost to time - as
"divination" by use of sorting, distributing or lots as a means
of ascertaining the will of God seems to be allowed in several
sections of the Bible (Leviticus 16:7-10, Numbers 26:56, Joshua
18; Esther 3:7, Jonah 1:7, and Acts 1:26 to name a few). As such,
some believe that it does not refer to a particular method as
much as it does one's intent / state of mind (i.e. not being
focused on God, or one who does not call on God to assist while
participating in the process), as where the offense truly lies.
If this thought is correct, some other "abominations" mentioned
within Deuteronomy 18:10-12 may also change, depending on the
intent and action of the individual. (For a more in-depth meaning
of "divination" in relation to the Bible -
The phrase "observer of times", as used above, is an interpretation of "onan", meaning clouds, and may refer to divination by interpreting clouds (also known as "nephomancy").
The word "enchanter", as used above, is an interpretation of "nahash", meaning snake or hissing / whispering. As such, it has been considered to be either snake charming, or the practice of chanting in a low voice that may sound like hissing.
The word "witch", as used above, may be an interpretation of
"kashaph", meaning to whisper a spell. Some interpretations state
it is a combination of the words "kash" meaning herb and
"hapalah" meaning using. My findings, in this regard, have not
clearly indicated that if this combination refers simply to a
person who uses herbs him / herself, or one that encourages and /
or provides such to others (like a pharmacist or drug dealer). It
should be noted that the word "kashaph" has been translated into
the Greek words "pharmakia" meaning poison, and "pharmakos"
meaning one who poisons.
The word "charmer", as used above, is an interpretation of "chover chavar", meaning knot-tying, or binding for the purposes of controlling another person.
For the phrase "consulter of familiar spirits", as used above, it's an interpretation of two separate and independent words. One is "ba'al ob", meaning master of spirits, or referring to one who consults a skull. The other is "yidde'oni", which, according to some of my findings, means to garner information from ghosts, or refers to a form of ventriloquism, in which a voice is cast into a bone that is placed into the ventriloquist's mouth, or one who makes his / her joints talk.
The word "wizard", as used above, is an interpretation of
"kosem", meaning to ascertain by seeing, or a knower .
The word "necromancer", as used above, is an interpretation of "doresh el ha-metim", which, according to some of my findings, means either questioning corpses, or it may refer to a person who sleeps in cemeteries in order to become possessed.
With that, it must be understood that not all Bibles are created equal; as discussed above, words and meanings change. Yet, beyond that, depending on several factors, the number of books contained, as well as the number of verses therein varies, as well. (For example, the Protestant (Christian) Bible has fewer books than does the Roman Catholic, which has fewer books than what the Greek Orthodox version offers. And, if we were to bring in the Ethiopic, or the works found within Gnostic Christianity, there is even more information and changes to be found. For more information regarding the Bible, you may find the following links to be of interest:
The Bible: Its Original Languages and English
Bible, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bibles - different versions, translations
Granted, the question of one's belief may be challenged with
one's acknowledgement of differences present. However, I tend to
think that this knowledge might be seen as a message to not
blindly follow the words presented, but to investigate what is
read and test the versions offered in an attempt to discover the
Whatever the case, it will do no harm if one's approach to what is read / heard is that of a contemplative and prayerful mind (regardless of the religious / spiritual text happened upon, Christian-based or not). This way, a stronger personal spiritual relationship with the creator is developed. As such, some good advice in this regard can be found in 1 Thessalonians 5:17-21.
After all, the Bible, may be the "inspired word of God". And,
for those who view it on the whole of the teachings rather than
the sum of its parts, it will continue to remain unshakeable in
the truth that it declares. However, this does not mean, at least
in my mind, that it has not suffered via the nature of language,
translations, derivative works, interpretations, as well as the
desires and activities of those whose hands it has fallen
(FYI: The chapters and verses I have mentioned in this response refer to the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible, for two reasons: 1. I believe the KJV to be the most popular and most recognized English Bible translation. 2. It seems like the quote selected within the comment made was found within the KJV. If you wish to see how verses may differ between translations, visit the following:
"Bible Verses by Comparison, Read Verses Using All Translations
Side by Side"