- Parent Category: FAQs
- Category: Bible Questions and Answers - other
- Published on Tuesday, 15 February 2011 11:32
Are we to understand from Genesis 45:5,18 that Joseph actually used divination?
Though divination was common in Egypt, it is hard to suppose that a pious believer in the true God like Joseph should use such practices. Moreover, as one in close touch with God and an interpreter of dreams, etc., what drawing could he have to descend to such heathenish customs?
The cup may very well have been similar to those used for this purpose, but it is noticeable that Joseph only says to his brethren, “wot ye not that such a man as I can certainly divine?” (v. 15), without affirming that he did. It must be admitted that his word through his steward does seem to go further. The true explanation may be that in order to keep up his character before his brethren, as an orthodox Egyptian, so as the more effectually to carry out his deliberate plan for their conviction and restoration, he might feel justified in conveying this momentary impression that he divined. If he did so, it is not commended nor is it specifically blamed. We are aware in reading the Old Testament that even men of God had not the same standards of truthfulness, that are binding on us to-day. The word here for “divine” (nihesh) is translated, “I have learned by experience” (Genesis 30:27), and “did diligently observe” (1 Kings 20:33), but generally, “to use enchantments” (2 Kings 17: I7 2 Kings 21:6). Such divination is strictly forbidden later in the Word of God (see Levticus 19:26; Deuteronomy 19:10).