"WITCH" as defined in the Bible:
Please give the Greek and/or Aramaic word used
that was translated in the King James Version
as "Witch." Then let us translate it fully.
You will find it means "a poisoner of wells."
WRONG! You will find no such thing. (It seems that I have to correct
THIS error about once every six months.)
HEBREW: Strong's Exhaustive Concordance shows seven references to the
words "witch," "witchcraft," and "witchcrafts." It identifies three
words as receiving that translation.
Two of them are the same root word: kashaph and kesheph. Strong's
observes that the proper translation for kashaph is "to whisper" as in
to whisper or mutter a spell. If they are correct, then perhaps the
best possible modern translations would be "enchanter" and
"enchantments" (from "chant"). In this context, Exodus 22:18 would
read, "Thou shalt not permit an enchanter to live."
The remaining word is used only once, and that is qecem, which Strong's
identifies as derived from qacem, which means to determine by drawing
lots. They give the translation, based on this, as being "divination"
as in to read random elements such as tarot cards. By this context, I
Samuel 15:23 would read, "For rebellion is as the sin of divination."
GREEK: According to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, the word "witch"
does not appear in the KJV New Testament; the word "witchcraft" appears
once in Galations 5:20. In that verse the Greek given is indeed the
much-mistranslated word pharmakeia. Strong's gives its derivation as
being from pharmakeus, which means potion. The word pharmakeus does not
appear anywhere in Greek literature to refer to "poison" except--and
there only if you really stretch it--in the trial of Paracelsus, the
father of modern medicine.
In early Greek thought, a physik was an herbal remedy, and was
perscribed by physicians, or respected doctors. (Yes, early Greek
doctors were exclusively herbalists.) A conflicting school of thought
claimed that pharmakeoi, or potions derived from non-living matter,
might also have effect in some diseases. So in Galations 5:20, Paul is
telling us that those who use chemical potions (such as aspirin or
Tylenol) to cure diseases or disease symptoms are accursed of God.
In conclusion: the Greek New Testament nowhere refers to anything
resembling the modern religion or practices of Witchcraft. (Although it
is interesting to note that the first 11 apostles practiced something
roughly like qacem to pick a 12th--and if the later accounts are to be
read correctly, came up with a wrong answer.) The Hebrew Old Testament,
on the other hand, contains many unambiguous prohibitions of magical
practices, including (but not limited to) chanting of spells and
divination from random elements.
(Reference: James Strong ed., _Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the
Bible_, 1894, as published by Abingdon Press, 1975.)