Hebrew Grimoire

The magical content of the Hebrew Bible is no hidden mystery. The "supernatural" acts can be seen in passages such as Exodus 7:11 where the magicians of Egypt "did in like manner with their enchantments." That is, they did like Aaron, the one sent by Yahweh. The story later concludes with the magicians saying to Pharaoh: "This [is] the finger of God" (Exodus 8:19), since they could not "bring forth lice" as Aaron did. This here sets a distinction between the power, where in the previous instances (the serpent, blood, and frogs), such was not an issue; they performed the same miracles, only "with their enchantments" (Exodus 7:11), or as the Concordant Literal Version puts it: "with their occultisms."
Pharaoh, however, called for the wise men and for the enchanters. And even they, the sacred scribes of Egypt, did so with their occultisms. (Exodus 7:11 CLV)
The same Hebrew is used in Genesis 3:24 for "flame of" (לַהַט) the turning sword (set by Yahweh). Magic is the use of special powers, and such power is seen with both the magicians and Aaron in Exodus. The final summary is basically that the finger of God is more powerful—the power being the same in the prior instances.

More than this you have the parallelism seen between The Key Of Solomon (the grimoire) and several Leviticus passages. A simple comparison between the bathing laws1 (Leviticus 15 & 16) and "The Exorcism Of The Water" (The Key Of Solomon, Book II, Ch. V) reveals a resemblance. Not to mention the connection seen between "The Exorcism Of The Bat" (ibid., Book II, Ch. XVI) and Leviticus 14 (regarding the blood ritual). The manner in which the Leviticus passages (chapters 14-16) read is very similar to the magical instruction style. It's as if the Book of Leviticus was a mess of "paperwork on the desk" thrown together into one book (now contained in the Bible). It not only contains general mythological content (e.g. Lev 10:1-3), but reads as a grimoire at times (Lev 14-16), and even as a dietary menu elsewhere (Lev 11).

Robert Anthony



1. Also see Leviticus 17:15-16, the bathing is a spiritual context. But there is also the "healing water" motif. For instance, see 2 Kings 5:10 where Elisha sends an angel (מַלְאָךְ) saying, "Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and [you shall] be clean." Compare this to the angel and the pool in John 5:4 (not found in all Greek manuscripts). This is very similar to Celtic mythology, and the god of healing (Dian Cecht), guarder of the sacred spring of health (Illustrated Encyclopedia of World Mythology, p. 125). Compare Revelation 22:1-2. And further, in 2 Kings 2:19-22 Elisha heals the water by means of salt, curing it of death and barrenness.

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