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BEWITCH (βασκαίνω, G1001, Gal. 3:1, to enchant and hence captivate someone; ἐξίστημι, G2014, Acts 8:9, 11, KJV, to strike someone with amazement or confusion).

While the two words are similarly tr. in the KJV in the passages cited, they are different in background and meaning. The word in Galatians 3:1 meant, among other things, to cast a spell. The use of such a strong metaphor indicates the seriousness of the error espoused by the Galatians.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

There are two Greek words in the New Testament translated "bewitch." The one given above (Ac 8:9,21 the King James Version "bewitched," the Revised Version (British and American) "amazed") has reference to the work of Simon Magus. It means "to be out of one’s mind," "to astonish," "to overwhelm with wonder." The other word, baskaino (Ga 3:1), means "to fascinate by false representation." It is by this means the apostle complains they have been led to accept a teaching wholly contrary to the gospel of Christ. Both these words reveal to us something of the difficulty the early teachers had to eradicate the idea so widely held by the Jews and Egyptians especially, that there were certain powers, dark and mysterious, which by certain occult forces they could control. For a long time this had to be contended with as one of the corrupt practices brought into the church by the converts, both from Judaism and heathenism. These words have a reference to the evil eye which for centuries was, and even today is, an important factor in the life of the people of the East. 1Ti 6:20 is a reference to this thought and explains the word "science" (the King James Version) as there used.

See Divination; Evil Eye; Sorcery; Superstition.

Jacob W. Kapp

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