Studia Koszalińsko-Kołobrzeskie (Jan 2019)

„Nie pozwolisz żyć czarownicy” (Wj 22,17). W poszukiwaniu właściwego zrozumienia jednego ze starotestamentalnych praw

  • Janusz Lemański

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 26


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In the past, the legal article from Ex 22,17 served as a scripturistic argument justifying the “witch-hunt”. Its correct interpretation, despite its length, is not so easy. The review of the opinions on this topic shows its complexity. The article shows the biblical law against other ancient ones. The comparison suggests that the fears of harmful spells were current in all cultures of ancient Israel. The biblical texts with the kšp core used in Ex 22,17 also show a large scale of practicing the spells and the constant, negative attitude to them. The law from Exodus 22,17 may be a remnant of the former local “witch complex”, the sign of fear of the effects of evil magic. It could originally refer to a specific form of spells cultivated by women. Since it was placed in the Covenant Code, it has become national turned into a part of the struggle for the purity of Jahvism. However, there is no certainty whether the presented sanction means the death penalty, a kind of excommunication, banishment or some unspecified type of punishment which allow to take a temporal action depending on the situation and the scale of the threat.