Exodus 22:18 in 19 English translations of the Bible:
Various Biblical translations render this verse as:
American Standard Version "Thou shalt not suffer a sorceress to
The Answer: Put to death any woman who does evil magic.
Amplified Bible: You shall not allow a woman to live who practices sorcery.
Good News Version: Put to death any woman who practices magic.
James Moffatt Translation: You shall not allow any sorceress to live.
Jerusalem Bible: You shall not allow a sorceress to live.
King James Version: Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.
Living Bible: A sorceress shall be put to death.
Modern Language Bible: Allow no sorceress to live.
New American Bible: You shall not let a sorceress live.
New American Standard Bible: You shall not let a sorceress live.
New Century Version: Put to death any woman who does evil magic.
New International Version: Do not allow a sorceress to live.
New Living Translation: A sorceress must not be allowed to live.
New Revised Standard Version: You shall not permit a female sorcerer to
New World Translation: You must not preserve a sorceress alive.
The Promise: Contemporary English Version: Death is the punishment for
Revised Standard Version: You shall not permit a sorceress to live.
Revised English Bible: You must not allow a witch to live.
In the original Hebrew manuscript, the author used the word m'khashepah to
describe the person who should be killed. The word means a woman who uses
spoken spells to harm others - e.g. causing their death or loss of property. Clearly "evil
sorceress" or "woman who does evil magic" would be the most
accurate phrases in today's English usage for this verse.
The Good News Bible
uses the term "magic." This is also a poor selection because that term has been used to
stage magic, sleight of hand, magic tricks.
ceremonial magic used to harm other persons.
ceremonial magic used to heal other persons.
The King James Version and Revised English Bible use the term "witch." In
North America, the term normally refers to Wiccans -- the followers of the
Wiccan religion. According to the Scofield Reference Bible this verse from the Hebrew Scriptures
(Old Testament) was written in the year 1491 BCE. This is some 650 years before the origin
of the Celtic people circa 850 BCE from whom some elements of Wicca were taken.
So Exodus 22:18 can hardly be referring to Wiccans.
Alexi Kondratiev "Suffer a Witch to Live",
Enchanté, the Journal for
the Urbane Pagan, Mabon & Vinalia (1994), P. 11-15