From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Webster's Dictionary [1]

(1): (n.) Anything worn for its supposed efficacy to the wearer in averting ill or securing good fortune.

(2): (n.) To subdue, control, or summon by incantation or supernatural influence; to affect by magic.

(3): (n.) A word or combination of words sung or spoken in the practice of magic; a magical combination of words, characters, etc.; an incantation.

(4): (n.) A melody; a song.

(5): (n.) To attract irresistibly; to delight exceedingly; to enchant; to fascinate.

(6): (n.) To subdue or overcome by some secret power, or by that which gives pleasure; to allay; to soothe.

(7): (n.) That which exerts an irresistible power to please and attract; that which fascinates; any alluring quality.

(8): (v. i.) To act as, or produce the effect of, a charm; to please greatly; to be fascinating.

(9): (v. i.) To make a musical sound.

(10): (n.) To protect with, or make invulnerable by, spells, charms, or supernatural influences; as, a charmed life.

(11): (v. i.) To use magic arts or occult power; to make use of charms.

(12): (n.) Any small decorative object worn on the person, as a seal, a key, a silver whistle, or the like. Bunches of charms are often worn at the watch chain.

(13): (n.) To make music upon; to tune.

Holman Bible Dictionary [2]

 Proverbs 31:30 chen  Zechariah 12:10 Genesis 39:21 Proverbs 3:34 Genesis 6:8 Genesis 32:8 Nahum 3:4 2 Ezekiel 13:18  Isaiah 3:20 3 Psalm 58:4-5 Isaiah 3:3 Jeremiah 8:17 Ecclesiastes 10:11

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [3]

A kind of spell, supposed by the ignorant to have an irresistible influence, by means of the concurrence of some infernal power, both on the minds, lives, and properties of those whom it has for its object. "Certain vain ceremonies, " says Dr. Doddridge, "which are commonly called charms, and seem to have no efficacy at all for producing the effects proposed by them, are to be avoided; seeing if there be indeed any real efficacy in them, it is generally probable they owe it to some bad cause; for one can hardly imagine that God should permit good angels in any extraordinary manner to interpose, or should immediately exert his own miraculous power on trifling occasions, and upon the performance of such idle tricks as are generally made the condition of receiving such benefits."

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [4]

Charm . See Amulets and Chakms; and Magic Divination and Sorcery.

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [5]

See Divination .

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [6]

charm  : Definition . - T he word charm is derived from the Latin carmen , "a song," and denotes strictly what is sung; then it comes to mean a magical formula chanted or recited with a view to certain desired results. Charm is distinguished from amulet in this, that the latter is a material object having as such a magical potency, though it is frequently an inscribed formula on it that gives this object its power (see Amulet ). The word charm stands primarily for the incantation, though it is often applied to an inscribed amulet.

A charm may be regarded as having a positive or a negative effect. In the first case it is supposed to secure some desired object or result (see Amulet ). In the second, it is conceived as having the power of warding off evils, as the evil eye, the inflictions of evil spirits and the like. In the last, its negative meaning, the word "countercharm" (German, Gegenzauber ) is commonly used.

Charms are divisible into two general classes according as they are written (or printed) or merely spoken:

(1) Written charms - O f these we have examples in the phylacteries and the mezūzāh noticed in the article Amulet . In  Acts 19:13-20 we read of written charms used by the Ephesians, such as are elsewhere called ( ἐφέσια γράμματα , ephésia grámmata ). Such magical formulas were written generally on leather, though sometimes on papyrus, on lead, and even on gold. Those mentioned in the above passage must have been inscribed on some very valuable material, gold perhaps, or they could not have cost 2,000 British pounds (= 50,000 drachmas). Charms of the kind have been dug up from the ruins of Ephesus. In modern Egypt drinking-bowls are used, inscribed with passages from the Koran, and it is considered very lucky to drink from such a "lucky bowl," as it is called. Parts of the Koran and often complete miniature copies are worn by Egyptians and especially by Egyptian soldiers during war. These are buried with the dead bodies, just as the ancient Egyptians interred with their dead portions of the Book of the Dead or even the whole book, and as the early Abyssinians buried with dead bodies certain magical texts. Josephus ( Ant. , VIII, ii, 5) says that Solomon composed incantations by which demons were exorcised and diseases healed.

(2) Spoken charms are at least as widespread as those inscribed. Much importance was attached by the ancients (Egyptians, Babylonians, etc.) to the manner in which the incantations were recited, as well as to the substance of the formulas. If beautifully uttered, and with sufficient frequency, such incantations possessed unlimited power. The stress laid on the mode of reciting magical charms necessitated the existence of a priestly class and did much to increase the power of such a class. The binding force of the uttered word is implied in many parts of the Old Testament (see   Joshua 9:20 ). Though the princes of Israel had promised under false pretenses to make a covenant on behalf of Israel with the Gibeonites, they refused to break their promise because the word had been given. The words of blessing and curse were believed to have in themselves the power of self-realization. A curse was a means of destruction, not a mere realization (see Nu 22 through 24, Balaam's curses;  Judges 5:23; Job 31). In a similar way the word of blessing was believed to insure its own realization. In  Genesis 48:8-22 the greatness of Ephraim and Manasseh is ascribed to the blessing of Jacob upon them (see further   Exodus 12:32;  Judges 17:2;  2 Samuel 21:3 ). It is no doubt to be understood that the witch of Endor raised Samuel from the dead by the recitation of some magical formula ( 1 Samuel 28:7 ).

The uttering of the tetragrammaton ( YHWH ) was at a very early time (at latest 300 bc) believed to be magically potent, and hence, its ordinary use was forbidden, so that instead of Yahweh , the Jews of the time, when the earliest part of the Septuagint was translated, used for this Divine name the appellative 'ădhōnaı̄ = "Lord." In a similar way among the Jews of post-Biblical and perhaps of even Biblical times, the pronunciation of the Aaronic blessing ( Numbers 6:24-26 ) was supposed to possess great efficacy and to be a means of certain good to the person or persons involved. Evil spirits were exorcised by Jews of Paul's day through the use of the name of the Lord Jesus ( Acts 19:13 ). In the Talmud ( Peṣāḥı̄m 110 a ) it is an instruction that if a man meets a witch he should say, "May a pot of boiling dung be stuffed into your mouth, you ugly witch," and her power is gone.

For literature see Amulet .

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [7]

( לָחִשׁ , Lachash ´ , to Whisper, as enchanters). In  Psalms 58:5;  Jeremiah 8:17;  Ecclesiastes 10:11 ("enchantment"), this word is used to express Serpent-Charming. In the first of these passages it occurs in connection with חֶבֶר (Che ´ Ber, strictly a Confederacy, i.e. with spirits of the other world), which is rendered in the same manner, and has a similar meaning. In other passages, although still rendered "charm," both words, as is the case also with other terms, signify ordinary Necromancy or conjuration. That the most venomous reptiles might be rendered tame and harmless by certain charms, or soft and sweet sounds, and trained to delight in music, was an opinion which prevailed very early and universally (see Bochart, Hieroz. I, 3, cap. 6). Virgil speaks of it particularly (Aen. 7:750); so also Lucan (Pharsalia). (See Serpent). The most famous serpent-charmers of antiquity were the Psylli, a people of Cyrenaica; and that theirs was relieved to be a natural power appears from the story old by Pliny, that they were accustomed to try the legitimacy of their new-born children by exposing them to the most cruel and venomous serpents, which dared not molest or even approach them unless they were illegitimate. He thinks their power resided in some peculiar odor in their persons which the serpents abhorred (Nat. Hist. lib. 7, 100:2). Shaw, Bruce, and indeed all travelers who have been in the Levant, speak of the charming of serpents as a thing frequently seen (see especially Thomson, Land and Book, 2:216, 233). The much-dreaded Cobra di Capello, or good Serpent of the Hindoos, is capable of being tamed; and the Malabar jugglers have the art of teaching them to dance to the inharmonious and slow notes of their flageolet. The serpent first seems astonished, then begins to rear himself, and sometimes, by a gentle undulatory motion of the head, and with distended hood, seems to listen with pleasure to the notes. These dancing snakes are carried about in baskets by the jugglers all over India, and Mr. Forbes states it as a well- attested fact that when a house is infested with these snakes, and some others of the Coluber genus, which destroy poultry, or with some even of the larger serpents of the boa tribe, the musicians are sent for, who charm the reptiles from their hiding-places to their own destruction (Oriental Memoirs). It is often said that the charmer introduces his tame serpents, and that they obey the accustomed call, and are exhibited in proof of the triumph of the charmer's art. This may sometimes be the case, but instances are known in which: there could not have been any collusion or contrivance; and, after the severest test and scrutiny, many have been obliged to rest in the conclusion that the charmers do really possess the physical means of discovering the presence of serpents without seeing them, and of attracting them from their lurking-places. This is Mr. Lane's conclusion, who also suspects that they discover the presence of serpents by the smell, and compares their attractive powers to those of the fowler, who, by the fascination of his voice, allures the bird into his net (Modern Egyptians). The deaf-adder or asp may either be a serpent of a species naturally deaf (for such kinds are mentioned by Avicenna as quoted by Bochart), or on account of its appearing to be so. In either case, in the language of poetry, it may be said to stop its ear, from its being proof against all the efforts of the charmer (Un. Presb. Quart. Review, July, 1860). (See Divination); (See Magician).

In modern usage the word charm (Lat carmen, a song) denotes a spell, ill a form of words, generally in verse, supposed to possess, when recited, some occult power, either hurtful or beneficial. When written on paper or parchment, and worn on the person, charms are to be classed with amulets (q.v.). (See Incantation); (See Magic).