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What is a jinx?

translate jinx, jinxed

A jinx is something (or someone) thought to bring bad luck. To jinx something is to bring misfortune to it. Often, jinxes are spoken of in unserious contexts; for example, the “curse of the Bambino” was a jinx supposedly affecting the Red Sox as a result of their trading Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees in 1919. Also, people are known to say, “Jinx!” when they utter the same word or phrase at the same time. Someone who seems to have bad luck or attract bad luck to the people around them is also sometimes called a jinx.

In other contexts, however, a jinx is more serious. There is a jinx used in occult magic. There are people who attempt to cast spells and curse others with misfortune, and the Bible does not treat curses, sorcery, or other forms of the occult as fake or laughable. King Balak of Moab asked Balaam to curse Israel (Numbers 23:7–8), and we know that this was a curse related to the practice of divination, not simply an empty threat (Numbers 23:23). God told Balaam not to curse Israel, which leads us to assume that, if Balaam had cursed them, it would have had some spiritual effect. In the book of Acts, the apostles encountered a sorcerer named Simon who was attracted to the miracles and signs being performed by the apostles and wanted to learn how to do them (Acts 8:13). He was said to have practiced magic in the city, amazing the people so that they called him “Great” and “the power of God” (Acts 8:9–10). The works Simon did by the power of demons were mistaken for displays of God’s power, but when he saw the true power of God, Simon wanted to switch over because he could see the apostles’ power was greater than his own. All of this, especially the commands of God against sorcery and the occult, lends credibility to the reality of witchcraft (Galatians 5:20; Deuteronomy 18:10–12).

It has been observed in many cultures that people who want to harm an enemy or bend another person’s will to their own can use spells, curses, and jinxes to manipulate the spiritual world to do their bidding. There is no explanation in the Bible as to why or how this occurs or why demons would do the bidding of humans, unless it is to trick them into believing that they, the humans, are in charge. Furthermore, God forbids casting spells and jinxes, and that should be reason enough to stay away.

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What is a jinx? What does it mean to be jinxed?
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This page last updated: January 4, 2022