Sharon Wilharm Bible Storyteller

Fortune-Telling Slave Girl

While Paul and Silas were going to the shore for prayer, they passed a slave girl with a spirit of divination. Her owners used her as a fortune-telling gimmick to make much money.

She followed Paul and Silas saying, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” (Acts 16:17) She did this over and over, day after day until Paul couldn’t take it anymore. He turned to the spirit and said,  “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” (v. 18) Immediately, the spirit departed, taking away the girl’s powers.

In the margin of some manuscripts, this girl is said to have the spirit of Python, a serpent worshiped for his wisdom. The word Luke uses in Acts calls her a ventriloquist-soothsayer. She was recognized to have the ability to foresee the future, and her wealthy owners used her as a money-making attraction.

When the girl’s owners realized that she could no longer make the big money for them, they went after Paul and Silas, dragging them into the marketplace before the rulers. They told the magistrates that the men were Jews who were disturbing the city, advocating customs that weren’t lawful for Romans to accept. The people of the city attacked the two men, and the leaders put them in jail.

Once Paul called out the girl’s demon, her life was never the same again. Though she was still owned by other people, she finally owned her mind. She could chose to continue in the pagan lifestyle or she could choose to follow The Way.

Read about the fortune telling slave girl: Acts 16:16-24

Fortune-telling slave girl

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