The Bible’s Viewpoint
Should You Fear the Evil Eye?
A WOMAN in an Amazonian village gently lays her baby in a hammock. Then, after carefully tying a red string around its tiny wrist, she binds another string around its middle. Ritual completed, she steps back and lets out a sigh of relief: “Now, baby is protected against the evil eye.”
Fear of the evil eye is not limited to tribespeople in South America. Lawyers in Italy and farmers in India, as well as businessmen in North America, also quiver at the evil eye.
What is the evil eye? It is the belief that some people possess the power to injure and even kill you by merely looking at you. They may use this evil glance when your prosperity has aroused their jealousy. Moreover, it is believed that many a well-intentioned person has the evil eye and that his gaze may harm others involuntarily.
Do you share this dread? And if so, does this fear help you or harm you?
Fact or Fiction?
Most reference works on the subject describe fear of the evil eye as a superstition. Since a superstition is defined as a belief “based on neither reason nor fact,” some people believe that fear of the evil eye is nothing more than a product of feeble minds.
Admittedly, numerous stories about the evil eye are fiction. To fear, for example, that people with cross-eye, cataracts, or cowlicks are prone to possess the evil eye is a figment of the imagination. Or to believe that the fatal glance is at work whenever your baby falls ill, your cow dies, or your hens refuse to lay is attributing more to it than is warranted.
Nevertheless, just as a solid nut is hidden under the thick husk of a coconut, there are also some solid facts hidden under the thick layer of tales about the evil eye. So let us cut through the fiction and uncover some facts.
The Origin of the Evil Eye
The Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics answers that the ancient Babylonians feared the influence of the evil eye. Who promoted that fear? Babylonian sorcerers or witches. They were noted for causing terrible sufferings by casting spells with a glance of their eyes. However, these sorcerers did not do this of their own accord. Who empowered them? Spirit creatures called demons. Explains the book The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria: “Witches could invoke the demons at their will and bring such persons as they chose within the demons’ power.”
The Bible likewise points to self-demonized angels as the source of “uncanny power.” (1 Samuel 15:23; 1 Timothy 4:1; Jude 6) In addition, God’s Word confirms that demons share their malicious power with spiritists and demon-controlled persons. (Acts 16:16-18; Revelation 22:15) As a result, such people are able to ‘bind others with a spell,’ sometimes by means of their eyes. (Deuteronomy 18:10-12) Thus, the evil eye is indeed based on some facts.
So if you live in a community where witch doctors’ spells are a part of daily life, it is no wonder that your fear of the evil eye has been kept alive. However, no matter how threatening those spells may be, you should not share your neighbors’ fear. Why not? First of all, fearing the evil eye can easily lead you into servitude to demons—something the Bible forbids. (See 1 Corinthians 10:20, 21.) Second, you can avail yourself of a form of protection that thwarts the effects of the evil eye and removes all reasons for fear. What protection? Wearing amulets?
Protection That Works
To answer, consider this example: What will you do if you fear that a huge tree will fall over and crush your house? Will you fortify the roof, hoping that it will withstand the impact of the falling tree? Or will you call for the help of a lumberjack or tree surgeon who has a record of felling trees safely? Felling the tree removes the source of danger and thus eliminates your fear.
Similarly, what will dispel your fear if a spiritist threatens to use his evil eye against you? Will you try to fortify yourself by tying amulets around your neck? Or will you call for the help of a person who has a record of rendering demons powerless? Obviously, the latter is the wise course, for that person removes the source of danger and thus eliminates your fear.
But like the psalmist, you may ask: “From where will my help come?” Inspired by God, he answers: “My help is from Jehovah, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Does the Creator’s help include protection against the evil eye? Yes, for the psalmist further assures us: “Jehovah himself will guard you against all calamity.” (Psalm 121) To bolster your confidence in Jehovah’s ability to protect, consider his trust-inspiring record of dealings with the demons.
‘The Demons Shudder’—Why?
In Noah’s day, Jehovah dismissed disobedient angels from their positions of favor by restraining them ‘in a prison’ of spiritual darkness. (1 Peter 3:19; Genesis 6:1-4) Then, in the first century, Jesus, acting as God’s representative, expelled powerful demons at will. (Matthew 8:31, 32; Mark 1:39) And again, during this 20th century, Jesus used his God-given power to oust Satan and his demons from heaven. (Revelation 12:7-9) Hence, the demons learned the hard way that their power is nothing compared with God’s power. Yet, Jehovah is about to add another page to this record. Soon, Satan and these cast-out rebels will be thrown into an abyss for a thousand years.—Revelation 20:1-3.
How does this knowledge affect them? The Bible reveals: “The demons believe and shudder.” (James 2:19) Then, how does this knowledge affect you? Will you still fear those ‘shuddering’ demons and their human henchmen? Or will you “only fear Jehovah” by trusting fully in his invisible protection against the evil eye?—1 Samuel 12:24.
Truly, if faith moves you to untie your amulets and to strengthen your bond with Jehovah’s Witnesses in your community, you will soon join them in echoing the words of the ancient sons of Korah. They proclaimed: “God is for us a refuge and strength, a help that is readily to be found during distresses. That is why we shall not fear.”—Psalm 46:1, 2; compare Romans 8:31.