What special powers did diviners claim to have? How did kings use diviners?
Diviners claimed to have insights or the answers to certain questions based on a connection with a supernatural spirit or god. The diviners would access this information by performing different rituals, which vary throughout cultures. These rituals would provide the diviner with an interpretation of signs or a way of interpreting certain events or omens. Some of the powers that diviners claim to have are the ability to predict the outcome of future events, healing of sickness, good fortune with regards to love and money, success in war and the answers to many other questions that one would ask.
Many different kings and leaders have used divination throughout history for a variety of purposes. Since the world has been defined by war and conquest until very recently, kings would most often seek out diviners for questions about how to proceed in battle and requesting help and luck in war. Chinese Emperors used divination in the form of bones to heal illnesses. The ancient Greeks would consult an oracle to ask questions to the gods and the Roman Kings consulted astrologers, diviners who claimed to have the power to predict and control the future based on a reading of the stars and the alignment of planets. There are many passages in the Bible that describe King David, King Saul and Egyptian Pharaohs using a diviner to ask questions to God. It should be noted that many other passages in the bible decry the use of divination as a tool of evil or the devil.
More recently, it has been widely documented that President Reagan and his wife Nancy regularly consulted an astrologist. The astrologist, who became famous in her own right, claimed to have predicted the attempted assassination of Reagan and after the event she regularly consulted the couple. It is unknown how her reading of the stars and planets affected the decision making of the president (if it did at all) while he was in office.